Who Were the Habsburgs?

By | July 6, 2019

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Portraits of members of the Habsburg family, fresco depicting the family tree, 1507-08. Source: (Photo by Albert Ceolan / De Agostini Picture Library via Getty Images)

In terms of historically successful dynasties, few have had as little long term success as the House of Habsburg. At one point, their dynasty controlled the majority of continental Europe and its overseas territories. However, the factors that led to its success ultimately brought its downfall. This article is an overview of the complex history of the House of Habsburg.

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Habichtsburg. Source: (Wikipedia)

The first patriarch of the house was a 10th-century count, called Guntram the Rich, who came from the Breisgau region of what is today Germany. It was Guntram’s grandson who in 1020 built a castle overlooking the Aar River in Switzerland that was named Habichtsburg (Hawk’s Castle). It was from this that the family took its famous name.