A royal family is the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, sometimes his or her extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an emperor or empress, the term papal family describes the family of a pope, while the terms baronial family, comital family, ducal family, archducal family, grand ducal family, or princely family are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning baron, duke, grand duke, or prince. However, in common parlance members of any family which reigns by hereditary right are referred to as royalty or "royals." It is customary in some circles to refer to the extended relations of a deposed monarch and his or her descendants as a royal family. A dynasty is sometimes referred to as "the House of...". As of July 2013, there are 26 active sovereign monarchies in the world who rule or reign over 43 countries in all. A royal family includes the spouse of the reigning monarch, surviving spouses of a deceased monarch, the children, brothers and paternal cousins of the reigning monarch, as well as their spouses.
In some cases, royal family membership may extend to great grandchildren and more distant descendants of a monarch. In certain monarchies where voluntary abdication is the norm, such as the Netherlands, a royal family may include one or more former monarchs. In certain instances, such as in Canada, the royal family is defined by who holds the styles Majesty and Royal Highness. There is a distinction between persons of the blood royal and those that marry into the royal family. Under most systems, only persons in the first category are dynasts, that is, potential successors to the throne; this is not always observed. In addition, certain relatives of the monarch possess special privileges and are subject to certain statutes, conventions, or special common law; the precise functions of a royal family vary depending on whether the polity in question is an absolute monarchy, a constitutional monarchy, or somewhere in between. In certain monarchies, such as that found in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, or in political systems where the monarch exercises executive power, such as in Jordan, it is not uncommon for the members of a royal family to hold important government posts or military commands.
In most constitutional monarchies, members of a royal family perform certain public, social, or ceremonial functions, but refrain from any involvement in electoral politics or the actual governance of the country. The specific composition of royal families varies from country to country, as do the titles and royal and noble styles held by members of the family; the composition of the royal family may be regulated by statute enacted by the legislature, the sovereign's prerogative and common law tradition, or a private house law. Public statutes, constitutional provisions, or conventions may regulate the marriages and personal titles of royal family members; the members of a royal family may not have a surname or dynastic name. In a constitutional monarchy, when the monarch dies, there is always a law or tradition of succession to the throne that either specifies a formula for identifying the precise order of succession among family members in line to the throne or specifies a process by which a family member is chosen to inherit the crown.
In the former case the exact line of hereditary succession among royal individuals may be identified at any given moment during prior reigns whereas in the latter case the next sovereign may be selected only during the reign or shortly after the demise of the preceding monarch. Some monarchies employ a mix of these selection processes, providing for both an identifiable line of succession as well as authority for the monarch, dynasty or other institution to alter the line in specific instances without changing the general law of succession; some countries have abolished royalty altogether, as in post-revolutionary Russia. Whilst mediatization occurred in other countries such as France and Russia, only the certain houses within the former Holy Roman Empire are collectively called the Mediatized Houses. Arenberg ducal family Fürstenberg princely family Ligne princely family Merode princely family Schwarzenberg princely family Thurn und Taxis princely family Media related to Royal families at Wikimedia Commons
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages by predominantly the nobility or royalty and by military orders. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble; this is distinct from a palace, not fortified. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and arrowslits, were commonplace. European-style castles originated in the 9th and 10th centuries, after the fall of the Carolingian Empire resulted in its territory being divided among individual lords and princes; these nobles built castles to control the area surrounding them and the castles were both offensive and defensive structures. Although their military origins are emphasised in castle studies, the structures served as centres of administration and symbols of power.
Urban castles were used to control the local populace and important travel routes, rural castles were situated near features that were integral to life in the community, such as mills, fertile land, or a water source. Many castles were built from earth and timber, but had their defences replaced by stone. Early castles exploited natural defences, lacking features such as towers and arrowslits and relying on a central keep. In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, a scientific approach to castle defence emerged; this led with an emphasis on flanking fire. Many new castles were polygonal or relied on concentric defence – several stages of defence within each other that could all function at the same time to maximise the castle's firepower; these changes in defence have been attributed to a mixture of castle technology from the Crusades, such as concentric fortification, inspiration from earlier defences, such as Roman forts. Not all the elements of castle architecture were military in nature, so that devices such as moats evolved from their original purpose of defence into symbols of power.
Some grand castles had long winding approaches intended to dominate their landscape. Although gunpowder was introduced to Europe in the 14th century, it did not affect castle building until the 15th century, when artillery became powerful enough to break through stone walls. While castles continued to be built well into the 16th century, new techniques to deal with improved cannon fire made them uncomfortable and undesirable places to live; as a result, true castles went into decline and were replaced by artillery forts with no role in civil administration, country houses that were indefensible. From the 18th century onwards, there was a renewed interest in castles with the construction of mock castles, part of a romantic revival of Gothic architecture, but they had no military purpose; the word castle is derived from the Latin word castellum, a diminutive of the word castrum, meaning "fortified place". The Old English castel, Old French castel or chastel, French château, Spanish castillo, Italian castello, a number of words in other languages derive from castellum.
The word castle was introduced into English shortly before the Norman Conquest to denote this type of building, new to England. In its simplest terms, the definition of a castle accepted amongst academics is "a private fortified residence"; this contrasts with earlier fortifications, such as Anglo-Saxon burhs and walled cities such as Constantinople and Antioch in the Middle East. Feudalism was the link between a lord and his vassal where, in return for military service and the expectation of loyalty, the lord would grant the vassal land. In the late 20th century, there was a trend to refine the definition of a castle by including the criterion of feudal ownership, thus tying castles to the medieval period. During the First Crusade, the Frankish armies encountered walled settlements and forts that they indiscriminately referred to as castles, but which would not be considered as such under the modern definition. Castles served a range of purposes, the most important of which were military and domestic.
As well as defensive structures, castles were offensive tools which could be used as a base of operations in enemy territory. Castles were established by Norman invaders of England for both defensive purposes and to pacify the country's inhabitants; as William the Conqueror advanced through England, he fortified key positions to secure the land he had taken. Between 1066 and 1087, he established 36 castles such as Warwick Castle, which he used to guard against rebellion in the English Midlands. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, castles tended to lose their military significance due to the advent of powerful cannons and permanent artillery fortifications. A castle could act as a stronghold and prison but was a place where a knight or lord could entertain his peers. Over time the aesthetics of the design became more important, as the castle's appearance and size began to refle
A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, is used to solidify rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from the Latin fortis and facere. From early history to modern times, walls have been necessary for cities to survive in an ever-changing world of invasion and conquest; some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were the first small cities to be fortified. In ancient Greece, large stone walls had been built in Mycenaean Greece, such as the ancient site of Mycenae. A Greek phrourion was a fortified collection of buildings used as a military garrison, is the equivalent of the Roman castellum or English fortress; these constructions served the purpose of a watch tower, to guard certain roads and lands that might threaten the kingdom. Though smaller than a real fortress, they acted as a border guard rather than a real strongpoint to watch and maintain the border; the art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called "castrametation" since the time of the Roman legions.
Fortification is divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. There is an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that they are a residence of a monarch or noble and command a specific defensive territory. Roman forts and hill forts were the main antecedents of castles in Europe, which emerged in the 9th century in the Carolingian Empire; the Early Middle Ages saw the creation of some towns built around castles. Medieval-style fortifications were made obsolete by the arrival of cannons in the 14th century. Fortifications in the age of black powder evolved into much lower structures with greater use of ditches and earth ramparts that would absorb and disperse the energy of cannon fire. Walls exposed to direct cannon fire were vulnerable, so the walls were sunk into ditches fronted by earth slopes to improve protection; the arrival of explosive shells in the 19th century led to yet another stage in the evolution of fortification.
Star forts did not fare well against the effects of high explosive, the intricate arrangements of bastions, flanking batteries and the constructed lines of fire for the defending cannon could be disrupted by explosive shells. Steel-and-concrete fortifications were common during the early 20th centuries; however the advances in modern warfare since World War I have made large-scale fortifications obsolete in most situations. Demilitarized zones along borders are arguably another type of fortification, although a passive kind, providing a buffer between hostile militaries. Many US military installations are known as forts. Indeed, during the pioneering era of North America, many outposts on the frontiers non-military outposts, were referred to generically as forts. Larger military installations may be called fortresses; the word fortification can refer to the practice of improving an area's defence with defensive works. City walls are fortifications but are not called fortresses; the art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called castrametation since the time of the Roman legions.
The art/science of laying siege to a fortification and of destroying it is called siegecraft or siege warfare and is formally known as poliorcetics. In some texts this latter term applies to the art of building a fortification. Fortification is divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. Permanent fortifications are erected at leisure, with all the resources that a state can supply of constructive and mechanical skill, are built of enduring materials. Field fortifications—for example breastworks—and known as fieldworks or earthworks, are extemporized by troops in the field assisted by such local labour and tools as may be procurable and with materials that do not require much preparation, such as earth and light timber, or sandbags. An example of field fortification was the construction of Fort Necessity by George Washington in 1754. There is an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification; this is employed when in the course of a campaign it becomes desirable to protect some locality with the best imitation of permanent defences that can be made in a short time, ample resources and skilled civilian labour being available.
An example of this is the construction of Roman forts in England and in other Roman territories where camps were set up with the intention of staying for some time, but not permanently. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that it describes a residence of a monarch or noble and commands a specific defensive territory. An example of this is the massive medieval castle of Carcassonne. From early history to modern times, walls have been a necessity for many cities. In Bulgaria, near the town of Provadia a walled fortified settlement today called Solnitsata starting from 4700 BC had a diameter of about 300 feet, was home to 350 people living in two-storey houses, was encircled by a fortified wall; the huge walls around the settlement, which were built tall and with stone blocks which are 6 feet high and 4.5 feet thick, make it one of the earliest walled settlements in Europe but it is younger than the walled town of Sesklo in Greece from 6800 BC.
Uruk in ancient Su
Sweden the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre; the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats and Swedes and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia; the climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, the sovereign state of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture and languages; this led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and the Swedish Empire was formed; this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs; the union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 moved towards cooperation with NATO. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum, it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens, it has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality and human development.
The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power. Before Sweden's imperial expansion, Early Modern English used Swedeland. Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes"; this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland. Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi and Rootsi are used, names considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, who were known as the Rus', through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia; the etymology of Swedes, thus Sweden, is not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", referring to one's own Germanic tribe. Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød oscillation, a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology. Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD. In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes as a powerful tribe with ships that had a prow at each end. Which kings ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC; as for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts of male names, demonstrating th