Kings of the Asturias, Navarre, Leon, Castile,
Aragon, Portugal, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland,
Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Moravia,
Croatia, Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland


The historically central kingdoms of Francia, besides

  1. France proper (West Francia), were
  2. Lorraine,
  3. Burgundy,
  4. Lombardy (or Italy),
  5. the East Frankish kingdom that became Germany, and
  6. the Pope's domain, the Papal States (originally the Romanian Exarchate of Ravenna), centered on Rome.

These were all part of the Empire of Charlemagne. Lorraine was only briefly a separate kingdom and then became one of the Stem Duchies of Germany, ultimately to be divided between Germany, France, and the Low Countries. The Periphery of Francia thus means the surrounding kingdoms. These naturally fall into six groups.

  1. Spain,
  2. the British Isles, and the
  3. South of Italy, which were all originally parts of the Roman Empire (except for Ireland and northern Scotland),
  4. Catholic (and then Protestant) Eastern Europe,
  5. Scandinavia, and
  6. the Frankish Crusader kingdoms of "Outremer," which came to include the mainland kingdom of Jerusalem, the island kingdom of Cyprus, and the Latin Emperors in Constantinople.

Outremer ("across the sea") was a kind of colony, and a temporary one, of Francia. Mostly Orthodox or Islâmic in faith, it is culturally part of Islam or, in so far as it is recovered from the Islamic Conquest, part of Mediaeval Romania. As such, it is peripheral even to the periphery of Francia. All the parts of it ended up conquered by the Turks. However, the Franks were there because they remembered that the area had been part of Romania, thought of themselves as the proper heirs of Rome, and were intent on reversing the Islamic Conquest. They had agreed with the Emperor Alexius Comnenus in Constantinople that they would return former Roman possessions. No one really understood this to mean a place like Jerusalem, however, which had been lost for centuries. If it did mean Antioch, which recently had been Roman, even this was disregarded by the first Princes of Antioch. Today within Palestine, we now find the unique Jewish State of Israel, which seeks to undo, not just the Islamic Conquest, but the earlier Roman Conquest of Judaea.

Culturally, the Periphery of Francia is distinguished by the same characteristics detailed for Francia, i.e. the original jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope (now considered the head of the "Catholic Church," although the Orthodox Church of Constantinople
Europa est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam Romaniam, aliam Franciam, tertiam Russiam.
Europa1. Romania2. Constantinople
2. Francia1. Rome
3. Russia3. Moscow
still also calls itself Katholiké), the use of the Latin language and alphabet, etc. Some of these areas seem more peripheral than others. Spain became the center of European power in the 16th century, and Britain in the 19th. All the great wars of the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, however, originated in the Core of Francia and then drew in the Peripheral states. An exception to all this was when Scandinavia was the center, if not of European power, certainly of the most energetic of European events. That stretched from the 9th to the 11th centuries, the "Second Dark Age." The Scandinavians of that period, Vikings (then Normans) in the West and Varangians (then Russians) in the East, were still pagan, and their raids and conquests were a threat everywhere in Francia. Christianization in the 10th and 11th centuries largely brought the threat to a close, except for the more conventional conquests of the Normans and Russians.

My sources for all these tables are often given with the specific tables. A discussion of general sources is given under Francia.


Francia Index

Philosophy of History

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Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

The Kings of



Spain and Portugal ,
718 AD-Present

Spain, unlike Britain, never fell outside of history after the collapse of the Western Empire, which gives us a continuous record of rule from Rome through the Visigoths and beyond. Also, Spain underwent her own unique transformation in the trauma of the Islâmic conquest. The Visigoths were crushed and for almost three centuries a revived Christian kingdom, Asturias, could do little more than cling to the north coast and the northwest corner of Iberia. Nevertheless, more than one Christian state eventually organized and gradually reconquered the peninsula. Navarre (Navarra), Aragón, and Barcelona all began as march counties of Francia. Asturias/Galicia/León could claim direct succession from the Visigoths, while Castile (Castilla) was a march of León. There were at different times up to five different Spanish Christian kingdoms. These were all eventually consolidated. Portugal, which began as a county of León, was the only kingdom to ultimately maintain its independence of the rest of Spain. Spain was sometimes styled an "empire." Ferdinand I and Alfonso VII of Castile were sometimes styled "Emperor," but in Mediaeval Europe, the Popes regarded such a title as theirs to dispense, and no self-proclaimed emperors were going to get cooperation from the Church. In fact, Alfonso X of Castile was actually elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1257, but nothing came of it all. Alfonso never went to Germany, distracted by civil war (1275) and rebellion (1282), and it was already clear that the Pope had no intention of crowning him. When the Pope finally crowned Emperor a King of Spain, it was Charles V (Charles I of Spain), a 1/4 German Hapsburg who had been born and raised in Belgium. The Imperial crown then passed to Charles's brother Ferdinand of Austria, not to his son Philip II of Spain. [cf. J.H. Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716, Mentor, 1963; Adam Wandruszka, The House of Habsburg, Anchor Books, 1965; Denys Hay, Europe in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1966; and, more recently, Henry Kamen, Empire, How Spain Became a World Power, 1492-1763, HarperCollins, 2003.]

An issue of note concerns the name "Spain" -- España. The entire peninsula can be called, in a geographical sense, without ambiguity, Iberia. Similarly calling the whole peninsula "Spain," however casually, can evoke impassioned responses. Spain now is a country that is distinct from Portugal. On the other hand, in Latin, Hispania was the whole peninsula. In the Middle Ages, when various kingdoms occupied Iberia, and none of them was España, they all collectively and reasonably were called the "Spains," Hispaniae. When the Kingdoms of León, Castile, and Aragón, and then Navarra, came under common rule, the combination began to be called, unofficially but reasonably, "España." The battle cry of 16th century Spanish troops was "Santiago, España!" (the former referring to the pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia). It may have been Philip II who issued the first decree for "these realms of Spain." As it happens, this was issued from Lisbon after Philip claimed the Throne of Portugal in 1580 and occupied the Kingdom. So the official use of "Spain" seems to have initially and in fact been for the whole peninsula. When Portugal revolted and became independent again in 1640, the rest of the Kingdom simply continued, down to the present, under the common name. So what "Spain" means actually depends on what we are talking about and when. It has only really meant a political part of Iberia since 1640.

Another issue is with the names of the Kings. Since the major languages of Christendom use many of the same names, it is often possible to give translations. This was formerly the most common, so that in English one talked about "Johns" and "Peters" in the Spanish Kingdoms. This is now sometimes frowned upon, but the desire to use the "native" language of the country in question can produce some gaffs:  One occasionally sees Kings of Portugal called "Juan," when this is actually just the Spanish, not the Portuguese, version of "John" -- that would be "João" -- which differs dramatically from the Spanish name, not just in the nasalized vowel, but in that the "j," which is an aspiration in Spanish, is in Portuguese like the "z" in English "azure." Since there are other languages in the Iberian Peninsula -- Catalan, Basque, and Galician -- besides standard (Castilian) Spanish and Portuguese, it is often a good question just what vernacular language was being used in a particular time and place. There is also the complication that the Kings of Navarre marry into French Royalty and nobility and so after 1234 are all French speaking. The written langugage during much of the period, of course, would just be Latin.

"John" is "Juan" in Castilian, "Xoán" in Galician, "Ion," "Yon," or "Jon" in Basque, "Joan" in Catalan, "Jean" in French, and "Johannes" in Latin (another form, "Iban," only occurs in the patronymic "Ibañez"). Simply using "John" would seem to be the least confusing and the most revealing. However, Portuguese and Spanish (Castilian) versions are given for most of the names (somewhat irregularly). Some names -- "Alfonso" and "Sancho" -- really do not have English equivalents. Sancho, the name of many Kings of Navarre, is written "Santxo" in Basque and may in fact have originally been a Basque name, though its origin in now obscure ("Santius" was the Latinized version). Other Basque or probable Basque names are "García," "Ezquerra," "Ibarra," "Echeverría," etc. "Alfonso" becomes "Alphonse" in French, and this has been borrowed into English to an extent, but it is not very common, so "Alfonso," like "Sancho," is simply given in its Spanish form. Sometimes overlooked, again, is that the Portuguese, "Afonso," is different. Equally Spanish is a derivative of "Elizabeth":  "Isabel" or "Ysabel." This Latinized as "Isabella," which is the form of the name usually used in English. There is a problem with the English equivalent for Castilian "Juana," the feminine form of "Juan." Although this is simply "Jeanne" in French, "Jone" in Basque, or "Johanna" in Latin, in English it could be "Joan," "Joanna," "Joanne," "Jane," or even "Jeanne." "Ferdinand" and "Fernando" are both of Spanish derivation, originally "Ferdinando." This was itself Visigothic, and the form now most familiar in English, "Ferdinand," is the version of the name as it passed into German with the marriage of Juana the Mad of Castile to Philip of Hapsburg. One of their sons was then the Emperor Ferdinand I. He was raised in Spain, speaking Spanish. His grandfather, Ferdinand II of Aragón, contemplated leaving the kingdom of Aragón to him in his will but thought better of it. Later, he was given the rule of Austria by his brother. Elected king of Hungary and Bohemia, he then succeeded his brother as Emperor.

His brother, of course, was the Emperor Charles V. It is "Charles" in French and English, "Carlos" in Spanish and Portuguese, "Carolus" in Latin, and "Karl" in German. The story about Charles is that he only spoke German to his horse. He was raised at the court of his grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian I, in the Netherlands, speaking Flemish, where his name would be, I think, "Karel," as in Dutch. Indeed, he is often called "Charles of Ghent." There is a monument to Charles V in Guadalajara, Mexico. It actually calls him "King Charles V" ("Rey Carlos V"), which is not quite right since, as King of Spain, he was Charles I. All this seems to confuse everybody.

The colors here go with the kingdoms, but as the kingdoms combine, the color of the dominant kingdom supersedes the others. Thus yellow, the color for Castile (which started as a County of León, was detached by Sancho the Great of Navarre, and then was willed to his son Ferdinand I as a separate kingdom), is also the color for Spain as a whole, as Castile absorbs León, Aragón, and then, briefly, Portugal. A minor variation is that the red is darker for the Kingdom of the Asturias, of which León was essentially a continuation. The change in name took place after one of the characteristic divisions and then recombinations, several of which we see later, between brothers, sometimes brothers who become hostile and murderous to each other.

The Islâmic rulers of Spain, 756-1492, are listed separately from this page, with the other rulers of Islâm, linked in the table at right. The first three hundred years after the Islâmic Conquest were tough times, naturally, for Christian Spain, which took quite a while to even get organized in some areas -- we only get a monarchy in Navarra more than a century after the Islamic Conquest.
These years were largely those of the Omayyad Amirs and Caliphs, who may be said to have presided over the Golden Age of Islâmic Spain. The suprisingly rapid decline of the Omayyads in the 11th century quickly led to complete political fragmentation and to grave vulnerability to the rising Christian Kingdoms.

It should be noted that although Spanish Christians later referred to all Spanish, and also North African, Moslems as "Moors," this lumps together ethnically and linguistically distinct peoples, particularly those who were actually Arabs and those who were of North African Berber derivation -- Mauri, indeed, was the Roman name for Berbers (which itself is from barbari, "barbarians," Greek ), evident in the name of the Roman province of Mauretania. There was sometimes tension and conflict between these groups in Islâmic Spain, as we might imagine.

"Moors" also would mean native Spaniard converts to Islâm, the , Muwalladûn ("brought up, raised," especially among Arabs or new to the language), Muladíes in Spanish or Portuguese, Muladites in Catalan. If one then considers sub-Saharan black African Moslems as "Moors," like Shakespeare's Othello, this adds another group, one that would have been noticeable in North Africa but probably of somewhat lesser significance in Spain.

To many people, however, "Moor" always means "black," and this is a serious confusion. Berbers might look pretty dark to Europeans, but they are easily distinguished from the African slaves brought north across the Sahara by the Arab slave trade. Indeed, a factor in the 11th century in Spain were slave troops, the , S.aqâliba ("Slavs," singular , S.aqlab; perhaps a calque for the word "slave" itself), that consisted, not of Africans, but of captives from Christian Europe, like the Mamlûks in Egypt or Janissaries in the Ottoman army.

Also confusing is the tradition of calling Christians in Islâmic Spain "Mozarabs" (Spanish Mozárabes, Protuguese Moçárabes, Catalan Mossàrabs), , Musta'rabûn, "Arabized," which seems a little odd applied to those who did not convert to Islam, although it may address the phenomenon of Christians who learned Arabic or adopted Arab dress.

Thus, unless one is deliberately speaking of what Christian Spain called Moslems, "Moors" is not a term that is revealing of historial realities or appropriate for disinterested and objective historical discourse -- although I find, not just universal popular discourse, but even historians carelessly calling all Spanish Muslims "Moors" as though this is a meaningful category for those unfamiliar with the demographic realities of Islâmic Spain.

Writing about Shakespeare's Othello in the November 5/6, 2016 Wall Street Journal ["England's Muslim Monarch," C6], Yale historian Alan Mikhail says, "He is called a Moor, thus both black and a Muslim." Shakespeare may have accepted this easy equivalence, but an academic historian should not be repeating it without a qualification and a caution. Yet this is typical; and I cannot remember a single popular reference to "Moors," in print or television, fiction or documentary, that bothers to clarify the populations of Muslims in Spain or North Africa. This seems to be a point about which literally no one in a responsible position cares.

Navarre, which is perhaps known too generally by the French version of its name, was originally a kingdom of the Basques, an apparently autochthonous people whose language has no demonstrable affinities to any other in the world, much less to any in the area. Thus, "Basque" in Basque is Euskara, and the Basque speaking country, which extends beyond Navarre, is Euskal Herria. Interesting genetic information about this is reported by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza in Genes, Peoples, and Languages [University of California Press, 2000]. The Basque region turns out to be the center of a characteristic gene component of European populations. Cavalli-Sforza says:

...the Basques once inhabited a much larger territory than today... During the last Paleolothic period the Basque region extended over almost the entire area where ancient cave paintings have been found. There are some cues [sic, "clues"?] that Basque descends from a language spoken 35,000 to 40,000 years ago, during the first occupation of France by modern humans... The artists of these caves would have spoken a language of the first, preagricultural Europeans, from which modern Basque is derived. [pp.120-121]

Thus, neither the French nor the Spanish -- Navarra -- version of the name of the kingdom is necessarily more correct than the Basque version, Nafarroa. While Navarre was the dominant Spanish kingdom under Sancho the Great, its power and extent declined quickly and decisively. Of the seven Basque provinces in Spain and France (where only about 12,000 people speak Basque any longer), only two ended up belonging to Navarre proper. I have not noticed Basque nationalists claiming to have invented art (i.e. the cave paintings), but they apparently would have as reasonable a claim as anyone.

Islamic Conquest of Spain, Visigoths Overthrown;
Battles of Jerez de la Frontera & Ecija,
Cordova captured, 711; Seville & Toledo captured,
712; Battle of Segoyuela, Saragossa (Zaragoza)
captured, 713; Valencia captured, 714
Kings of Asturias,
at Oviedo
Arabs stopped in
Francia, Battle of
Poitiers, 732
Pelayo, Pelagius718-737
Arabs stopped, Battle
of Covadonga, 718
Kings of Navarre,
Navarra, Nafarroa
Alfonso I, the Catholic739-757
Fruela I, the Cruel757-768
Aurelio, Aurelius768-774Charlemagne
defeated at
Roncesvalles, 778
783-788Iñigo JimenezCount,
Vermudo/Bermudo I,
the Deacon
Iñigo Iniguez Arista
Alfonso II, the Chaste791-842County of Barcelona,
in Francia, 801
Nepociano, Nepotian842 (?)
García I Iniguez852-
Ramiro I842-850García (II) Jimenezrival,
Ordoño I850-866Iñigo Garcésc.885-?
Alfonso III, the Great866-910Fortuno,
Fortun Garcés
Garcia910-914Sancho I Garcés905-925
Ordoño IIGalicia,
Kings of León
Fruela II, the Cruel924-925
Sancho OrdoñezGalicia,
Jimeno Garcés925-931
Alfonso IV, the Monk 925-931
Ramiro IIGalicia,
García II Sánchez I931-971
Ordoño III951-955Count of
Sancho I, the Fat955-958,
Ordoño IV,
the Wicked
958-960Sancho II
Gárces II Abarca
Ramiro III967-982,
Vermudo II982-999García III
Sánchez II
Alfonso V, the Noble999-1027
Some lists of Kings of Navarre leave out the first Garcia, which means the numbering of subsequent Garcias is one less than shown. Also, the double names of these Kings mean that there is some variety in which names get numbered. Two numbers are thus given for several Kings. "Garcés" sometimes is seen as "Gárces."

The names of the early Kings of Navarre, like those of the early Basque Dukes of Gascony, display the active use of the patronymic suffix -ez/s. This later becomes conspicuous in Spanish and Portuguese surnames, but here bespeaks Basque derivation -- like the names with which it is used, viz. Sancho (Santxo) and García. The origin of these names is controversial; but my suspicion is aroused for any Spanish name of uncertain origin that nevertheless occurs, with its patronymic, in the names of Basque rulers. Jimeno and Jiménez (Ximénez), or Iñigo and Iniguez, are other good examples. But there also are some surprises. The common Spanish surname Gómez, which looks like an orphan patronymic, actually derives from a name in Old English, goma (or guma, "man, lord, hero"), which survives, rarely, as the surname "Gomme" in English. The internationalism of Mediaeval civilization (thanks to the Catholic Church and the Latin language) is what can catch us by surprise. Visigothic names ("Rodrigo") in Spanish we can understand, but a wandering English name is startling, especially after language issues get politicized.

Navarre became the suzerain of Aragón in the 9th century. After some intermarriage, the county was united to Navarre in 971 (or 970). Because of this process, different events sometimes are referred to by different sources. Thus, Bruce R. Gordon says that Navarre acquired Aragón "c.850," but The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History says 970 (p.50, note 2). The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume III, c.900-c.1024 [Timothy Reuter, editor, Cambridge, 1999] gives the details [p.689, with the year 970, but then the year 971 on p.717]. There are other uncertainties about this period. While the picture in Gordon is that the Asturias was divided among three sons of Alfonso III, ultimately with all inherited by Alfonso IV, The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume II, c.700-c.900 [Rosamond McKitterick, editor, Cambridge, 1995, p. 863] and Volume III [p. 716] list Ordoño II and Fruela II as successive Kings of León after Garcia. The details are given in Volume III [pp.674-675]. The independent (rebellious?) kingdoms in Galicia are the confusing factor. In this period the capital of the principal kingdom was moved from Oviedo in Asturias to Zamora and then, perhaps by Ordoño II, to León, which now gives its name to the whole.

The following genealogy was originally derived from Volume III of the Cambridge Medieval History, based on the text where the diagrams [pp.716-717] unaccountably differ. Also, the text refers to the daughter of Sancho García of Castile who marries Sancho III of Navarre as "Mayor" [p.687], even though the diagram calls her "Elvira" and "Mayor" is elsewhere given in the text as the heiress of Ribagorza [p.690]. Now, according to the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln zur europäischen Geschichte, Volume II, Part 1, Europäiche Kaiser-, Königs- und Fürstenhäuser I Westeuropa [Andreas Thiele, R. G. Fischer Verlag, Third Edition, 2001], "Munia Mayor"
Counts of Aragón
Aznar I Galindez?
García the Badd.858
Galindo I Aznárez858-c.867
Aznar II Galindezc.867-c.893
Galindo II Aznárezc.893-922
annexed by Navarre, 971
was both the daughter of Sancho I García and the heiress of Ribagorza, while Sancho III had no other wife. (An Elvira is shown as a sister of Sancho García who married Vermundo II of León.) The earlier part of this genealogy, including the Counts of Aragón and Castile, has now been constructed from the Stammtafeln. One drawback of that source is that Thiele doesn't give the diacritics or the full patronymics for many names.

The problem of the annexation of Aragón gets muddied a bit further. The heiress of Aragón, Andregoto (seen elsewhere as "Andregoro"), is shown dying in 972, which looks close (at least) to the dates given by the Cambridge History and the Penguin Atlas. However, Andregoto's husband, García II Sanchez of Navarre, already is given, without a date, as Count of Aragón because of his marriage. This is simple enough, but then García is said to have divorced (verstoßen) Andregoto circa 940. So did Andregoto remain Countess of Aragon despite the divorce? The 971 could then be the year that her son, Sancho II Abarca, inherited Navarre and so, perhaps, also Aragón.

It is notworthy that the lines of Asturias, Castile, and Navarre begin with simultaneous or alternating reigns of rival cousins or even in-laws, i.e. husbands of cousins. How this worked seems clearest in Asturias and most obscure in Castile.

In what follows, before Iberia settles down to just two Kingdoms again (Spain and Portugal), things get very complicated. This is where we get up to five independent Christian thrones -- six counting Barcelona -- not to mention the Moslem states. Thus, the table of rulers has been broken up into more convenient sections. Each section is preceded by maps of the period and followed by a family tree of the rulers. Navarre is given special treatment after the extinction of the Kingdom in Spain. It might be noted that after 1037, every ruler in Christian Spain is a descendant of Sancho III of Navarre.

It should be noted that the Kings of the Asturias, Galicia, León, Castile (Castilla), and Spain (España) share a common numbering, but that the Kings of Navarre, Aragón, and Portugal are all numbered independently. Thus, Sancho II of Navarre (970-994) is different from Sancho II of Aragón (1063-1094), Sancho II of Castile (1065-1072), and Sancho II of Portugal (1223-1245); but Alfonso IX of León (1188-1230) is numbered in succession to Alfonso VIII of Castile (1158-1214).
Counts of Castile,
Castilla, at Burgos
Nuño Nuñez I899-c.909
Nuño Nuñez II914/15
Gonzalo Tellez903-929
Munio Fernandezc.921
Fernando Ansurez916-920,
Gonzalo Fernandez930-932
Fernán(do) González932-970
García I Fernandez
White Hands
Sancho I García
Good Laws
García II Sanchez1017-1028
annexed by Navarre, 1029
Ferdinand II of Aragón (1479-1516) becomes Ferdinand V of Castile and of Spain (united with his marriage to Isabella I of Castile). It is tempting to see Sancho III of Navarre as Sancho I of Castile (as he is Sancho I of Aragón), since he bestowed Castile as a kingdom on his son, Sancho II. But Castile was not until then a kingdom at all. It had previously been a march county of León. Sancho I of León (955-958) thus might be considered Sancho I of Castile instead, especially given the co-numbering of the Kings of León and Castile. Or, Sancho I might just be the previous Count of Castile, Sancho I of the Good Laws (995-1017), who can be seen in a list of Counts at right.

The following period sees the beginning of the Reconquista, the reconquest of Islâmic Spain by the Christian states. It is certainly a bad period for the native Moslem states. Their weakness and divisions make it possible for Alfonso VI of León and Castile to capture Toledo in 1085, the traditional beginning of the Reconquista. However, the alarm of Islâm at this turn drew in the Almoravids (Murabits) from North Africa, who then defeated Alfonso at Zallâqa in 1086, without, however, recovering Toledo. This therefore began a new era for Islâmic Spain as well as for Christian, since native Islâmic Spain was now unable to withstand the Christians on its own and became dependent on North African powers.

El Cid, Rodrigo Díaz

The confusions of the period become a source of great romance. When Alfonso VI of León, deposed by his brother, Sancho II of Castile, returned to power in Castile as well as León (1072), he took on many of Sancho's retainers, including one Rodrigo Díaz (d. 1099). Rodrigo came to fall out of favor and in 1081 became a mercenary, fighting for both Christians and Moslems. After taking Valencia in 1094, he passed into legend as El Cid -- interestingly an Arabic title, , Sîd, "lord, master" (otherwise , sayyid) -- and the Campeador -- although "El Cid" is not attested before 1195.

While occupying Valencia, Díaz was allied with Pedro I of Aragón. As it happens, we have a charter issued by Pedro in 1100, written in Latin, but signed by him him Arabic! His name is prefixed with , which is the sign of the cross followed by Arabic rshm, which I have vocalized as rashm, meaning "sign of the cross." (Pedro did not write any vowel diacritics here, but I have supplied them.) So Pedro, although signing his name in Arabic makes it clear that he is a Christian. The sign of the cross also follows his name.

The name itself involves a couple of obscurities. It is written "Pedro son of Sancho." "Son of" is written as the familiar Arabic , ibn. In the Basque parts of Spain, which by Pedro's day are part of Aragon, the whole name would have been "Pedro Sanchez," with the Basque patronymic. But this does not seem to be used in the old way, and I don't know if Pedro ever used it.

"Pedro" itself is written , "Bayraw." There are some anomalous features about the writing. Not too surprising is that "e" is written as "ay" and "o" as "aw." Arabic does not have "e" or "o," but the diphthongs come to be pronounced that way in spoken Arabic. Instead of "d," we see the "emphatic t," but we also see this in the Turkish word for "nine," .

The underdots are a little confusing. A friend of mine suggests that the three visible dots are used to make a Persian "p" (). However, there are clearly two "chairs" for letters there, and if three dots belong to one, there are not enough dots to go around. So I see it as the Arabic "b," with one dot -- this is not unusual, since Arabic doesn't have a "p" -- and two dots, written vertically for space, indicating the "y" in the standard diphthong.

Finally, there is the final letter, which actually looks like , the Arabic letter for "h," but with an extra stroke going from bottom left out to above right, which here, , I have put in red. Now, in Persian, "h" can be written to indicate the final vowel "e"; but that is not what we are looking for here. My belief is that this is an anomalous writing of Arabic "w," , which fits the phonetic need more than anything else. It is as though the letter has been rotated 180o, to , which is not so odd.

"Sancho" I read as , "Shânjaw." Here we have, for some reason, "sh" used for "s." We also get "j" instead of "ch," which doesn't exist in Arabic. This reinforces the idea that a Persian letter has not been used in "Pedro," since there is a "ch" in Persian () that could have been used. Again, we have something odd at the end of the name, looking like nothing so much as the Latin letter "d." I read this, as in "Pedro," as a that has been rotated. The ligature of "n" and "j" has also been written a little unusually, with the chair turned up instead of down, as is now standard.

Thus, we see Pedro signing his entire name as . This is an extraordinary artifact of the day, in which the use of Arabic even among Christians was apparently not regarded as usual or problematic. Yet Pedro signed in such a way as to make sure we knew he was a Christian. No Muslim is going to be be putting crosses all over the place, or adding a word that actually means to do that.

Rodrigo Díaz's daughter Christina married into the House of Navarre, and her son became King Garcia V. This means that the present King of Spain, Philip VI, and much of European nobility are descendants of the Cid.

Kings of LeónKings of Navarre
Vermudo/Bermudo III1027- 1037
Sancho/Santxo III Garcés III the Great,
Sancho I of Aragón
1000- 1035
Kings of

Kings of

García IV Sánchez III1035- 1054
1037- 1065Ferdinand/Fernando I the Great1035- 1065Ramiro
1035- 1063
1065- 1070,
1072- 1109
Alfonso VIKing of
Sancho II1065- 1072Sancho IV1054- 1076
García1065- 1071,
1072- 1073
1073-11091072-1109 1063- 1094Sancho II

Sancho V of
1076- 1094
captures Toledo, made capital of Castile;
beginning of the Reconquista, 1085;
but defeated by Almoravids, Zallâqa, 1086
Counts & Kings

of Portugal
Urraca (married to Alfonso I of Aragón)1109- 1126Peter/Pedro I
1094- 1104
Odo I of
1093- 1112
Alfonso I el Batallador
(co-ruled León & Castile, 1109-1126)
1104- 1134
Afonso ICount
1112- 1139
Alfonso VIIGalicia,
1112- 1126
1139- 1185
1126- 1157occupation of Saragossa, 1118-1130

Ferdinand I's Kingdom of Castile and León was divided between his three sons:  Sancho II received Castile, Alfonso VI, León, and a new Kingdom of Galicia was broken off León for García. However, Sancho II prevented García from taking up his kingdom and then proceeded to attack Alfonso VI. In 1070, Sancho actually defeated Alfonso and drove him into exile, reassembling the whole kingdom of Ferdinand I. But when Sancho was killed in 1072, the whole kingdom immediately fell to Alfonso, who maintained its unity by imprisoning García until his death. How Sancho was killed is still a matter of uncertainty. He seems to have been meeting an incursion from Alfonso in exile, but the death may have been one of betrayal than just of battle. Whether Alfonso was even present is variously represented.

Daughters of Alfonso VI married men from Burgundy, but different Burgundies. His illegitimate daughter Teresa married a brother, Henry, of the Dukes of Burgundy, Hugh I and Odo I. Their son became the first King of Portugal. Alfonso's daughter Urraca, heiress of León and Castile, married Raymond, brother of Renald II, Count of Burgundy, i.e. ruler of the Free County, Franche Comté, of Burgundy. These domains and houses were completely independent of each other, with the Duchy of Burgundy a fief of France and its Dukes Capetian members of the French Royal Family, while the County was a fief of the Kingdom of Burgundy and its Counts members of the Italian House of Ivrea. These complexities are now lost as the history of Burgundy and its divisions are forgotten.

In the following period the Almoravid state, which began to weaken, is replaced and the position of Islâmic Spain is restrengthed by a new North African force, the Almohads (Muwahids), who came to Spain in 1147. This respite turns out to be relatively brief. The Christian Kingdoms are growing and occasionally can even cooperate. The Almohads were then crushed by King Alfonso VIII of Castille at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. They had abandoned Spain by 1229, and St. Ferdinand III of Castile and León began to roll up the heart of Andalusia, with Cordova falling in 1235 and Seville in 1248. This would leave only the Sultânate of Granada, in the difficult Sierra Nevada, as a remnant of Islâmic Spain.

Kings of PortugalKings of LeónKings of CastileKings of AragónKings of Navarre
Sancho I1185- 1211Ferdinand II1157- 1188Sancho III1157- 1158Ramiro II1134- 1137Garcia V Ramirez1134- 1150
Alfonso VIII1158- 1214union with County

of Barcelona, 1137
Queen Petronilla1137- 1173
capture of Saragossa, 1146, new capital of Aragón
Afonso II1211- 1223Alfonso IX1188- 1230Alfonso
1173- 1196Sancho VI1150- 1194
defeat by
Muwahids at
Alarcos, 1195;
victory at
Las Navas de
Tolosa, 1212
Pedro II1196- 1213Sancho VII1194- 1234
Sancho II1223- 1245Henry I1214- 1217James/
Jaime I
1213- 1276
1230- 1252St. Ferdinand III
San Fernando
Rey de España
1217- 1252Thibault,
I, of
Cham- pagne
1234- 1253
capture of Cordova, 1235,
Seville, 1248, Murcia, 1266
capture of
Valencia, 1238
Teobaldo II
1253- 1270

The failure of the male line of Aragón in 1137 left Queen Petronilla as the heiress. Her marriage to Raymond Berengar IV, Count of Barcelona (1131-1162), effected the union of the two domains. The arms of Aragón, with the four "Moor's Heads," now comes to be replaced, over time, by the four red stripes on yellow of Barcelona. The Moor's Heads have been sufficiently forgotten that the region of Aragón in modern Spain still expected to use the four stripes -- which was then protested by Catalonian nationalists as proper only to Catalonia. Meanwhile, a version of the arms is used in Sardinia; and a brief Aragonese occupation of Corsica (1420-1453) had unaccountably come to associate the Moor's Head with that island, where it is still used.

The "Chains of Navarre" are supposed to have originated at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. King Sancho VII of Navarre fought his way into the camp of the Almohad Caliph, Muh.ammad ibn Ya'qûb. The Caliph's tent was ringed with slaves chained together, but Sancho cut through the chains into the tent. The Caliph was able to flee, but we can imagine his alarm and humiliation. It may have been a bad sign for Islamic Spain, however, that the Caliph was hiding behind chained slaves rather than out leading his forces on the battlefield.

The marriage of Blanca of Navarre to Theobald of Champagne means that for a while the Counts of Champagne become the Kings of Navarre. Greater detail of that genealogy can be examined on the page for Champagne. What this leads to is examined further below.

Eleanor of England, who I do not show on the previous diagram, had ten (or eleven) children with Alfonso VIII of Castile. Of those that survived, one, Henry (Enrique), became the heir of Castile, introducing an French name (Henri) into Spanish royalty -- Henry II of England, after all, spoke French, not English -- while four daughters married other Kings and heirs. Three of those were in Spain, of León, Aragón, and Portugal. The other, with Blanca, was to the future King of France. This is a little hard to discern in the genealogy above, which is quite tangled. Abstracting and untangling the children of Eleanor, we see the marriages in the following diagram. The youngest daughter, Constance (Constantia), became a nun.

The most dramatic of these marriages may involve Blanca, who was chosen over her elder sister, Uracca (the eldest sister, Berenguela, was already married), by her grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and escorted by her to France. Because King Henry ended up childless, the Throne of Castile passed to Berenguela, who abdicated in favor of her son, Ferdinand, who was already the heir of León. Note that Henry married the sister of the husband, Afonso II, of Urraca. The sons of two of the daughters here become Saints:  St. Louis of France and St. Ferdinand of Spain are first cousins -- they each have a California mission named after them (San Luis Rey de Francia and San Fernando Rey de Espańa). Henry, however, dies from a falling roof tile, joining Pyrrhus of Epirus in that unusual fate. Note that the successor of James I of Aragón, Peter III, was from his second wife, Yolanda of Hungary.

Not shown, another son and daughter, Sancho and Sancha, died in infancy, while another son and daughter, Ferdinand and Mafalda, died as young adults (both in 1211, aged 22 and 20, respectively). The existence of another son, Henry, is disputed.

The marriage of King Ferdinand III of León and Castile involves another group of daughters and their significant marriages. These are all the granddaughers of the Emperor Isaac II Angelus of Romania, through his daughter Irene Angelina, who married Philip of Swabia, a son of Frederick I Barbarosa. Only one marriage here, of the eldest Beatrice (to Otto of Brunswick), was without issue; and in fact all the others, involving Spain, Bohemia, and Lorraine, have living descendants.

In the following period the Reconquista is completed, and Spain, unified, becomes a World Power, perhaps truly the first such, as Spanish sailors circle the planet and claim most of it, with the claims sticking in much of the New World, the Philippines, and elsewhere -- even as the inheritance of the united Kingdom by the Hapsburgs made Spain a partner to the dominant political forces of Catholic Europe. One detail noticeable on the maps but not thoroughly indicated in the table or genealogy below (but shown at right) is the temporary Aragonese Kingdom of Majorca, conquered from the Almohads and then left to a brother, James II, of Peter III. Eventually, Peter IV disposessed his cousin and returned the islands to Aragón (1343).

Meanwhile, with the completion of the Reconquista, there was the nagging problem of the non-Christians, the Jews and Moslems, who were scooped up in the new possessions. There had already been forced conversions of Jews, both by Christians and by the Almoravids and Almohads. Some Jews, like Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), had seen the handwriting on the wall back then and left. Under Christian rule, however, many Jews had converted -- the Conversos. Christians suspected, sometimes correctly, that many Conversos were still secretly practicing Judaism. These were derisively called Marranos, perhaps derived from a Spanish word for "swine" -- although this may come from Arabic , muh.arram, "forbidden", because pork is forbidden by Islâm (although, as also the taboo of holy things, the name of the first month of the Islâmic calendar). The Spanish Inquisition, run by the Spanish Crown with little reference to the Pope, in great measure was created to test the faith of Marranos, many of whom were burned at the stake or otherwise punished for the actual or suspected practice of Judaism.

In the fateful year of 1492, the religious problem was taken up a couple of notches. After a long and hard campaign, Granada surrendered, finishing the Reconquista. The last Sult.ân left for North Africa, but one condition of the surrender was religious toleration for Moslems. This was not going to last long, only until 1499. By 1502, Moslems of Granada were supposed to accept baptism or leave; and by 1526 this was the choice for the last Moslems of Valencia and Aragón. Those who remained and converted were the Moriscos ("Little Moors"), who thus joined the Marranos as suspected crypto-infidels. Muslims who refused to convert and left were Mudéjares. Muslims who did not convert and who tried to stay were Tagarinos. Openly Muslim mercenaries of Spain in North Africa were Mogataces (sing. Mogataz), although it would hardly seem to have been in their interest.

Meanwhile in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella decided to expel all unconverted Jews from Spain. Portugal followed suit in 1497 and Navarre in 1498. Jews went to North Africa, distant Turkey, the Netherlands, and other places. Those who remained and converted, of course, were now open to the tender investigations of the Inquisition. The greater threat to the regime, however, seemed to be the Moriscos, who continued to speak Arabic and retained their traditional garb and customs. They were occasionally ordered to stop and assimilate. These orders were generally ignored, but as the Spanish state strengthened, the threat became more serious. The enforcement of a 1566 (or 1567) order finally provoked a Revolt at the end of 1568. With the Turkish navy contesting the Mediterranean, and crypto-Moslem Moriscos calling for help, the Revolt became part of the larger confrontation with Islâm that troubled Philip II. With much hard fighting, and even subsequent years of guerrilla actions, the Revolt was largely suppressed in 1570. Philip decided to remove the remaining Moriscos from Granada and scattered them throughout Spain. This ended their threat as a serious internal enemy, but it did not end their existence as a cultural and religious irritation.

The suspicion of Marranos and Moriscos by the Church and the Crown poisoned Spain for many years. In so far as the Moriscos were concerned, however, this didn't last too long, since Philip III decided in 1609 to expel them from Spain altogether, whether they were really Christians or not. This was accomplished by 1614, after which only the persecution of Marranos would continue. Many of them, rather than fleeing Spain altogether, moved to the Spanish colonies in the New World, where their exalted status over the Indians made their disabilities back home less conspicuous and significant. Astonishingly, even today some families surivive in New Mexico with the memory, passed down the generations, that they had once been Jews. Former Jews, "New Christians," in Spain itself, whether under suspicion or not, did not achieve equality for many years. Limpieza de sangre, "purity of blood," laws kept them and their descendants excluded from universities and religious orders. These laws, which sound like nothing so much as the racial Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany, were not repealed until 1865. They lasted longer than the Inquisition itself, which was abolished in 1834.

Plan for the complete Basilica of
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
The deliberate destruction of the Jewish and Moslem communities in Spain was no help to Spain either culturally or economically. The Arab historian Philip Hitti has said that Spain shone for a few years with a "borrowed glory" from its creative mediaeval communites, but then sank into the status of a cultural and political backwater. Well, it is understandable that an Arab historian might say this, but no one can consider classical Spanish literature or art and think of it as "borrowed." Where Spain failed to keep up with modernity was already predicted, in a sense, by Miguel Cervantes (1547-1616). A Spain whose arms failed, as they did in 1643, henceforth would play out the tragicomic life of Don Quixote. Nevertheless, unique brilliance and creativity still shine in the art of Francisco Goya (1746-1828), one of the greatest painters of all time. Even in the early 20th century, when Spain seemed the most behind the times, the brilliant architect, Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926) produced work at once uniquely Spanish and modern -- in an area of art, architecture, where most would think traditional Spanish forms particularly derivative of Islâm. His amazing church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona ("melting Gothic"), still incomplete, brings Spanish Christian piety fresh into the 21th century, long after Gaudí's own death. Spain thus harmed, and shamed, itself with its intolerance, and wandered from the mainstream of modern development, but there it no doubt that its aesthetic and religious vision was powerful, autochthonous, and enduring.

For a good part of the following period the royal houses of Spain and Portugal, Trastámara and Avis, were both illegitimate. Also, John of Avis had an illegitimate son, the Duke of Braganza, who leads to the Kings of Portugal after Spanish rule is overthrown in 1640. Also noteworthy is the fact that Queen Isabella of León and Castile usurped the throne of her niece, Joanna la Beltraneja. Isabella's half-brother, Henry IV, was called "the Impotent" because this is what his first wife, Blanche of Navarre, said. He cannot have been completely impotent, however, since his second wife had Joanna. Later, although Joanna the Mad (Juana la Loca) is only listed as Queen until 1516, she was actually titular Queen until her death in 1555. But since Charles I (V) was both Regent and Heir, and Emperor, he is usually simply regarded as the de facto King.

Kings of PortugalKings of CastileKings of AragónKings of Navarre
Afonso III1245- 1279Alfonso X, the Emperor, the Learned, the Wise1252- 1284Peter/
Pedro III
1276- 1285Henry I1270- 1274
of Sicily, 1282- 1285
Juana I
1274- 1305
1279- 1325Sancho IV1284- 1295Alfonso III1285- 1291
Ferdinand IV1295- 1312James II1291- 1327Luis,
Louis X
of France
1305- 1314
Sardinia ceded
by Pisa, 1326
1314- 1316
Afonso IV1325- 1357Alfonso XI1312- 1350Alfonso IV1327- 1336Philip I,
V of
1314- 1322
Charles I,
IV of
1322- 1328
the Black Death arrives at
Valencia & Seville, 1348
Pedro I
1357- 1367Peter the Cruel1350- 1366,
1367- 1369
Peter IV1336- 1387Jeanne/
Juana II
1328- 1349
Fernando I
1367- 1383Henry/
Enrique II
1366- 1367,
1369- 1379
Philip II,
1328- 1343
João I of Avis
1385- 1433John/
Juan I
1379- 1390John/
Juan I
1387- 1395Charles II, the Bad1349- 1387
Henry III1390- 1406Martin the Elder, the Humane, II of Sicily1395- 1410Charles III, the Noble1387- 1425
Sicily, 1409-1410
Interregnum, 1410-1412
Duarte I
1433- 1438John II1406- 1454Ferdinand IAragón & Sicily, 1412- 1416Blanche/
1425- 1441
Alfonso V1416- 1458
of Naples, 1442- 1458
Afonso V1438- 1481Henry IV1454- 14741458- 1479John II1425- 1479
Conquest of Gibraltar, 1462
João II
1481- 1495Isabella/
Isabel I
1474- 15041479- 1516Ferdinand
Ferdinand V of Castile /
fall of Granada, end of Reconquista, Discovery of America, 1492François Phébus/
1479- 1483
Manuel I
1495- 1521Juana the Mad (d. 1555);
& Philip I, of Hapsburg
(d. 1506)
1504- 1516Regent of Castile, 1510- 1516Catherine/
1483- 1512,
1512- 1516
João III
1521- 1557
Charles/Carlos I of Spain/
Emperor Charles V

1516- 1556
d. 1558
Conquest of Mexico, 1521; Conquest of Peru, 1533
Sebastião I
1557- 1578
Philip/Felipe II of Spain / Philip I of Portugal
1556- 1598
Cardinal Henry/
1578- 1580
1580- 1598
Default on Crown Debt, 1557; March of the Duke of Alba, 1567; Revolt of the Netherlands, 1568; Eighty Years War, 1568-1648; "Sea Beggars" capture Brill, 1572; relief of Leiden by William of Orange, 1574; Default on Crown Debt, 1575; mutiny of Spanish Army in the Netherlands, sack of Antwerp, 1576; British seize treasure galleon St. Ana off Acapulco, 1587; Default on Crown Debt, 1596
Philip III of Spain / Philip II of Portugal
1598- 1621
Dutch seize Portuguese treasure carracks off Malacca & Macao, 1603; default on Crown Debt, 1607; Thirty Years War, 1618-1648

A 2001 movie, Juana la Loca, was Spain's nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. It did not make the final list of five nominees. It has been released with the English title Mad Love. As the story of Juana, it seems more than a bit inconsistent and confused. The narrator says than Juana was betrayed by her father, her husband, and her son. It is not subsequently clear from the story, on the other hand, how this is so. Her father, indeed, and her mother, arrange a dynastic marriage for her. If this is a "betrayal," it cannot be in contemporary terms, when dynastic marriages are to be expected for royalty. Unlike many dynastic marriages, furthermore, this one involves real sexual attraction and passion. Philip "the Handsome" of Hapsburg is portrayed looking like he has jumped off the cover of a Romance novel, and he is so eager to bed Juana that he arranges for a priest's perfunctory blessing and doesn't even wait for the proper marriage to take place. Juana seems no less ardent, which indeed becomes the theme of the movie, as she is carried away by her passion. This seems to have some historical accuracy.

How Philip is supposed to have "betrayed" her is clear from the story, since he takes other lovers, which leads to serious jealousy on the part of Juana. However, the idea that a King would have mistresses in such an age would not be a surprise to anyone, especially when all the Royal Houses of Spain at the time were already illegitimate! If the movie takes this to be a genuine "betrayal," its point of view is ahistorical and more than a bit silly. Meanwhile, the story undercuts its own claims with the portrayal of the irrationality of the manner in which Juana acts out her jealousy. When visited by a delegation of nobles, which wishes to investigate reports that the Queen is mad, Juana is unable to recollect herself long enough to deal with them in a sensible way. Instead, they are fully exposed to the foolish and erratic nature of her concerns. Her subsequent appearance before the Cortes of Castile, although impressive, can hardly undo the manner in which her mind previously betrayed itself.

Finally, we never meet as an adult her son, Charles V, and are never given a clue how he will "betray" her, unless it is simply to treat her in a manner consistent with the insanity to which we have already been exposed. Also, we may be given to understand that her father has "betrayed" her by agreeing with Philip that she is mad, but then we are not told that Ferdinand denounced that agreement on the very same day. One of Juana's most striking lunacies, her unwillingness to give up Philip's decaying body for burial, is evaded -- altough we are shown her subsequently visiting his sarcophagus.

My final problem with the movie is minor but annoying. When Queen Isabella dies, a courier travels to Flanders to announce this to Juana. It is left to a lady in waiting to remind Juana that this means that she is now Queen of Castile. I find such a scene impossible to believe. Such a courier, aware himself that Juana is now Queen, would address her as such. Otherwise, he would be seriously guilty of lèse magesté. Such a scene in reality would be more like what we see in Elizabeth [1998] with Cate Blanchett, when the couriers kneal before Elizabeth, announce the death of Mary, and hail her as the new Queen -- with a drama fully commensurate with the ominous, even numinous, circumstances. We also see such a moment in The Young Victoria [2010], when Emily Blunt is first addressed as Queen. With Juana, the moment is more like, "Oh, gee, I'm Queen now!" as an afterthought. This does not inspire confidence in the fidelity of the rest of the movie to the mores of the times.

In this period Aragón grew into a Mediterranean power. The map at left summarizes the expansion of Aragón from the original Pyreneean County, a separate Kingdom in 1035, until its reach extends all the way to Naples and even Athens. The junior line of Majorca is given above. The lines for Sicily, Naples, and Athens are given on the separate pages for those realms, though the genealogy of Sicily and Naples is in the following table here. The most curious episode concerns Athens. A band of Aragonese mercenaries, the "Catalan Company," mutinied against the Roman Emperor in 1305. Duke Walter of Athens hired them in 1310. They murdered him in 1311 and took over the Duchy. Between 1312 and 1342, the Duchy was ruled by three brothers of King Peter II of Sicily. Between 1342 and 1388, it was then ruled by the Kings of Sicily themselves. Just as Sicily was about to be inherited by Aragón itself, Athens passed to the control of the Acciaiuoli family. On the other hand, the most dramatic episode was the manner in which Pedro III acquired Sicily in the first place. This was the result of the revolt in 1282 of the "Sicilian Vespers," by which the Sicilians rose up and expelled the French under Charles of Anjou. Since Pedro had married Constance, the daughter of Manfred, King of Sicily and Naples, who had been killed by Charles in 1266, he was invited in to be King of Sicily. The Pope was furious, but Realpolitik won out. Later, Alfonso V pressed a flimsy claim to Naples itself and won it by force (1442). He left the Kingdom to his illegitimate son Ferdinand (Ferrante), as Aragón passed to the legitimate heir, Alfonso's brother John. After Naples was occupied by the French, 1495-1496, John's son, Ferdinand II, ended up deposing his cousin and annexing the Kingdom to Aragón (1501).

Spanish and Portuguse Colonial Possessions

The Pillars of Hercules

Kings of Navarre
John III d'Albret1484-1516
Henry II1517-1555
Jeanne III1555-1572
Anthony de Bourbon
Duke of Vendôme
Huguenot leader,
dies of wounds, 1562
Henry III,
Henry IV of France
King of France,
The family tree, above, of the rulers of Spain ends for Navarre with the marriage of Jeanne/Juana/Jone I to King Philip IV of France. This introduces an interesting but obscure chapter in history, straddling Spain and France and consequently tending to be left by treatments of Spain to French history, and by treatments of France to Spanish history. Especially neglected is what happened when Ferdinand of Aragón annexed Navarre in 1512. Not all of it was ultimately retained by Spain, but readily accessible sources don't seem to show either the difference between the old and new boundaries or what happened to the rulers of Navarre after the annexation -- the table at right picks up at that point. This seems like a grave oversight for the history of France. Jeanne was already of the house of
Champagne; female heirs of the line subsequently married four times into new houses of French nobility (Evreux, Foix, Albret, & Vendôme) and once to Spanish royalty (Aragón); and it all leads to Henry of Navarre, who founded the Bourbon dynasty of France as King Henry IV in 1589.

The history of Navarre is obscure enough that I found the full genealogy only with recourse to a succession of more serious and complete sources. The large genealogical chart, Kings & Queens of Europe, compiled by Anne Tauté [University of North Carolina Press, 1989], simply ends the line of Navarre with Jeanne I. For a long time, the only family tree I had seen of subsequent rulers was in Europe in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centures, by Denys Hay [Longmans, London, 1966, p. 404], which ends with Queen Catherine, who lost the Kingdom to Ferdinand. Family trees for the Bourbons, such as given here, almost never go back further than the father, Henry, of Henry IV's mother Jeanne. Brian Tompsett's Royal and Noble genealogy originally enabled me to fill in the gaps, but there are some obscurities and questions in the information of both Tompsett and Hay that I had to compare with other sources. The first complete list of the Kings of Navarre I have found is in the Regentenlisten und Stammtafeln zur Geschichte Europas by Michael F. Feldkamp [Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart, 2002, pp.146-148]. A complete genealogy can now be found in the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln zur europäischen Geschichte, Volume II Part 1, Europäische Kaiser-, Königs, und Fürstenhäuser I Westeuropa, by Andreas Thiele [R.G. Fischer Verlag, 2001, p.185-192]. A less esoteric source with a complete list of kings is in the Oxford Dynasties of the World [John E. Morby, Oxford, 1989, pp.114-115], but there are only some notes, without a diagram, on the genealogy.

The most striking thing about the succession for Navarre is that the last Capetian Kings of France, Louis X to Charles IV, were all Kings of Navarre. John I doesn't seem to get counted as a King of Navarre, but then, only reigning eight days, he is sometimes not even counted as a King of France -- on the other hand, it may be necessary to count him if the husband of Catherine is to be counted as John III of Navarre, which means that John II of Aragón was also John II of Navarre -- there was no earlier John (Jean/Juan) in Navarre to be John I, if not the Capetian. With the death of Charles IV (Charles I of Navarre), a curious thing happens. The succession of France jumps to the House of Valois, but, as it happened, Louis X had a surviving daughter, Jeanne. She was ignored for the French Throne because of the Salic Law, which prohibited female succession, but the Salic Law did not apply to Navarre. So while the French Thone passed to Philip VI in 1328, the Throne of Navarre passed to Jeanne/Juana (II). This is a curiosity that I have never seen noted in histories of Europe.

Jeanne's son was Charles "the Bad." A lengthy account of his doings can be found in Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror [Ballantine, 1978], which is about the events of the 14th century. The County of Evreux, which he inherited from his father, was in Normandy, which means he spent a great deal of his life in intrigues very distant from the Pyrenees.

Two generations later, we get to Queen Blanche/Blanca, who marries Spanish rather than French, namely the future King of Aragón, John II. After Blanche's death John remarries. He then outlives all of Blanche's children but one, Eleanor/Leonora. Aragón goes to a son, Ferdinand, by his second marriage, but Navarre passes to Leonora, who does not survive the year. Her husband, Count Gaston of Foix, and her son, Gaston also, both predeceased her, so the succession passes to her grandson, Francis Phoebus (François Phébus in French; Francisco Febo in Spanish), and then her granddaughter, Catherine/Catalina. Here I had a question, because Hay shows two Gastons in between Leonora and Catherine. This seemed to be a mistake, and I followed Brian Tompsett. I have now been able to confirm this with the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln zur europäischen Geschichte, Volume II Part 1, Europäische Kaiser-, Königs, und Fürstenhäuser I Westeuropa, by Andreas Thiele [R.G. Fischer Verlag, 2001, p.191].

What Tompsett didn't have in his database was the young (23) Gaston (V) de Foix, Duke of Nemours, who was killed at the battle of Ravenna in 1512. Elsewhere on the Web, Gaston was listed as a son of Jean de Foix and a grandson of Gaston IV of Foix and Eleanore (Leonora) of Aragón. So I took it that Gaston and Leonora had at least two sons, though I had no sources that listed them both. Now, however, I do, since the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln [ibid., p.191] shows not only this, but that Gaston and Leonora had four sons and five daughters. Gaston's mother was Marie d'Orléans, a sister of King Louis XII of France.

Catherine now married French nobility again, this time John of Albret. The two of them were doomed to suffer from the ambition of her cousin, Ferdinand of Aragón, who invaded Navarre in 1512, on the pretext that the death of Gaston de Foix in 1512 made him, by virtue of his marriage to Gaston's sister, Germaine (after the death of Isabella of Castile in 1504), heir of Navarre. He got the Pope to officially dethrone Catherine and John and certify the transfer. In 1515 Ferdinand, who had joined Navarre to the Crown of Aragón, transfered it to that of Castile, lest the Navarrese claim the extra privileges enjoyed by the Aragonese. A small part of Navarre north of Pyrenees, Lower Navarre ("Basse Navarre" in French or "Nafarroa Beherea" in Basque), was retroceded by Charles V in 1530, so a landed Monarchy continued, with, of course, its growing French holdings. The table also shows an interesting alliance of the d'Albret family. John's sister Charlotte married Cesare Borgia, though he abandoned the marriage after four months.

Ferdinand's conquest of Navarre had some interesting consequences. Among Basque nobles who rebelled at Ferdinand's death in 1516 were members of the Xavier family, which was then disposessed, dislocating the young Francis Xavier. When Navarrese exiles, including Francis' brothers, tried retaking Navarre in 1521, another Basque nobleman, Ignatius Loyala, defending Pamplona against them, was wounded and had to give up a military career. Both Francis and Ignatius ended up at the University of Paris together. The latter, of course, founded the Jesuits in 1534; and Francis became one of the first Jesuit Saints, traveling as far as Japan and dying in 1552 in China near where Macao would later (in 1557) be founded -- his body, reportedly incorruptible, was returned as far as Goa in India, where it is still periodically displayed.

The succession of Navarre then passes to Henry II. Here Tompsett had a question, since he gave Henry as the grandson of Catherine but then noted obscurities over Catherine's son, named Henry also. The Encyclopaedia Britannica flatly states that Henry II himself was the son of Catherine and John d'Albret, so I followed that. This construction is confirmed by the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln [ibid., p.192].

Henry II marries a sister, Margaret, of King Francis I of France. She is somewhat celebrated, as Margaret (or Marquerite) of Navarre (or of Angoulême), patroness of Rabelais and author of a collection of stories, the Heptameron. Henry's daughter, Jeanne (III), then marries the senior heir of the Bourbons, Anthony (Antoine), Duke of Vendôme. Their son, Henry III of Navarre, becomes heir to the French Throne, claiming it, amid civil war, in 1589, as Henry IV. After 261 years, the Thrones of France and Navarre are again joined.

The map at left shows the lands that Henry brought to the French Monarchy. We have seen how Foix, Albret, and Vendôme accrued to Navarre, and how most of Navarre proper was lost to Spain. It is noteworthy that the blue territories, previously belonging to the Dukes of Bourbon, who were separate from Henry's line, had previously reverted to the French Throne. The outline of France shown is slightly unfamiliar because Savoy, Alsace, Lorraine, and the Free County of Burgundy have not yet been added to France's eastern frontier.

The Heiresses of Navarre
Blancad.1229Theobald of
Jeanne IQueen,
Philip IV
of France
Jeanne IIQueen,
Philip of
John II
of Aragón
Gaston IV
of Foix
John III
Jeanne IIIQueen,
of Bourbon
Ironically, the rulers who were deprived of their home in Spain by force end up returning to rule all of Spain by invitation. When Philip of Bourbon was named successor to Charles II of Spain in 1700, as shown below, the House of Navarre acquired the Throne of all of Spain. The small pied à terre held of old Navarre (Lower Navarre) after 1530 is now, on the other hand, a permanent part of France. With the Monarchy long gone in France, the Bourbon (Borbón) King Juan Carlos, now succeeded by his son, has been one of the principal surviving Monarchs of Europe, ennobled by his establishment of democracy in Spain after the long dictatorship of Francisco Franco. On the other hand, the national consciousness of the Basque people continues to trouble the unity of the nation states. Besides Spanish Navarra and French Lower Navarre, two other Basque provinces, Labourd and La Soule, exist in France, and three others, Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, and Alava, exist in Spain. The capital of Spanish Navarra, Pamplona (from Latin Pompeiopolis or Pampaelo), Iruña in Basque, is famous for the annual running of the bulls; but Basque nationalism has a more troubling aspect in Spain, with a long and continuing campaign of terrorist attacks to the credit of the extremists. Thus, Navarre and the Basque country have a significance far beyond their size in both mediaeval and modern history.

1621- 1640
Philip IV of Spain /
Philip III of Portugal
1621- 1665
Loss of Atocha & other treasure ships, 1622;
Siege of Breda, 1623-1624; Default on Crown Debt, 1627; Loss of Breda, 1637; Naval defeat by the Dutch at Beachy Head & the Downs, 1639; Revolt and Independence of Portugal, 1640; Revolt of Catalonia, 1640-1652
John/João IV of Braganza/
1640- 1656Spanish army defeated by
France at Rocroi, 1643 --
end of Spanish hegemony;
Default on Crown Debt, 1647; Treaty of the Pyrennes, 1659
Afonso VI
d. 1683
Carlos II
Pedro II
1667-1706Revolt of Catalonia, 1687-1697
João V
1706-1750Philip of
Anjou/Felipe V
de Borbón
War of the Spanish Succession, 1701-1714; Barcelona captured, Austrians expelled, 1714, end of privileges of Aragón, Catalan language banned
Joseph Emanuel/
José Manuel
1750-1777Ferdinand VI1746-1759
Charles IIIKing of Sicily,
Maria I1777-1816Charles IV1788-1808
Pedro III
João VI
Fernando VII
French Occupy Portugal & Spain, 1807
in Brazil
1816-1826Ferdinand VIIrestored,
Peter/Pedro IV /
Peter I of Brazil
of Brazil
Maria II1826-1828
Peter/Pedro II
Emperor of Brazil
Isabel II
Fernando II
Pedro V
Louis/Luis1861-1889First Republic, 1868-1871
of Savoy
Alfonso XII1874-1885
1889-1908Alfonso XIII1886-1931,
Manuel II1908-1910
d. 1932
Republic, 1910-1926
Provisional President
Theophilo Braga1910-1911
Manoel de
Gen. Pimenta
de Castro
Gen. Sidonio Pães1917-1918
Antoio José
de Almeida
The modern period of Spanish history begins with body blows to Spanish hegemony in Europe (note that the flag of St. Andrew of
Burgundy was often used by Spain in this period):  the naval disaster at Beachy Head & the Downs, when the Dutch sank more than 40 Spanish ships, at the loss of over 7000 men, while losing only one ship and less than a hundred men themselves (1639), the revolts of Portugal and Catalonia (1640), and then the crushing defeat by France at Rocroi (1643), which all but decided the Thirty Years War. With these, France became the country to beat in European wars and Spain was far gone in a decline not unlike that of her erstwhile great religious enemy, Ottoman Turkey. How to recover Spanish fortunes was the key question for the next four hundred years. At first, a change of dynasty seemed like a good idea.

Here, in a handsome portrait of 1632 by Diego Velázquez, we see King Philip IV of Hapsburg, who presided over the collapse of Spanish hegemony.

We now have an engaging series of "Captain Alatriste" novels by Arturo Pérez-Reverte on this melancholy era in Spanish history. These include El capitán Alatriste (Captain Alatriste, 1996), Limpieza de sangre (Purity of Blood, 1997), El sol de Breda (The Sun over Breda, 1998), El oro del Rey (The King's Gold, 2000), El caballero del jubón amarillo (The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet, 2003), and Corsarios de Levante (Pirates of the Levant, 2006), El puente de los asesinos ("The Bridge of the Assassins," 2012). These are now available in English up to Pirates of the Levant (2010). Future books planned in the series are La venganza de Alquézar ("Alquézar's Vengeance") and Misión en París ("Mission in Paris"). A couple years ago I was getting some vibe that Pérez-Reverte might be losing interest in the project, but now it looks like he is continuing with it -- although at increasing intervals. The narrator in all these books, Iñigo Balboa, a youth at the beginning, nevertheless is apparently writing in his old age and tells us even in the first book something of his later experience at the Battle of Rocroi. The whole series thus plays out in the shadow of the ultimate failure and disaster of Spanish fortunes. A version of the "Alatriste" saga all the way to Rocroi was released as a movie in Spain in 2006. The battle is somewhat misrepresented in the movie. Although a decisive Spanish defeat, and often said (even by me) to involve the destruction of the Spanish army, nevertheless, after German, Italian, and Walloon regiments fled the field or surrendered, the two Spanish tercios held their ground and repulsed French attacks. The French commander, the Duc d'Enghien, offered them terms of surrender such as are tendered to a besieged force, i.e. that they would be allowed to leave the field with their flags and weapons. These terms were accepted. In the movie, however, Alatriste's tercio refuses the terms and apparently prepares to die fighting (although Iñigo obviously survived). Even without this exaggeration, the defeat was bad enough. Spanish losses (dead, wounded, or captured) were 15,000 out of 27,000. French losses were 4000 out of 23,000. Curiously, the Alatriste movie stars Viggo Mortensen, who starred in the Lord of the Rings trilogy [2001, 2002, 2003] and A History of Violence [2005]. As it happens, Mortensen was a child for some time in South America, lived in Spain while traveling Europe as a young man, and so not only speaks Spanish fluently but was already familiar with Castilian. There seems to be a European deal in the works to make the whole "Alatriste" story as a mini-series.

Philip IV's greatest fault may have been that of marrying his own niece. The result was the sickly, deformed, and sterile Charles II, who himself decided that the succession of the French Bourbons would turn the trick for Spanish fortunes. However, all it really did was make Spain the junior partner of France, which won little for Spain except breathing room -- and the epic loss of Gibraltar. A similar alliance with Napoleon only meant that the Spanish as well as the French fleet was destroyed by Nelson at Trafalgar in 1805, followed by Napoleonic betrayal and a French invasion of Spain. The subsequent Peninsular War against France, with the help of Britain, and especially of the Duke of Wellington, was one of the great moments of Spanish history, memorably illustrated by Goya -- Spain has never been short of great artists. However, this proximity to the English did not spell any substantial adoption of English liberal ideas, which are the only things that could have properly pulled Spain into the 19th century, let alone the 20th.

Subsequent history is all too familiar from later "underdeveloped" countries, far too much politics and far too little of the rule of law and basic personal and property rights. This culminated in the fiasco of the Spanish Republic and then the Civil War, when socialist nonsense brought on a devastating conservative reaction. As Fascists battled Socialists, and the Socialists were often murdered by Communists, the leftist Cause Celèbre of the late 1930's represented a battle in which Spain would lose no matter which side won. The suspicion, as it happens, is that Stalin really didn't want the Spanish Left to win, since it would have been outside his control. Better that heretics be killed, even in a losing cause. Fortunately for Spain, the victorious Fascist Dictator Franco, although chummy enough with Hitler and Mussolini, was not interested in their War, even when Hilter offered him Gibraltar, free of charge, if he would let Germany attack it by land. This bit of prudent restraint earned Franco a peaceful (if protracted) death in bed in 1975 rather than the more horrible ends of the others in 1945. Now we know that Hitler's own envoy to Franco, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, whom Hitler later executed, actually advised Franco not to join in Hitler's plans. Thus, Franco, who accepted Canaris' advice, also kept the secret of his betrayal.

Fascist Dictatorship,
Second Republic,
PresidentPrime MinisterPresident
António Óscar de Fragoso Carmona1926-1951António de Oliveira Salazar1932-1968Alcalá Zamora1931-1936
Manuel Azaña1936-1939
Spanish Civil War,
Fascist Dictatorship, 1936-1975
Francisco Franco1936-1975
Francisco Higino Craveiro Lopes1951-1958
Américo de Deus Rodrigues Tomás1958-1974Marcelo Caetano1968-1974
Prime Minister
António de Spínola1974Adelino da Palma Carlos1974Carlos Arias Navarro1973-1976
Francisco da Costa Gomes1974-1976Vasco dos Santos Gonçalves1974-1975
Monarchy Restored
José Batista Pinheiro de Azevedo1975-1976Juan Carlos

António dos Santos Ramalho Eanes1976-1986Mário Soares1976-1978Adolfo Suárez González1976-1981
Alfredo Nobre da Costa1978
Carlos Mota Pinto1978-1979
Maria de Lurdes Pintassilgo1979-1980
Francisco Sá Carneiro1980
Francisco Pinto Balsemão1980-1983Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo y Bustelo1981-1982
Mário Soares1983-1985Felipe González Márquez1982-1996
Mário Soares1986-1996Aníbal Cavaço Silva1985-1995
Jorge Sampaio1996-2006António Guterres1995-2002José María Aznar Lopez1996-2004
Durão Barroso2002-2004
Santana Lopes2004-2005José Luis Rodrigues Zapatero2004-2011
José Sócrates2005-2011
Aníbal Cavaco Silva2006-
Pedro Manuel Mamede Passos Coelho2011-
Mariano Rajoy2011-
Filipe, Philip VIb.1968,

The deaths of both Spanish and Portugese dictators then ushered in the first real periods of democracy in the history of either country. The socialist, if not the communist, temptation was still here, but King Juan Carlos held off conservative coups in Spain, and the people of both countries came a bit more to their senses, although still burdened with the false ideals of Euro-socialist regimes like France. With a long history of trying to ignore the government, as in Italy, the Spanish economy may have been healthier, thanks to off-the-books transactions, than other statistics (like official unemployment, 22.5%) might have shown. Nevertheless, this still imposed a cultural as well as a political burden on Spain and Portugal really rising to a competitive level in the world economy. Now, however, Prime Minster Aznar has begun to be spoken of together with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Slashing taxes in 1997, the Spanish economy kicked up quickly. Although the 2001 (official) unemployment rate, at 14%, was still virtually a Depression level, the economy was growing at over 3% a year, almost twice as quickly as France. This may be just what Spain needs to join the ranks of the heathiest economies, as well as healthiest democracies.

The Economist of July 26th-August 1st 2003 reported Spanish unemployment at 11.3%. This was actually better than Belgium (11.6%), and excellent considering that French and German unemployment had increased over the previous year. Spanish growth had slowed (2.1% over the last year), but the global economy was weak at the time. In 2005, the The Economist of October 8th-14th shows Spanish unemployment down to 9.4%. This is not great compared to the better economies, but it is now better than France (9.9%) and Germany (11.7%) as well as Belgium (13.5%). Meanwhile, Spanish GDP growth was 3.4%. This is better than any of the other 15 developed economies listed by The Economist, excepting only the United States (3.6%). Indeed, Spain and the United States are the only ones with growth greater than 3%. In 2003, The Economist listed both Spain and Portugal with the same Economic Freedom Index, putting them ahead of Italy, Taiwan, and Japan, though behind Sweden, Austria, and Germany. This is, at least, a good competitive position.

Spain took a turn for the worse politically (if not economically) on March 14, 2004, with the election of a Socialist government. This seems to have happened because of a terrorist attack the previous week (3/11), when rush hour trains in Madrid were bombed, killing 200 some Spaniards. The conventional wisdom is that Prime Minister Aznar was blamed for this, because he had sided with the United States in the war on terror and sent Spanish troops to Iraq. In the days before the election, the Socialists accused the government of concealing evidence that al-Qaeda was behind the bombings. The strange meaning of all this appears to be that al-Qaeda, which many on the Left have said had nothing to do with Iraq, has attacked Spain for being in Iraq, so that Spain should get out of Iraq so that al-Qaeda will not target it again. This goes along with the leftist notion in the United States that we were attacked by fanatics just because we made them mad. If we didn't make them mad, they would stop attacking. Unfortunately, what makes Osama bin Laden mad are Western ideals of liberty and toleration, and the presence of non-Muslims in the Middle East. (When honest, the leftists add "globalization" and capitalism as the things that properly anger the Islamists.) Since the new Socialist Prime Minister, Zapatero, has promised to remove Spanish troops from Iraq, Spain will now join France on the path of appeasement and wishful thinking. Senator Joel Lieberman, Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in 2000, said that Madrid could have been the equivalent of either Pearl Harbor or Munich -- Pearl Harbor to energize resistance to terrorism, or Munich to give up and join the appeasers. Survey says:  Munich.

Late in 2004, a Basque bombing campaign began again. Basque terrorists at least give warning of bombs, so there was not the loss of life of March 11. But it is hard not to think that the Basques simply hope to benefit from the spirit of appeasement for their own cause. At the same time, Spain isn't off the hook with the Islamists. Osama bin Laden has always demanded the return of Andalusia to Islâm. Since Granada fell in 1492, it is hard to imagine how the United States could be blamed for that.

In 2007 we find King Juan Carlos suddenly in the international political spotlight. At a summit meeting in Santiago, Chile, the would-be Castroite dictator of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, first called former Prime Minister of Spain Aznar a "fascist." Current Prime Minister Zapatero spoke up for Aznar, saying that he was a properly elected representative of the Spanish people. Chávez kept talking, even though he did not have the floor and his microphone was turned off. Juan Carlos, sitting back inconspicuously next to Zapatero, suddenly leans forward, popping into camera view, and tells Chávez, "¿Por qué no te callas?" "Why don't you be quiet?" This was the perfect putdown to the clownish but vicious neo-communist Chávez and is now featured as a ringtone on many Spanish cellphones -- as well as providing a slogan to anti-Chávez Venezuelans. Decades after the end of real Fascism in Spain, it is great to see the King still calling the right shots.

Like many countries in recent history, including the United States, Spanish and Portuguese politicians were tempted by prosperity into far overspending their revenues. This made Spain and Portugal members of the notorious European "PIIGS" (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, & Spain), led by Greece, whose debt has threatened to overwhelm their ability to keep up with its service. Greece already would have been in default had the EU not bailed it out -- the fine it pays for allowing Greece into the EU under accounting tricks in the first place. The power of welfare-state and rent-seeking constituencies, especially public employee unions, however, poses a long term threat, as in the United States again, to any real fiscal responsibility.

The economic crisis in Europe, and various scandals involving government spending, have led to new governments in Portugal and Spain in 2011. The conservatives in Spain were returned with enthusiasm in November elections. Since unemployment in Spain is back up to where it was before Prime Minister Aznar (over 20%), the challenge posed to the new government is formidable. As of 2014, it looks like little good has come of this. Spanish unemployment is 25%, far into Depression territory. It seems like little has been done to revive a spark of Spanish entrepreneurialism, as the paradigm for recovery in Europe has been to raise taxes -- this is "austerity," which of course gets blamed on capitalism, a very bad thing where irrational levels of leftism exist, as in Spain as well as France. It is not clear how these EU economies are ever really going to revive as long as Say's Law is ignored and learned opinion still thinks that inflation promotes growth. The ongoing political difficulties have helped motivate King Juan Carlos to abdicated in favor of his now fully adult and reasonably popular son, Prince Filipe. The Prince will now be King Philip VI, recalling the first Bourbon and the last Hapsburg Kings of Spain. There probably is little he can do personally about the economy, and various Leftists want to abolish the Monarchy; but it would be nice if, supported by conservatives, he could exert some helpful influence.

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Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

The Kings of Spain and Portugal, 718 AD-Present, Note;
The San Fernando Valley

St. Ferdinand III was the King of Castile and León responsible for the conquest of Andalusia, the heartland of Islâmic Spain. In turn, San Fernando Rey de España was the name given to one of the Franciscan missions in California. Although Castile and León did not constitute a Kingdom of "Spain" at the time, the King when the Mission was founded in 1798, Charles IV, counted his succession from Ferdinand. The Sainted King is shown, at right, in glory above the altar of the Mission.

From the Mission is derived the name of the San Fernando Valley, which is largely occupied by the City of Los Angeles, together with the independent cities of San Fernando, Burbank, Glendale, and Calabasas. A child of the Valley is a "Val," as we find in Frank Zappa's song "Valley Girl" [1982], where Frank's daughter Moon defensively protests that she is from "a really good part of Encino."

In the classic film Clueless [1995], the Valley is, to the Beverly Hills cast members, literally off the map (of their Thomas Guide). However, the star, Alicia Silverstone, does end up at a party in the Valley, after which her ride dumps her at the iconic Circus Liquor, at the corner of Vineland Ave and Burbank Blvd., in North Hollywood, where she is robbed. After her rescue, that is the last we hear of the Valley.

A venerable store for surfing supplies is "Val Surf" (4810 Whitsett Ave., at the corner of Riverside Drive) although surfers from communities closer to the beach are often unfriendly to Vals. It is not clear that the Beach Boys ever expressed an opinion in this conflict.

The San Fernando Valley is ringed by the Santa Monica, Santa Susana, San Gabriel, and Verdugo Mountains and the Chatsworth and Hollywood Hills. The Los Angeles River rises in the Valley and flows out through Burbank and Glendale. A tributary, the Tujunga Wash, crosses Riverside Drive right in front of Val Surf. Although the River normally runs nearly dry, flash floods do occur occasionally during the winter. A flood control network consequently was constructed after devastating flooding in 1938.

The most conspicuous feature in the network is the Sepulveda Dam, which has been used in countless movies, television shows, and commercials to represent, not just dams, but military fortifications or even prisons as well. It is conspicuously featured, as a dam, in the 2003 movie The Italian Job, although one would not gather from the movie, otherwise set in Los Angeles, that the site is in the San Fernando Valley.

At the beginning of the end credits of the 1984 movie Buckaroo Banzai (actually, in full, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension), the entire cast walks down the spillway of the Sepulveda Dam. They exit past the side of the spillway, where "Buckaroo Banzai" has been spray painted in large, red graffiti letters. The name remained there for some time, visible from the San Diego Freeway, until the City, or the Army Corps of Engineers, removed it.

Buckaroo Banzai, of course, was supposed to take place in New Jersey, although the entire movie was obviously shot in California. The "Yoyodyne" factory, supposedly in Grovers Mill, New Jersey, was clearly in an industrial neighborhood in Los Angeles, with smog in the background. The real Grovers Mill, where Orson Wells said Martians were landing in his 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast, is a residential area that looks nothing like that. Nor are there dry, desert lakebeds in New Jersey for testing high speed vehicles, as Buckaroo does, fresh from neurosurgery.

Streets were built through the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin in the 1960's, with the intention that these would be closed off during heavy rains. In the 1990's, after a long drought, this precaution was forgotten, and some motorists were stranded by flood waters and had to be rescued by hellicopter. Since then, with all the hindsight wisdom of bureaucrats, the streets are closed during the slightest rains.

Near the center of the Valley is Los Angeles Valley College, originally the home of The Proceedings of the Friesian School, Fourth Series.

Ferdinand's connections by marriage to other European royality, and the Angeli, can be examined in a popup, while diagrams of some of the marriage relations are featured above in the text. Ferdinand's second wife, Jeanne of Montreuil, is of particular interest as related to the family of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Return to text

The Kings of England,

Scotland ,

Ireland , and the

United Kingdom ,

445 AD-Present

The Roman withdrawal from Britain left the island outside of history for some centuries. Three kingdoms of Angles (Northumbria, Mercia, & East Anglia), three of Saxons (Essex, Sussex, & Wessex), and one of the Jutes (Kent) eventually fell to Kings of Wessex, or to the Danes. King Egbert of Wessex, who had spent time in exile at the court of Charlemagne, came to be considered the first true King of England. Meanwhile, these invaders had converted to Christianity and become literate. The conversion was due to the mission of St. Augustine, who was sent by Pope Gregory the Great and founded the see of Canterbury (at the capital of Kent).

At the same time, however, the rest of the British Isles had already been converted to Christianity (not forgetting that Wales are other areas of Celtic Britons had remain Christian all along). Ireland, which was never Roman and was converted by St. Patrick in the 5th century, developed its own literate Christian culture and, in the person of St. Columba in the 6th century, proceeded to proselytize Scotland. Unfortunately, Ireland was never politically unified enough to follow cultural and religious influence with political power, or to fully resist incursions from Danes or Normans, or ambitious English dynasties, when they came. The Kings of all Ireland were the "High Kings" (Ard Ri), and this originally became hereditary, as we shall see, in the Ó'Néill family, whose association with Ulster is now inherited by Protestants in the form of the Ó'Néill "Red Hand" of Ulster. A permanently unified Kingdom of Ireland was never fully established. And, as central authority declined, others of the traditional "four kingdoms" began to contribute High Kings. These were Munster (south-west), Leinster (south-east), and Connaught (Connacht, north-west), in addition to the Ó'Néill's own home ground of Ulster (north-east). With Brian Boru (Munster, 976-1014; High King, 1002-1014), we begin to see High Kings from the other kingdoms. Boru, who rose to the occasion to defeat the Danes (Clontarf, 1014), at the cost of his life, was perhaps the high point of Irish unity and power; but he also seems to be the end of effective Irish organization. Henry II of England, whose Normans began to overrun the island, styled himself "Lord of Ireland" (c. 1172). The last High King, Rory O'Connor (of Connaught), deferred to Henry. In 1541 Henry VIII adopted the title "King of Ireland." Later, Hugh Ó'Néill (d.1616), Earl of Tyrone, after a failed revolt against England (1593-1603), fled Ireland in 1607. His escheated (defaulted) feudal lands were used for Protestant colonization by James I of Enland.

The history of Scotland began in the 5th century with an interesting combination of the Picts, who had never been under Roman rule, Britons, i.e. Celtic survivors of Roman Britain, and the Scots, who came over from Ireland and founded the kingdom of Dál Riata, which shared its name with their kingdom in Northern Ireland. It looks like the nobility of the Picts and Scots began to blend, and eventually the kingdoms consolidated, but with the language of the Scots gradually predominating, and then absorbing the Britons also. This phase of Scottish history is addressed on a separate Scotia webpage. The kings of Scotland ultimately succeeded to the throne of England itself. Wales, in effect the last piece of Roman Britain, was annexed by England as a principality. The heir to the throne of Britain is still styled the Prince of Wales. Some early Welsh history is addressed below.

The earliest history and dates for Ireland are legendary and speculative. Niall Noígillach "of the Nine Hostages" may have lived in the previous century, and the dates given for St. Patrick depend on identifying him with a "Palladius," who is mentioned by a contemporary chronicler as having been sent by the Pope as the first bishop of the Irish. If Patrick was not this person, he would have lived shortly thereafter. For the genealogy of the Irish High Kings, see below.

I have found an outstanding source for all British and Irish rulers, and some other royalty and nobility, in The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens by Mike Ashley [Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., New York, 1998, 1999]. The treatment of Anglo-Saxon and Irish kings now has been corrected and updated using this book down to the end of the Plantagenets. The Irish (Gaelic) spelling of many of the names of the High Kings of Ireland, however, is derived from Bruce R. Gordon's Regnal Chronologies. Here I have only given two English kingdoms, Kent and Wessex, because these are the first and the last ones, respectively, because Kent contains the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of England, and because there is no room for the parallel listing of more. Most of the other kingdoms, however, Sussex, Bernicia, Deira, Northumbria, Essex, Mercia, and East Anglia, are given on a separate Anglo-Saxon England page with other early German Kingdoms.

Although Britain was never an "empire," Queen Victoria did assume the imperial title for India, as successor to the Moghuls, in 1876. The House of York is shown in white as a reminder that York was the White Rose, as Lancaster was the Red Rose, in the War of the Roses. Since the House of Stuart was Scottish, it is shown in yellow for Scotland.

Kings of Kent
Kings of Wessex
High Kings of Ireland
Niall Noígillach of the Nine Hostages379-405,
Dathi/Nath I405-428
Hengestc.455-488Lóeguire macNéill429-463
St. Patrick, mission to Ireland, 432; d. 461
Oisc, Oeric (Aesc)c.488-516Ailill Motl mac Nath I463-483
Octhac.516-540Cerdicc.538-554Lugaid macLóeguiri O'Néill483-507
Muirchertach macErcae O'Néill507-534
Eormenricc.540-580Cynricc.554-581Tuathal Máelgarb macCorpri Cáech O'Néill534-544
Diarmait macCerbaill O'Néill544-565
St. Columba, mission to Scotland, 563; d. 597
St. Æthelbert Ic.580-616Ceawlinc.581-588 d.c.589Domnall macMuirchertaig O'Néill565-566
Forggus macMuirchertaig O'Néill565-566
Ainmere macSátnai O'Néill566-569
Báetán macMuirchertaig O'Néill569-572
Eochaid macDomnaill O'Néill569-572
Báetán macNinnedo O'Néill572-581
Ceol588-594Aed macAinmerech O'Néill581-598
Ceolwulf594-611Aed Sláine macDiarmato O'Néill598-604
Colmán Rímid macBáetáin O'Néillrival,
Aed Uaridnach macDomnaill O'Néill604-612
St. Augustine (d. 605), mission to England, 597;
Archbishop and Primate of England at Canterbury,
Eadbald616-640Cynegils611-643Máel Cobo macAedo O'Néill612-615
Suibne Menn macFiachnai O'Néill615-628
Domnall macAedo O'Néill628-642
Earconbert640-664Cenwealh643-672Conall Cóel macMáele Cobo O'Néill642-654
Cellach macMáele Cobo O'Néilljointly,
Diarmait macAedo Sláine O'Néilljointly,
Blathmac macAedo Sláine O'Néilljointly,
Sechnussach macBlathmaic O'Néill665-671
Egbert I664-673SeaxburhQueen,
Cenn Fáelad macBlathmaic O'Néill671-675
Hlothhere673-685Aescwine674-676Finsnechtae Fledach macDúnchada O'Néill675-695
d.688 in Rome
d.728 in Rome
SigehereKing of Essex,
Wihtred691-725Loingsech macOengus O'Néill695-704
Congal Cinn Magir macFergus Fánat O'Néill704-710
Fergal macMáele Dúin O'Néill710-722
& Ailech
Fogartach macNéill O'Néill722-724
Cináed mac Irgalaig724-728
Æthelbert II725-748,
Æthelheard728-740Flaithbbertach macLoingsig O'Néill724-734
Aed Allán macFergal O'Néill734-743
Eadberht I725-c.762Domnall Midi O'Néill743-763
Heaberht764-c.771Niall Frossach macFergal O'Néill763-770
Egbert II764-c.784Donnchad Midi macDomnaill Midi O'Néill770-797
OffaKing of Mercia,
Eadberht II796-798First Viking raid,
sacking of Lindisfarne
Monastery, 793
Aed Oirdnide macNéill Frossach O'Néill797-819
Cuthred of Mercia798-807Egbert802-839Conchobar macDonnchado Midi O'Néill819-833
Mercia, 807-823King of England,
Niall Caille macAedo Oirdnide O'Néill833-846

What follows is the genealogy of the O'Néill (Uí Néill, O'Neal) High Kings of Ireland down to Máel Sechnaill (980-1002, 1014-1022). The table is based on genealogies in A New History of Ireland, Volume IX, Maps, Genealogies, Lists -- a Companion to Irish History, Part II [Oxford University Press, 1984, 2002, pp.127, 128, 130]. The very earliest dates disagree with the table above, which is from Bruce Gordon. However, we see a correspondence with the death in 463 of Lóeguire macNéill, the third King according to Gordon and the second according to the Oxford History; and we begin to get complete agreement with the death of Lugaid macLóeguiri (the fifth Oxford King) in 507. If the Oxford dates are correct, and we have the right date for St. Patrick, his mission in Ireland began before the advent of any of the High Kings -- which is reasonable when we reflect that St. Patrick's mission is probably what would have resulted in the first written chronicles.

Brian Boru follows Máel Sechnaill as High King. He was a King of Munster and Thomond and not an O'Néill. Subsequent High Kings, down to Rory O'Connor, include some O'Néills but also other families. Obviously, any kind of hereditary succession is long gone. As in Poland, this signifies grave political fragmentation. However, the O'Néills did not die out. The Earls of Tyrone were descendants of the High King Domnall ua Neill (956-980). Hugh (Aodh) O'Neill (d.1616), Earl of Tyrone, led a revolt against the English in 1593-1603 and fled the country with its failure. Eventually, O'Neills descended from him became peers of Portugal and Spain. Ironically, the "Red Hand of Ulster," which has become a symbol of Protestant Ireland, is from the arms of the O'Neill family. There are various legends about the origin of the Red Hand. They seem to go back to Irish mythology, as even in Roman mythology (or Star Wars) there are stories of the sacrifice of a hand by the hero. In the Irish legends some kind of race or competition is usually involved. The hero, or an Ó'Neill, of the story wins the competition by cutting off his own hand and throwing it ahead to pass the finish line or claim the goal or prize first. This seems like a lot to do to win a race, but some versions involve claiming a kingdom (like Ulster, or Ireland itself).

Kings of Gwynedd
Rhodri the Great844-878
Anarawd ap Rhodri878-916
Idwal the Bald916-942
Hywel DdaKing of
Iago ab Idwal950-979
Ieuaf ab Idwal950-969
Hywel ap Ieuaf974-985
Cadwallon ap Ieuaf985-986
Maredudd ap OwainKing of
Cynan ap Hywel999-1005
Llywelyn ap Seisyll1005-1023
Iago ap Idwal1023-1039
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn1039-1063
Bleddyn ap Cynfyn1063-1075
Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn1063-1070
Trahern ap Caradog1075-1081
Gruffydd ap Cynan1081-1137
Owain Gwynedd1137-1170
Maelgwyn ab Owain1170-1173
Dafydd ab Owain1170-1195,
Rhodri ab Owain1170-1190,
Llywelyn the Great1195-1240
Prince of
Dafydd ap Llywelyn1240-1246
Llywelyn the Last
ap Gryffydd
Prince of
Owain ap Gruffydd1246-1255,
Dafydd ap Gruffydd1282-1283
Conquest by England, 1283
II of England
Prince of
King of
"Wales" is a Germanic name, simply meaning non-German or Roman, used in English. See the extended discussion of this in relation to the Principality of
Wallachia. Wales itself in Welsh is Cymru, which is recognizable as the Roman name of the region, Cambria -- now the eponym of the Cambrian series of rock strata and the Cambrian Period in geological time. Welsh belongs to the Brythonic group of Celtic languages, related to Cornish in Cornwall (now extinct), Breton in Brittany, and probably to the Pictish languages of early Scotland, but not to Scotch Gaelic itself (which is derived from Irish).

Wales consisted of a number of small kingdoms since at least the 5th century. Gwynedd and Deheubarth became the principal states, with Gwynedd eventually predominating. A united and independent Wales, however, only survived briefly, until Edward I of England definitively annexed the country in 1283. The capital of Wales now is Cardiff, in the south, but Edward built Caernarvon Castle in Gwynedd to control the country. Edward is supposed to have promised the Welsh in 1284 that he would provide a prince for them born in Wales who did not speak a word of English. He then produced his son Edward, just born at Caenarvon, who of course didn't speak a word of anything. Edward was formally invested as Prince of Wales in 1301.


Edward thus began the tradition that the Heir to the Throne of England is invested as the Prince of Wales. This parallels the traditions that the Heir to the Throne of France was the "Dauphin," i.e. the Count of the Dauphiné, while the Heir to the Holy Roman Empire was the "King of the Romans," a tradition continued by Napoleon, who made his own son, Napoleon II, the "King of Rome."

The descent of the Tudors from Welsh royalty is shown, but there are some uncertainties about this. The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens gives it [p.331] as though unproblematic, but Brian Tompsett's Royal and Noble genealogy gives an alternate descent and discusses other uncertainties. While the Welsh derivation of the Tudors is beyond doubt, one suspects that Henry VII or others might not be above manufacturing a royal version of the descent. While the main line of the Tudors died out, it will be noted below that all subsequent British royality is descended from Henry VII through his daughter Margaret and her husband, King James IV of Scotland.

Kings of England
Kings of Scotland,
Kingdom of Alba
High Kings of Ireland
840-858Máel Sechnaill macMáele Ruanaid O'Néill846-862
Æthelbald855-860Donald I858-863
Æthelbert860-865Constantine I863-877Aed Findliath macNéill Caille O'Néill862-879
Æthelred I865-871Aed877-878
Danish invasion of the "Great Army," 865
Alfred/Ælfred the Great871-899Eochaid & Giric IEochaid, King of Strathclyde, 877?-889Flann Sionna macMáele Sechnaill O'Néill879-916
defeat of the "Great Army," 878, establishment of the Danelaw in East Anglia, 879878-889
Edward the Elder
899-924Donald II899-900Niall Glúndubh macAedo Findliath O'Néill916-919
recovery of East Anglia from the Danes, 917; Thames frozen for 13 weeks, 923
924Constantine II mac Áeda900-943Donnchad Donn macFlann O'Néill919-944
recovery of York from the Danes, 927-939; defeat of invasion by Constantine II of Scotland, Owein I of Strathclyde, & Olaf III of Dublin, Battle of Brunanburh, 937
Edmund I939-946Malcolm I943-954Ruaidrí ua Canannáinrival,
Eadred946-955IndulfStrathclyde, 945-954Congalach Cnogba macMáel Mithig O'Néill944-956
final recovery of York
from the Danes, 954
Edwy/Eadwig the Fair955-959DubhStrathclyde, 954-962Domnall macMuirchertaig O'Néill956-980
Edgar959-975Cuilean Ringc.966-971
the Martyr
975-978Kenneth II971-995Máel Sechnaill macDomnaill O'Néill980-1002,
Æðelred II the Unready
Constantine III the Bald995-997
Danish occupation, 1013-1014Kenneth III997-1005Brian Bóruma macCennétig,
Brian Boru
High King,
Edmund II Ironside1016Giric II997-1005
DanesMalcolm IIStrathclyde, 990-995, 997-1005
Canute the Great1016-1035Killed in victory over Danes
at Clontarf, 1014
King of
1005-1034Donnchad MacBrianMunster,
Harold I1035-1040Duncan IStrathclyde, c.1018-1034
HardecanuteKing of

The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens shows the descent of Godwin of Wessex from King Æthelred I as though it is not problematic [p.468]. There is no discussion of the evidence. However, nothing of the sort is mentioned in other sources, and Godwin, although the sort of person who doubtlessly would prefer royal ancestry, is usually just said to have been from an old family. Suspicion may be in order, as with the descent of the Tudors from Welsh royalty.

Anglo-Saxon England, which ends at Hastings with the death of Harold II, now seems like a different civilization, so greatly did things change under the Normans. The language, Old English, seems more like a dialect of German, and names that ought to be familiar, like Edward, are strange:  Eadweard. Other names are strange indeed, like Æðelred -- which, however, gets remembered as "Ethelred." Old English literature, like Beowulf, is heavy going. Nevertheless, a little digging and affinities to Middle and Modern English are clear enough. And some major artifacts survive, like the Shrine of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. English money, in the system that survived until 1970, also began under the Saxon Kings, as recounted elsewhere.

I was long under the impression that the Coronation Chair in the Abbey was also from Edward the Confessor, but it was actually created by Edward I specifically to hold the Stone of Scone, upon which Scottish Kings were crowned. Edward had taken the Stone from Scotland during his brief possession of the country (1296-1306). When James VI of Scotland inherited the Throne of England, there didn't seem to be any reason to return the Stone; but the sense has faded that it is the Monarchs of Scotland who rule England, and in 1996 the Stone was sent home. An exact copy of the Chair even exists, including graffiti, which was used for the dual Coronation of William and Mary. I now gather that I was not alone in believing that the Chair was that of Edward the Confessor. In the 2010 movie, The King's Speech, about George VI overcoming his stutter, there is a scene in Westminster Abbey where the King refers to the Chair in question as "St. Edward's." Now, there is only one King of England who is a Saint, and that is Edward the Confessor, not Edward I. So my misapprehension apparently was not unusual.

It should be remembered that the early Saxon Kings of England were part of the Carolingian world. Nothing illustrates this so well as the marriage of Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, to Æthelwulf and Æthelbald, both of whom died on her. She then ran off with Baldwin Iron Arm -- to found the historic line of the Counts of Flanders. This also corresponds to the era of Viking attacks, which began with the sacking of the monastery at Lindisfarne in 793. Eventually, these raids resulted in a period of Danish rule of England, and then, indirectly, the Norman Conquest -- though by then the Normans were more French than Norse. King Canute, among other things, contributed one classic anecdote to English history. To piously demonstrate the limited powers of his sovereignty, he had his throne placed on the beach (traditionally at Bosham) and commanded the rising tide to go back out. It didn't. To his not quite entirely Christianized Danish courtiers, this was, reportedly, a powerful and sobering demonstration.

Kenneth MacAlpin is traditionally regarded as the first King of a united Scotland, having combined the kingdoms of the Picts and of the Dál Riata Scots -- though at first this is styled the Kingdom of Alba. Soon afterwards (878) the Briton Kingdom of Strathclyde began to be absorbed also, although this was a process that continued perhaps as late as 1045. This history is treated on the separate Scotia webpage. While the Gaelic language of the Scots came to replace that Brythonic languages of the Picts and Britons, English eventually became the language the Lowlands. This seems to have been due to English involvement in Scottish politics, the sojourns of Scottish Royalty, often as hostages, at the English court, and the intermarriage of Scottish with English nobility. It is noteworthy that Malcolm IV (1153-1165) was the last Scottish King with a Scottish name. Once established in Scotland, however, English developed as a separate "Scots" dialect, with its own distinctive phonology and vocabulary, to the point where it would largely be unintelligible to speakers of metropolitan English -- thus becoming a separate language. When Scotland later became politically integrated with England (1707), educated Scots began speaking standard (i.e. Oxford) English rather than the Scots language (though usually retaining their distinctive accent, something lingering even in Sean Connery). Efforts have been made at different times to preserve or revive the Scots language. One influential case was with the poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), who wrote "Auld Lang Syne." This has become the song of New Year's Eve in the whole English speaking world, but it is a constant source of perplexity since it is actually in Scots -- even the title is mysterious ("old long ago/since"). Meanwhile, the actual Celtic Scots Gaelic has only survived on the periphery of the Highlands and in the Isles. This is sometimes confused with the Celtic Irish language, which can also be called Gaelic and to which, of course, it is closely related.

Saxons ScotlandIreland
St. Edward
the Confessor
1042-1066MacBeth1040-1057Diarmait MacMáil na mBó1042-1072 Leinster,
1042-1072 High King (?)
Harold II Godwinsson1066Lulach1057-1058
Defeats Harald Hardråde, Stamford Bridge; defeated and killed by William I, Hastings, 1066
Edgar the Ætheling1066Malcolm III
Strathclyde, 1034-1058
William I
the Conqueror
the Bastard,
Duke of
Toirdelbach O'Brien1063-1086 Munster,
1072-1086 High King
1066-1087Donald Bane1093-1094,
William II1087-1100Edmund1094-1097,
Domnall macArdgar O'Lochlainn O'Néill1090-1121
Ailech, Cenél
Duncan II1094Muirchertach II MacToirdelbaig O'Brien1086-1119 Munster
Henry I1100-1135Edgar1097-1107
Alexander I1107-1124Toirrdelbach (Turlogh) macRuaidrí na Saide Buide
ua Conchobair
1106-1156 Connaught,
1121-1135, 1141-1150 High King,
Stephen1135-1154David I the Saint1124-1153
Henry II1154-1189Malcolm IV1153-1165Muirchertach (Murtagh) macNéill macLochlainn1136-1166 Ailech,
1150-1166 High King
William the Lion1165-1214Diarmait or Diarmaid Mac Murchadha (Diarmaid na nGall or "Diarmaid of the Foreigners"), Dermot MacMurrough1126–1166 Leinster, d.1171
"Strongbow," Earl of Pembroke, invades Ireland, 1169-1170; Henry invades Ireland, 1172; Lord of Ireland, 1175MacMurrough deposed, seeks help from Henry II, 1166; defeated by O'Connor, 1167
Richard I
the Lionheart
1189-1199Ruaidrí macToirrdelbaig, Rory O'Connor1156-1183 Connaught,
1166-1175 last High King,
Third Crusade, 1189-1192Conchobar1183-1189 Connaught
John Lackland1199-1216Vassal of England, 1174-1189Cathal1189-1200 Connaught
Henry III1216-1272Alexander II1214-1249English rule
Alexander III1249-1286Brian Catha an Duin1258-1260
Maid of Norway
1286-1290English rule
Interregnum, 1290-1292
John Baliol1292-1296
1272-1307Edward I1296-1306
Revolt of William Wallace, victory at Sterling, 1297, loss at Falkirk, 1298, betrayed, 1303, excecuted, 1305
Edward II1307-1327Bruce
Robert I
the Bruce
1306-1329Edward de Bruce1316-1318
Battle of Bannockburn, decisive Scottish victory, 1314
Beginning of Little Ice Age, heavy rain for five years, famine, 1315-1320
Edward III1327-1377David II1329-1371English rule
Scots defeated, Battle of Dupplin Moor, 1332, Battle of Halidon Hill, 1333, Battle of Neville's Cross, David captured, 1346, ransomed, 1357
Hundred Years War, 1337-1453; Battle of Crécy, 1346; the Black Death arrives in England, 1348Edward Baliol1332, 1333-1334, 1335-1336, d.1367
Richard II1377-1399,
the Black Death arrives in Scotland, 1350 the Black Death arrives in Ireland, 1348

In 1066, England was invaded twice, first by Harald Hardråde, King of Norway, and next by William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy. Where Harald was defeated and killed at Stamford Bridge by King Harold II of England, days later, after Harold's exhausting march nearly the length of England, Duke William killed and defeated him at Hastings, thus becoming "William the Conqueror."

The Norman Conquest of England spelled the dispossession of the native Saxon nobility, including many Danes who had settled in England, who then began to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Many of them consequently were drawn to the famous, elite Varangian Guard of the Emperor of the Romans in Constantinople. Having lost England to Normans/Vikings, Englishmen served the Empire that, at the other end of Europe, had withstood them. They would continue to do so for more than three centuries -- the first reference to Englishmen in the service of Romania was in 1080, the last in 1404 -- 324 years.

Edward Gibbon takes a brief but vivid notice of the English Varangians:

Under the yoke of the Norman conqueror, the Danes and English were oppressed and united; a band of adventurous youth resolved to desert a land of slavery; the sea was open to their escape; and, in their long pilgrimage, they visited every coast that afforded any hope of liberty and revenge. They were entertained in the service of the Greek emperor; and their first station was in a new city on the Asiatic shore; but Alexius [i.e. Alexius Comnenus, 1081-1118] soon recalled them to the defense of his person and palace; and bequeathed to his successors the inheritance of their faith and valour. The name of a Norman invader revived the memory of their wrongs: they marched with alacrity against the national foe, and panted to regain in Eprius the glory which they had lost in the battle of Hastings. [The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume III, The Modern Library, pp.368-369]

Gibbon references William of Malmesbury (c.1095/6–c.1143, de Gesta Anglorum), Ordericus Vitalis (1075–c.1142, The Ecclesiastical History), and Anna Comnena (1083-1153, the Alexiad), but he does not seem aware of the Icelandic (Old Norse) sources. Nicholas C.J. Pappas ("English Refugees in the Byzantine Armed Forces: The Varangian Guard and Anglo-Saxon Ethnic Consciousness," previously available on-line but now gone) quotes Ordericus directly:

According to Ordericus Vitalis, "The English groaned aloud for their lost liberty and plotted ceaselessly to find some way of shaking off that what was so intolerable and unaccustomed." After some of the English opponents of Norman rule attempted to offer the English throne to the King of Denmark...

Others fled into voluntary exile so that they might either find in banishment freedom from the power of the Normans or secure foreign help and come back to fight a war of vengeance. Some of them who were still in the flower of youth traveled into remote lands and bravely offered their arms to Alexius, emperor of Constantinople, a man of great wisdom and nobility. Robert Guiscard, the duke of Apulia had taken up arms against him in support of Michael, whom the Greeks, resenting the power of the senate, had driven from the imperial throne. Consquently the English exiles were warmly welcomed by the Greeks and were sent into battle against the Norman forces, which were too powerful for the Greeks alone... This is the reason for the English exodus to Ionia; the emigrants and their heir[s] faithfully served the holy empire, and are still [i.e. in the 12th century] honored among the Greeks by Emperor, nobility and people alike. [footnoted by Pappas: The Ecclesiastical History of Ordericus Vitalis, M. Chibnall, ed. and tr., vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, 1969), pp.202-205, note]

However, it was more than a few noblemen, or "adventurous youth," seeking their fortune. According to Pappas, the "recently discovered" Chronicon universale anonymi Laudunensis says that 4350 English emigrants in 235 ships arrived in Constantinople in 1075. Many of them settled at a location on the Black Sea that they then called Nova Anglia -- a "New England" very far from Plymouth Rock. Pappas quotes a similar account from the Icelandic Jarvardar Saga, which says that the English arrived in 350 ships:

They stayed a while in Micklegarth [i.e. Constantinople], and set the realm of the Greek-king free from strife. King Kirjalax [i.e. Alexius Comnenus] offered them to abide there and guard his body as was wont of the Varangians who went into his pay, but it seemed to earl Sigurd and the other chiefs that it was too small a career to grow old there in that fashion, that they had not a realm to rule over; and they begged the king to give them some towns or cities which they might own and their heirs after them... king Kirjalax told them that he knew of a land lying north in the sea, which had lain of old under the emperor of Micklegarth, but in later days the heathen had won it and abode in it. And when the Englishmen heard that, they took a title from king Kirjalax that the land should be their own and their heirs after them if they could get it won under them from the heathen men free from tax and toll. The king granted them this. After that the Englishmen fared away out of Micklegarth and north into the sea, but some chiefs stayed behind in Micklegarth, and went into service there. Earl Sigurd and his men came to this land and had many battles there and got the land won, but drove away all the folk that abode there before. After that they took that land into possession and gave it a name, and called it England. To the towns that were in the land and to those which they built they gave the names of the towns of England. They called them both London and York, and by the names of other great towns in England... This land lies six days' and six nights' sail across the sea to the east and northeast of Micklegarth; and there is the best land there; and that folk has abode there ever since. [Pappas' reference to The Saga of Edward the Confessor, in The Orkneyingers' Saga]

I don't know that we hear any more about Nova Anglia, but references to Englishmen in Constantinople continue. According to Geoffroy de Villehardouin, there were still "Englishmen and Danes" defending Constantinople when the Fourth Crusade arrived in 1204. Some authors suppose that these are still the Danes, or their descendants, who fled England after 1066; but it is more likely at that point that these are Danes, or their descendants, who came directly from Denmark over the years. We have an account of recruiting missions to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under the Angeli.
Letters from Emperors
about English Varangians
Manuel IHenry II1176
Michael VIIIHenry III?1272
John VIIHenry IV1402

After the Greek recovery of the City by the Palaeologi in 1261, we have some indication that the surviving Varangian Guard may have been entirely English. In 1272 Michael VIII Palaeologus wrote a letter mentioning the Englishmen in his service, now called the , Egklinováraggoi (singular , Egklinováraggos), Enklinobarangi (sing. Enklinobarangus) in Latin [cf. The Varangians of Byzantium, by Sigfús Blöndal and Benedikt S. Benedikz, Cambridge University Press, 1978, 1981, 2007, p.172]. Like the Norsemen in the Guard, the English Varangians seem to have had their own church in Constantinople, dedicated to Saints Nicholas and Augustine of Canterbury (the Apostle to the English). Pappas quotes the account of this:

While the first king from the Normans, William, was reigning over England, an honorable man, educated in the chapter of the Blessed Augustine, along with many other noble exiles from the fatherland (patrie profugis), migrated to Constantinople; he obtained such favor with the emperor and empress as well as with other powerful men as to receive command over prominent troops and over a great number of companions; no newcomer for very many years had obtained such an honor. He married a noble and wealthy woman, and remembering the gifts of God, built, close to his own home, a basilica in honor of the Blessed Nicholas and Saint Augustine. [Pappas' reference to Miracula Sancti Augustini Episcopi Cantuariensis]

Under subsequent Palaeologi, however, the English Varangians fade from history.

The historian Judith Herrin begins her book Byzantium, The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire by saying:

One afternoon in 2002, two workmen knocked on my office door in King's College, London. They were doing repairs to the old buildings and had often passed my door with its notice; 'Professor of Byzantine History'. Together they decided to stop by and ask me, 'What is Byzantine history?' They thought that it had something to do with Turkey.

And so I found myself trying to explain briefly what Byzantine history is to two serious builders in hard hats and heavy boots. Many years of teaching had not prepared me for this. I tried to sum up a lifetime of study in a ten-minute visit. [Princeton U. Press, 2008, p.xiii]

I would say three things to the British workmen:  (1) the "Byzantine" Empire was simply the Roman Empire, the way it continued in the East, with the capital at Constantinople, even as it "fell" in the West, (2) Turkey finally conquered the Empire when Constantinople fell in 1453, and (3) after the Norman Conquest in 1066, when William the Conqueror dispossessed the Saxon nobility, many of them emigrated with many of the English and went looking for employment in the Varangian Guard of the Emperor in Constantinople, or for settlement in the Empire. The tradition of Englishmen enlisting the Guard continued far longer than Saxon nobility alone needed to do it -- for over 300 years, as we have seen. I would like to think that the letter the Emperor Michael VIII wrote in 1272 was actually to King Henry III of England, but my source [Blöndal and Benedikz, op.cit., p.172] does not mention to whom the letter was written. Thus, Professor Herrin might have said to the workmen that "Byzantium" was once an important part of English history, a place where the workmen themselves might have considered going in the 11th, 12th, 13th, or 14th centuries.

Unfortunately, unlike cases such as Harald Hardråde, whose story is told in King Harald's Saga, we apparently do not have any accounts of individual Englishmen in the Guard. The best we can do is a fictional English Guardsman, Hereward, with whose description Sir Walter Scott, "the Author of Waverley," actually begins Count Robert of Paris [1832], his novel set in the Court of Alexius Comnenus. We find a discussion of the Varangians and the origin of English recruitment:

The corps of the Varangians must therefore have died out [after the conversion of the North to Christianity, although Norse recruitment did continue], or have been filled up with less worthy materials, had not the conquests made by the Normans in the far distant west, sent to the aid of Comnenus a large body of the dispossessed inhabitants of the islands of Britain, and particularly of England, who furnished recruits to his chosen body-guard. These were, in fact, Anglo-Saxons...

This aspect of English history, although apparently familiar enough in Scott's day, is now mostly forgotten -- although it is eerily evoked by William Butler Yeats' poem, "Sailing to Byzantium."

Among the many and sometimes trivial monuments to British history in London, what we are missing is even a lone Enklinobarangus, who might still stand defiant of vassalage to the Normans, his service to the Emperor of the Romans proclaimed in English, Latin, and Greek, even as C.S. Lewis has his Merlin say, "We must go to him whose office is to put down tyrants and give life to dying kingdoms. We must call on the Emperor" [That Hideous Strength, 1945, Scribner, 2003, p.290].

The Norman Conquest of England, together with the prior Viking invasion and settlement, profoundly altered the nature and direction of English, and British, history. The cultural change may now be the most conspicuous. Does English have a larger vocabulary than other languages? It often seems like it because of the great number of Norse and French words, introduced by the Vikings (Danes and Norwegians) and the Normans, respecively, doubled up with original Old English words -- for example, "ship" is from Old English while "skiff" is from Norse or French (although Germanic at root); "shirt" is from Old English while "skirt" is from Norse; "sheep" is from Old English while "mutton" is from French; "cow" is from Old English while "beef" is from French; "pig" is from Old English while "pork" is from French; "watch" is from Old English, "hour" is from French, and, just for good measure, "clock" is from Danish (in German, Uhr will make do for all three). Since there is usually not much point in having two words that mean exactly the same thing, the meaning of the doubled words varies somewhat, expanding nuance. Or English may make a distinction with words from different sources that is already made in one of them -- I have discussed elsewhere how "holy" (Old English) and "sacred" (French) reproduce a distinction found both in French and in Greek. Grammatically, English may be said to have French nouns and German verbs. Since the French noun system is simpler than the German (or Old English), and the German verb system is simpler than the French, English benefits in simplicity each way -- if, for some reason, simplicity is to be valued -- it does make the language easier to learn (if not to spell).

Zuletzt wollen sie Alle, daß die englische Moralität Recht bekomme: insofern gerade damit der Menschheit, oder dem »allgemeinen Nutzen« oder »dem Glück der Meisten«, nein! dem Glücke Englands am besten gedient wird; sie möchten mit allen Kräften sich beweisen, daß das Streben nach englischem Glück, ich meine nach comfort und fashion (und, an höchster Stelle, einem Sitz im Parlament) zugleich auch der rechte Pfad der Tugend sei, ja daß, so viel Tugend es bisher in der Welt gegeben hat, es eben in einem solchen Streben bestanden habe. Keins von allen diesen schwerfällingen, im Gewissen beunruhigten Heerdenthieren (die die Sache des Egoismus also Sache der allgemeinen Wohlfahrt zu führen unternehmen --) will etwas davon wissen und riechen, daß die »allgemeine Wohlfahrt« kein Ideal, kein Ziel, kein irgendwie faßbarer Begriff, sondern nur ein Brechmittel ist, -- daß, was dem Einen billig ist, durchaus noch nicht dem Andern billg sein kann, daß die Forderung Einer Moral für Alle die Beeinträchtigung gerade der höheren Menschen ist, kurz, daß es eine Rangordnung zwischen Mensch und Mensch, folglich auch zwischen Moral und Moral giebt. Es ist eine bescheidene und gründlich mittelmäßige Art Mensch, diese utilitarischen Engländer, und, wie gesagt: insofern sie langweilig sind, kann man nicht hoch genug von ihrer Utilität denken.

In the end they [i.e. Utilitarians] all want to prove that English morality is right, insofar as humanity or the "general welfare" or the "happiness of the greatest number" -- nay, the happiness of England is best served by it. With all their powers they like to prove to themselves that the striving for English happiness -- by this I mean comfort and fashion (and, at the highest level, a seat in Parliament) -- is at the same time the proper path to virtue -- that indeed, whatever virtue there has been in the world, consisted of such striving. None of all these clumsy and conscience-pricked herd animals (who espouse the cause of egoism as the cause of the general welfare) wants to have an insight into or even catch a whiff of the fact that the general welfare is not an ideal, not an aim, not a comprehensible concept even, but only an emetic. That which is fair to one cannot by any means be fair to another. The demand of one morality for all means an encroachment upon precisely the superior men. There is, in short, an order of rank between man and man and hence also between moralities. They are a modest and thoroughly mediocre kind, these Utilitarian Englishmen, and, as I said before, insofar as they are boring, one cannot think too highly of their utility.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, translated by Marianne Cowan [Henry Regnery Company, 1955, p.155, translation modified]; Jenseits von Gut und Böse [Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart, 1988, p.144; daß restored for dass, faßbar for fassbar, mittelmäßig for mittelmässig].

Habitabatque Iudas et Israhel
absque timore ullo unusquisque sub vite sua sub ficu sua
a Dan usque Bersabee cunctis diebus Salomonis.

And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

1 (3) Kings 4:25
(this verse seems to be missing from the Septuagint)

On the political side, the Norman Conquest unified the administration of England, preventing the kind of feudal fragmenation that troubled France for so long. The centralization of government at the same time made it the focus of efforts to limit its power, first by the nobility (resulting in the Magna Carta), later by well-to-do merchants (resulting in the English Revolution). Constitutionally, this gave England a head start over all the rest of Europe in the evolution of modern government. The centralization of power also depoliticized land ownership, loosening the ties of feudalism, including serfdom. Something approaching private property and a free labor market soon gave England an economic advantage that grew and lasted into the 20th century. For a striking perspective on all this, see Alan MacFarlane, The Origins of English Individualism: The Family, Property and Social Transition [Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1978].

In the quote from Friedrich Nietzsche above we see some features of Nietzsche's attitude towards British political, legal, and philosophical development. This is noteworthy in the course of considering the unique features of the British experience, especially when most of the critiques we hear are stereotypical Marxist screeds, while Nietzsche, who despises socialist "blockheads" (Flachköpfen), is coming from a different direction altogether, adverse to most of the values and ideologies of modernity since the French Revolution. This seems to be rarely noted in Nietzsche apologetics, whose goal looks to be to tame Nietzsche into some kind of touchy-feeling, politically correct American liberal. The distortions involved are ludicrous, the sort of thing that probably would have given Nietzsche himself a good laugh. All the reasons why they are unsuitable, however, are no laughing matter, since Nietzsche's illiberal instincts seem fully agreeable, although not always candidly confessed, to modern leftist "progressives."

Nietzsche targets the Utilitarians, but we might gather that he may not understand that the principles of Jeremy Bentham were at odds with the previous tradition of natural rights and liberal individualism in John Locke, etc. -- mocked by Bentham as "nonsense on stilts." John Stuart Mill had tried to reconcile these incommensurable principles, with an effect that, however awkward or incoherent, was nevertheless influential.

Nietzsche, of course, had no use for any of it, certainly not for the general welfare (allgemeine Wohlfahrt), and abundance (comfort und fashion) for all, nor for the rights of individuals to maintain their dignity and autonomy against others. Indeed, Nietzsche says this is impossible:  "There is, in short, an order of rank between man and man and hence also between moralities." Each individual "morality," as Thrasymachus would have said in the Republic, is in the interest of that individual, such that, "The demand of one morality for all means an encroachment upon precisely the superior men [die höheren Menschen]."

Nietzsche's aristocratic "superior man" creates his own values, and the servitude or slavery of others, especially women, is only natural. The acts and preferences of this person are only limited by the comparable power, not the rights, of others -- power that used to be signified by the sword carried by all 17th century nobility, ready to be drawn against any insult. Thus, der höhere Mensch, whom we might as well begin calling the Übermensch, is very different indeed from, say, the Confucian "superior man," , whose concern is what is right, not what benefits him. For Nietzsche, such "right" does not exist -- which may be why he called Kant "the great Chinaman," der große Chinese, of Königsberg -- as it clearly does not in the natural law of the jungle.

The rights of the Englishman, such as the Declaration of Independence claimed, seconded by Edmund Burke, were being violated, motivated the American Revolutionary War. The principle, understood by all from Locke to Mill, was to secure rights of property and person that would eliminate a clash of individual "moralities," whose interests could be adjudicated at law -- hence the Biblical epigraph above, of "every man under his vine and under his fig tree," which precludes conflict, as long as property rights are enforced.

We detect no patience for this in Nietzsche, from whom we see only contempt for the "comfort and fashion," i.e. the consumer wealth, that Britain and America had delivered beyond any regime respected by Friedrich Nietzsche. Yet it is Nietzsche, not Locke, who is generally taught more at American universities, with the irony that the love for his practical Nihilism is coupled with social and political principles he would have detested, apart from an overwhelming devotion to power. One wonders just how far the ruthlessness and lies of modern dictators would have appealed to Nietzsche, even when embodied in terrifying rulers, like Stalin, whose ideology was the opposite of that recommended by Nietzsche.

The failure of male heirs to William the Conqueror's line resulted in some conflict, until Henry (II) of Anjou was firmly in place as the first of the Plantagenets. Henry brought with him additional French territory, and then obtained a large part of the whole Kingdom of France by marrying Eleanor, the heiress of Aquitaine and Gascony, who had recently divorced King Louis VII of France. This English "empire" in France dominated the history of both countries for some time thereafter. The incompetent King John not only was forced by the nobility into recognizing rights long honored as the origin of English constitutionalism, but his loss of English possessions in France north of the Loire (hence "Lackland") put the French Monarchy on course for the unification and centralization of political power in France -- whose success made France the predominant power in Europe in the 17th century but whose drawbacks ultimately produced the French Revolution. Meanwhile, some attention could be paid to the rest of the British Isles, where Ireland gradually came under English control, Wales was annexed by Edward I, and then Edward also briefly acquired Scotland, where he exploited offers of mediation in the succession dispute of 1290-1292. This episode is rather badly (even falsely) represented in the otherwise rather good movie Braveheart (Best Picture Oscar for 1995). There had been English interference in Scotland for some time, and the English had even blocked repeated requests by the Scots to the Pope for recognition by the Church of the Scottish Crown, so that the King could be crowned and anointed with a Christian rite. Scottish independence was finally assured when Robert the Bruce destroyed an English army, twice the size of the Scottish, at Bannockburn in 1314. The first King anointed by Papal authority was David II (1329-1370).

With Richard the Lionheart's preparations for the Third Crusade, we get the beginning of the process that produces the traditional flag of England. On 13 Janaury 1188, Richard (not yet King) agreed with King Philip II Augustus of France and Philip I of Flanders that French knights would wear a red cross on white, the Flemish knights a green cross on white, and the English knights a white cross on red [Whitney Smith, Flags Through the Ages and Across the World, McGraw-Hill, 1975, p.45]. The actual source for this is cited by Alfred Znamierowski:

The oldest known account of flags with crosses, the Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi by Benedict Abbas, tell us that on 13 January 1188 the Kings of England and France (together with their men) received a white and red cross respectively, while the Count of Flanders recieved a green cross. [The World Encyclopedia of Flags, Southwater, Anness Publishing, London, 1999, 2010, p.12]

Actually, what was at issue were the crosses worn by the Crusaders, on their surplices (on the front going on Crusade, on the back returning), and not actual flags (although Witney Smith himself illustrates the 1188 assignments with images of flags [op.cit., pp.44-45]). Znamierowski's treatment of this is inconsistent, as he says elsewhere,

The oldest flags with a cross are those of Portugal and the kingdom of Jerusalem. From 1140 to 1185 the Portuguese flag was white with a blue cross on a white field [sic]... The flag of the kingdom of Jerusalem under King Amalrich (1162-1173) displayed five golden yellow crosses on a white field. [op.cit., p.101]

And then he also says, "The oldest flag on record in the Mediterranean region is that of Genoa; the earliest illustration, dated 1113, shows it as white with a red cross" [ibid.p.13].

By Znamierowski's own account, then, the flag of Genoa, unmistakably shown in an illustration, antedates any crosses, whether flags or not, of England, France, Flanders, Portugal, or Jerusalem. It does not antedate, however, the First Crusade.

The red cross on white came to be identified as the Cross of St. George, which today is how we see it as the flag of England -- something that is now coming into increasing use, when England often has sports teams separate from Scotland (which uses the Cross of St. Andrew). But St. George has been widely popular and is the patron of many places, including Barcelona, Portugal, Beirut, Georgia in the Caucasus, and various other states and cities. While the red on white Cross was used by Genoa and some other Italian cities, there is the complication that St. George is not the Patron Saint of Genoa (although this is sometimes said to be the case, as I have been doing previously) -- that is John the Baptist. The Genoese cross is thus perhaps not originally a Cross of St. George at all -- although there is a story about the red cross and St. George being brought back from the First Crusade (1099), which is possible. Wikipedia says that ships from London began using the red Cross on white in the Mediterranian in 1190 precisely to benefit from the protection of Genoa -- the Doge was paid an annual tribute for the privilege of this use. Since Genoa became the ally of Constantinople in 1267 under the Palaeologi, I wonder if the contemporary banner we see for Romania actually reflects that alliance. In modern custom, the upper corner by the staff, the canton, is the key quarter, so the quartering we see (as shown by Whitney Smith) could be something used in the first place by the Genoese.

There is the issue of just how and when the red cross on white becomes associated with St. George. The Saint, as a native of Lydda in Palestine, was popular in the Orthodox Churches (a cave near Beirut is still pointed out as the site of his slaying the dragon, although other places also claim that distinction), and the earliest known depiction of him slaying the dragon is from 11th century Cappadocia, but I am not otherwise aware of him being particularly iconic for the identity of Romania or Constantinople -- Byzantine histories have little discussion of such symbols. The crosses in general are artifacts of the Crusades, and the particular popularity of St. George in the West was itself the result of Crusaders bringing his cult and legend back with them [cf. Whitney Smith, p.182]. The 1188 meeting between Richard and King Philip, the choice of the colors was apparently a random assignment and did not involve any preexisting attachment of France, or of these colors, for St. George. And these assignments persisted for some time. In the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, the body of St. Louis, who died in 1270, is still shown draped in the red on white. Since St. George was not the patron of Genoa, the association of the red cross with the Saint is more likely to originate at the source with the Crusaders. It is noteworthy that the church of the English Varangians in Constantinople was dedicated to St. Nicholas and St. Augustine of Canterbury. One would have expected a church of English warriors to involve St. George, if St. George was already associated with England. He wasn't. Meanwhile, of course, what was symbolic of Richard and England were the heraldric yellow lions on red, which by 1195 were displayed in threes, as at right.

Nevertheless, I do find positive statements at Wikipedia that in England St. George had along been revered and the red cross on white had long been associated with him even before the Third Crusade, and that the white cross on red was assigned by the Pope to England but then switched with France at the 1188 meeting between Richard and Philip II. This is inconsistent with my other sources (e.g. Whitney Smith, Znamierowski, or elsewhere at Wikipedia), does not seem to be attested by the evidence (i.e. we don't hear of a red on white in England until 1277), and in general is not consistent with the understanding that the use of crosses originated with the Crusades (at a time when national flags or settled national colors did not exist), involved variable colors for many years (Scotland and France both switched between red and blue), and that the veneration of St. George was brought back by the Crusaders. I worry that claims for the antiquity of the specifically English "Cross of St. George" are ahistorical, nationalistic, and fantastical in motivation. A sensible treatment of this may be found at the Flags of the World.

We then face the issue of just how and when the red cross on white becomes associated with England in metropolitan usage. As the red on white cross has become distinctive of England, I begin to wonder to what extent it actually reflects the long history of English recruits fighting for Romania in the Varangian Guard. Indeed, if the Cross of St. George here originated with Crusaders in the East, its interpretation as an English symbol could well have been due to the English Varangians themselves, who would have fought under it for many years and picked up the cult of St. George just as the Crusaders did. It is attested that by 1277, the English cross had settled on the red on white coloring, and this was at the time of perhaps the heyday of English Varangians under Michael VIII -- who wrote that letter mentioning them in 1272. Whitney Smith says that the red cross was not really prominent for another century [p.182, nota bene], while The Penguin Dictionary of Saints [1965, 1983] says that George "may have been named the national patron when King Edward III founded the Order of the Garter under his patronage, c.1348" [p.146]. Whitney Smith adds, "The saint's position was enhanced in 1415 when, in his name, troops under Henry V won the day at the Battle of Agincourt" and then in 1419 the King ordered that "every man of what estate, condition, or nation that he be, of our party, bear a band of St. George" [p.182].

I might therefore entertain the speculation that what became the traditional coloring of the English Cross of St. George might actually have been derived from the Romanian even more than from a Genoese usage. This would be a monument unlike any other to the history of the English involvement in Constantinople. Since most histories of England ignore the very existence of English Varangians, the connection of the Cross of St. George to them falls into a kind of secret history. The antipathy of some English historians for "Byzantium" thus stands in stark contrast to the history of an English participation in Romania and this coincidence, if not derivation, of the actual flag of England.

Robert II Stuart1371-1390
Henry IV1399-1413Robert III1390-1406
Thames frozen
for 14 weeks, 1410
James I1406-1437
Henry V1413-1422
Battle of Agincourt, 1415;
gale wrecks 25 English
fishing boats off Iceland,
Henry VI1422-1461
James II1437-1460
Wars of the Roses,
Edward IV1461-1470
James III1460-1488
last vinyard in Mediaeval
England, at Ely, closes, 1469
Edward V1483
Richard III1483-1485
Henry VII1485-1509James IV1488-1513
Henry VIII1509-1547James V1513-1542
King of
Edward VI1547-1553Mary
Queen of Scots
d. 1587
Mary I1553-1558
Elizabeth I1558-1603
1603-1625James VI of Scotland
James I of England
Thames freezes, first attested "Frost Fair," 1608
The period of the Wars of the Roses illustrates something important about English history. In France, for a long time Royal brothers receiving major fiefs resulted in the fragmenation of power, most disastrously in the case of the Valois
Dukes of Burgundy, who very nearly detached their realm from France itself. In England, however, the conflict that resulted from the many sons of Edward III was always over the Throne. When the winner, Henry VII emerged, it was to enjoy the power of the unified state. The Wars themselves lasted from 1455 to 1485, but the initial action was really the deposition of Richard II in 1399 by his cousin Henry (IV). This began the tenure of the House of Lancaster, which reached its summit with the victory of Henry V over the French at Agincourt in 1415 -- during the Hundred Years War which had begun with Edward III's claim of the French Throne in 1337. With England losing that war in 1453, the civil war proper got going with the struggle of the House of York to depose Henry VI. This was finally effected by 1471 by Edward IV, the third cousin of Henry. The conflict then ends with some obscurity and controversy. Edward's brother Richard (III) pushed aside the young Edward V and took the Throne for himself. Richard was killed by Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, in battle at Bosworth Field in 1485. Henry (VII) was a (legitimated) member of the House of Lancaster on his mother's side. Richard was then painted in the blackest terms by subsequent Tudor historians (not to mention Shakespeare). The young Edward V and his brother, Richard, Duke of York, were murdered, but whether this was done by Richard III or Henry VII is still a good question. The history of the Tudors is subsequently brilliant, with much in the end hanging on the tragi-comic many marriages of Henry VIII. All this was in pursuit of a male heir, who, when finally produced (Edward VI), didn't last long. No other heirs, of any sex, were subsequently produced by Edward's generation. Mary's marriage to Philip II of Spain was barren, and then Elizabeth did not marry at all. Since Henry's divorces produced a break with the Church of Rome, these family doings were all intimately intertwined with religious conflict. Elizabeth's reign represented a final repudiation of Rome and support for the Dutch Revolt against Spain. The failure of the Spanish Armada to conquer, or even to land in, England in 1588 was the first clue that England (through the Royal Navy) might become a Great Power. With the death of Elizabeth, the Throne passed to James VI of Scotland, a great-great-grandson of Henry VII through his daughter Margaret.

The disappearance of vinyards in England, which previously had competed with France at a level that aroused concern there, is one bit of evidence for the arrival of the Little Ice Age, which would involve a colder climate until the 19th century. Most vinyards were gone by the 1440's. Warming since the 19th century, although now creating alarm in political circles, has still not quite returned to the levels of warmth that were experienced in the 11th and 12th centuries (the Mediaeval Warm Period).

Between 1200 and 1600, i.e. from the later Plantagenets to the time of the Stuarts, the English language had been changing from Middle English, the language of Chaucer, to New English. One of the most conspicuous features of this was the Great English Vowel Shift, which I have considered on a separate page through the link. It was with the later Plantagenets, of course, that the Kings of England began speaking English rather than French -- though many of them were claiming to be Kings of France as well. The language of Shakespeare is New English, though I must confess I have a great deal of difficulty understanding it. That is not a problem a century later with John Locke, who often favors us with charming archaisms, but they pose no difficulty to intelligibility.

Charles I1625-1649
Civil War, 1640-1649;
Commonwealth, 1649-1653;
First Dutch War,
1652-1654; Protectorate,
Oliver CromwellLord Protector,
Richard Cromwell1658-1660,
Charles II1660-1685
Second Dutch War, 1664-1667;
New Amsterdam acquired,
becomes New York, 1664; the Plague in London, 1665; the Great Fire of London, 1666; Third Dutch War, 1672-1674
James II1685-1688,
Glorious Revolution,
James flees to France, 1688;
Bill of Rights, 1689
Mary II1689-1694
William IIIStadholder of the
War of the League of
Augsburg, 1688-1697;
Battle of the Boyne, 1690;
War of the Spanish
Succession, 1701-1713
With the Stuarts (or Stewarts), conflict over Royal power mixed and unmixed with conflict over religion. The debate over the Divine Right of Kings, which in France in the 17th century went to the King, got Charles I of England and Scotland deposed and beheaded. Britain was not quite ready for a Republic, and what might have become one quickly became a kind of military dictatorship, under Oliver Cromwell. After his death, it was not entirely clear how exactly this was better than the Monarchy, so Charles II was brought back from exile. Cromwell's body was exhumed and desecrated, but his son Richard, cooperative with the Restoration, lived out his life unmolested.

This is where the undercurrent of religion comes in, for Charles had become sympathetic to Catholicism and began to tilt towards France (with the help of a secret subsidy, including women, from Louis XIV) and against the Protestant Netherlands, which Louis had invaded (1672). Otherwise, the exuberance of the Restoration, and the infamous philandering of Charles, all look more libertine than Catholic. Some sense of this can be gleaned from the movie Restoration [1994]. However, actor Sam Niell did not make a very good Charles II. Charles, very tall and dark, with long black hair (click on image for larger version), not to mention productive of multiple illegitimate children, would be more like a dead ringer for "shock jock" radio personality Howard Stern. Charles did convert to Catholicism before his death, and then his openly Catholic brother, James II, became King. This produced the beginnings of modern political parties:  The Tories, who were for James, and the Whigs, against him. While James talked of no more than toleration for Catholics, his actions soon were for the persecution and suppression of Protestants. This was more or less tolerable as long as James's heirs were his Protestant daughters, Mary and Anne; but when he fathered a (Catholic) son on his new (Catholic) wife, Mary of Modena, resistance began to stiffen. William of Orange, husband of Mary, landed with a Dutch Army, the British Army went over to him, and James fled -- a bloodless transaction consequently called the "Glorious Revolution." Finding Catholic sympathy and support in Ireland (and, of course, from France), James was finally defeated at the Battle of the Boyne, 11 July 1690. William could then go on to organize the great alliances against France in the War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713). Lack of heirs continued to bedevil the dynasty. With Anne, this was not from lack of trying. She had 14 children, every single one of whom predeceased her. With a sad irony, Anne was the last British Monarch who exercised what were believed to be the healing powers of the Royal Touch -- though by Anne's day this was supposed only to be effective for scrofula, tuberculosis of the lymph glands. Presumably, this is not what afflicted her children -- although it did afflict Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), who was touched by the Queen but not healed. Unwilling to countenance the Catholic Stuart Pretenders (the "Jacobites"), Parliament brought in George I of Hanover, a great-grandson of James I through his daughter Elizabeth and granddaughter Sophie.

The Union of England and Scotland in 1707 produced the "United Kingdom," with a single Parliament, and the Union Flag, at right. A separate Scottish Parliament has been recently reestablished, even as in 1996 the Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland and is now kept in Edinburgh Castle.

Formal Union with Ireland in 1801 added the familiar diagonal red stripes to the present Union Flag. These were based on red "saltire" cross of the Fitzgerald family, now a very old Irish family (cf. John Fitzgerald Kennedy) but originally among the Normans who conquered Ireland for England in the 12th century. Thus, the cross is usually not viewed as a genuine Irish national symbol. Sometimes Anglo-Irish families other than the Fitzgeralds are cited as the origin of this cross.

Subsequent Kings are listed with their Prime Ministers. There is some uncertainty here about the Party affiliations of some of the early Prime Ministers. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "There were no formal political parties in the 18th century...nor was there a formal opposition in Parliament, and opposition to the king's ministry was regarded as factious and even traitorous." This does seem to introduce an element of vagueness into many of the Governments. There is also some disagreement and confusion sometimes about who the Prime Ministers were, since the title wasn't used until the 20th Century. Thus, there are different versions of when William Pitt the Elder was, if ever, Prime Minister. These assignments are based on Langer's An Encyclopedia of World History, mentioned above, the Britannica descriptions, the assignments and descriptions at the Encyclopaedia Britannica (which lists Palmerston as a Tory, which he certainly was not after 1830), the Encyclopedia of World History edited by Patrick K. O'Brien [Facts on File, 2000, p.522], and The World Amanac and Books of Facts, 2001 [World Almanac Books, 2001, p.490]. The latter two sources list Coalition ministries, which were especially common in wartime. Be that as it may, Lloyd George was a Liberal, and Winston Churchill was a Conservative, and that is how they are given here.

George I1714-1727Prime Ministers
Sir Robert Walpole1721-1742
George II1727-1760
War of the Austrian Succession, 1740-1748
Jacobite Revolt, Charles Stuart
defeated, Culloden Moor, 1745
Lord John Carteret/
Earl of Wilmington
Henry Pelham1743-1754
Duke of Newcastle1754-1756, 1757-1762
Duke of Devonshire1756-1757
Seven Years War, 1756-1763
George III1760-1820Earl of Bute1762-1763
George Grenville1763-1765
Marquis of Rockingham1765-1766, 1782
William Pitt
the Elder
Duke of Grafton1768-1770
Lord Frederick North1770-1782
American Revolution, 1775-1783
Earl of Shelburne1782-1783
Duke of Portland1783, 1807-1809
William Pitt
the Younger
1783-1801, 1804-1806
Henry Addington1801-1804
Lord William Grenville1806-1807
Abolition of Slave Trade, 1807
Spencer Perceval1809-1812
Earl of Liverpool1812-1827
George IV1820-1830
Last "Frost Fair" on frozen Thames, 1814
George Canning1827
Viscount Goderich1827-1828
Duke of Wellington1828-1830, 1834
Catholic Emancipation, 1829
William IV1830-1837Earl Grey1830-1834
First Reform Bill, 1832;
Abolition of Slavery, 1833
Viscount Melbourne1834, 1835-1841
Sir Robert Peel1834-1835, 1841-1846
Empress of
India, 1876
Great Irish Potato Famine, 1845-1849
Abolition of Corn Laws, 1846
Lord John Russell1846-1852, 1865-1866
Earl of Derby1852, 1858-1859,
Earl of Aberdeen1852-1855
Crimean War, 1854-1856
Viscount Palmerston1855-1858, 1859-1865
Jewish Emancipation, 1858
Second Reform Bill, 1867
Benjamin Disraeli1868, 1874-1880
Purchase of Suez Canal shares
from Egypt, fincanced by loan from
Rothschilds, 1875
William E. Gladstone1868-1874, 1880-1885,
1886, 1892-1894
Occupation of Egypt, 1882;
Third Reform Bill, 1884;
First Home Rule Bill, 1886;
Second Home Rule Bill, 1893
Marquis of Salisbury1885-1886, 1886-1892,
Boer War, 1899-1902
Earl of Rosebery1894-1895
The Whig Party, as the enemy of Royal prerogative, was by its very nature the original party of Parliamentary power. The story is that the Prime Ministership emerged because King George I of
Hanover never did learn to speak English, while Sir Robert Walpole was one of the few people in Parliament who spoke German. George III, however, wished to reassert Royal power, and was able to engineer a Tory coalition of the "King's Friends" in Parliament. Thus, Tory governments predominated in the eras of the American and French Revolutions, both of which had Whig sympathizers, though some Whigs, like Edmund Burke, liked the former but not the latter. By 1830, the Whigs were reemerging as the Liberal Party, while the Tories, no longer simply supporting the King, were reorganizing as a modern Conservative Party, which often passed Liberal reforms, such as Catholic Emancipation in 1829 and abolition of the Corn Laws in 1846.

In 1845 a blight hit the potato crop in Ireland. While potatoes, brought by the Spanish from Peru, were originally viewed with suspicion in Europe, they turned out to be more nutritious than the staples of the Mediaeval European diet (oats, barley, rye, etc.). Introduced into Ireland, they soon became the basis of improved diet and expanding population. Yet this was a perilous condition. Most of the Irish were tenant farmers engaged in little better than subsistence agriculture. Until Catholic Emancipation, Irish Catholics were not allowed to own land, which means they had no incentive and little opportunity to improve agriculture or accumulate capital. This left them in precarious dependency on the potato, with the further dangers of any monoculture. When the crop failed (20% of potatoes are still lost to blight today), they had nothing. In the industrialized world now, a farmer who loses a crop may lose some money, may even lose the farm, but he is unlikely to lose his life. This is because the agriculture workforce is actually small (now less than 2% of the workforce in the United States), surplusses elsewhere can make up for local losses, and farmers or their families, let alone anyone in the population at large, usually have no difficulty finding alternative sources of income. In Mediaeval Europe, none of these ameliorating circumstances held true. Surplusses were small, overland transport was ruinous, and there was little in the way of employment or income apart from agriculture (which held 85+% of the workforce).

Relatively little had changed from Mediaeval conditions in Ireland -- indeed, a century earlier, Scotland endured similar conditions -- yet in its response, the British Government was often confused about what this meant. The Peel Government understood that the abolition of the Corn Laws and the establishment of Free Trade would lower the price of food. It did. But when you are an Irish tenant farmer with no money as well as no food, it doesn't matter how low prices fall. You can't pay anything. Well meaning British figures had a good understanding of how a modern economy would operate, but they often failed to understand that the advantages enjoyed by England, where there had been no famine in centuries, did not help in Ireland. Nothing much could ever be done about Mediaeval famines, and nothing needed to be done in modern economies; but Ireland fell between the stools in that respect, belonging to circumstances where Mediaeval evils could be assuaged by modern wealth from elsewhere. Since those evil circumstances would pass in time (although Ireland remained underdeveloped until the 1990's), some British opinion was that nothing extraordinary really needed to be done.

The result was a very nasty muddle, which left over a million Irish to starve and at least a equal number to flee the country. There are still accusations that this was a deliberate policy of genocide against the Irish people. The famine is also still used as a reproach against laissez-faire Capitalism, to which the British Government was now ideologically committed. The latter is closer to the truth, and in these terms British economic thinking is certainly vulnerable to the reproach that the subsistence conditions in Ireland were not amenable to what otherwise would have been the restorative functions of the Market. Yet the Government did not consistently assume that the Market would take care of the Irish. Provisions of famine relief and public works came and went, without the scope, purpose, or focus that were necessary. Even the Sultan of Turkey sent food to Ireland, to the embarrassment of the British.

Ireland was not alone in providing a school for the British understanding of famines. The Monsoon failed every so often in India, resulting in crop failures and famine. Before the British had any governing role in the country, they were aware of these periodic calamities. There had never been much anyone could do about them, and the impression that they were Acts of God, if not the Judgment of God, persisted (in Ireland also) well after conditions had changed and opportunities for alleviating starvation developed. India posed greater challenges than Ireland, since many large areas long remained remote from modern communication or transportation. Thus, when the Monsoon failed in Orissa in 1865, the principal difficulty was understanding that famine was even occurring. The Viceroy, Lord Lawrence, had sent Sir Cecil Beadon to investigate; but Sir Cecil, through inexperience or incompetence, reported that there was sufficient food on hand. In 1866, Lord Lawrence, at the summer Hill Station of Simla, was reduced to discovering the reality of the famine because of reports in Calcutta newspapers. Even though rice was then shipped in from Burma, the return of the Monsoon meant that Orissa was cut off by land, from rising rivers, while ships were unable offload in the stormy conditions. When supplies got through in September, many, pehaps a million, had already died, i.e. on the scale of the Irish Famine [cf. Sir Penendrel Moon, The British Conquest and Dominion of India, Duckworth, Indiana University Press, 1989, pp.805-807].

Confusions similar to what occurred in the Irish Famine occurred when the Monsoon failed in 1874 in Bihar and north-western Bengal. Nevertheless, the Viceroy, Lord Northbrook, was acutely aware of how matters had been botched in Orissa (and perhaps in Ireland also), and a massive amount of rice was brought in, mainly from Burma, in a timely fashion. With the more remote and isolated areas still out of reach of railways, "thousands of bullock carts, mules and ponies were mobilised to transport the grain" from the railheads [Moon, p.826]. Since there was subsequently little starvation, some critics then wondered if the effort had been necessary in the first place, especially as the Government was left with a surplus of over 100,000 tons of rice, which were sold off at a loss. Some would not believe the counterfactual that famine would have occurred without the relief. Also, observers noticed that grain was being exported while the Government was importing it:  "So for many days 'the strange spectacle was seen of fleets of ships taking rice out from the Hooghly [i.e. at the Port of Calcutta] and passing other ships bringing rice in'" [Moon, p.827]. This was exactly what was seen during the Irish Famine, that, incredibly, food was being exported from the country even while thousands of Irish were starving.

It was proposed in both cases that the export of food simply be prohibited, which would result in its price falling in the local market. That the British did not do this in either case can now be chalked up to laissez-faire ideological rigidity, which it probably was. But in these circumstances, the rigidity may have been justified. First of all, even if the local price of food were driven down, subsistence farmers still may have no money at all, which means they are still not going to be able to buy food. They still need the free food of famine relief. Second, from the experience of famines that have occurred in Africa in our own day, we notice the unfortunate dynamic that free food from international charity can drive the local price of food so low that local farmers who are able to produce are put out of business. This means that when the conditions of the famine have passed, even productive local agriculture may have suffered from abandonment. Thus, allowing the export of food during famines, may mean that more famine relief is needed, but it also means that farmers may remain in business, ready to produce after the famine and the relief are gone, by taking advantage of higher prices in the export market. Thus, the remedy for famines was not to fool with the Market (except to have Free Trade), but to charitably provide for those in primitive conditions who will starve without relief, while allowing agriculture to find its best price (i.e. through international Free Trade). If one wanted to ideally manipulate the market, the solution would be to fix prices to farmers high (and buy some of the famine relief food directly from them) but fix prices to consumers low (or zero, in the famine). The resulting gap, however, would need to be made good by the Government -- a practice not unlike farm subsidies in American politics, which protect farmers but are compensated for by food stamps to sufficiently poor consumers -- all supported by the taxpayers. Abolishing both would be best economically, even though it would put out of business farmers operating at the margin, who unfortunately may be politically accomplished rent-seekers.

A Government with a great deal of experience with famine was that of China. The Chinese had no commitment to laissez-faire capitalism. Quite the opposite. It was the duty of the government to "Manage the world, aid the people," . Yet there was a saying in China, "there are no good policies for famine relief" [Timothy Brook, The Troubled Empire, China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Belknap Press, Harvard, 2010, p.122]. This is because of the hard experience of unintended and perverse consequences that were encountered over time. Distributing money for relief meant that corrupt local officials would be tempted to steal it. Distributing grain meant that prices could be driven down and local produce would be shipped away to where there were higher prices. Consequently:

The idea that the commercial economy does a better job of redistributing grain than does the state became a key element in the administrative reform that Qiu Jun (1420-1495) laid before the Hongzhi emperor in 1487. In the same vein, Lin Xiyuan (ca. 1480-ca. 1560), who undertook to reformulate famine policies in the sixteenth century, argued against the expectation that the state should provide relief. [ibid. p.125]

If, after centuries of experience, the Chinese were still trying to get it right in the Ming Dynasty, it is perhaps not surprising that the British experienced their own muddles in Ireland and India.

If the Conservatives sometimes furthered the Liberal agenda, the Liberals sometimes helped further Conservative goals. For instance, Benjamin Disraeli flattered Queen Victoria by making her Empress of India in 1876. This was regarded by Liberals as a dangerous aping of the recently (1871) created German Empire. Imperialism did not represent anything good to the Liberals, since it involved subjugating foreigners abroad and undermining civic equality at home. However, the Liberals were also particularly solicitous of the British taxpayer.

These principles came into conflict in 1882. In 1875 Disraeli had purchased Egypt's shares in the Suez Canal Company to help the Khedive out of debt. This famously involved Disraeli soliciting a loan from Lionel Rothschild, the first Jewish Member of Parliament, for £4 million. Lionel asked what the security or collateral for the loan would be, and Disraeli answered that it would be no more than the full faith and credit of the British Government. That was good enough, although the Liberals complained that such a loan had not been authorized by Parliament. But the Egyptian government continued to be fiscally incompetent, and domestic turmoil was beginning to endanger Britain's stake in the Canal. This put the great Liberal Prime Minister, William Gladstone, in a dilemma. Either let revolution or anarchy endanger the British investment in Egypt, or engage in a bit of Imperialist adventuring. Adventuring won out, and Gladstone put a British Army into Egypt, suppressing a nationalist revolt. The French, who had always owned the other shares in the Canal Company, got cold feet. This made Egypt a de facto part of the British Empire, but the de jure fiction of local rule and Turkish sovereignty was preserved until 1914. The British Consul General, particularly Evelyn "Over" Baring, Earl of Cromer, effectively ruled Egypt, but the Turkish flag flew and Egyptians carried Turkish passports.

Meanwhile, a local revolt in the Sudan, long ruled from Egypt, had begun in 1881. Gladstone saw no reason why Britain should help preserve Egyptian rule over the Sudanese, so in 1883 he decided to withdraw the garrison and appointed Charles Gordon to manage the business. Gordon, known as "Chinese Gordon" after he helped the Chinese government suppress the Taiping Rebellion, or "Gordon Pasha," from his Turkish military rank, had already been governor of the Sudan, down to 1880. He knew the country well, and this may have been Gladstone's miscalculation. Gordon did not want to abandon the Sudan to the forces of the messianic Mahdî.

Gordon refused to leave Khartoum. Gladstone did not want to send help. In the face of public uproar, Gladstone gave in, but it was too late. Gordon was killed when the Mahdî stormed Khartoum on 26 January 1885. The relief force was only two days away down the Nile -- newspapers had actually already prepared drawings of Gordon welcoming the relief force. Gordon's death was a sensation, one of the supreme moments in British Imperial history, and the Government fell.

Readers of Sherlock Holmes will recall the picture of Gordon that hung at 221B Baker Steet. In 1899, on the high tide of Imperialism, the Sudan was reconquered by Lord Kitchener, with a young Winston Churchill along. The large army of the Mahdî's successor, the Khalifa, was mowed down with machine guns.

One of the great English political issues of the later 19th century was Irish Home Rule. The Irish Parliament had been dissolved in 1801 and Irish members elected to the British Parliament. Catholic emancipation in 1829 even meant that Irish Catholics could be elected to Parliament. However, the Parliamentary program of the Irish Members quickly became Irish independence. William Gladstone's Liberal government fell over a Home Rule Bill for Ireland in 1886 (having just returned to power after the fiasco of the Sudan), splitting the Liberal Party into Home Rule and Unionist factions. After a second Home Rule Bill was defeated in the House of Lords, Gladstone resigned in 1894 from his fourth and last ministry. A Home Rule Bill was finally passed in 1914, but its suspension for World War I resulted in open Irish rebellion in 1916 and years of terrorism by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). When Irish independence came, it was compromised by partition, as the Protestants of Ulster secured a separate regime for themselves. The "Red Hand of Ulster" flag was official until the Ulster Parliament was itself abolished in 1972, in British response to the "troubles" in Northern Ireland, which began with Catholic civil rights demonstrations in 1968 and expanded into IRA bombings and Protestant retaliation. Although several peace plans have been formally accepted by Britain, the Irish Republic, and most factions in Ulster, it is not clear that the situation is anywhere near real resolution. The recent economic awaking of the Irish Republic itself may help undercut some of the basically Marxist inspiration of the IRA (which was always illegal in the Irish Republic).

Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Windsor)
Edward VII1901-1910Prime Ministers
Arthur J. Balfour1902-1905
Sir Henry
Herbert H. Asquith1908-1916
George V1910-1936
Third Home Rule Bill, 1914;
World War I, 1914-1918
David Lloyd George1916-1919/
Irish Easter Rebellion, 1916;
Irish Rebellion, 1919-1921;
Irish Free State, 1921
Occupation of Constantinople,
Andrew Bonar Law1922-1923
J. Ramsay MacDonald1924,
Stanley Baldwin1923-1924,
Edward VIII1936
Women's Suffrage, 1928
George VI1936-1952Neville Chamberlain1937-1940
Winston S. Churchill1940-1945,
Clement R. Attlee1945-1950/
Partition of India,
Independence of India
& Pakistan, 1947;
Independence of Ceylon, 1948
Elizabeth II1952-presentSir Anthony Eden1955-1957
Harold Macmillan1957-1959/
Sir Alec Douglas-Hume1963-1964
Harold Wilson1964-1970,
Edward Heath1970-1974
James Callaghan1976-1979
Margaret Thatcher1979-1983/
John Major1990-1992/
Tony Blair1997-2001/
Gordon Brown2007-2010
David Cameron2010-2016
Vote to Leave European Union, 2016
Teresa May2016
Queen Victoria was of the House of Hanover, which actually meant the much more ancient House of Welf. This Welf descent of Victoria can be examined on a
popup. She then married Albert of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. There was nothing awkward about this at the time, since Victoria herself was from German noblity and Britain had been an ally of Prussia since the Seven Years War. The children and descendants of Victoria and Albert then married into most of (it seems) the royalty of contemporary Europe. This can be inspected in part on the genealogies above and below, but the whole story can be seen on a popup. Albert's German origin eventually became something of an embarrassment when Britain and Germany went to war in 1914. As anti-German feeling rose, George V adopted the name "Windsor" for the Royal Family. The future Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip of Greece, who renounced his claims to the Greek Throne and adopted his mother's family name, "Mountbatten." The Mountbattens were another German family, the Battenbergs, that had also changed its name in Britain during World War I. Charles, the present Prince of Wales, would thus be the first King of the House of Mountbatten. Charles regarded the World War II hero, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, his great-uncle, as his "honorary grandfather." Queen Elizabeth has indicated her preference that it be styled the House of "Windsor-Mountbatten"; but what Charles calls it, when and if he becomes King, is presumably up to him.

In one line, Queen Elizabeth II is in the 40th generation from Charlemagne. This can be examined in a popup. In the male line, Elizabeth is from Saxony (hence "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha"), which is the House of Wettin. Her grandfathers back to Burchard, Duke of Thuringia (907-909), can be examined on this popup. This only covers 34 generations, failing to reach back to Charlemagne by about a century. It may only be 33 generations, because of an uncertainty about whether there was a second "Thimo" at the beginning of the 12th century. Elizabeth's descent can also be traced back to the Macedonian Dynasty of Romania. This is often said to mean that she descends from the founder of the Dynasty, the Emperor Basil I. However, I can only verify a line that begins with the Imperial in-law, Constantine IX Monomachus, as can be seen on this popup. We get 31 geneations from Constantine, or 32 if we go by way of Mary Queen of Scots. Surprisingly, this line of descent also includes King Harold II of England, who was killed at Hastings by William the Conqueror. We thus do not expect Harold to be an ancestor of subsequent monarchs of England. However, Harold's daughter Gytha married Vladimir II of Kiev, through whom the descent from Constantine passes.

Charles's private life, like many earlier Royals (George IV, Edward VIII), has served to stain his image. His 1981 marriage to Lady Diana Spencer, a cousin of Winston Churchill, seems to have been arranged mainly to procure a virgin. They never looked quite right together and ended up with an actual divorce in 1996. Later it turned out that almost simultaneously with the wedding Charles was falling in love with someone else. This was Camilla Shand, who had married in 1973 and become Camilla Parker-Bowles. Camilla also divorced in 1996. Unfortunately, Diana, sweet and glamorous, and always a darling of the media, was killed in an auto accident in 1997. With the taudry details of the Camilla-Charles affair, and the tragedy of Diana's death, this rather cast a pall over the whole business. There was also the problem of Charles marrying a divorcée, the very thing that had cost Edward VIII the Throne. Nevertheless, people, and the Queen, got used to the idea, and Charles and Camilla married in 2005. With their luck, the wedding had to be postponed a day because the funeral of Pope John Paul II. At their age, we are not likely to expect children from Charles and Camilla, so the throne will actually pass to Diana's son William, a handsome and golden boy with more the cast of his mother than his father. Some think that Charles should renounce the Throne in William's favor.

In 2011, William has now married a commoner, Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton. William and Catherine have been involved for some years and have even gone through a break-up and reconciliation. Hopefully this means that they are a proper, loving couple, unlike Charles and Diana, and will have a successful marriage. Although already balding, William still has an appealing look, and he and the lovely Kate make a handsome couple. If they come to the throne at a reasonable age, the Monarchy will at least have a very good look for the Press. If they represent the Line of Succession, this will now go back in patrilineal descent, by way of Greece and Denmark, to the early Counts of Oldenburg. This can be examined in a popup. As discussed, this line has been renamed more than once, twice to adopt the matrilineal houses, of Mountbatten and then Windsor.

By the 1970's, Britain was being called by some the "Sick Man of Europe," on analogy to the 19th century Ottoman Empire (a bitter irony, since British policy in the 19th century had succeeded in preventing the Empire from being overthrown by Egypt or conquered by Russia). The main problem was the "British Disease," namely labor unions which absolutely froze innovation in industries and which perpetuated money losing government industries, like coal, which had been nationalized by the Laborites after World War II. Britain was turning into a stagnant Soviet kind of economy. Margaret Thatcher, the "Iron Lady," came to office and completely turned this around, actually breaking unions and privatizing state industries. What used to be the industrial heartland of England, in the North, became a Rust Belt, and the South became the center of growth, innovation, and Tory voting strength. Thatcher became the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century, only to be deposed through an internal Party coup. The work was left unfinished, with welfare state white elephants, like the National Health Service, left untouched, though even now British unemployment is far from the double digits familiar in Euro-socialist France and Germany. The bland and supine John Major could live off Thatcherite capital for another seven years, until well earned electoral catastrophe in 1997. The Labor Party, which had been openly and insanely pro-Soviet in the 1980's, has been transformed into a close copy of Bill Clinton's dissimulating, Trojan Horse Democratic Party, whereby socialistic goals could be masked with simple paternalism -- which means, appallingly, that paternalism now appeals to both American and British voters. Nevertheless, like Clinton, Blair has done a creditable job of keeping the British economy in reasonable shape, poised between booming Ireland and stagnant France. Despite brief furry over high gasoline prices, which in Britain cannot be blamed on private "corporate greed" (prices are fixed by the government, despite North Sea oil, at the second highest rate in the world, almost twice the world average), Blair was resoundingly reelected in 2001 and the Conservatives reduced to a rump.

The collapse of the Conservatives curiously coincides with the social consequences of decades of "progressive" policy in Britain. One aspect of this can be found in Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dalrymple [Ivan R. Dee, Inc., 2001], where the irresponsibility and criminality encouraged and subsidized by the welfare state is exposed by a psychiatrist who works in a Birmingham hospital and prison. One hardly knows whether to laugh or cry at the tales of violence, folly, and hopelessness. Especially striking is the tale that young hoodlums who tattoo themselves with swastikas often don't even know who the Nazis were, what they did, or when -- the product of the kind of politicized but incompetent government education also familiar in the United States. The British, who once were famous for a polite, civil, and non-violent society, now are among the leaders of the industrial world in crime and are especially well known for the rude and riotous soccer fans who regularly terrorize European cities that host games.

British crime now outpaces the United States in all categories except murder, though that category is growing rapidly. In tandem with the willingness of criminals to commit crimes, and the ideological disinclination of the state to punish them, has been the project of disarming the citizenry. This is examined in Guns and Violence: The English Experience by Joyce Lee Malcolm [Harvard University Press, 2002]. While before the early 20th century, when the murder rate had been declining steadily since the Middle Ages, there were really no gun control laws in England, and killing a person who was in the commission of a felony was justifiable homicide, now the British have not only been prohibited from owning guns, or even carrying "offensive" [i.e. defensive] weapons, but they have effectively been deprived altogether of the right of self-defense -- the kind of right that English law and philosophers had always said a person could not be deprived of. Yet now, there has been one case of a man sentenced to prison for having a couple of knives in his car -- which he used to cut the string on newspaper bundles as part of his job. In another case, a homeowner who held two burglars with a toy gun was arrested when the police arrived, for threatening and frightening the burglars.

Guns, thoroughly prohibited, now are involved in an increasing percentage of crime, as they are apparently smuggled in from elsewhere. Australia has experienced a similar dynamic after new draconian restrictions on gun ownership. The results of these "progressive" social experiments in Britain (and Australia) stand as a cautionary tale in the face of welfare statists and gun-control advocates in the United States. Since there has been little in the way of second thoughts on the part of such advocates either in Britain or America, it becomes more obvious that their agenda follows more from a desire to render citizens helpless and the state powerful than from their own stated purposes.

One response to the increase in crime has been to propose abolishing historic protections concerning double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and even habeas corpus. These unbelievably vile proposals certainly further the project of creating a police state, and so are fully consistent with the tendency of earlier attacks on rights of armed self-defense. Whether they effectively address crime is perhaps irrelevant. If that were really the concern, well, we know what the laws were like in Britain when crime was steadily declining for decades. Restoring them is not an option, not because they didn't work, but because they give too much power to citizens vis à vis the state.

In 2018, for the first time ever, the murder rate in London has surpassed that of New York City. This wasn't even mainly due to guns, but to an increase in the use of knives -- such as the knives used by a terrorist to stab people on Westminster Bridge. As we might imagine, one British politician has consquently proposed a systematic dulling of kitchen knives in all of Britain. Perhaps knife sharpening will rate a life sentence. This serves to highlight the truth that "progressive" politics doesn't want to acknowledge, that crime is a cultural phenonomen, and not a function of the availability of weapons -- which is why crimes rates among people from India in Britain are far higher among Muslims than among Hindus, a very uncomfortable truth that the bien pensants treat as bigotry and slander. In the United States, crime went up in the '60's as gun laws began to be passed. Crime eventually went down, especially in States that had no restrictions on non-criminals owning guns and that even provided for "shall issue" conceal carry laws, which allowed any non-criminal to carry a concealed weapon. Crime in Britian has stealing increased, as noted, under a regime of virtual firearm prohibition. Yet in the age of Sherlock Holmes, when there were no guns laws, and Holmes would instruct Watson to carry a concealed weapon as they would go out on a dangerous case, crime was declining steadily. Yet we also know from the Holmes stories that it was a crime to be in possession of "housebreaking tools," which seems rather vague.

The official residence of the Prime Minister of Britain is the apparetnly modest house at 10 Downing Street. When I was first in London in 1970, I wandered down there, and found the scene in the photo at right. We see no more than a couple of police officers outside the door. Two young tourists, my impression was that they were Americans, asked me why everyone was standing around looking at that door. They didn't know that this was where the Prime Minister lived.

When I returned to London with my wife in 2005, all of Downing Street was blocked off with iron gates, and the police presence involved more people than I would have thought of counting. We could not even get within sight of the door of 10 Downing Street. The difference, of course, was Terrorism, where fanatical Jihadists in Beirut, Israel, and elsewhere had adopted the tactic of suicide attacks, first with vehicles full of explosives, later with concealed suicide vests. Consequently, public buildings began to be fortified. In the United States, the White House became surrounded with concrete barriers and closed streets, gravely altering the feel of the City. A later tactic was for a terrorist just to drive a vehicle through crowds on sidewalks or, at it happens, closed streets. Now, from London to New York, barriers of concrete and steel posts protect sidewalks and other pedestrian ways -- especially after incidents of lunatics, not just terrorists, using the tactic.

Although for many years looking like the Bill Clinton of Britain (without the philandering and perjury), Tony Blair, with a moderate but pious leftism, found himself in the uncomfortable position of the loyal ally of George W. Bush in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. After the 9/11 attacks Blair, indeed, did not want to join France (again) and Germany in appeasing what was shaping up as a new form of fascism in militant Islam -- a fascism already waging war on the cheap through international terrorism. Blair was not going to be the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century. This was a wise thought, but as no good deed goes unpunished, it made Blair the target, along with Bush, of the fury of the Left, which has effectively become the ally of Islamic fanaticism -- the marriage of anti-globalization and the Sharî'ah. While this threatened to end Blair's career, things had been looking up since the reelection of John Howard in Australia and Bush himself in the 2004 Presidential election. The ire of the Left has not abated, but they were playing a poor hand. Now Blair has won reelection in 2005, though with a reduced majority, against muddled Conservatives and an anti-war Labour opposition some of whose members, it now appears, had been receiving money from Saddam Hussein.

Where Britain originated the Industrial Revolution and became the "workshop of the world" in the 19th century, its decline since then has been out of proportion to its decline in resources. Perhaps no one expects Britain to be a "superpower" when there are states, like America, Russia, China, etc., that are vastly larger. Yet the British economy actually is larger than that of Russia or China -- and still about three times larger than the former Imperial Crown Jewel of India. Where Britain suffers by comparison is with its European peers, like Germany, France, and Italy, which differ little in size and resources. It suffers by being so comparable, having lost any of the real moral, cultural, legal, and political advantage it had at the height of the Victorian Era.

Well, most of the problem is that people no longer believe in the advantages of the Victorian Era, i.e. the classical liberalism -- free markets as well as social tolerance -- articulated in the course of Britain's ascendency by people like Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Herbert Spencer. In a way, they didn't even believe it at the time. After all, being "in trade" is not something the ambitious Englishman ever really aspired to. Being a member of the "better sort," a "gentleman," meant not having a regular trade or profession and having a living off of rents or endowments.

Nothing shows this more clearly than the old meanings of "amateur" and "professional," which originally signified the disinterested (good) and the mercenary (bad), respectively, rather than the incompetent (bad) and the accomplished (good) as they do now. Capitalist Britain thus always suffered from an internal struggle between utility and privilege. The British class system was not essentially a Marxist polarity of workers and capitalists, for real industrialists and financiers were themselves members of the "working class" to those who did not need to make a profit or put in a working day to make a living. A proper "living" made itself.

To those who barely knew how to make a living, whether like the indigent and parasitic Karl Marx or the genuinely privileged, society would be better off without the money grubbers and drudges (and, well, Jews) whose motives and methods where probably neither noble nor, they imagined, really necessary. The class that made Britain so unique and powerful thus was squeezed between the disdain of the "better sort" and the resentment of those who understood neither business, production, nor finance but thought that they understood it well enough to do without. The class that made the Industrial Revolution was not squeezed out of existence, to be sure, but it lost the respect and admiration it was owed.

Now one often aspires to better oneself merely through politics, the continuing poisonous modern fruit of Rousseau, the French Revolution, and Marx, or by dropping out into the uncouth, nihilistic, anarchistic riot evident among Britain's notorious soccer fans and their ilk. The bourgeois solidity and earnestness of the Victorian Era now is commonly taken as either sinister or a joke, but sadly the joke is only on modern Britain, which has lost its birthright.

In the 2010 election, Labour had definitely worn out its welcome, but the Conservatives tried to get by with vague generalities. But then it didn't help Labour when Gordon Brown called an old lady a "bigot" (into what he thought was a dead mike) just because she asked a question about immigration. The wild card turned out to be the Liberal Democrats, whose leader, Nicholas Clegg, made the Labour and Conservative leaders look bad in the debates that were held between them. Clegg's appeal may have been instrumental in denying both Labour and the Conservatives a majority in the new Parliament. With a plurality of the seats, Conservative David Cameron has become Prime Minister, but in coalition with Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. The origin of the Liberal Democrats was itself in a coalition between the venerable Liberal Party, which hasn't had a Prime Minister since 1922, and the Social Democrats, who split off from Labour in the 1980's, when that Party had essentially become pro-Soviet. That in itself may have been an example of what we might call "Thatcher Derangement Syndrome," where Mrs. Thatcher's success drove the Leftist opposition insane -- not unlike the "Bush (now Trump) Derangement Syndrome" that has recently turned the American Democratic Party into a kind of pro-Soviet, pro-Islamic Terrorist, and anti-American party itself (which unfortunately obtained power in both the Presidency and the Congress in 2008 and has been able to implement its vicious socialist agenda). What effect the Liberal Democrats will have on the conduct of the Government remains to be seen. With its Social Democrat element, it is not a pure Classical Liberal influence. Either way, some conflict can be expected with the Conservatives.

Perifrancia Index

The Bricks of London

The Children of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert

Descent of Queen Elizabeth from Charlemange

Male Descent of Queen Elizabeth from Burchard of Thuringia

Descent of Queen Elizabeth from the Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus

Archbishops of Canterbury

Earls of Orkney

Kings & Lords of the Isles

Earls of Orkney

Kings of York

The Danelaw

Kings of Dublin

Kings and Lords of Man

Dukes of Buccleuch, Grafton, & St. Albans, 1663-Present

Dukes of Marlborough & Earls of Spencer, 1702/1765-Present

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The Kings of Bohemia , Poland , and Hungary , 845-1795

Last month in Prague, Czechoslovakia, a brewery worker climbed on to a platform to address his fellow workers with words that will serve as the most eloquent summation of this decade. Zdenek Janicek said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

It is not surprising to discover that a citizen of Czechoslovakia has been carrying in his heart the words that Jefferson wrote in 1776. For people around the world have just spent 10 years discovering the value and the excitement of independence.

The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 1989

By the year 1000, the Slavic kingdoms of Bohemia-Moravia, Poland, and Croatia and the Magyar kingdom of Hungary, had all become sufficiently organized and Christianized to enter European history. The earliest organization visible may be that of the Czechs under Samo (c.623-658), who succeeded in defeating the Franks (631). This state disintegrated with his death, however.
Kings of Great Moravia
Mojmir I830-846
Mojmir II894-906
More important was the Kingdom of Great Moravia under Sviatopluk (870-894). The King was converted to Christianity by the
Romanian missionaries Sts. Cyril (Constantine, 827-869) and Methodius (826-885), who invented an alphabet to write this first attested Slavic language. The alphabet was originally the "glagolitic" script, which was, however, gradually replaced by the familiar "Cyrillic" alphabet, which was adapted from existing alphabets, mainly Greek but also Armenian. The tradition arose that the latter script was the one originated by St. Cyril -- hence the name. Before long, of course, the Czechs shifted allegiance to Rome (which brought with it the Latin alphabet), and it was Bulgaria that established Eastern Christianity and used the new alphabet. Great Moravia did not long survive Sviatopluk. The Kingdom disintegrated after a defeat by the Magyars (at the urging of the Franks) in 906 and subsequently becomes a dependency of the Dukes of Bohemia.

When the Latin alphabet was adopted for the languages of Catholic Eastern Europe, there was the problem that the Slavic, Baltic, and Uralic languages of the area had phonetic systems that were not well represented by the alphabet. Where the Cyrillic alphabet had been created to write Slavic languages, the Latin alphabet had to be reworked to do the job. The principal challenge in the Slavic languages is the difference between "hard" and "soft," i.e. palatalized, consonants. In Russian, with the Cyrillic alphabet, two complete sets of vowels are used, one to go with the hard consonants, the other with the soft. For instance, the famous backwards "R", , read "ya," is simply the vowel "a" but also indicates that the preceding consonant is soft. Where a vowel doesn't come after a consonant, as at the end of a word, two unpronounced letters are used, to indicate a hard consonant, a soft one -- the former is now rarely used, a hard consonant being assumed without the use of the soft signs. In the Latin alphabet, nothing anywhere near as elegant or systematic was formulated. Instead we get a combination of dedicated vowels, diacritics, and digraphs to indicate the varieties of consonants. The most distinctive diacritic is the , a wedge or upsidedown circumflex placed, in different languages, on top of a c, s, z, t, d, n, or r -- these are usually "soft" consonants. The term is from Czech, which uses the hachek the most (though the spelling in English of "Czech" uses a Polish digraph!), but it is widespread in the languages of the area. It isn't used in Hungarian, which is not even an Indo-European language, but Uralic -- note "Mohacs," the battle where King Louis II was killed by the Turks in 1526, is pronounced "Mô-hach." Surprisingly, the hachek isn't used in Polish, which is the Slavic language with the largest number of speakers in Francia (44 million as of 2000). The chart at left is a sample of consonants with special values, diacritics, and digraphs in various Eastern European languages. Vowels in these languages are also dense with diacritics, but these are at least comparable, and often identical, with those used in French, German, and other Western and Northern European languages. A frustration of doing this webpage is that basic HTML codes, although accommodating Western European languages, even Old English, have no provision for Eastern diacritics. Also, there are many historical sources that don't bother giving full diacritics, especially for Polish. Note that Croatian is the same language as Serbian, but that Serbian is written in the Cyrillic alphabet and spoken by Serbs, who are Orthdox rather than Catholic and historically part of Romania rather than Francia.

Dukes & Kings of Croatia
Trpimir Ic.845-864
Tomislav I910-924
Trpimir II928-c.935
Kresimir Ic.935-c.945
Kresimir IIc.945-c.969
Kresimir III997-1030
Stephen 1030-1058
Kresimir IV1058-1074
Dimitar Zvonimir1075-1089
Stephen II1089-1091
to Hungary, 1097

The first durable state and kingdom in the East is that of Croatia, which was part of the Carolingian empire, revolting against it in 818. This contact, however, and the convenient situation for commerce on the Adriatic, enabled Croatia to develop a bit faster than the hinterland; and when Tomislav I accepted a crown from the Pope in 924, he created the first permanent Kingdom in Eastern Europe. Croatia, however, was not fated to endure on its own. Internal divisions tempted the Hungarians, who conquered the Kingdom in 1091, leaving it under the local rulers until the failure of the dynastic line. Meanwhile, Venice had conquered Dalmatia (1000), but the Hungarians retrieved it (1095-1102), beginning a long historical tug-of-war between the two states. Hungary (1001), Poland (1025), and Bohemia (1086, 1156) followed Croatia in becoming permanent Kingdoms.

Early Poland contended with the Germans for the intermediate territories (Lusatia and even Bohemia) but later steadily lost ground to the German move to the East, and to Bohemia, though in recent time much of this territory was abruptly recovered thanks to Soviet dispensation at the end of World War II. Pagan holdouts Prussia and Latvia were conquered and converted by the Teutonic Knights. By the 14th century, the last pagan holdout in Europe, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, finally converted and by a historic marriage joined its fate to Poland.

Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia form a natural unit as they often had ruling dynasties in common. Later, however, the intermarriage of these dynasties with those of Francia, and the Polish election of kings from Francia, delivered the kingdoms to external possession. The Hapsburgs ended up in permanent possession of Bohemia-Moravia and Hungary (until World War I), while Poland was surrounded and devoured by Prussia, Austria, and Russia. Bohemia, with a large German population, came to be considered part of Germany, and the King of Bohemia became an Elector of the Holy Roman Emperor. When Bohemia and Moravia then passed to the Hapsburgs, the King of Bohemia typically was also the actual Holy Roman Emperor. The Germans of Bohemia are now gone, since Hitler used them as a pretext to occupy Czechoslovakia in 1938, and they were expelled after World War II (something that has come back to haunt the Czech Republic as it seeks to join the European Union, since the Union would not recognize the legality of such expulsions).

2. Bans & Kings of Bosnia
BoricBan (viceroy),
to Romania, 1163-1180
Matthew Ninoslav1232-c.1253
Prijezda I Kotromanic1254-1287
Prijezda II1287-1290
Stephen I1267-1302,
d. 1313
Mladen I Subic1302-1304
Mladen II1304-1322
Stephen II
Tvrtko I1353-1376
Stephen III Dabisa1391-1395
Helena the Crude1395-1398
Stephen IV Ostoja1398-1404,
Tvrtko II1404-1409,
Stephen V Ostojic1418-1421
Stephen VI Thomas1443-1461
Stephen VII
Ottoman conquest, 1463
The territory of Bosnia was originally occupied by Serbo-Croatian speakers and came under
Roman control in the 11th century. After the collapse of that authority at the end of the century, the area became independent again. As Serbia passed into independence and temporary power, Bosnia, however, like Croatia, came under the control of Hungary. Briefly retrieved by Romania, it returned to Hungarian suzerainty, under its own ban or viceroy, but then drifted in and out of Hungarian control. This finally meant complete independence as a Kingdom in 1376, just as Serbia had experienced its first defeat by the Turks (1371). This didn't leave Bosnia much time until the Turkish conquest. The modern mixed population of Catholics, Moslems, and Orthodox Christians in Bosnia still testifies to its intermediate and ambiguous position between Francia, Romania, and Islâm. The worst strife in the breakup of Yugoslavia, with the Serbs against Catholics (Croats) and Moslems (Bosniacs), and then Serbs and Catholics both against Moslems, resulted from these divisions. Only UN Peacekeeping forces restrain the communities now. Herzegovina ("free duchy") began as a dependency, sometimes less than dependent, of Bosnia. The two have generally been treated as one territory since the Turkish conquest.

A genealogy of some of the Kotromanic Bosnian Bans, with marriages to Serbian and German royalty and nobility is given at right. By way of Cilly, this even leads to Elizabeth of Hungary, who marries into the Hapsburgs. Further marriage connections extend to Poland, Serbia, the Palaeologi, and even the Ottomans. The connections and doings of the Austrian House of Cilly in the region are of great interest. These end up with Ulrich II, who for a while is appointed by the Emperor Albert II to be Regent of Bohemia, and then in 1456 forces himself, against János Hunyadi (Iancu of Hunedoara in Romanian), Prince of Transylvania, as Regent of Hungary for Albert's son, Ladislas Postumus. This doesn't last long, since he is soon killed by Matthias Corvinus, Hunyadi's son and King of Hungary after 1458. These connections thus involve a great deal of the history of the region in the era.

Dukes or Princes
of Transylvania,
Hungarian Suzerainty
Lorand Lepes1415-1438
János Hunyadi
(Iancu of
Regent of
Prince of
to Ottoman Empire,
John Zapolya1526-1540
King of
John Sigismund1540-1571
Gasnar Bekesy1571-1572
Polish Occupation,
Christopher Bathory1576-1581
Michael the Brave1600-1600,
Moyses Szekely1602-1603
Austrian Occupation,
Stephen Bocskai1605-1606
Sigismund Rakoczi1607-1608
Gabriel Bathory1608-1613
Gabriel Bethlen1613-1629
Stephen Bethlen1630
George Rakoczy I1630-1648
George Rakoczy II1648-1660
Achatius Bocskai1658-1660
Johann Kemeny1661-1662
Michael Apafi I1661-1690
Emerich Tokoli1682-1699
Michael Apafi II1690-1699
to Austria-Hungary,
Francis Rakoczy1704-1711
to România, 1919
Transylvania ("beyond the forest"), although largely Romance speaking, was historically part of Hungary. The history of the ethnic composition of the region is still hotly
disputed by Hungarian and Romanian historians. Largely surrounded by mountains, the plateau of Transylvania, Dacia to the Romans, was relatively isolated and protected from the grassy lowlands around it, which were the avenues of incursion from the Steppe. Although certainly the name most commonly associated with Transylvania, one will search the list of Princes in vain for (Count) Dracula, who was actually the much earlier Prince Vlad III of Wallachia. The Ottoman conquest of Hungary in 1526 brought the area under Turkish control, although it was then largely ruled through appointed Princes, as were Wallachia and Moldavia. When the Turks were expelled in 1699 by the Hapsburgs, Transylvania was then ruled again from Hungary, without the device of local Princes. It passed to România after World War I and, except for a part returned to Hungary by Hitler, has remained there ever since.

The small map of Eastern Europe above also shows the "Catholic Russias," meaning parts of Belorussia and the Ukraine. They acquired that religious character through long possession by Lithuania and union with Poland and were recovered for Russia first by the Tsars and then again, after another period of rule by Poland (1920-1939), by the Soviet Union (in the coordinated invasion and partition of Poland by Hitler and Stalin). Those who have held to their Catholicism have been troubled both under the Tsars and under the Communists.
Grand Dukes of
Viten /
Ivan I
of Moscow
Olgierd /
Jogaila /
converts to Christianty;
marries Jadwiga; becomes
Wladyslaw V of Poland
Vytautas /
the Great
regent, 1392
Grand Duke
defeated by Crimean Tartars at River Vorskla, 1399
Duchy passes to
Casimir IV

At right are the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. Mindaugas converted to Christianity and received a crown from the Pope, but he reverted to paganism in 1259, in support of a pagan revolt against the Teutonic Knights. Lithuania then continued to resist conversion for over a century, in part because of the sort of religious no-man's-land that it represented between the Catholic West and the Russian Orthodox East. We unfortunately know little about what its religion was like, though sacred woods, as among the Celts, seem prominent. As the power of the Golden Horde declined, Lithuania was the power to take the most advantage of it, expanding vigorously into the Ukraine. Jagiello converted to Christianity with his marriage to the Anjevian heiress of Poland, Jadwiga. He ended up ceding Lithuania proper to his cousin Vytautas. But both of them were present at the catastrophic defeat of the Teutonic Knights at Tannenberg in 1410. This represented a major change in the balance of power and held the promise of a dominant position in Eastern Europe. When Vytautas's brother Zygmunt (Sigismund) was murdered in 1440, uniting Poland and Lithuania, this produced a large powerful country, but over time the promise slipped away in the chaotic "Republican" institutions of Poland. The final conversion of Lithanuania rounds off the Christianization of Europe.

With each of the domains in Eastern Europe, the word for "duke" would have ambiguities similar to what we find with the Russian word knyaz, . This is certainly the case with Lithuanian, where kunigaikshtis can be translated either "prince" or "duke." In Transylvania the prince/duke was called voivode. This is no longer used in either Hungarian (where the familiar Germanic herceg now does for both, but formerly we had vajda) or Romanian (Latinate print, and duce respectively, formerly voievod). It was Slavic, and it turns up, in whole or part, in surrounding Slavic languages. Thus, in Croatian vojvoda is "duke" and voða "leader"; in Slovak, vodca is "leader," vojna "war," and vojak "soldier"; in Polish, przy-wódca is "leader." Voivode thus scans as "war" (voi) "leader" (vode) -- very much like the structure of German herzog, which looks like a translation of Greek stratêlatês, , as discussed elsewhere. This would translate Latin dux in both primary ("leader"), secondary ("frontier military commander"), and tertiary ("ethnic/tribal chieftain") senses. There is also a quaternary sense, were voivode declines to merely meaning "governor." This seems to have happened in Polish, which still contains the term województwo, translated as "voivodeship," i.e. "province." Most interesting, however, is the entry in the Concise Oxford Russian Dictionary (Paul Falla, Oxford University Press, 1984, 1998, p.41) for voyevoda, , "(hist.) voivode (commander of an army in medieval Russia; also, in Muscovite period, governor of a town or province)." Thus, while voivode begins as an equivalent to dux and takes on the sovereign associations that go with the ambiguity of knyaz words in Eastern Europe, the decline of Principalities like Transylvania, Wallachia, and Moldavia to the status of provinces, brings down the word with them.

In Poland and Hungary, conversion to Christianity brought with it a royal crown from the Pope. Bohemia, as it became part of the East Frankish Kingdom, qualified less obviously for its own status as a Kingdom, which came later. In Poland, the royal title came and went for a while, with concessions to German sovereignty. With each of these, however, the word for "king" is noteworthy. In Czech it is král, in Polish król, and in Hungarian király. Similarly, in Croatian it is kralj, in Slovakian král', in Russian korol, , and in Lithuanian karalius. We see the word in Greek, [králês], written on Hungary's Sacred Crown of St. Stephen, the lower part of which, the Corona Graeca, was obtained by King Béla III, who had spent some years in Constantinople. A version of the Hungarian word was used in Greek, just as Latin rex, , was used for Western kings, because the Greek word for "king," , was used in Mediaeval Greek to mean the Roman Emperor. Just as the Latin name Caesar gives us the word for "emperor" in many of these languages (and in German), here it looks like Carolus Magnus, Charlemagne, has given us the word for "king." Since the Slavic languages had not diverged very much in the 9th century, the title could have been borrowed into all of them virtually simultaneously, and then into Hungarian (which isn't Slavic, or even Indo-European) when the Magyars arrived.

The background colors in the table below (not above, except for Lithuania) are coded for dynasties rather than countries, since the overlapping of rulers is one of the conspicuous features of the histories of Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland. In the genealogical charts, however, red is used for Poland, green for Hungary, and blue for Bohemia. Note that "Wenceslas" and "Ladislas" are the Latin versions of, respectively, Václav in Czech and László in Hungarian (or Wladyslaw in Polish).

Duke & Kings of
Bohemia & Moravia
Dukes & Kings of HungaryDukes & Kings of Poland
Borzivoi I
Spytihniev I895-c.905/15ÁrpádDuke, Prince,
or Voivode,
Vratislav I905/15-921Zoltan907-946
St. Václav,
Wenzel (I)
Boleslav I the Gruesome929/35-967/72Tacsony952-972Piasts
Boleslav II the Pious967/73-999Geza972-997Mieszko I PiastDuke,
Boleslav III the Red999-1002,
1003, d.1037
St. Stephen I997-1001Boleslaw I
the Brave
King, 1025
Boleslav the Brave of Poland1003-1004,
Duke of
Mieszko II1025-1031,
Brzetislav I1034-1055Peter Urseolo1038-1041,
Samuel Aba1041-1044, d.1046Kazimierz I /
Casimir I
the Restorer
Spytihnev II1055-1061Andrew I1047-1061
Bela I1061-1063Rebellion, anti-German & Pagan, 1034; suppressed, 1038-1043
Vratislav II1061-1085;
Solomon1063-1074Boleslaw II
the Bold
Geza I1074-1077
St. Ladislas I1077-1095Wladyslaw I
Conrad I OttoDuke, 1092Coloman
1095-1114Boleslaw III
Brzetislav II1092-1100
Borzivoi II1100-1107,
Stephen II1114-1131
Svatopluk1107-1109Pomerania vassal of
Poland, 1121
Vladislav I1109-1117,
Bela II1131-1141Wladyslaw II
the Exile
Sobieslav I Udalrich1125-1140Geza II1141-1162Boleslaw IV
the Curly
Vladislav II1140-1158;
Ladislas II1162-1163
Stephen III1162-1172
Stephen IV1163-1165
Bela III1172-1196
Sobieslav II1173-1178,
Mieszko III
the Old
Conrad II Otto1189-1191
Wenceslas (II)1191-1192
Ottokar, Otakar I1192-1193,
Emeric1196-1204Kazimierz II
the Just
Henry BrzetislavBishop of Prague,
Ladislas III1204-1205Leszek I
the White
Vladislav III Henry1197Andrew II1205-1235Wladyslaw III
Václav, Wenzel, Wenceslas I (II)King,
Bela IV1235-1270Henryk I
the Bearded
of Silesia
Henryk II
the Pious
Mongols defeat Poles & Teutonic Knights at Liegnitz, April 1241
Konrad I
Ottokar, Otakar II
the Great
1253-1278; Königsberg, Prussia, founded in his honor, 1255

Mongols crush Hungarians at the River Sajó, April 1241; occupy Hungary, 1241-1242Boleslaw V
the Chaste
Stephen V1270-1272Leszek II
the Black
Henryk IV
Ladislas IV1272-1290Przemyslaw1290-1295,
Wenceslas II (III)
1278-1305Andrew III
last Arpad
1290-1301Wenceslas II
of Bohemia
Wenceslas III (IV)1305-1306,
last Przemysl
Wenceslas III
of Bohemia
Rudolf of Hapsburg1306-1307Otto (III)
of Bavaria
Henry of
1307-1310Charles I
of Anjou
1308-1342Wladyslaw IV
the Short
John of Luxemburg1310-1346Kasimierz III /
Casimir III
the Great --
last Piast
Charles I
Emperor, IV
Emperor, 1347-1378
1342-1382Louis I the Great
Wenceslas IV, Wenzel1378-1419, Emperor, uncrowned 1378-1400Mary of Anjou;
Charles II
of Naples
1385-1386Jadwiga of Anjou
marries Jagiello
1419-1437, Emperor
Sigismund1387-1437Wladyslaw V Jagiello
Grand Duke of Lithuania
1437-1439Albert of Austria1437-1439Teutonic Knights
defeated at Tannenberg or Grunwald, 1410
1439-1457Ladislas I Posthumus,
Ladislas V of Hungary
Jagiello/Wladyslav VI
Crusade of Varna, János Hunyadi of Transylvania defeated, Vadislav killed by Murâd II, 1444
Jirzí Podebrady, George Podiebrad1459-1471Matthias Corvinus, Mátyás Korvin1458-1490Kazimierz,
Casimir IV
Grand Duke
of Lithuania, 1440
1471-1516Ladislas II/
Vladimir Jagiello
Ladislas VI of Hungary
1490-1516 Kiev sacked by Crimean Tartars, 1483
John I Albert1492-1501
Louis II of Hungary
Battle of Mohács, killed by Süleymân I, 1526Sigismund I1506-1548
1526-1564, Emperor, uncrowned 1558-1564Ferdinand of AustriaJohn Zapolya,
Duke of Transylvania
1527-1564Sigismund II Augustus1548-1572
Bohemia, Moravia, & Hungary continue
with the Hapsburgs, 1564-1918
Union of Poland
& Lithuania, 1569

Hungary is named after the Huns, who camped on the Hungarian plain in the 5th century. But the modern Hungarians are not Huns, they are Magyars, another steppe people speaking a Uralic language ultimately related to Finnish, Estonian, and other languages in Siberia. The Magyars arrived after being defeated by the Patzinaks in 892. They were encouraged by the Emperor Arnulf to attack Great Moravia, which they succeeded in overthrowing by 906. Unfortunately for the Franks, the Magyars then extended their attacks into Western Europe, adding to the misery of the "Second Dark Age" of that era, while the Vikings and Arabs raided from north and south. "Prince" is probably not the right title for the earliest leaders (I don't know if they used the Turko-Bulgarian khan), like the eponymous Árpád, but it became more appropriate after the Magyars were tamed by defeats at the hands of King Henry I at Riade in 933 and then especially by Otto I at Lechfield in 955. Soon Christianity and a royal crown from the Pope were brought to Hungary by St. Stephen, producing one of the great constituent Kingdoms of Francia. St. Stephen's sister even married a Doge of Venice, whose son then briefly succeeded Stephen. Some of the dates in the diagram are different from those in the table above. This reflects conflicts in the sources. The diagram also gives more of the Hungarian renderings of the names than in the table. The origin of the Bavarian, Bohemian, and Anjevian claims to the Hungarian throne are evident in the marriages shown.

My sources for some of the early material, especially Poland, show some conflicting information. Sorting out the Polish Kings has been a bit of a compromise, starting with Gene Gurney's Kingdoms of Europe [Crown Publishers, New York, 1982, pp. 521-522], and then expanding and correcting this list using Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski's Poland, A Historical Atlas [Dorset Press, New York, 1988, pp. 56-57], the Regentenlisten und Stammtafeln zur Geschischte Europas by Michael F. Feldkamp [Philpp Reclam, Stuttgart, 2002], and the Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln zur europäischen Geschichte, Volume I, Part 1, Deutsche Kaiser-, Königs-, Herzogs- und Grafenhäuser I [Andreas Thiele, Third Edition, R. G. Fischer Verlag, 1997, for Bohemia], and Volume II, Part 2, Europäiche Kaiser-, Königs- und Fürstenhäuser II Nord-, Ost- und Südeuropa [Andreas Thiele, R. G. Fischer Verlag, Second Edition, 1997, for Poland and Hungary]. I was able to fill some gaps in the line of the Dukes of Lithuania from Bruce R. Gordon's Regnal Chronologies. The Kings of Croatia come from The Cambridge Medieval History, Volume II, c.700-c.900 [Rosmond McKitterick, editor, Cambridge, 1995, p.862] and from Gordon, as do the Kings of Bosnia. The German sources frequently only give German or Germanized versions of the Slavic names, but the lack of diactrics in HTML often makes it impossible to accurately render the Slavic, especially Polish, names anyway. Appropriate diacritics can be shown in the genealogical diagrams.

The genealogical diagram above for Poland ends neatly where the diagram below begins, with Boleslaw III. For Bohemia there is more overlap -- some relatives who ruled briefly in the days of Frederick and Ottokar I are shown in table above but not below. After Boleslaw III, the succession of the Piasts is bewildering, as the Throne jumps from brother to brother and then cousin to cousin. This happens because the family actually divided up the country. The senior living dynast, ordinarily, is the one credited as being "Duke of Poland," but it did not affect the parts of the country directly ruled. For instance, all the Henryks were rulers of Silesia, regardless of where they figure in the succession. After this, the Premsyls get involved in Poland, and then the houses of Luxemburg and Anjou. Later, as the Premysl and Piast male lines end, we get the entry of the Hapsburgs and Jagiellans (from Lithuania). The Hapsburgs come and go and then come back, by the end to permanently acquire Bohemia and Hungary. Poland, with a sprinkling of in-laws or unrelated Kings, passes to the Vasa dynasty of Sweden. With the end of the Vasa Kings, the elective principle reigns supreme in Poland.

The Hapsburgs get their big break when the Jagiellan Louis II of Hungary is killed by the Turks in the Battle of Mohács in 1526 and his brother-in-law, Ferdinand of Austria, future Emperor and brother of the Emperor Charles V, pressed his claims to the kingdoms. The Hungarian monarchy had been undermined by the nobility just as in Poland, but the fruit of this for the Magyar Kingdom was catastrophic defeat and conquest by the Ottomans, rather than the slow dismemberment endured by the other Kingdom. The victory at Mohács was followed by a rapid Turkish advance on Vienna, which has put under an epic but unsuccessful siege in 1529. Bohemia had quickly accepted Ferdinand as King, but Hungary was divided between the Hapsburg and John Zapolya. Even in those circumstances, the Hungarians held off a total Ottoman conquest until 1541. Transylvania, like Wallachia and Moldavia, remained under nominal local autonomy until the Turks were driven out in 1699. The Ottoman occupation kept Hungary out of the mainstream of European development for a century and a half. It is hard to say even now much damage this may have done to the political, cultural, and economic development of the Kingdom.

In New York's Central Park there is an equestrian statue of Wladyslaw V Jagiello, the Grand Duke of Lithuania who converted to Catholicism, married the heiress Jadwiga of Poland, and defeated the Teutonic Knights. The statue is a good example of how modern nationalistic biases distort the understanding of history. The inscription on the statue states that Jagiello was the, "Founder of a Free Union of the Peoples of East Central Europe, Victor Over the Teutonic Aggressors at Grunwald [i.e. Tannenberg], July 15, 1410." How a dynastic marriage in a place and time where most people were serfs constitutes "a Free Union" of peoples is mysterious. The actual people of Poland and Lithuania had little to do with this. The invocation of freedom, however, is characteristic of nationalistic representations of the Polish State, where the privileges of the nobility, which crushed the people below and hamstrung the King above, are absurdly remembered as paradigms of the Rights and Liberties of Man. Furthermore, while his marriage and his victory were a great political coup for Jagiello, the Teutonic Knights were not "aggressors" in any comprehensible modern sense. The Knights and Poland together had withstood Lithuania when it was a pagan power engaged in the slaving and even the human sacrifice of Christians. The city of Königsberg, later the capital of the Knights and of Prussia, was named after Ottokar the Great of Bohemia to commemorate his participation in this Crusading effort to protect Christians and defeat the pagans. Although the Order of the Knights was indeed founded for Germans, because of a sense that the French and English dominated the Hospitallers and Templars, the actual Knights in their army were few, with most of the ranks filled with volunteers from all over Europe, including, of course, Poland. Thinking of the "Teutonic" army as Germans in the manner of the armies of the Kaiser or Hitler is grotesquely anachronistic and absurd -- although this conceit was certainly as much a device of later German nationalism as of Polish, as the Germans celebrated the victory over the Russians at Tannenberg in 1914 as revenge for the defeat of the Knights there in 1410. Since the Russians had nothing to do with the battle in 1410, we must take the Germans to be thinking more in racial terms, as defeating the Slavs, than in relation to more conventional nationalism.

That Jagiello could turn the tables in the Christian/Pagan conflict, by converting, marrying, and becoming the King of Poland himself, was a brilliant bit of statecraft, worthy of any student of Machiavelli, but it had nothing to do with freedom, the Polish people, or "Teutonic" aggression. It simply fulfilled the ambitions of the Lithuanian throne. It did that marvelously, as well as inadvertently creating a propaganda tool that may have worked better in the 20th century than it did in the 15th. Of course, if Lithuania converted to Christianity, the Knights, as a Crusading Order, no longer had a mission. By inertia they become merely another local state, and it is not surprising that, as actually happened, they become a vassal of Poland -- a Poland, however, that soon becomes so weak, thanks to the "liberties" of its nobility, that the Knights are effectively independent until the Order is disbanded in the Reformation. The statue in Central Park, on the other hand, is symbolic of a different era, as the modern Germans were about to invade Poland in 1939. That the Russians invaded Poland simultaneously was all too characteristic of Poland's situation but finds no expression in the heritage of Jagiello or in the inscription on the statue. That Prussia today is itself divided between Poland and Russia, with historic Königberg all but demolished by the Russians, and its population deported, itself represents an "aggression" that the Germans, indeed, brought upon themselves, but is based on no rights or history of either Poland or Russia in the territory.

That the Central Park statue is an expression of Polish nationalism alone we can tell from the name "POLAND" in block capitals on each side. That this ignores Lithuania, despite the identification of Jagiello as the Grand Duke thereof, might leave us wondering why that small country, soon to be invaded and conquered, in 1940, by Russia, did not rate equal attention with Poland. After all, Jagiello himself was not even Polish. But then the animus attested by the statue is clearly entirely for Germany -- Jagiello is great because he defeated the Germans. That modern Lithuania's enemy has been Russia alone, whose treatment of the Lithuanian people would fall little short of the regard of the Nazis for the Poles, would complicate and confuse the clarity of the message. The misfortune of modern Poland and Lithuania was to always be between enemies, and one might be excused some suspicion if one of those enemies gets ignored. Is the bias of the monument for Poland merely the result of the Polish nationality of its patrons? Or was there some reason to excuse or wink at Russian participation in aggression and crimes against Poland and Lithuania? Perhaps for ideological reasons? I wonder.
Kings of Poland
Henry of Valois1573-1574
King of France
Stephen Bathory1575-1586
Sigismund III Vasa1587-1632
Council of Brest, Greek
Catholic Church, 1596
Wladyslaw VII1632-1648
Tsar of Russia,
John II Casimir1648-1668
Russian & Swedish invasion,
Michael Wisniowiecki1669-1673
John III Sobieski1674-1696
Augustus II
the Strong
(I of Saxony)
Great Northern War,
Stanislas Lesczynski1704-1709
War of the Polish
Succession, 1733-1735
Augustus III
(II of Saxony)
Poland partitioned between
Prussia, Austria, & Russia:
1772, 1793, & 1795
Frederick Augustus
(III/I of Saxony)
Grand Duke
of Warsaw,

The unfortunate end of the Jagiellan dynasty reveals the elective principle of the Polish Throne. After the brief tenure of the Vasa Kings, Polish candidates alternate with foreigners, and the election becomes a matter of European power politics, a Great Power tug-of-war between France and Russia, especially evident in the brief and farcical War of the Polish Succession. Real Polish interests stand little chance of survival in such a situation. Eventually, foreign control of the elections and candidates suggests direct foreign control of the country, and Poland and Lithuania vanish in three partitions.

At left are the stages in the partition of Poland, by which Prussia, Russia, and Austria erased Poland and Lithuania from the map of Europe. The last two stages seem to have been in part defensive measures against the French Revolution, to whose enthusiasms Poland, with a weak monarchy, was seen as susceptible. Napoleon's later revival of a Polish state confirmed the role of Poland as a subversive force. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Poland was erased again. Russia ended up with most of the Prussian and Austrian shares of 1795, and some of Prussia's 1793 slice. Poland and Lithuania were not independent again until after World War I, only to have Poland partitioned again between Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939, with Lithuania absorbed by the latter in 1940. Stalin kept his part of Poland after World War II, compensating a communist Poland with large pieces of Germany. Lithuania only regained its independence with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

While the election of the Polish Kings is sometimes celebrated as creating a Republic, this was not only merely a government of self-interested nobility, the only electors, but it gives us the most sobering paradigm in all of history for the disaster that is invited in by a divided and hopelessly impotent government. Poland became a plaything, a joke, and then, after the German occupation in World War II, a place of incomprehensible crime and horror. The Jews of Poland, some 10% of the population of Poland in 1939, brought in by the Mediaeval Kings to create a commercial class, and then resented by Polish peasants for their consequent wealth and status, were all but exterminated by the Germans. Forty years of Soviet rule then served to suppress such commercial instincts as existed elsewhere. Now, post-communist Poles, while hating Communism (not to mention the Russians), still know little better than to elect ex-Communists to the government. Meanwhile, after World War I, Bohemia (and Moravia) became part of Czechoslovakia with the hitherto Slovak part of Hungary and the "Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia" that had also been part of Hungary and that now has been joined to the Ukraine.

Thomas Garrigue Masaryk1918-1935 Miháaly Count Károlyi1919 Jozef Pilsudski1918- 1922
Sándor Garbai1919Gabriel Narutowicz1922
Eduard Benésh1935-1938 Miklos Horthy1920- 1944 Stanislaw Wojchiechowski1922- 1926
Ignacy Moscicki1926- 1939
German Occupation, 1938-1945German Occupation, 1939-1945
Emil HáchaBohemia- Moravia,
1938- 1945
Jozef TisoSlovakia
1939- 1945
Ferenc Szálasi1944- 1945
Eduard Benésh1945-1948Soviet Occupation,
Zoltán Tildy1946- 1948 Boleslaw Bierut1947- 1952
Klement Gottwald1948-1953 Árpád Szakasits1948- 1950
Sándor Ronai1950- 1952
Antonin Zápotocký1953-1957István Dobi1952- 1967Aleksander Zawadzki1952- 1964
Antonin Nóvotný1957-1968Edward Ochab1964- 1968
Ludvig Svoboda1968-1975Pál Kosonczi1967- 1987Marian Spychalski1968- 1970
Soviet Occupation, 1968-1991 Jozef Cyrankiewicz1970- 1972
Gustav Husák1975-1989Karoly Nemeth1987- 1988Henrik Jablonski1972- 1985
Bruno Straub1988- 1990Wojciech Jaruzelski1985- 1990
Václav HavelCzech
1989- 2003
Michael KovácSlovakia
1993- 1998
Árpád Goncz1990- 2000Lech Waesa1990- 1995
Rudolf Schuster1999- 2004Ferenc Mádl2000- 2005Aleksander Kwasniewski1995- 2005
Václav Klaus2003- 2013Ivan
2004- 2014László Sólyom2005- 2010Lech Kaczynski2005- 2010
Pál Schmitt2010- 2012, resignedBronisaw Komorowski2010- 2015
Miloš Zeman2013- presentAndrej Kiska2014- presentJános Áder2012- presentAndrzej Duda2015- present

The most prosperous country in Eastern Europe, Czechoslovakia was first dismembered and terrorized by Nazi Germany and then fell to Communism through an internal coup (with the probable murder, but official suicide, of Jan Masaryk, son of the first President of the Republic -- Eduard Benésh, the pre-War President, soon resigned and died himself), the only country in Eastern Europe not to become Communist merely through Soviet occupation. Occupation it became after the "Prague Spring" of 1968,
Antanas Smetona1919-1922,
Kazys Grinius1926
Soviet Occupation, 1940-1941,
German Occupation, 1941-1944
Vytautas Landsbergis1991-1992
Algirdas Brzauskas1992-1998
Valdas Adamkus1998-2003
Rolandas Paksas2003-2004
Arturas Paulauskas2004
Valdas Adamkus2004-2009
Dalia Grybauskaité2009-present
when Alexander Dubcek tried to reform the regime and create "Communism with a human face." This oxymoron was crushed by Soviet tanks, and freedom again slept until the miraculous year of 1989, when the regime abruptly fell. The saying was that it took ten years for Communism to fall in Poland, ten months in Hungary, ten weeks in East Germany, ten days in Czechoslovakia, and ten hours in Romania. A free Czechoslovakia then experienced its own internal crisis, the "velvet divorce," as Slovakia broke off to go its own way. This was a very bad deal for Slovakia, which was way, way behind Bohemia-Moravia economically. Reports of the situation in the new Czech Republic are mixed. Already with an industrial base, and after the most aggressive privatization program in Eastern Europe, the country is nevertheless troubled by the corruption characteristic of former Soviet regimes. Especially disturbing are the reports of a virtual slave trade of women who are brought or lured for forced prostitution from the much poorer countries to the east -- something the provides the background for the movie
Taken [2009].

Bosnia Herzegovina
Yugoslavia, 1918-1941,
German Occupation, 1941-1945
Alija IzetbegoviBosniak,
Momcilo KrajišnikSerbian,
Krešimir ZubakCroatian,
Živko RadišiSerbian,
Ante JelaviCroatian,
Sulejman TihiBosniak,
Mirko ŠaroviSerbian,
Borislav ParavacSerbian,
Dragan oviCroatian,
Ivo Miro JoviCroatian,
Haris SilajdžiBosniak,
Nebojša RadmanoviSerbian,
Željko KomšiCroatian,
Bakir IzetbegoviBosniak,
Mladen IvaniSerbian,
Dragan oviCroatian,
Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, although intent on rejoining the mainstream of Western Europe, and entering NATO together on 12 March 1999 (at a ceremony in Independence, Missouri, the home town of
Harry Truman), still have a large task ahead to overcome the heritage of the Soviet years -- especially given the false socialist ideals still held up to them by France and Germany.

Of the Mediaeval Eastern European states of the Balkans examined above, two, Croatia and Bosnia- Herzegovina, ended up as parts of Yugoslavia after World War I.
Yugoslavia, 1918-1941
German Occupation, 1941-1945
Tomislav (II,
Aimone of Spoleto)
Ante PaveliPoglavnik,
Yugoslavia, 1945-1991
Franjo Tudman1991-1999
Vlatko Pavletiacting,
Zlatko Tomiacting, 2000
Stjepan Mesi2000-2010
Ivo Josipovi2010-2015
Kolinda Grabar-
Their fate in the breakup of Yugoslavia is detailed with
Modern Romania.

Croatia, unfortunately, was previously revived as a Italo-German puppet state during World War II. The head of the Croatian fascist or Ustaše Party, Ante Paveli, after exile in Italy, was installed in Croatia, under his own Führer-like title of Poglavnik. He massacred Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and Communists. After the War, the Catholic Church helped him flee to Juan Peron in Argentina, and he ultimately died protected by Franco in Spain in 1959. Paveli had gotten the King of Italy to name a cousin, Aimone of Spoleto, King of Croatia. The King, taking the Croatian name Tomislav, only paid one brief visit to Croatia because (1) it was too dangerous, (2) he had no real power anyway, and (3) he objected with nice scruple to Italy annexing Dalmatia, which was ethnically Croatian. After Italy surrendered in 1943, Aimone abdicated and renounced any rights he might have. He does not seem to have been accused of any war crimes, but left for Argentina anyway in 1947 and died there in 1948.

After the Croatian declaration of independence in 1991, the Serbs regarded the new state as essentially Neo-Nazi, though the subsequent behavior of both Serbs and Croats would make observers wonder if that didn't apply to both of them. The worst acts by both sides were in Bosnia, with Bosnian Moslems (Bosniaks) caught between them. Bosnia remains divided between the three groups, with foreign troops keeping the peace and a Presidency that rotates between members of each community. The whole country, indeed, is now formally partitioned between the "Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for Croats and Bosniaks, and the "Republika Srpska," which is Serbian. Bosnia's position on the border between Francia and Romania, Francia and Islâm (i.e. Ottoman Turkey), is no more painfully evident than in this ethnic strife, atrocities, and partition.

Heads of State for the post-World War I nations are originally taken from the Regentenlisten und Stammtafeln zur Geschischte Europas by Michael F. Feldkamp [Philpp Reclam, Stuttgart, 2002]. They have been updated as needed from print and on-line news sources.

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Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

The Kings of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, 588 AD-Present

Scandinavia forms a natural unit in the Periphery of Francia, not the least because Denmark, Norway, & Sweden, whose early history is scrambled together, were also eventually united, by the Union of Kalmar, in 1397. Otherwise, converting to Christianity at about the same time as the Eastern European peoples, the Scandinavian kingdoms had relatively little influence on European history in general after the great period of pre-Christian Norse raiding and conquest in West and East -- with the Norsemen known as "Vikings" in the West and "Varangians" in the East. This influence was considerable enough, even just noting the permanent foundations of Normandy, Norman Sicily and Naples, Norman England, and Varangian Russia. Gustavus Adolphus entering the Thirty Years War was then probably the last decisive Scandinavian intervention in European history.

The Flags of the Scandinavian countries, as well as those of some dependencies, are based on the venerable, distinctively asymmetrical white cross on red of the Dannebrog, which is supposed to have been adopted by King Valdemar II, the Victorious, on 15 June 1219, establishing the earliest national flag in continuous use since. However, there is no real certainty that the flag was used before the reign of Valdemar III (1340-1375).

Here the background colors in the table represent countries and combinations of countries. Denmark and Norway together appear as yellow; Norway and Sweden as blue; and all three together as white. These kingdoms pose a particular problem in listing the kings and giving the genealogy, since the historical rulers shade over gradually into the legendary, and then into the mythic, and it is very difficult to tell what kind of ground one is on. The table here begins with legendary rulers who are more or less historical, which means that they probably existed, even while dating them and identifying genuine events of their reigns involves considerable guesswork and uncertainty. Genealogy for the kings in the first table below, and for earlier legendary and mythic kings, is given separately at Legendary and Early Kings of Scandinavia. When that link is used, a new browser window will open for the page. If the window is reduced in size and positioned conveniently, the diagrams can be compared with the table in this window.

The picture here is a compromise between several sources. The best discussion of the difficulties and uncertainties is in the Royal Families of Medieval Scandinavia, Flanders, and Kiev by Rupert Alen and Anna Marie Dahlquist [Kings River Publications, Kingsburg, California, 1997]. While the title of this book mentions Flanders and Kiev, it deals with them from the perspective of intermarriages with Norwegan, Swedish, and Danish houses. Additonal information, especially on Denmark, Norway, and the early legendary and mythic material, is from The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens by Mike Ashley [Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., New York, 1998, 1999]. These two books have been compared with the large genealogical chart, Kings & Queens of Europe, compiled by Anne Tauté [University of North Carolina Press, 1989], and with Kingdoms of Europe, by Gene Gurney [Crown Publishers, New York, 1982]. There is considerable disagreement between the sources, even for historical kings, not just on dates (which can be infuriatingly different) but even on the succession and the occurrence of various rulers. Priority is given to the sources as listed, but even Alen and Dahlquist are not always consistent in their own presentation -- e.g. they have one chart showing the Sweden King Inge II living and reigning until 1130, while otherwise placing Magnus Nielsson from Inge's death in 1125 to 1130. On the other hand, Tauté also has Inge ruling until 1130 and doesn't show Magnus at all. And this is a confusion about rulers well within the historical period. Early in the chart it will be noted that Ragnar Lodbrok is listed both for Denmark and for Sweden, but at somewhat different periods -- and neither set of dates works if Ragnar is the Viking chief who sacked Paris in 845 and treated with Charles the Bald. This is a good indication of the uncertainties and mismatches that can occur in the early chronology. That Erik I of Sweden occurs after Erik II is also a good clue. All the Swedish Eriks are, nevertheless, accounted for (with Erik the Victorious as Erik VI, not always the number he is given). What is not accounted for are Swedish Kings Charles (Karl) I-VI, who all appear to be mythic. The numbers really should be redone, but it is too late for that -- the present King of Sweden is Charles XVI. Sometimes earlier Swedish Knuts are numbered, but not here -- Knut I (1167-1196) is the first.

Kings of DenmarkKings of NorwayKings of Sweden
Ivar Vidfamne588-647
Ingjald Illrade
Harald I Hildetand647-735, or d.c.750Olaf the Tree-hewer680-710Harald Hildetand647-735, or d.c.750
Sigurd Ring735-750, or c.770-812
Randverc.750Halfdan I710-750Ragnar Lodbrok860-865, or 750-794
Eystein I750-780Eystein Beli750 or 860-?
Sigurd I Ring735-750, or c.770-812Björn Järnsida794-804,
or c.856
Horik I850-854Halfdan II Whitelegs780-800Erik II804-808,
or d.c.870
Horik II854-?Gudrod the Magnificent800-810Erik III808-820
Ragnar Lobrokc.860-865Olaf Geirstade810-840Edmund I820-859
Sigurd II Snogoje865-873Halfdan III the Black840-863Erik Id.c.870
Canute I
873-884Civil War, 863-885Björn870-920
Frodo884-885Harald I
885-933Olaf I Ring920-930
Harald II Parcus885-899Eric I
933-934Eric IV Väderhatt?
the Old
c.900-950Haakon I
the Good
934-963Erik V930-950
Harald III
c.950-986First Christian KingEdmund II950-965
First Christian KingHarald II
963-977Olaf II965-970
Sweyn I
986-1014HaakonJarl of Lade,
Eric VI the Victorious970-995
Olaf I Tryggvason995-1000
EricJarl of Lade,
Olaf III Skötkonung995-1022
Harald IV1014-1018St. Olaf II "the Stout" Haraldson1015-1028,
1018-1035Canute II the GreatKing of England
1028-1035First Christian King
Canute III
1035-1042Magnus I
the Good
1035-1047Anund Jakob Kolbrenner1022-1050
King of
Edmund III Slemme1050-1060
Sweyn II1047-1074Harald III
1047-1066Erik VII &
Serves in Varangian Guard, 1034-1044; defeated & killed invading England, Stamford Bridge, 1066
Magnus II1066-1069
Harold V Hen1074-1080Olaf III
the Peaceful
1066-1093Inge I
the Elder
St. Canute IV
the Holy
1080-1086Magnus III
the Barefoot
Olaf IV Magnusson1103-1115Filip
Olaf IV
the Hungry
1085-1095Eystein II1103-1122
Eric I
the Evergood
(Sigurðr) I
the Crusader
1103-1130Inge II the
Earl of Orkney,
goes on Crusade, entertained by Alexius I Comnenus, addresses Danish Varangians,
dies in Cyprus, 1103
King of the Isles,
the Elder
1103-1134King of Man,
Magnus IV
the Blinded
Eric II1134-1137Harald IV Gillechrist1130-1136Sverker I
the Elder
Eric III1137-1146Inge I1136-1161St. Eric IX1156-1160
Sweyn III1146-1157Sigurd II1136-1155
Canute V
1147-1157Eystein III1142-1157Charles VII1161-1167
Valdemar I
the Great
1157-1182Haakon II1161-1162Knut I1167-1196
Canute VI
the Pious
1182-1202Magnus V1163-1184Sverker II
the Younger
Valdemar II
the Victorious
1202-1241Sverre1184-1202Eric X1208-1216
Eric IV1241-1250Haakon III1202-1204John I1216-1222
Abel1250-1252Inge II
1204-1217Eric XI1222-1229
Christopher I1252-1259Haakon IV the Old1217-1263Knut II the Long1229-1234

It has been noted that genealogical diagrams for the table above are given elsewhere. Genealogies for the following kings are given after their respective tables below. At right is a diagram for descent and marriages of some of the kings above that involve Emperors of Romania (Byzantium) and Grand Dukes or Princes of Kiev. This avenue of Romanian descent into subsequent European royalty and nobility is the best authenticated, despite the remaining uncertainty about the parentage of Irene. Otherwise, much less certain is the Romanian descent of the Counts of Savoy.

Noteworthy is also the connection to King Harold II of England, the Saxon King who was killed at the battle of Hastings in 1066, as William the Conqueror invaded England. While Harold did not have descendants in Britain directly, his descendants through Kiev and Denmark ultimately lead to the marriage of Margaret of Oldenburg to King James III of Scotland, from whom all subsequent Scottish and then British monarchs are descended.

The arrival of the Varangians at Constantinople in 839, after they had come down the rivers of Russia, added a new element to Roman history. In the Old Norse of the Sagas, Constantinople became to them Miklagarð, or Mikligarð (Mikligarðr with the nominative ending), but often rendered Miklagard or Miklagarth -- the "Great City." Here the element mik- is cognate to mag- in Latin magnus and meg- in Greek megas, both "great." Curiously, there is an archaic adjective in English, "mickle," meaning "great" or "large," which is this very same word. A cognate survives in recent English, the humble word "much." The other element, gard (Old Norse garðr), "enclosed," is cognate to English "garden" and "yard" (and the name "Garth") as well as to gorod and grad, "city," in Russian -- as in Tsargrad for Constantinople. The "Great City" (we could say "Mickleyard" with English words) could not have been more appropriate, since Constantinople was the largest city in Europe until at least the 13th century. The Norsemen certainly had seen nothing like it previously.

Relations between Romania and the Varangians rocked back and forth between war and trade, mainly depending on what the Norsemen thought they could get away with -- they would be prepared for both. The contact in 839 was an embassy, which had encountered sufficient difficulties coming down the rivers of Russia that it requested the good offices of the Emperor in negotiating passage back by way of the Frankish realm of Louis the Pious. Louis already knew about Viking raids and was suspicious that these travelers, although vouched for by Constantinople, were nevertheless of their kind. Assured (falsely) that they were not, the embassy was allowed to pass. Soon, Varangians would have little fear of traversing Russia and would begin raiding Roman territory and even attacking Constantinople. As it happened, they were rather less successful against the Romans than they were against the Franks, and bouts of attacks were usually followed by treaties -- where such reconciliation was rarely necessary in the West.

Once they had converted to Christianity, the Varangians quickly perceived the Roman Emperor for what he was: The premier monarch of Christendom. The Emperor becomes in Old Norse the Stólkonungr, the "Great King," with "great" in this case borrowed from Old Russian (as in Stolnyi Knyaz, the "great prince" of Kiev -- stolnyi does not have this meaning in Modern Russian), and "king" (konung) familiar from other Germanic languages (e.g. German könig). This echoes Megas Basileus in Greek, the translation of the title of the Great Kings of Persia and the origin of the use of Basileus for "Emperor" in Mediaeval Greek.

Meanwhile, the Varangians had created a powerful state at Kiev; and, as the "Rus," their name came to be attached to it -- giving us "Russia." The alternation of war and trade that had characterized Roman relations with the Varangians, and which led to sharp defeats of Russia by John Tzimisces, took a greater turn toward friendship in Emperor Basil II's day with the conversion of St. Vladimir to Christianity (989). Part of this process involved the marriage of Basil's sister Anna to Vladimir, and the provision by Russia of mercenaries for what now became the Emperor's "Varangian Guard." The Guard became the loyal shock troops and Life Guard of the Emperor, and are usually identifiable in historical accounts, even if not named as such, by their description as pelekophoroi (pelekyphóroi in Attic Greek), "axe bearers," from the single bladed axe (pélekys) they carried as their primary weapon (seen in the image at right from the history of John Scylitzes, c.1057). There also seems to have been some identification of this weapon with the fasces carried by the Lictors of the Roman Republic, and so of the Guard with the Lictors themselves.

After the formation of the Varangian Guard, it quickly no longer became a matter of mercenaries provided by Russia. The fame of the unit spread quickly, and soon individual recruits were arriving, not just from Russia (and now of Slavic and not just Varangian origin), and not just from the immediate source of Russian Varangians, Sweden, but from as far away as Norway, Denmark, and even Iceland. These included the very interesting Harald Hardråde (or Haraldr Sigurðarson, Haraldr Harðráði), the subsequent King of Norway who would die in 1066 at Stamford Bridge, while invading England. The deeds of Harald and others would be recounted in the Icelandic Sagas, often written much later with fabulous or fanciful additions, but with sufficient detail to pin down their historical origins. Also, numerous rune stones have been found in Sweden, often at churches for the now Christian Swedes, that stand as cenotaphs or commemorative monuments to men who left for Romania (Grikland, Kirkium, etc., "Greece") and never came back. Some were installed before leaving by the men themselves. Some, of course, may have been for traders rather than members of the Varangian Guard, but a few mention deaths fighting in Serkland, i.e. Islamic lands (where the "Saracens" are), or in Lakbarþland, i.e. Langobardia, "Italy." In time, the Norse recruits apparently obtained their own church in Constantinople, at least in part dedicated to St. Olaf of Norway, perhaps enshrining a sword that was supposed to have been his [cf. The Varangians of Byzantium by Sigfús Blöndal and Benedikt S. Benedikz, Cambridge University Press, 1978, 1981, 2007].

Norse recruits to the Varangian Guard continued as Alexius I Comnenus entertained Scandinavian monarchs on Crusade or pilgrimage, particularly the Kings Eric I the Evergood of Denmark and Sigurð I the Crusader of Norway. Alexius at first distrusted Eric, as he did all the Crusaders, and had him camp outside Constantinople. We are told, however, that his spies reported Eric urging the Danish Varangians to serve the Emperor faithfully. Eric was then invited into the City and honored -- at least according to the Norse sources. Unfortunately, the pious King never made it to Jerusalem but died and was buried on Cyprus. Alexius is remembered in the Icelandic Sagas as Kirjalax, evidently from Kyrios Alexios, "Lord Alexius." The name was also used, confusingly, for subsequent Comneni.

In 1195, the Emperor Isaac II, or the new Emperor Alexius III, sent three Varangians on a mission to Scandinavia to seek recruits for the Varangian Guard -- this is revealing when previously Danish and Norwegian monarchs had themselves come to Constantinople. We are told that Hreiðarr sendimaðr (i.e. "the Messenger") went to Norway (to King Sverre), Pétr illska went to Denmark (to King Canute VI the Pious), and Sigurðr grikker ("the Greek") Oddsson went to Sweden (to Knut I or Sverker II). Hreiðarr had the toughest time that we know of, since Sverre, anticipating war, had no warriors to spare. Allowed to recruit among farmers and merchants, it is not clear that Hreiðarr, who became embroiled in local events, ever returned to Constantinople. On the other hand, Pétr may have returned with the actual Danes who were subsequently observed by Geoffroy de Villehardouin in 1203 -- he said there were still "Englishmen and Danes" defending Constantinople when the Fourth Crusade arrived. There are many stories about Sigurðr Oddsson, but it is not clear whether his mission was successful. Since there are references to Englishmen but not to Scandinavians in the Varangian Guard of the Palaeologi (1259-1453), this may be last the time when Norse warriors actively traveled to Constantinople [cf. Blöndal and Benedikz, op.cit., pp.218-222]. When Constantinople fell to the Crusaders in 1204, some Varangians may have been perplexed about where their loyalty then lay and either gone home or joined the Latin Emperors. There are some references to them serving in the Greek successor states, such as at Nicaea; but it is not clear how many, if any, Norsemen were in the Guard of the Palaeologi. The Fourth Crusade thus may end a chapter in the history of Scandinavia as well as in that of Romania.

A curious thing about the participation of Scandinavians in the Varangian Guard is that we hear little or nothing about it in either popular culture or academic scholarship. Quite the contrary is the case when it comes to the earlier phase of Scandinavian activity:  The ferocious violence, looting, and rapine of the Vikings, the Furor Normannorum, is the perennial stuff of intense interest, romance, fascination, and fantasy. It is a kind of Nietzschean wet dream. I remember myself the impression made by the movie The Vikings [1958, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis] when I saw it with my cousins at the theater on Holloman Air Force Base in 1962. Although we do not get a continuous presentation of Viking stories in Hollywood or elsewhere, it is kept up enough that people are familiar with the themes and images. When the Norsemen become Christians, silence falls immediately -- continuing perhaps until Ingmar Bergman. That the Norse continued to fight, that they travelled to the other end of Europe to enlist with the Roman Emperor, is noted or remembered as little as that there was a Roman Emperor back then. Perhaps that is part of the problem. Indeed, if Romania had been expanding rather than failing at the time, this likely would make a difference. The whole business, however, was still of interest back home. King Harald's Saga is found in the ranks of other Viking stories, despite Harald being a Christian and not engaged as much in the traditional raiding, looting, and raping. That he died on a battlefield, while invading England, gives him a little of the old romance, which may be why he sometimes gets called "the last Viking." Hollywood might make something of that, as well as of the greatest European city of the Middle Ages, Constantinople. Whether Harald or Constantinople, this is all as novel to most Americans as Star Wars was in 1977.

Kings of DenmarkKings of NorwayKings of Sweden
Eric V1259-1286Magnus VI1263-1281Valdemar1250-1275
Eric VI1286-1319Eric II1281-1299Magnus I1275-1290
Haakon V1299-1320Berger1290-1320
Beginning of Little Ice Age, heavy rain for five years, famine, 1315-1320
Christopher II1320-1332Magnus (VII of Norway, II of Sweden)1320-1365
Haakon VI1343-1380Eric XII1356-1359
Valdemar III1340-1375Albert1365-1388
the Black Death arrives in Norway, 1349, Denmark & Sweden, 1350Duke of
Olaf V (IV of Norway)1376-1387
Union of Denmark & Norway, 1380
Queen Margaret I
Union of Kalmar -- Denmark, Norway, & Sweden, 1397;
last dated event in Greenland, before extinction of the colony, 1408
Eric (VII of Denmark, III of Norway, XIII of Sweden)
Christopher (III of Denmark)
Christian I of Oldenburg
Charles VIII1448-1457
John/Hans (II of Sweden)

In the chart above, the rebellious Charles VIII Bonde seems to drop in out of nowhere. The connection of Charles and of the later House of Vasa to the earlier Kings of Sweden may be examined on the following chart and on a separate popup. My thanks to Leon Pereira, O.P., for exploring the connections of Bonde and Vasa to earlier Kings and supplying the information to me, much of it from Swedish websites. I have only been able to confirm part of this using Andreas Thiele, and, indeed, there seem to be many uncertainties in the early period.

After the Viking era, Scandinavia rarely intrudes into the large events of European history. A spectacular exception was when Gustavus II Adolphus Vasa (Gustav Adolf) landed in Germany in 1630 determined to salvage the Protestant cause in the Thirty Years War. This won a subsidy from France, and Gustavus soon destroyed the Imperial army at Breitenfeld (1631), liberating northern Germany and the Palatinate. Another victory was won at Lützen (1632), but Gustavus himself fell in the battle. Although the Swedish army was then defeated at Nördlingen (1634), a compromise peace was reached in 1635 (the Peace of Prague). This would have ended the war if France had not then intervened directly to keep things going and reduce Imperial power further.

Gustavus' daughter Christina (Kristina), the last of the House of Vasa, is best known for her learning, inviting people like René Descartes to her court. Unfortunately, the climate and Christina's early morning habits, distruptive to Descartes, resulted in his death from pneumonia (d.1650). Whether or not she felt guilty over this, she wearied of ruling and soon abdicated the throne (1654), joining the select company of rulers over the centuries to retire from their jobs. The throne passed to her cousin, Charles X of the Palatinate. His grandson, Charles XII, the "Madman of the North," revived Swedish military fortunes and then saw them catastrophically collapse when he was defeated far inside Russia by Peter the Great at Poltava (1709). Charles' army disintegrated, and he was so far from any base that he had to escape as a refugee south to Turkey, making his way home by sea. After this extraordinary odyssey, he ended up killed in battle. This was the end of Sweden's great military adventures.

Christian II
Frederick I1523-1533Gustavus I Vasa1523-1560
Christian III1534-1558Eric XIV1560-1568
Frederick II1558-1588John III1568-1592
Christian IV1588-1648Sigismund1592-1604
Charles IX1604-1611
Gustavus II Adolphus1611-1632
Frederick III1648-1670Charles X1654-1660
Christian V1670-1699Charles XI1660-1697
Frederick IV1699-1730Charles XII
"Madman of
the North"
Queen Ulrika1718-1720
Christian VI1730-1746Frederick1720-1751
Landgrave of Hesse,
Frederick V1746-1766Adolphus Frederick1751-1771
Christian VII1766-1808Gustavus III1771-1792
Gustavus IV Adolphus1792-1809
Frederick VI1808-1839Charles XIII1809-1818
Christian VIII1839-1848Norway & Sweden, 1814
Charles XIV
Oscar I1844-1859
Frederick VII1848-1863Charles XV1859-1872
Christian IX1863-1906Oscar II1872-1907
Frederick VIII1906-1912Haakon VII1905-1957Gustavus V1907-1950
Christian X1912-1947
Frederick IX1947-1972Olaf V1957-1991Gustav VI Adolph1950-1973
Queen Margaret II1972-presentHarald V1991-presentKarl /
Charles XVI Gustaf

While the recent Kings of Sweden have all been of the House of Bernadotte, with no connection shown to earlier Swedish Kings, they nevertheless descend, like the previous Swedish dynasty, from the Margrave Frederick VI of Baden-Durlach -- actually by two different routes -- and so from the previous Palatine and Vasa dynasties. This can be examined on a separate popup. Eugene de Beauharnais (on the popup, the father-in-law of Oscar I) was the son of Josefine de la Tascher de la Pagerie, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, by her first marriage, to Alexander Francis, Viscount de Beauharnais (d.1794). He was adopted by Napoleon and well married, to a daughter of Maximilian I of Bavaria. My thanks to Leon Pereira, O.P., for drawing these connections to my attention and supplying the information, which has been confirmed and expanded using Andreas Thiele.

Sveinn Björnsson1944-1952
Asgeir Asgeirsson1952-1968
Kristjan Eldjarn1968-1980
Vigdis Finnbogadottir1980-1996
Olafur Ragnar
Guđni Thorlacius
Remote Iceland, associated with Norway in 1262 and then with Denmark in 1380, became independent, with the King of Denmark still as the King of Iceland, in 1918, and then a republic, as Denmark was still occupied by Germany, in 1944. Iceland was at the time itself occupied as an important Allied base in World War II. It was also important for observation and logistics in the Cold War.

Icelandic surnames preserve active patronymic suffixes, "-son" and "-dottir," as can be seen in the names of the Presidents. The surnames are often not used as such -- the phonebook, for example, is arranged by first names.

By 2009, the economy of Iceland was badly damaged, and nearly destroyed, by the collapse of the mortgage market in the United States. Many Icelandic banks, it seems, had invested heavily in mortgage securities. In 2010, the land itself of Iceland seems to have tried to strike back. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano (with a name few foreign newscasters have ventured to pronounce), which had been erupting for some weeks, began spewing ash clouds in mid-April. The ash was quickly blown over Western Europe and shut down air travel for more than a week. This not only stranded many travelers in Europe, and elsewhere, but it shut down the shipment of perishable and other urgent materials by air. As travel began to return to normal, the volcano continues to be active. Geologists worry that this eruption may set off other, nearby volcanoes. As it happens, Iceland is one of the most volcanically active places on Earth. Its eruptions have affected the planet's climate, never perhaps so significantly as in 1783 -- the cold and crop failures may have helped preciptate the French Revolution. Negotiating the end of the American Revolutionary War in Paris in 1783, Benjamin Franklin speculated that the volcanoes in Iceland were behind the changes in the weather. That could not be proven until recently, but it does turn out that Franklin was right.

In May 2011 we have again experienced an eruption of an Icelandic volcano, near the 2010 eruption. This is the Grímsvötn volcano, under the Vatnajökull glacier. Grímsvötn has actually been the most active Icelandic volcano. The eruption has actually been stronger than Eyjafjallajökull in 2010; but the international distruptions so far seem less serious than in 2010 -- although it was disrupting air travel for a few days. In Iceland itself, there has always been worry that substantial melting of the glacier can result in serious floods.

Heads of State for the post-World War I nations are taken from the Regentenlisten und Stammtafeln zur Geschischte Europas by Michael F. Feldkamp [Philpp Reclam, Stuttgart, 2002].

Per Evind of
Carl Gustav Emil
von Mannerheim
Carl J. StahlbergPresident,
Lauri Relander1925-1931
Per Evind of
Kyösti Kallio1937-1940
Risto Ryti1940-1944
Carl Gustav Emil
von Mannerheim
Juho Kusti
Urho Kekkonen1956-1981
Mauno Koivisto1982-1994
Martti Ahtisaari1994-2000
2008 Nobel
Peace Prize
Tarja Halonen2000-2012
Sauli Niinistö2012-present
Finland and Estonia (speaking closely related
Uralic languages) enter history as dependencies of Sweden, then of Russia. Only in the 20th Century do they emerge as independent countries -- Estonia briefly in the 1920's and 30's and then only after fifty years of terror (1940-1991) under the Soviet Union.
Soviet Occupation,
German Occupation,
Arnold Rüütel1991-1992,
Georg Meri
Hendrik Ilves
Kersti Kaljulaid2016-present

Finland managed to preserve its independence continuously since breaking away from Tsarist Russia in 1917. This was no small achievement when the Soviet Union was right next door, with aggressive designs, and the worst consequences might have been expected from Finland being an open ally of Germany in World War II. Oddly enough, Stalin settled for Finnish neutrality. This despite the outright humiliation inflicted on the Russians when they attacked the Finns in 1939 -- the "Winter War," 1939-1940. The Nazi-Soviet Pact had divided up Eastern Europe between Hitler and Stalin. Hitler was not happy when Stalin began making territorial demands on Finland, but he wasn't ready to do anything about it. When the Finns resisted, Stalin attacked. This all made it obvious, at the time, that Stalin was as great an enemy of peace and freedom as Hitler (a matter confused in the minds of many when Stalin later joined the Allies thanks to Hitler's invasion of Russia). But Stalin was in for a surprise. The Finns, led by Carl von Mannerheim, well prepared for fighting in the snows of the north (and with the Soviet Army weaked by Stalin's purges), inflicted sharp defeats on the Russians -- leaving 68,000 Russian dead. The British began thinking of ways to get aid to the Finns across neutral Norway and Sweden.
Martti Ahtisaari's Nobel Peace Prize [2008]...won't get European elites buzzing as in past years... In his diplomatic and political career, the former Finnish President brokered peace on various continents -- yet also recognized clear limits to good intentions...

In the early 1990s, he ran the U.N. mission to Iraq after the first Gulf War, watching Saddam Hussein's repression up close. Twelve years of frustrated diplomacy later, and against the grain of conventional European opinion, Mr. Ahtisaari found himself defending the U.S. invasion, the absence of nuclear or biological weapons program notwithstanding. "Since I know that about a million people have been killed by the government of Iraq, I do not need much those weapons of mass destruction," he said. [Wall Street Journal, 11 October 2008]

The Finns were left to be worn down by the infinitely larger Russian forces, and Allied plans came to naught when Hitler conquered Norway and invaded France. Finland accepted a peace with large cessions to Russia. Hitler made good by the Finns when he then invaded Russia in 1941, but, of course, his defeat then put Finland in a worse position than before. Stalin could have demanded almost anything. The dictator, who otherwise did take everything in sight, and hideously raped the Baltic Republics, nevertheless let Finland off with the previous cessions, neutrality, and a reparations bill of $300,000,000.
"Let's write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing & patronizing: after all, they're just wogs...

"Guess a Nobel [i.e. Paul Krugman's] in trade means you can pontificate on fiscal matters & declare my country a 'wasteland'. Must be a Princeton vs Columbia thing."

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, a graduate of Columbia University, in response to a blog post by Princeton economist Paul Krugman, who favors Keynesian public spending and doesn't believe the evidence for Supply Side effects, about the "incomplete recovery" of Estonia from the European recession, 6 June 1012

The Finns had paid that by 1952. Now they have nearly conquered the world themselves, with Nokia cell phones. Unfortunately, they have also adopted some particularly nasty socialistic ideas, like assessing traffic fines as percentages of income, which means a wealthy person can be fined thousands of dollars for the simplest driving infractions. The Finns seem to have forgotten that Ingmar Bergman stopped making movies in Sweden when the top tax rate became higher than 100%. Nevertheless, the Finnish economy shares in the somewhat sobered and liberalized prosperity of recent Scandinavia, with much better growth and employment than the heart of Euro-socialism in France and Belgium.

The Scandinavian countries are not well known for having colonial possessions. At the height of its power, Sweden was preoccupied with acquisitions in the Baltic area, like Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Pomerania. There was one distant colony of Sweden, however, in the future American State of Delaware, called "New Sweden." The first Swedish settlers were actually brought by the Dutch West India Company in 1638. The Swedish government then appointed a governor in 1640. But this was all on territory that was claimed by the New Netherlands, and the famous Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant, captured the Swedish colony in 1655.

Danish possessions began rather earlier and were more distant and durable. Greenland, discovered by Eric the Red in 982, became a possesson of Norway, but the Union of Kalmar brought all Scandinavian possessions into the hands of Denmark. The settlement in Greenland actually died out, but colonization began again in 1721. Greenland remains Danish today. The story is similar for Iceland, discovered in 874. In 1262, the local Icelandic assembly, the Althing, voted for union with Norway. The Union of Kalmar then brought them together with Denmark. Denmark gave Iceland autonomy in 1874, and virtual independence in 1918, except that the King of Denmark was still the King of Iceland. This continued until Denmark was occupied by Germany in World War II. Iceland voted in 1944 to become a republic (which it had been from 930-1262).

The stories of Greenland and Iceland, of course, are part of the earliest explorations of the Vikings. It was also remembered that Lief Ericson had discovered lands beyond Greenland in about 1003, which he had named Vinland, and some efforts had been made at settlement there, but then the project lapsed, permanently -- largely because of the resolute hostility and ferocity of the natives, whom the Vikings called "Skrælings." With the end of these adventures, we might think that the Christianization of Scandinavia stilled the spirit of adventure and exploration. The explorations did stop, but the spirit continued and was merely directed elsewhere. Thus, as Christians, Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, and even Icelanders for some time joined the forces of the greatest Christian ruler, the Emperor of the Romans, in the elite Varangian Guard, whose history is detailed elsewhere.

In the later Modern Age of Discovery, the Danes ventured further. There were a couple of Danish footholds in India, Tranquebar and Serampore. A Danish fleet arrived at Tranquebar in 1616 and a colony was founded in 1620. It remained Danish and was sold to Britain in 1845. Serampore was established in 1658. The Nawabs of Bengal didn't like the presence of the colony and expelled the settlers. With the help of the French, the Nawabs allowed a colony back in 1755. Like Tranquebar, Serampore was sold to Britain in 1845.

Danish Guinea, in West Africa, at first consisted of coastal forts, Christiansborg (Osu, in Accra today), Augustaborg (Teshie), Fredensborg (Ningo), Kongensteen (Ada), and Prindsensteen (Keta). But then Denmark banned the slave trade, the first country to do so, in 1792 (effective 1803). This rendered the forts uneconomical, but inland concessions were obtained to establish some plantations. These did not do well, and so the colony was sold to Britain in 1850 for £10,000 and became part of the Gold Coast. Today, Christiansborg Castle is actually the official residence of the President of Ghana.

Several attempts were made by Denmark to colonize the Nicobar Islands. The first occured in 1723. The colony was then officially annexed by Tranquebar in 1756 and named "Frederiksøerne" (Frederik's Islands). But hundreds died of malaria and the colony was abandoned the following year. In 1768 Moravian missionaries reestablished the colony. This was more successful, but the missionaries left in 1787. The Danish Crown, which asserted sovereignty over the islands in 1777, nevertheless maintained a small garrison. The British occupied Tranquebar in 1801 and the Nicobars in 1809. In 1831 Denmark returned to the Nicobars, but the colony was abandoned in 1837. The British asked the Danes to suppress local piracy, and they returned in 1845, but then left again in 1848. Denmark tried to sell the islands, but even the British were unwilling to pay. The Danish claim was renounced in 1868, and Britain occupied the islands the next year.

The most durable Danish colony was in the Virgin Islands. Danish forces landed in 1666 on St. Thomas. The settlement failed, but the Danes were back in 1671 and expanded to St. John in 1717. St. Croix was purchased from France in 1733. British occupation of the islands in the Napoleonic period (1807-1815) introduced an English speaking population. Eventually, Denmark simply sold the islands to the United States in 1917. Thus ended the modern phase of the Scandinavian colonial experience.

Information about Danish colonies, and some of the wording above, has been provided, with thanks, by Kristian Jensen of Denmark.

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Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

Successors of Rome:
The Periphery of Francia, 445-Present; Note

The full passage from Ordericus Vitalis looks like this in the 1854 translation of Thomas Forester, with the sections in red that correspond to the quoted translation above. The occasional expressions in Latin are drawn from The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, Volume II, Books III and IV, edited and translated by Majorie Chibnall [Oxford Medieval Texts, Clarendon Press, 1969, 1990, 2002, pp.202-204]:

Meanwhile the English were oppressed by the insolence of the Normans, and subjected to grievous outrages by the haughty governors who disregarded the king's injunctions. The chiefs of inferior rank, who had the custody of the castles, treated the natives, both gentle and simple, with the utmost scorn, and levied on them most unjust exactions. Bishop Odo himself, and William Fitz-Osbern, the king's lieutenants, puffed up with pride, gave no heed to the reasonable complaints of his English subjects and disdained to weigh them in the balance of equity. They screened their men-at-arms who most outrageously robbed the people and ravished the women, and those only incurred their wrath who were driven by these grievous afforts to be loud in their remonstrances. The English deeply lamented the loss of their freedom, and took secret counsel how they might best shake off a yoke so insupportable, and to which they were so little accustomed. They accordingly sent a message to Sweyn [II, 1044-1074], the king of Denmark, entreating him to take measures for recovering the crown of England, which his ancestors Sweyn [I, Forkbeard, 986-1014] and Canute [II, the Great, 1016-1035] had formerly won by their victorious arms. Some went into voluntary exile, either to free themselves from the domination of their Norman masters, or for the purpose of obtaining foreign aid to renew the contest with their conquerors. Some, the very flower of the English youth, made their way to distant regions, and served valiantly in the armies of Alexius, emperor of Constantinople [Alexius imperator Constantinopolitanus],* a prince of great sagacity [multum sapiens] and astonishing munificence [mira dapsilitas]. Being attacked by Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia [Apulia & Calabria, 1059-1085], with all his force in support of Michael [VII, Parapinakes, 1071-1078], whom the Greeks had expelled from the imperial throne for the despotism of his government, the English exiles [exules Anglorum] met a favourable reception, and were arrayed in arms against the Norman bands with which the Greeks were unable to cope. The emperor Alexius [Augustus Alexius] laid the foundations of a town called Chevetot,** beyond Byzantium, for his English troops, but as the Normans gave them great annoyance in that post, he recalled them to the imperial city, and committed to their guard his principal palace and the royal treasure [principale palacium cum regalibus thesauris]. In this way the Anglo-Saxons [Saxones Angli] settled in Ionia, they and their posterity becoming faithfully attached to the holy empire [sacrum imperium], and having gained great honour [cum magno honore] in Thrace, continue to the present day, beloved by the emperor, senate, and people [Cesar et senatus populusque]. [Book IV, Chapter III; The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, Volume II, Henry G. Bohn, London, 1854, p.9-10]

This passage has two footnotes by Forester that warrant our attention. The first follows the mention of Alexius Comnenus:

*There is no more certain fact than the existence of a corps of Danes, Norwegians, and English in the service of the Greek emperors, who formed their body-guard. They were armed with battle-axes, were exceedingly brave and faithful, and possessed great privileges. They are called by the Greek historians Varanges or Baranges, a word of northern derivation, signifying warrior (waring), and found in Normandy as a family name, and in names of places, as Warrene, Varingeville. This body of Varangi were employed at Constantinople so long back as the reign of emperor Michael [IV] the Paphlagonian, 1034-1041, and consequently at a time far preceding that in which our author places the English exiles among them, or the battle of Hastings. No doubt, the original band were Danes or Norwegians, and the English were incorporated with them, as they successively withdrew from the Norman yoke. Besides, the great body of the English who adhered to Harold were of Dano-Norwegian extraction, as indeed two thirds of the inhabitants of the north of England then were, and it was quite natural for them to join their countrymen at Constantinople with the allurements of high pay and distinction. In the end, their numbers became so great, that several Greek writers speak of the Varangi as exclusively English. [ibid., p.10]

The curious thing about his passage is that Forester seems unaware that the origin of the Varangian Guard was in mercenaries that were provided to the Emperor Basil II by St. Vladimir of Russia, as part of the agreeement by which Vladimir converted to Christianity and married Basil's sister. Even if Forester meant to say that the Guard became mainly Danish and Norwegian, rather than Russian and Swedish, by the time of Michael the Paphlagonian, it would have been better to have actually said that rather than make it look like he doesn't know that the Guard was originally Russian. Of course, now, with us, the situation is quite the opposite; and even attentive readers of Byzantine histories may be unaware that the Guard was ever Danish and Norwegian -- although it is hard for any Byzantine historians to avoid mentioning the Englishmen at the Battle of Dyrrhachium in 1082. However, except for that, the presence of Scandinavians and Englishmen in the Guard may otherwise escape notice -- despite the fact thare there are indeed "Greek" writers who later "speak of the Varangi as exclusively English" -- at least under the Palaeologi.

The second footnote adds to the mix of our questions about the location of Nova Anglia:

**The Chevetot of our author is called by Villehardoun, Chivetoi, and he informs us that it was situated on the Gulf of Nicomedia, in the neighbourhood of Nice [i.e. Nicaea]. The true name is . Ducange thinks that Alexis Comnenius [sic] only rebuilt the city, which was of older date. [ibid.]

While we are otherwise given to understand that Alexius settled the English on the coast of the Black Sea, this reference puts them in the Sea of Marmara instead. If Forester has derived his information from Villehardouin, the chronicler of the Fourth Crusade, then it is not a source I have otherwise seen drawn on for this purpose, but nevertheless involves someone who might be thought to have some relevant information. It is not, as it happens, actually Ionia, but it is more in that direction that Black Sea locations would be.

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