The Habsburg family is one of the most important royal families in the history of Europe. This may be somewhat surprising, as many of the rulers from this family behaved strangely, had some weird ideas, and were apparently mentally ill. A mysterious mental illness may actually have been one of the reasons for the fall of their dynasty.
The Habsburgs started to rule in Europe during the 11th century. The dynasty’s name comes from the name of a fortress built around the 1020s in the territory of modern Switzerland. The first king in this family was Rudolph of Habsburg who became the king of Germany in 1273. In 1438, the Habsburgs took the throne of the Holy Roman Empire and they kept it until 1740.
The rich family history was created around the thrones of countries like Croatia, Ireland, the Kingdom of Bohemia, England, France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and many others. They created a hermetic reality based on people of Habsburg blood – a royal blood empire which was thought to be perfect. However, their story contains many shameful and weird episodes.
Rudolph I of Habsburg. (Public Domain)
Joanna's Impact on the Genes
The story of mental illness in the Habsburg family probably started with the marriage of Joanna of Castile with Phillip the Handsome. Due to this marriage, the Habsburgs took the throne of Spain in 1496. Joanna was a young and lovely woman, but she was already known for her abnormal behaviors.
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