Tag Archives: inbreeding

The Fuggers, and the Habsburgs’ Non-Branching Family Tree

Students in my study hall Thursday were bored. I pulled, from the trivia of the recesses of my brain, the fact of the Fuggers family and how funny it is to say their name in English with the short-u vowel sound (I’m not sure, but I suspect its German pronunciation wouldn’t be so funny). It’s clearly fun to be able to talk, in a high school classroom, about “the Fugger of the Deer” and the “Fuggers of the Lily” with impunity.

This introduction of knowledge made it possible for one student to suggest to another that “maybe you’re a Fugger,” and we enjoyed that, too.

Then I remembered the story of preposterous incest that is the genealogy of Charles II of Spain, the last of his line of Habsburgs, and I pulled up his family tree (one of many):

CharlesII_family_treeThis is sad for Charles II, of course, but it’s one of those hilarious, ridiculous parts of history. This also led to funny comments in my study hall. One male student mentioned the possibility of “‘getting jiggy’ with your mom, and then you’d have a sister-daughter,” and one young woman was more sympathetic: “What if you were a Habsburg and you had to bring a family tree [to school], how embarrassing would that be? ‘Well, my grandma is my aunt and my mom is my sister.'”