Sarajevo was once known as ‘the Jerusalem of Europe’. This was not because it had either the antiquity or the sacred associations of Jerusalem, being an Ottoman foundation dating from the fifteenth century. However, it was for long the largest and most populous city of the Balkans, drawing people from all over the peninsula, and thus came to echo the region’s extraordinary ethnic and cultural diversity. Uniquely in the Europe of the day, strolling through a Sarajevo neighbourhood you might pass first a mosque, then a synagogue, then a Catholic church and finally an Orthodox. Though for very different reasons, Jerusalem was then the only other city where you could find people of such different faiths living cheek by jowl, hence the nickname.
For people of Christian, European culture, Jerusalem is defined by a death. And so too now is Sarajevo. The assassination there by Serbian nationalists of the Austrian Crown Prince, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, along with his morganatic wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, did not have the cosmic significance of Christ’s death, but, ultimately leading to both World Wars, its consequences for Europe and the wider world could hardly have been more profound, or catastrophic.
There were other, underlying causes, of course. If Europe was not exactly a powder keg waiting to explode, relations between the Powers were such that it was, at least, in a dangerously flammable condition. But the murders were the proximate cause, and we can never know whether without them tensions would eventually have eased and peaceful settlements been reached. As it was, the settlement left millions dead or crippled, Europe’s cultural and physical landscape irreparably marred, and the pre-war political order shattered for ever.
On that June day in Sarajevo, there were 40 different European monarchies, 41 if you count the Ottoman Empire. When the last drop of blood had been spilled, 15 were left standing. Germany, a monarchical nation from its very beginnings, became a republic whose shaky foundations soon enough led to a collapse into dictatorship. Russia, a nation and vast empire created, defined and bound together by its monarchs, fell into a dictatorship as cruel and monstrous in every way as the later Nazi dictatorship, and far longer-lasting. Austria-Hungary, a patchwork of peoples held together only by the Habsburg monarchy, was broken up by Wilsonian ideology into a scattering of little nations, at odds with each other and hapless prey to first Nazi Germany then the Soviet Union.
This project is concerned with the relationships of European sovereigns. In the case of World War One, there being far fewer sovereigns after it is a matter for regret not only for amateurs of genealogy like myself, but for anyone who cares about the scarcely paralleled miseries of the 20th century, the cataclysmic destruction and mass deaths that marked its course. In the shattering of Europe’s pre-1914 monarchical political and social order lay the seeds of World War Two, of the Holocaust, and of half Europe crushed under the Soviet heel for most of the century’s latter half.
There having been so many sovereigns makes this part of the project very large, large enough that it has been divided into three further parts. This, the first of the three, is the most straightforward. It deals with the sovereigns of European nations, as opposed to those of the constituent realms of the German Empire. These are treated of in part two, then part three shows relationships between the two sets of sovereigns. The German Emperor Wilhelm II, as a member of both sets, appears both here and in part two. He could have been left out of part three, since his relationships there duplicate those in this part, but appears so that part three shows as complete a picture as possible. Not appearing in any part are the Kings of Serbia and Montenegro, Peter I and Nikola I, as they were unrelated by blood to other sovereigns.
This first part consists of just three charts, showing first the relationships of Catholic sovereigns with each other, then Protestant and Orthodox, then finally between those two groupings. Keys will follow the charts in separate posts; they probably could fit in the same post but it is easier for me to do it this way, and I don’t think there’s any difference in convenience for those looking at the charts. Two tables of combined statistics come next, then finally a note on posterities.
The Catholic sovereigns include the Princes of Monaco and Liechtenstein. The then sovereigns of those two tiny realms were related to all the other sovereigns shown here, but in all cases remotely, enough so that originally I merely found and showed a relationship with each of the other sovereigns for the two Princes, with no attempt to establish the nearest, which I concluded would be an immense labour for no real gain. However, a considerable advance in the capabilities of the Genealogics relationships calculator meant that I could use it to find the actual nearest relationships of the Princes, and these are now shown in this part and in part three.
Especially following that improvement, I believe the three sets of charts together constitute probably the most complete survey ever undertaken of the relationships of the European sovereigns at this, the very end of the monarchical era which had its roots in the rubble of the Western Roman Empire, lasting near a millennium and a half before two shots on a Sarajevo Sunday morning brought it crashing down.
For an explanation of how to read the charts, click here.