Thurn und Taxis
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2008)|
|County of Thurn and Taxis
Grafschaft Thurn und Taxis
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
Coat of arms
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|-||House raised to Briefadel||1512|
|-||Raised to Freiherren||1608|
|-||Raised to County||1624|
|-||Granted princely rank in
the Spanish Court
|-||Raised to Princely county||1695|
|-||Mediatised to Bavaria||1806|
The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis (German: das Fürstenhaus Thurn und Taxis) is a German family that was a key player in the postal services in Europe in the 16th century and is well known as owners of breweries and builders of many castles.
In the 12th century, the Lombardic family Tasso (meaning Badger or collector) resided in the mountain village of Cornello, now Cornello dei Tasso near Bergamo in Val Brembana. The translation of "Tasso" to the German word "Dachs" was the origin of the name "Taxis", and the badger is still represented in the family coat of arms. In 1624 the family became counts (Grafen). In 1650 they changed their name to Thurn (= Turm = Tower) und Taxis. In 1695 they received their princely title from Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote his Duino Elegies while visiting Princess Marie of Thurn and Taxis (née princess of Hohenlohe) at her family's Duino castle. Rilke later dedicated his only novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge to the princess, who was his patroness. Marie's relation to Regensburg's Thurn and Taxis is rather distant, however; she was married to Alexander Thurn and Taxis, a member of the family's branch that in the early 19th century settled in Bohemia (now Czech Republic) and became strongly connected to Czech national culture and history.
Several members of the family have been Knights of Malta.
The current head of the house of Thurn and Taxis is HSH Albert II, 12th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, son of Johannes and his wife, Gloria. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany. The family has resided in St. Emmeram Castle in Regensburg since 1748. The family's brewery was sold to the Paulaner Group (Munich) in 1996, but still produces beer under the brand of Thurn und Taxis.
Postal service 
Ruggiano de Tassis founded a postal service in Italy. And later in Innsbruck, on 11 December 1489, Jeannetto de Tassis was appointed Chief Master of Postal Services. The family held its exclusive position for centuries. On 12 November 1516 the Taxis family had a postal service based in Brussels—where the eponymous extensive warehouse and railway goods yard complex is currently under development as a cultural centre—reaching to Rome, Naples, Spain, Germany and France by courier.
The Thurn und Taxis company would last until the 18th century, when the postal service was finally bought by the heir to the Spanish throne.
Princes of Thurn and Taxis 
|Princely Family of Thurn and Taxis|
- Eugen Alexander (1695–1714)
- Anselm Franz (1714–1739)
- Alexander Ferdinand (1739–1773)
- Karl Anselm (1773–1805)
- Karl Alexander (1805–1827)
- Maximilian Karl (1827–1871)
- Maximilian Maria (1871–1885)
- Albert I (1885–1952)
- Franz Joseph (1952–1971)
- Karl August (1971–1982)
- Johannes Baptista (1982–1990)
- Albert II (1990-)
The Thurn and Taxis family came to massive media attention during the late-1970s through mid-1980s when late Prince Johannes married Countess Mariae Gloria of Schönburg-Glauchau, a member of an impoverished but mediatized noble family. The couple's wild, "jet set" lifestyle and Princess Gloria's over-the-top appearance (characterized by bright hair colours and avante garde clothes) earned her the nickname "Princess TNT".
Cultural references to Thurn and Taxis 
- The mail monopoly of Thurn and Taxis is central to the plot of The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, which deals with a secret rival mail system W. A. S. T. E., developed by the fictional Trystero family.
- The board game Thurn and Taxis, by Andreas Seyfarth and Karen Seyfarth, is inspired by the family.
- The protagonist of Walter Jon Williams's Elegy for Angels and Dogs is the head of the Thurn und Taxis family.
- Thurn und Taxis are also mentioned in several volumes of the 163x series by Eric Flint and others, e.g. 1635: The Dreeson Incident and 1636: The Saxon Uprising.
See also 
- House of Thurn and Taxis line of succession
- Order of Parfaite Amitié
- Czech branch of the House of Thurn and Taxis
- Dukes of Castel Duino, an Italian branch of the Thurn und Taxis Family
References and sources 
- Wolfgang Behringer, Thurn und Taxis, Die Geschichte ihrer Post und ihrer Unternehmen, München, Zürich 1990 ISBN 3-492-03336-9
- Martin Dallmeier, Quellen zur Geschichte des europäischen Postwesens, Kallmünz 1977
- Martin Dallmeier and Martha Schad, Das Fürstliche Haus Thurn und Taxis, 300 Jahre Geschichte in Bildern, Regensburg 1996, ISBN 3-7917-1492-9
- Fritz Ohmann, Die Anfänge des Postwesens und die Taxis, Leipzig 1909
- Joseph Rübsam, Johann Baptista von Taxis, Freiburg im Breisgau 1889
- Marecek, Zdenek, Loucen a Thurn Taxisove. Pohledy do doby minule i nedavne. Obec Loucen, 1998.
Media related to Thurn und Taxis family at Wikimedia Commons
- Thurn und Taxis family homepage
- The House of Thurn und Taxis in Bohemia: 140 years of family history