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Not simply for the sake of sex[edit]

No family, rich or poor, contented itself with one child, female OR male, in pre-modern times. peasant or noble, up to even the king, would have as many children as they reasonably could to ensure the family's survival. Havingh just one son and not wanting more would have been silly. What if that son were to be killed (like Edward, the Black Prince of Wales)? Don't assume historical facts. Only post in Wikipedia articles that which you absolutely know to be factual. The main reason many people deride Wikipedia as a serious resource is exactlty because some people post assumption, myth, rumour, or just plain error and don't bother checking facts.

Hey guys, I just stumbled upon this page, and I am actually not interested in the topic, but I have just got this strong impression of striking POV of the whole page so that I have to protest here. If I am mistaken please apologise my disturbance, but the representation of primogeniture seems to be TOTALLY UNBALANCED, doesn't it?

Was primogeniture invented in the second millennium? Is it a European invention?

Hey! This is not a European or Western encyclopedia!!! How about China? How about middle east? How about biblical times?

This article seems to get lost in details before properly establishing a big picture in the first place! I know, I am not suppose to criticise before contributing anything, and thus I really hate my role hear now. But think about that:

How can this article possibly start with "It is the tradition brought by the Normans of Normandy to England in 1066."??? IMHO this sentence does not belong into the opening paragraph! Or can anybody explain to me why the Normans were so incredibly important history, or at least in the according context?

Tang Wenlong (talk) 06:06, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Since Cognatic (absolute) Primogeniture is also used in Belgium, Netherlands, Norway are we to believe that they all changed their succession laws after 1980? Or do they somehow differ from "full" Cognatic (absolute) Primogeniture? Rmhermen 23:44, Mar 20, 2004 (UTC)

Found my own answer on FAQ. They all changed their laws since 1980. Rmhermen 23:47, Mar 20, 2004 (UTC)

Cognatic is nowadays not very useful term. Historically, it is not the same as absolute primogeniture. In times earlier than the few most recent decades, a primogeniture that allowed females to succeed, practically always preferred males of the same parent, and left females only a subordinate position. However, due to historical meaning of the term, I hereby request you not to equate "cognatic" and "absolute". It is incorrect equation. 16:24, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Page needs MAJOR editing![edit]

I strongly agree with one of Tang Wenlong's comments above. The article should begin the way it did two years ago. Interesting, but peripheral, material should be placed in appropriate subsections. The mention of Normandy in first paragraph is certainly not the only way that the article has gotten worse, but for fun I traced that change down: it was made by in an edit with no edit summary. That seems wrong; indeed given the apparent controversy of this page someone should have reverted this undocumented edit immediately!

By the way, I'm not sure the Norman comment is even particularly valid! Primogeniture had been practiced by many nations prior to the Normans (including, in England, the Normans' Anglo-Saxon predecessors themselves!); moreover, rather than oldest son inheriting entire state, William the Conqueror famously divided his estate between two sons!

But I won't do the necessary editing, especially with my poor Internet connectivity. I made a non-trivial improvement to this page 2 years ago and, although it more-or-less still survives in the page, an ally had to fight an edit war to keep it in: the editing enemy wanted to delete information he didn't even disagree with because of a terminology quibble!

Jamesdowallen (talk) 19:48, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

So who's going to do it? One inconsistency that needs editing is the list of countries in the intro section. The later section "Absolute cognatic primogeniture" implies that Spain and Denmark have actually adopted gender equality to the succession rules for their monarchies. Is this true? If so, should they not therefore be added to the list?

Spathaky (talk) 01:47, 24 November 2011 (UTC)


Poking around the web suggests that "agnatic primogeniture" means males, then females, rather than males only, i.e. the same as "male primogeniture". —Ashley Y 00:48, 2005 Apr 21 (UTC)

Your poking around the web only brings here results that are themselves caused by incorrect use of those terms. Their incorrect use in Wikipedia is partly responsible for that, which is actually a good testimony that Wikipedia is used and has impact.

Therefore, definitions used in Wikipedia should be kept correct, since we do not want that our readers receive misinformation, and then get embarrased.

Cognatic has the meaning that women are accepted. Due to historical practices, cognatic however has some internal connotation that women are a bit subordinate to men.

Agnatic means pure male line. If you poke some more in documents, you realize that agnatic relatives in literature are such that descent in male line from same ancestor. The term "agnate" has been used in princely family pact documents hundred and more years ago in German empire and meant the dead male members of the same male-line dynasty. For example, the Succession Pact of Schwarzburg sometime in the beginning of 1900's, where three gentlemen called themselves as "Agnates of Schwarzburg", stated that there are no more agnates of that ancient principality, and made a pact where they agreed upon to sanction the potential unification of their lands, in certain order of succession, since at least two of them were elderly and without male heirs. Two of them were reigning Princes. The third was a brother of one of the previous. The two branches had divided several centuries ago. In the pact, there were nowhere anyone male who descended from Schwarzburgs through a woman. The use of the term thus squarely means that agnates are those who descend from a common ancestor through unbroken male line.

I understand that recent changes in succession laws which brought so-called lineal primogeniture, confused many, since there had been no term for that - it has been so rare, practically nonexistent. At that point, some confused persons apparently began to use the old term "cognatic" meaning the lineal. And agnatic in their minds also moved from pure male descent to some mixed formula.

Actually, I have seen one scientific paper where the author proposes the combo term "cognatic-agnatic" as term for the mixed succession with male children of the same parent preferred.

However, also the fact that when the terms cognatic and agnatic were developed, the two most usual primogeniture models in use were (1) pure male, and (2) mixed which approved also females (daughters) after sons were exhausted. The terms were developed for those situations. Agnatic really means pure male. Cognatic means that both male and female are accepted, but in those dayus, females were practically always put behind males of same parents. Please use these terms according to their established meaning, please do not try to change their meaning. If you change it, much of earlier literature and sources become confusing and not useful - since they are not compatible with your new uses of the terms.

The definitions should be corrected in a way that your latest change (24.4.2005) is invalidated.

May I ask which sort of qualifications you have regarding genealogy? (I happen to have researched history, particularly medieval history, and all sorts of genealogy, already over 20 years, and be academically educated in my field. 16:19, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I shall defer to you on the meaning of "agnatic". "Cognatic primogeniture", however, has a clear modern meaning (as found in dictionaries, for instance) and should be used as such. See for instance [1]. —Ashley Y 03:16, 2005 Apr 26 (UTC)

I do not trust fully that dictionary. As far as I have checked it, it is from one recent book. What if it just is an incorrect idea of that one author, and now spreading over and over, because of internet?

The book in question is quite recent, and probably took its clue from the recent changes in succession laws of Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands and Norway. What if the book in question has not bothered to analyze earlier usages of the same term?

I remember to have read many older sources, treating succession cases in 18th and 19th centuries, which used "cognatic" in its more traditional meaning. Now you are saying (by your own words "has a clear MODERN meaning") that it does not matter what has the meaning of "cognatic" been in earlier decades, all that matters is its "modern" meaning. If you want it in this way, what are you going to do to confusion and misunderstandings due to people reading earlier treatises (where the meaning was not this) and thinking that the word there means what you want it to mean "in this modern meaning"?

This is always the danger of changing the meaning of a descriptive word long used in literature. Old texts analyses, treatises etc do not change their wordings just because a couple of countries change their constitutions. 12:37, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Confusion, but understandable...[edit]

Ok.. I myself came to Wikipedia about 2 months ago and learned of the term Cognatic used in the same context as "absolute Cognatic primogenture" as the eldest child taking precidence over younger, senior branch over joinor. As you point out it seems to make sense, Cognatic meaning leanier.

What is the current defination under thouse countries that follow the "eldest over youngest, reguardless of gender" order of succession. Though this is a relitively recent developement, what exactly is it called in thier constitutions? I have read the Spanish Constitution, and studied the Danish Constitution long ago.. I need to get a more recent English translation. Drachenfyre

Actually, the word cognatic is not used in laws, in constitutions, or in family pacts. They usually say the thig in lucid words, such as "succeeded by the eldest child", or "succeeded by male child and failing such, next male line of the house". Cognatic is a descriptive term used by researchers and analysts, when they categorize the succession laws they are studying. Therefore, we need not find any legal content to the word cognatic, since it is not usually used in legal texts. We need to find its meaning in the research community, what is its meaning to the scientists of genealogy who have used it in their treatises - already some centuries. 12:27, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)


There appears to be several interpretations of what actually strictly means "cognatic primogeniture", and those combating views appear to have grounds or reasons or references behind them. Thus, it is not Wikipedia's task to decide (by majority vote or voice vote or edit war or flaming or whatever) that one of those views gets accepted and others are rejected. The task of Wikipedia in this sort of situation is to present in the encyclopedia article the alternative meanings of "cognatic primogeniture" AND the reasons and references behind each definition/meaning, as well as examples of those usages.... 12:48, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Chambers Dictionary has this: "cognatic succession the succession to the throne of the eldest child, irrespective of sex". Seems quite unambiguous to me. —Ashley Y 08:32, 2005 Apr 27 (UTC)
The mentioned "Chambers Dictionary" clearly shows its ineptitude in that very sentence you presented, by totally another reason: there is the word "succession" and then in the explanation it says "the CHILD succeeds". We know very well that succession may happen in other ways, so that for example children are not the first to succeed, but for example the brother of the predecessor is the first to succeed (cf agnatic seniority) and that such other successions are or have been common. By limiting its explanation to some implied idea that succession is always preferably to predecessors "child", the author of that distionary shows that he has not thought the thing through and that he has not familiarized himself with the topic he is writing about.

After taking note of that ineptitude, how can you expect that anyone takes that dictionary as authoritative on subjects of hereditary succession? I think that in this respect, the Chambers Dictionary and the sentence you presented here, is an example of some hasty work and of mediocre quality. I would not therefore rely on that dictionary's authority. 04:08, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Could you please check whether the earlier printings of this Chambers Dictionary you referred to, have used another definition for "cognatic primogeniture".

This is a ridiculous quibble. The dictionary doesn't bother to spell out all the details of succession due to brevity, preferring to simply point out the significance of "cognatic" in an entry on "cognate". Chambers is well recognised as authoritative on the modern meanings of English words. —Ashley Y 05:34, 2005 Apr 28 (UTC)

No, this is not a ridiculous quibble. Rather, your behavior seems to be ridiculous. Brevity would have been easy to preserve in that dictionary, but your "authoritative" author simply did not bother to know what he was writing about. Brevity would have been preserved for example by saying "Cognatic succession is the succession to the throne irrespective of sex of the heir". if the meaning would be what you have wanted here. But the author at least oversimplified matters, which indicates that he has oversimplified also the meaning of cognatic (succession) here. Please notice also that "cognatic succession" is not necessarily same as primogeniture or seniority, thus the word "eldest" has no legitimate place in its definition. (I guess that your impatient mind soon wants to say that this point is another "ridiculous quibble", since it does not fit into your desires.) In my knowledge, however, "cocnatic succession" is something like " the succession to the throne or other inheritance which allows both males and females to be heirs". Please understand that I will not change my opinion in favor of your desire to require equality between genders in those definitions, since I happen to know very well that the usage of the word cognatic only means that both genders are allowed, but the genders may be treated somewhat inequally (and historically have thus been) - there could be a preference for males, but of course I accept that there could theoretically be a preference for females. If you compare this idea with what is known of the usage of "cognate" etc, you will realize that there nowhere is full equality required. Your cognate can be a person whose relationship with you is through fully uterine line, not for example through a line where every second link is female and every second is male (as you seem to require in order to fulfill your desire to have some sort of full equality between genders). 06:44, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Some background: according to very reliable dictionaries/encyclopedias, for example in the field of sociological and archaeological studies, With "cognatic descent" scientists undestand "mode of descent reckoning where all descendants of an apical ancestor/ancestress through any combination of male or female links are included". Thus, cognatic descent simply is all descent. It is same as "consanguineal". Another word could be "cognatic kinship". Thus, "cognate" simply is a kinsman or kinswoman with whom one has at least one common ancestor. Thus, I argue, "cognatic primogeniture" and "cognatic succession" refer to a number of alternative lines of succession, the only confition is that the successor and the predecessor are "blood relatives". Therefore, several alternative systems of succession can be classified as "cognatic". What is important, is that in long-time literature at least one of those systems has been classified as "cognatic" - it is the system used in Spain, Britain etc. Very important is also to understand and give account to the fact that 25 years ago, there were NO monarchies where succession order took place irrespective of the gender of the child. The equal succession only then began, firstly in one country. The usage of "cognatic" in analytical texts dealing with systems of hereditary succession etc, had happened already for a century or several. During that time, up to 1980, the only meaningful meaning of "cognatic primogeniture" in research treating existing monarchies and their successions, was those systems of succession where females were allowed but happened to be surpassed when a male existed in the same series of siblings. The actual usage of the term must be taken into account. This is an encyclopedia, not an act of legislation. An encyclopedia cannot be a tool to define a term anew. An encycvlopedia should list the usages (also alternative meanings" of a term. A precise term for that system would of course be for example "male-preference primogeniture". It is all good and well to use precise terms, as far as possible. But since the term "cognatic" has been used about the said system, therefore it is

  • unwise to try to limit nowadays the term "cognatic" to a meaning which does not include the said long-time usage
  • incorrect to present "cognatic" as a precise system of succession, since it apparently is a group of such alternative systems.

Whereas it would be advisable to present "cognatic succession" and "cognatic primogeniture" as a wider group of alternative systems which have at least one common characteristic: they allow females to succeed. 14:38, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I disagree, we should represent the present (single) meaning of the word, just as the rest of Wikipedia is written in modern English. Of course, we should mention that "cognatic" had a different meaning earlier, but secondarily and preferably with references. In particular, this statement is unacceptably POV:
Therefore, it is recommendable not to use the term "cognatic primogeniture" - it will be more clever to use a less controversial, more precise term that describes the exact situation at hand there.
Ashley Y 20:47, 2005 Apr 27 (UTC)

I would tend to agree with Ashly in terms of this. Dictionaries are the modern interpetation of our language as spoken today. If the same word had various meanings it is documented there. It is true specific scientific communities have and use various language which means something different within that community, but as this is a larger encyclopediac work I would suggest that we use the most widely understood and accepted use for the word, and note any varience. It would be worth noting that cognatic may have ment something slightly different to earlier centuries. Wikipedia seems a broadly based encyclopedia in most cases. Drachenfyre

Dear Drachenfyre and dear Ashley, you seem to want to bring an anachronism here. Please remember that, as much you may want to further the ideology of feminism, you cannot change the events and usages of the past. History has already happened. 06:22, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The following claims by Ashley made 28.4.2005 contain grave anachronisms and a sad lack of knowledge of history as well as of sociological and archaeological concepts, and I have been obliged to correct them: Ashley had written: "An earlier definition of cognatic primogeniture referred to any form of primogeniture which allows females, and male-preference primogeniture in particular was known as agnatic-cognatic primogeniture. Today, "cognatic primogeniture" refers only to equal primogeniture (below). (Equal primogeniture) is also known as cognatic primogeniture today."

The chief problems with Ashley's writings are:

  • even today, equal primogeniture is not the only form of cognatic primogeniture
  • agnatic-cognatic primogeniture is not an old term, and therefore it is fully incorrect to try to say that something WAS known as that name. If something uses that name, its tense should be "IS".
  • earlier, cognatic primogeniture referred to the same meaning as now is the definition of male-preferred primogeniture. In those days, there did not exist any use of equal primogeniture, therefore it is anachronistic to try to say that in those days, other forms of cognatic primogeniture were even known. 07:18, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The more correct rendering about the same issues is (as I wrote in the main article today):

Male-preference primogeniture is inheritance by the eldest surviving male child, but females may inherit provided the subject has no sons. Nowadays also agnatic-cognatic primogeniture is used in the same meaning. This is the usual feudal primogeniture in the Western European culture. Earlier, also the term cognatic primogeniture referred to this same meaning, but nowadays cognatic primogeniture has extended to refer to any form of primogeniture which allows females.
Absolute, equal or lineal primogeniture is inheritance by the oldest surviving child without regard to gender. This system was virtually unknown in monarchies until the late 20th century - for centuries until its invention, females, if entitled to succeed at all, were at least surpassed by a consistent preference of males. Today, some writers misleadingly refer by "cognatic primogeniture" only to equal primogeniture, although its long use indicates that it originally in practical situations meant the same as male-preferred primogeniture. The first country to adopt fully equal primogeniture was Sweden in 1980..... 09:25, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I really doubt the above statements will stand up to full scrutiny. There have been far too many female monarchs throughout history for these sweeping statements to apply to all cultures.--Maviss 16:25, 15 January 2006 (UTC)


The term "agnatic-cognatic" has been used in only one of research papers I have read, and it is a relatively recent publication. I surmise that the author has created that wording because of his one-time need to specify very precisely a strict idea of succession, and he did not know the term "male-preference primogeniture", which also may be a new and artificial creation. These new terms have apparently been needed now, since the original meaning of "cognatic primogeniture" has in recent years been in process of losing its originally rather precise meaning - its original meaning has been precisely that "male-preference primogeniture" - to proponents of fully equal primogeniture who have misleadingly tried to adopt the older term to their monopolic use.

Because of the background of these "agnatic-cognatic" etc, I cannot accept Ashley's hasty edits regarding its meaning. 06:53, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I made a check of contributions to this article, using and its comparison feature.

The results which I received, show that Ashley Y has not added any new piece of information to the article - her few contributions have been her "corrections" of already written terms. Some of which she has then surrendered.

It is reasonable to conclude that Ashley has not shown any additional knowledge, to expand the article. Whereas she has shown that she has some opinions of the correctness of the terms used - opinions that could be concluded to be feministically biased, at the expense of historical knowledge.

There is yet no substantial reply from Ashley listing her credentials in knowledge of history or archaeology or sociology.

In scientific world, persons are usually not taken seriously in debates if they have not, by their individual work, shown their own deep knowledge of the topic and also shown a capability to add to the existing knowledge. 10:31, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm not at all impressed by your qualifications. I have provided a reference to an authoritative definition for the modern meaning of the word "cognatic". Please provide a modern dictionary reference that says otherwise. I think most people will agree that a well-respected dictionary such as Chambers carries more weight than an anonymous Wikipedia contributor claiming vague "credentials". And please note that I do not claim any authority of my own, I merely refer to the authority of others.
If you can prove your case with reference to authoritative sources, I shall yield. Otherwise I will have to revert your changes. —Ashley Y 22:40, 2005 Apr 28 (UTC)


"Cognatic succession", today, means specifically equal primogeniture. This is common modern usage:

  • Chambers Dictionary has this: "cognatic succession the succession to the throne of the eldest child, irrespective of sex". This is an excellent brief dictionary definition, the anonymous user's nit-picking notwithstanding, and Chambers is a well-respected English dictionary.
  • The FAQ says the same thing, maintained by François Velde and presumably representing the collected wisdom of that newsgroup. But they didn't just pull that out of the air, they quote...
  • The Monarchy and the Constitution, by Vernon Bogdanor, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995, page 42, which apparently has this for Cognatic Primogeniture: "the right of succession passes to the eldest child of the sovereign, regardless of gender, females enjoying the same right of succession as males"

I accept that "cognatic succession" may have had a broader meaning earlier, and that of course should be mentioned in the article. But in the absence of contrary evidence for the modern definition, I think that should conclude the matter for reasonable people.

I would also like to point out that am only interested in accurately reflecting current usage, and find the charge of "furthering the ideology of feminism" bizarre (nor am I female).

A person may be feminist without being a female. That sort of behavior is most often found in males who want to compensate "for past wrongs".

I shall correct this article (and others the anonymous user has changed) accordingly after 24 hours if no contrary evidence is presented. —Ashley Y 00:01, 2005 Apr 30 (UTC)

I am not as authority-dependent, apparently, as Ashley Y obviously is. Perhaps it is because I have studied genealogy for a couple of decades, which clearly is something which Ashley Y has not.

If you desire other authorities: Please read a book from the late 19th century, in French, Manuel de Généalogie (shortly "Manuel", which produced a large collection of royal family trees all around the world). There "primogéniture cognatique" is mentioned as the concept according to which Spanish and UK succession took place. Reference: M.Stokvis, "Manuel d'Histoire, de Généalogie et de Chronologie de tous les États du globe", Volumes 1, 2 and 3. Publisher: Leiden, from 1888 to 1893, Source Type: Book, Language: French.

It is somewhat unfortunate that Ashley Y wants hastiness of 24 hours, and timed it so that libraries are not easily accessible because of the weekend and our holidays surrounding 1 May. Since I have known that meaning of cognatic primogeniture for a long time, and regarded it as an established, I have not collected a full list of references in its support. I trust that library is quite full of such.

What I remember, however: In a German source, a book, explaining the claims to the principality of Orange after the death of Willem III, the rival claimants were dubbed as the "kognatisch" heir (King of Prussia) and the "agnatisch" heir (Jan Willem Friso of Nassau). It is totally clear that Prussia's claim did not come from equal primogeniture, but from a male-preference primogeniture, where the ancestress of the Prussian claimant, born a princess of Nassau, had transferred the hereditary right to the hohenzollern line, which had had sons in each generation since that.

The same from a text which told the history behind Isabel II of Spain's accession, and the rival don Carlos, "carlists" against "isabelinos". IfI recall it correctly, the word "cognatic" was there mentioned also about the expected succession by heirs of Isabel's younger sister when mentioning why Louis Philip wanted a marriage of that girl with his youngest son Antoine of Montpensier.

I recall a history text (book) which I read a decade or two ago, where Queen Victoria's succession was said having resulted from cognatic primogeniture, and agnatic primogeniture was mentioned as the alternative which was the other usual primogeniture in those days and according to which Hanover was inherited at the same time. This shows that during the time when equal primogeniture was not in use, the conceptual pair of agnatic and cognatic primogeniture, both in use in those days, had precisely those two meanings. Now, we know that Victoria succeeded, not thanks to her being her father's eldest child, but thanks to the fact that she did not have any brother, since a younger brother would have had preferential position.

Further, there are independent texts around in the internet where cognatic primogeniture is used in the meaning of male-preference primogeniture. For example, I have faced a few times a piece of text where someone had written "cognatic primogeniture" as the explanation of Elizabeth II's accession.

The most important logical reason to hold that cognatic primogeniture means also male-preference primogeniture is the fact that during the time when those genealogist concepts developed and were long used, the equal primogeniture did not exist and users referred to male-preference thing when using "cognatic primogeniture".

It is somewhat disturbing that Ashley Y, a person who in the discussion page of Talk:Naruhito some time ago revealed that (s)he then understood the terms agnatic and cognatic precisely wrong, precisely contrary to their all meaning, is now here dictating. It seems to me that Ashley Y is acting on basis of quite total ignorance.

Ashley Y has apparently confessed not having competence in these topics. And Ashley Y is obviously PARROTING something. Something she calls authority. However, that sort of conduct is dangerous for factual correctness:

  • the parrot does not know the the reasoning, any original incertainties etc, behind the text which is parroting.
  • the parrot has only someone else's authority behind the claims. And in that situation, it usually becomes too difficult to check the credentials of the authority in question.
  • the parrot too easily becomes heated, as she is not genuinely interested in the question and does not want to use time and effort to reflect and study, but wants a rapid solution. I think that actually Ashley Y has now shown such signs of hastiness (or what is the 24 hours and a threat to make unilateral decisions soon).

Could anyone present cases from real world prior to 1980, where the eldest child of the monarch succeeded, explicitly irrespective of the sex??

Francois Velde, from whom I asked by email about that text in his website, wrote that he had not reflected that portion of the text carefully, and that he actually tends to agree with me. He is considering the issue, and it may take some time. Of course, you all are welcome to talk with Francois Velde himself.

Does anyone even have that Vernon Bogdanor's book, so that the quote could be checked, together with its surroundings and context... And who is Vernon Bogdanor? credentials, besides having published a book which may be a law book...

Ashley Y has presented only one book which (s)he has self read (or has it been read?): the Chambers. However, we know that Chambers is a wide collation, whose writers are probably not experts in all topics they write. The tendentious brevity indicates that information sometimes tends to be too simplified. Regarding that particular entry in Chambers, we see that with "succession", there the definition postulates only the next generation, "child", and only primogeniture, whereas we know that succession system in some cases gives, for example, predecessor's siblings rights over the next generation (= seniority) and we know that in addition of primogeniture, there are a number of other mechanisms of hereditary succession. Thus, my conclusion is that the writer of Chambers has here written the first impression that came to the mind, and not thought the question as a whole. Thus, the definition in Chambers is more like an example than a covering definition. And because this sort of backgroung is proven, it indicates that the same writer has possibly made a similar simplification with the word "cognatic", too.

In my opinion, Ashley Y tries to put too much emphasis to "modern" / "current". Besides the fact that the current usage has not shrinked to cover only the meaning which Ashley Y wants, and that also it did not have a broader meaning earlier but a meaning which is another than Ashley Y now presents, there is the fact that it has had at least two meanings in a way that existing books and discussion today (= currently = in our modern times) yet use also the other meaning than the one Ashley Y wants. Ashley Y is not able to make those genealogical, history, sociology, law and archaeology books disappear where cognatic primogeniture is used meaning precisely our male-preferred primogeniture. It should not be allowed in Wikipedia that the content of a term is changed towards a clearly more restricted meaning, or to another meaning, if the disappearance of the earlier meaning is not proven beyond reasonable doubt. I think there is no proof of disappearance of that "older" meaning of cognatic primogeniture.

Moreover, in these issues, we deal examples and cases which mostly are in history, and therefore yet a higher weight should be given to the meanings of the term that have been used in the past.

Of course I am not against Ashley Y making the article, nor other articles, better (though, for improvements, (s)he has to study more, in order to add something meaningful), but I am strongly against changes that try to claim one or more of following incorrectnesses:

  • cognatic primogeniture is exact synonym of what we -in apparent consensus- understand with equal primogeniture
  • agnatic-cognatic primogeniture is not a concept used today
  • the system of succession whereby Victoria and Elizabeth II ascended, is not (a form of) cognatic primogeniture
  • cognatic means something more restricted than all consanguineal relatives (restricted such as only the heir of the ELDEST child, or restricted in a way that cognatic is always totally irrespective of sex, or equal between sexes)
  • primogeniture is the only form of hereditary succession

Regarding the use of "cognatic primogeniture" in other articles I want to point out that its meaning is not precise, but has at least two alternatives (even Ashley Y has conceded that at least in past it was used in another meaning). Therefore, if any other article aspires to preciseness or at least tries to avoid potential misunderstandings, the term "cognatic primogeniture" should not be used if equal primogeniture is meant, but the term "equal primogeniture" is apparently sufficiently precise to convey the thing there without inherent potential to misunderstandings. If I may remind Ashley y that the idea here is not her(him) to win at all costs, but to make Wikipedia better, this trying to avoid potential for misunderstandings.

In my knowledge, "cognatic succession" is the succession to the throne or other inheritance which allows both males and females to be heirs. Please note that cognatic only means that both genders are allowed, but the genders may be treated somewhat inequally (and historically have thus been: in cognatic successions of hereditary monarchies, there has existed a preference for males). "Cognatic descent" refers to the mode of descent reckoning where all descendants of an apical ancestor/ancestress through any combination of male or female links are included. It is practically the same as "consanguineal", however illegitimate issue typically excluded if talking about succession in monarchies. A cognate simply is a kinsman or kinswoman with whom one has at least one common ancestor. Thus, "cognatic succession" refer to a number of alternative lines of succession, the only condition is that the successor and the predecessor are "blood relatives". Therefore, several alternative systems of succession can be classified as "cognatic". Cognatic succession may take place using similar specific forms as any other succession: appointment or election, partition, seniority, primogeniture, etc.

In my understanding, cognatic primogeniture nowadays refers to any form of primogeniture which allows females.

So-called male-preference primogeniture (which earlier was the only form which was called cognatic primogeniture) is the usual feudal primogeniture in the Western European culture. In it, the lord is succeeded by his eldest son, and failing sons, by daughters. Great Britain and Spain are today continuing this old model of succession law.

In my understanding, the term cognatic primogeniture referred ealier only to this same meaning, but nowadays cognatic primogeniture has expanded to refer to any form of primogeniture which allows females. 08:56, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

There is yet no substantial reply from the anonymous user listing contrary evidence, something surely trivial for a researcher with two decades of study in genealogy. I'm disappointed, as I was hoping that the anonymous user might be justified and I might be able to leave this alone. But the desire for accuracy drives me forward, just as it earlier drove me to immediately retract my assertion concerning "agnatic" when I saw that I was wrong. I recommend the same concern for accuracy to the anonymous user if he or she wishes to continue to work on Wikipedia, and warn against getting proudly stuck in one's misconception against a tide of evidence.
The meaning of "cognatic" as it was in the 19th century is not at issue. The question is whether it has changed since then. I have presented evidence that it has, I await any evidence from the anonymous user that it has not. It seems the anonymous user does not so much disagree with the evidence as disapprove of the change, and wishes to promote this disapproval in this encyclopaedia, which really ought to stay neutral in such matters. I have no opinion on whether such a change is a good one, but merely note that we should reflect current usage, while of course mentioning earlier meanings for clarification.
The anonymous user also appears to be confused about the nature of science (here extended to lexicology). Actually, in the scientific world, persons are usually not taken seriously in debates if they cannot provide evidence for their theories (regardless of how much experience they claim). The anonymous user has not actually presented any books or any other evidence that support his or her views, preferring to recall some memory, or quote books too old to be relevant to a recent change, or else puffily allude to experience and qualifications.
I was going to correct the changes immediately, but I decided it would be wiser to allow some time for the anonymous user to present evidence. This has, so far, not been forthcoming. I shall correct the articles at the given time (unless the anonymous user manages to turn something up) as the balance of evidence presented so far clearly supports it. If at some later time contrary evidence is presented, it can of course be discussed here and further corrections made if necessary. I'd certainly be very interested in the specifics of what Mr. Velde has to say, particularly on the subject of the contemporary rather than historical meaning, that is, how the term is actually used today rather than how it "ought" to be used according to some earlier definition — assuming the anonymous user will present his views fairly. In the mean time you may find correct usage of "cognatic" by various royalty buffs (whom I don't doubt the anonymous user will now proceed to pour scorn upon) here: [2] [3] [4]Ashley Y 10:54, 2005 Apr 30 (UTC)

POV rhetoric[edit]

This portion of the Preference for males section strikes me as heavily POV:

His income was very dependent on protection money collected from those people he was in office of protecting against wars, violence, crimes, other injustices (this sort of protection money, more or less extorted from people by use or threat of the violent powers of the protector himself, was labelled by the less-infuriating terms "tax" and "duty").

I realize that many anarchists, anarcho-capitalists, anti-tax activists, and others believe that taxation is inherently robbery, that government is not morally different from the Mafia, etc., but I'm surprised such rhetoric has lasted this long without being heavily edited. Thoughts? LeoO3 20:51, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, there is even something doubtful about it, considering that at certain times, most of the royal revenue came from their being landed, taxes being, compared to what they began to become during the renaissance and the early-modern period, ridiculously low in some places. And I hardly see the link with preference for males: did the author somehow believe that medieval kings took the time to personally oversee collection in their realm (or even had it)? Snapdragonfly 19:53, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Unsourced speculation removed from article to below: "Primogeniture became the most common method of succession in hereditary monarchies as a slow development, correlating with the development of the average life-span in wealthier classes (particularly with the wealth of a monarch's family) increasing to a level where the eldest children of a parent were, on average, more or less adult at the time of the death of the parent. This correlated with the wealthier and healthier conditions and more and better food; and with less personal participation in violent activities, such as warring, marauding, robber expeditions and duels." Lethiere 08:03, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

The Netherlands and Luxembourg[edit]

The sentence "Likewise the divergence in 1890 of the thrones of Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the former grand duchy being governed by semi-Salic law, unlike the latter kingdom." doesn't entirely paint the right picture. Both monarchies were governed by semi-Salic law at that point. The Luxembourg line of succession however went back more generations than the Dutch one, because the Luxembourg succession was ruled by the provisions of the Nassau House Treaty of 1783. Where the succession was concerned Luxembourg is the successor state to the Principality of (Orange-) Nassau-Dietz. The Dutch succession only went back to King William I (1815-1840). Therefore Luxembourg still had agnatic heirs from another branch of the House of Nassau left to succeed, while in the Netherlands the male line starting with William I was depleted. I will make the proper adjustments in the article's text.Gerard von Hebel 19:30, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Economic Primogeniture[edit]

I've seen the term primogeniture used in a more general way, by critics of capitalism, to refer to a condition wherein resources tend to be owned by those who were "there first" (born first). Those born later are at an increasing disadvantage, in terms of how much wealth they can own. The first one who made a claim to a piece of land, for example, would be said to benefit from primogeniture. Has anyone else seen the term used in this way? Might be an interesting foot-note...

Yes, and now it seems that in the first paragraph the article explains primogeniture generally, not concerning only primogeniture in monarchies. However, it should be clarified somehow, where the article describes general primogeniture and where it turns to describe monarchies. Now the reader must guess, which is not good. ——Nikolas Ojala (talk) 20:17, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Blood heredity studies[edit]

I've read articles in the past which claim that various unpublished blood heredity studies suggest that extra-marital conception accounts for 15% to 20% of all births, even during conservative times in conservative communities in the American south. I'm fairly certain there was an article in The Sciences to this effect in the early 1990s. Regardless of whether this rumour has any truth or not, it's quite possible that the human male has greatest certainty in the paternity of his marital first born, especially if the first conception dovetails the infatuation period where the love birds are rarely separated.

I don't know whether this Robert Trivers-like hypothesis has been developed elsewhere, but if there were an element of validity here, it would certainly outweight the arthimetically simple-minded nonsense about 23/47 "genomic" inheritance due to the XY chromosome disjunction. MaxEnt 22:10, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

The 23/47 ratio is wrong anyway. (talk) 16:17, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Uterine inheritance in Europe[edit]

I found this article extremely interesting and well-written. But I question the statement:

> No monarchy in Europe applies or is known to have applied > matrilineal primogeniture (uterine primogeniture) to > successions ...

Although they always had Kings, not Queens, both the Picts of Northern Britain and Etruscans of Italy practiced uterine inheritance -- the Kingship typically passed to a son-in-law (Etruscan?), or a uterine nephew (Pictish?).

For example, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was son of the 5th King of Rome (who was husband of Princess Tanaquil), but it was his brother-in-law who became the 6th King. Lucius married his niece Tullia (daughter of daughter of Tanaquil) to earn the right to be 7th King! (I've read parts of this in various sources but mainly ... Wikipedia! Some ancient genealogies may be partly mythical, but the inheritance rules should be factual.)

(I'm certainly not qualified to edit the Primogeniture page, but it should contain some mention of uterine inheritance as practiced by Picts and Etruscans. I understand that the system persisted, at least to a small degree, in inheritance among the very early Scots Kings, and very early Latin Romans.)

Jamesdowallen 05:55, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Matrilineal primogeniture (uterine primogeniture) is a form of succession where the eldest female child of the subject is entitled to the hereditary succession before her younger sisters, and her brothers are not entitled to inherit at all. No monarchy in Europe has applied this form of succession. In regards to the Picts and Etruscans, their form of succession can not be called Matrilineal primogeniture, since the women themselves did not inherit the throne. FrinkMan 17:27, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

The definition of matrilineal primogeniture is of no interest to me. The fact that some cultures pass inheritance from the mother not the father is what is important to mention. I specifically suggested the term uterine inheritance which seems clear: just as an agnatic line is defined to include daughters (though not their descendants), so uterine descent includes a woman's son (but not his descendants).

Perhaps there is no agreement on the term uterine primogeniture. That awkwardness does not mean this article should ignore that inheritance method.

Jamesdowallen 06:58, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Your term "Male Inheritance from wife or mother" is a good description of this form of succession. FrinkMan 10:39, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it is true that such inheritance pattern existed; but it is not clear to me that it is called uterine primogeniture. It could, as far as I am concerned, but I cannot vouch for it. Shilkanni (talk) 23:26, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Potential posthumous birth of an heir[edit]

Does anyone know what would happen in the UK if the following situation were to happen. This is an example: In the future, we have King William and Queen Kate and they have one daughter Victoria who is an only child. Queen Kate is pregnant with a male child when King William dies. Does Victoria become Queen? Does the male child become King on birth? What happens? -- (talk) 04:01, 6 March 2008 (UTC)-- (talk) 00:51, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Provisions would surely be made to ensure the succession of a male if that is what the unborn child is. Compare also the succession of Alphonse XIII of Spain at his birth and also the provisions made for an possibly unborn child of Dowager Queen Adelaide at the succession of Queen Victoria. There is no set standard or law to deal with such cases, it is a case-by-case scenario. In the case of a posthumous son of William IV, that child would have immediately become King and Victoria would have taken another status... Maybe still styled Queen Victoria (but not reigning), maybe something else. We don't know. Charles 04:38, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Seeing that Brits are increasingly going towards favoring equal primogeniture, I think that the case of a queen-consort in the future being pregnant, but a daughter already in existence, would rather solve in a way that even if the unborn kid turns out to be boy, still the elder child (daughter) will retain the throne.... They'll make a precedent out of that then, and possibly pass a law in the parliament, to change the whole system to be equal between genders. (talk) 23:13, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

There is already provision in UK enactments to adopt equality in genders for the throne. However, the whole issue has had to be parked, because the UK monarch is not just the monarch of the UK but of a whole bunch of other countries as well. It would require legislation to be introduced and passed in the respective parliaments of all those other countries before such practice could be adopted. Since there are in excess of twenty of them, it just ain't going to happen easily. (talk) 11:45, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

USA Founding fathers, Edward III[edit]

The article states the following: "These Founding Fathers of the United States of America were nearly universally descended from the landed gentry of England, with many being descended from English Kings of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, especially through the numerous offspring of Edward III of England."

The wikipedia article on Edward III States the following: "He is quite unusual among medieval English monarchs in having no known illegitimate children. This devotion extended to the rest of the family as well; in contrast to so many of his predecessors, Edward never experienced opposition from any of his five adult sons." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:25, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Moreover, the assertion "These Founding Fathers of the United States of America were nearly universally descended from the landed gentry of England" is rubbish, a myth concocted by the American gentry to cover up their very plebeian origins, one later added to by unscrupulous 'genealogists' whose bogus pedigrees are still believed today by the gullible. Solicitr (talk) 17:53, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

What is it Called When..[edit]

Ok, so I read through the terms and I have a question, and should the term exist it ought to be added. Here's the question; What is it called when you have a system wherein you have a matrilinerar line wherein the eldset female is preffered but males are allowed to hold the throne if their are no females?

-IkonicDeath —Preceding undated comment was added at 00:41, 29 November 2008 (UTC).

There's no ready term for that, because such a system of succession has not been common enough to prompt a term to be coined.... (as far as I know, such system has not existed anywhere any longer time). The term "matrilineal" succession is a wider thing (= not exactly the asked system), signifying a group of slightly different succession systems. The term "uterine" succession is not so much used that its meaning has ever become totally clear. (talk) 23:10, 11 March 2009 (UTC)


I see the intention of an editor who has names himself as 'FactsStraight', is to get facts twisted here. That is unfortunate. (talk) 16:22, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

For example, Francois Velde's heraldica (Salic = agnatic) which is a material relatively knowledgeable about things in context of succession, equates the Salic Law with 'agnatic'. (talk) 15:02, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Nordisk familjebok: tronföljd[edit]

because some -probably ignorant- editors seem to plead the authority of this publication, here's its text:

Tronföljd, den ordning, hvari trontillträdet sker inom en monarki. En lagbestämd tronföljdsrätt tillhör den ärftliga monarkien, i hvilken, inom en viss ätt eller dynasti, kronan på grund af börd öfvergår från en medlem till en annan i en viss oidning (se Succession, sp. 643). Trontillträdet i valmonarkien grundar sig däremot på ett tronföljden afgörande val, till följd hvaraf, då tronföljaren icke blifvit förut vald, alltid en mellantid där uppstår mellan föregångarens afträdan-de och den nyvalde efterföljarens tillträde till tronen, medan i arfriket (se d. o.) konungen, såsom det heter, aldrig dör ("le roi est mört, vive le roi!"). I valriket kan dock vara genom lag eller sed bestämdt, att valet skall hålla sig inom en viss släkt, så länge lämpliga medlemmar af denna finnas. Denna förbindelse mellan arf och valrätt var utmärkande för den gammalgermanska statsförfattningen och fortfor i Sverige, äfven sedan detta land under medeltiden förklarats för ett valrike. På en del håll gaf den upphof till fullständigt arf-rike, men då betraktades till en början successionen som rent privaträttslig, och riken delades därför ofta som andra gods. Statens fordran på enhet och odelbarhet nödvändiggjorde emellertid en författningsenlig reglering af arfsföljden i öfverensstämmelse härmed, och med länsväsendets majo-ratsprincip till förebild antogs då vanligen som grund för successionsordningen inom dynastien förstfödslorätten i rätt nedstigande led, den lineala primogtnituren, d. v. s. företräde åt äldre gren framför yngre och inom samma led för den äldre framför den yngre med iakttagande af representationsrätt, enligt hvilken t. o. m. den aflägsnaste descendent intar förut afliden ascen-dents plats framför den förre troninnehafvarens lefvande barn. Den skillnad, som förefinns i tronföljdsordningen inom olika stater, beror hufvudsakligen på, om och huru långt successionsrätt inrymmes åt kognater, d. v. s. kvinnor och deras afkomlingar. Tronföljdsordningen kan därför vara antingen agnatisk, då successionen med ovillkorligt uteslutande af kvinnlig stam öfvergår blott på stamfaderns manliga bröstarfvingar, eller kogna-tisk, då den öfvergår äfven på kvinnliga bröstarfvingar, enligt regeln dock med företräde för manliga bröstarfvingar, men allenast inom samma led, hvadan, då successionen öfvergått på en linje, troninnehafvarens döttrar gå före hans bröder eller andra agnater, eller ock agnatisk-kognatisk, då successionen, först sedan hela den manliga stammen utgått, öfvergår på kvinnolinjen med företräde inom denna nya dynasti för manliga bröstarfvingar, så länge sådana finnas. I hvilken ordning de kvinnliga linjer, som stå i lika nära släktskapsgrad till den siste agnaten, skola vara suc-cessionsberättigade, kan vara på olika sätt bestämdt i olika länder. Den agnatiska arfföljdsord-ningen, hvilken ännu är bestämd efter den franska saliska lagens grunder, var den, som alltmer gjorde sig gällande och har blifvit införd i Sverige, Norge, Belgien, Italien, Preussen och Danmark. Den kognatiska blef rådande i Storbritannien, Spanien och Portugal, den agnatisk-kognatiska i Holland, Österrike-Ungern, Ryssland samt åtskilliga tyska furstendömen. Som villkor för att en medlem af en dynasti, som skall kunna komma i fråga till tronföljd, må intaga tronen gäller, att han härstammar från stamfadern, d. v. s. den, som för sig och sin ätt förvärf vät kronan, och i regel (undantag Norge under medeltiden) att han är af äkta börd, hvarjämte dessutom på sina ställen fordras, att han skall vara aflad i jämbördigt äktenskap äfvensom att bifall till äktenskapet getts

af dynastiens regerande hufvud, stundom också af folkrepresentation. Vidare kunna vara föreskrifna personliga behörighetsvillkor, såsom bekännelse af en viss troslära, normalt sinnestillstånd, frihet från kroppslyten. De bestämmelser om successionsrätten och successionsordningen, som sålunda ges, ingå i den offentliga rätten, hvaraf de bilda en viktig del, och ändras i den ordning, som för statsrättsliga lagars stiftande är bestämd. På sina ställen har dock som villkor för ändrings genomförande äfven krafts bifall därtill af ättens successions-berättigade medlemmar. Stadganden, hvarigenom afsetts att ge större helgd åt en viss tronföljdsordning, särskildt mot ofvannämnda slags anspråk, ha stundom benämnts pragmatisk sanktion (se d. o.). Sverige blef under medeltiden ett valrike. Det heter nämligen i Landslagens konungabalk, kap. B: "Nu är till konungsriket i Sverike konunger väliande oc ey arf vande". Dock skulle helst en "af konungasynom" utses till konung. Men på Västerås riksdag 1544 kom 13 jan. en arfförening till stånd (jfr Sverige, sp. 1207), hvarigenom ständerna "lofvade och svuro" att, så länge Gustaf l:s "konungsliga manskönssläkte och lifsärfhärschaffter för honden och lefvandes are", dem hålla för sina "rätte, naturlige konunger, furster och herrer", först den äldste och "sedan ifrån linien till linien". Sverige hade därmed fått en tronföljdsordning med agnatisk lineal primo-genitur (se d. o.). Om konungaätten utginge på manslinjen, skulle val ske. Denna arfförening fick sin tillämpning endast på Erik XIV, ej på hans son. Eiksens ständers beslut 1569 fråndömde Erik och hans efterkommande rättigheten enligt 1544 års arfförening till kronan, som i dess ställe tillföll Johan III. Tronföljdsrätten hade 1544 getts utan något förbehåll, men den förargelse Eriks giftermål med hans frilla hade väckt föranledde, att i den vid 1582 års riksdag beslutna stadgan om "konungslig och furstlig rättighet" intogs en bestämmelse, att successionsrätt skulle förloras genom giftermål med ofrälse kvinna. Detta upptogs dock ej i följande arfföljdsordningar förr än under 1800-talet, men då utsträckt till förbud mot giftermål med alla kvinnor af icke furstlig börd (se nedan). 7 mars 1590 beslöto ständerna i Stockholm antagandet af en ny arfförening, hvilken utgör en förnyelse af 1544 års arfförenings bestämmelser om agnatisk tronföljd för Johan III: s afkomlingar, med sekundogenitur (se d. o.) för brodern Karl och hans manliga efterkommande, men med det tillägg att, därest hela manslinjen utginge och arf vingar af kvinnliga linjen lefde, ständerna skulle anamma och bekänna som drottning den "konungadotter, om hon till är, eller ock furstedotter, som då äldst och oförssdd (ogift) är", hvarigenom tronföljden sålunda nu blef agnatisk-kognatisk. I hvilken ordning prinsessor af olika grenar skulle vara arfsberättigade, namnes icke. Dock bestämdes, att arfsrätt ej skulle åtnjutas af dem, som ingingo giftermål med inländsk eller utländsk herre utan ständernas samtycke. Denna arfförening kom att tillämpas endast på Sigismund, hvilken med hela sin ätt skildes från tronen på Linköpings riksdag 1600. Därefter kom en ny arfförening till stånd, på Norrköpings riksdag. 22 mars 1604. Genom denna fästes arfsrätten vid Karl IX och hans manliga linje med sekundogeni-tur för Johan IILs son hertig Johan, som efter Sigismunds afsättning var den enligt 1590 års arf-förening närmaste tronarf vingen, men som af sagt sig kronan. Först efter det Karl IX dött cch hans manliga linje utgått, skulle Johan och hans manliga linje komma i fråga. För den händelse att äfven dennes manliga linje utdoge, skulle arfsrätt för prinsessor af Karls och Johans hus i likhet med hvad 1590 års arfförening stadgade, träda i kraft, med de i samma förening fastställda villkor angående skyldighet att för giftermål inhämta ständernas samtycke samt med tillägg, att successions-rätt skulle förloras äfven genom äktenskap med någon, som icke bekände sig till den lutherska läran. Detta skulle gälla också arffurste, och ingen, som ej själf vore med ständerna ense i religionen, skulle få tagas "til then konungelighe regering". Arffurste, som ville behålla arfsrätt, finge ej heller ingå giftermål, utan att ständerna satts i tillfälle att pröfva, om detsamma vore deras furstliga nåde och hela riket gagneligt. Med hänsyn till senare tiders erfarenhet stadgades slutligen, att arffurste, som mottagit annat konungarike, ej skulle få bestiga Sveriges tron och att ej heller arf-konung finge mottaga annat land och konungarike, med mindre han alltid blefve boende i Sverige. På grund af denna arfförening besteg Kristina tronen. Då Karl IX:s dotter Katarina af Pfalz, som dog 1638, gift sig med en furste, som bekände sig till en främmande religion (den reformerta), var Kristina den enda arfsberättigade medlemmen af konungahuset, och därför genomdref hon, som ville förbli ogift, på riksdagen i Stockholm 6 nov. 1650 en ny arfförening, hvari tronföljdsrätt, dock blott agnatisk, tillerkändes Katarinas son Karl Gustaf (som 10 mars 1649 utsetts till tronföljare) och hans efterkommande. Detta riksdagsbeslut är också märkligt därigenom, att däri förbjöds den splittring af regeringsmakten, i form af ärftliga hertigdömen, hvilken, på grund af en i 1544 års arfförening gif ven autorisation, förut förekommit till förmån för manliga medlemmar af konungaätten. Riket skulle nämligen efter denna dag aldrig delas, utan alltid vara och förbli ett corpus tillsammans under den regerande konungen, och arffurstarna skulle i st. f. arffurstendömen låta sig nöja med den disposition i gods och penningar, som i hvarje särskildt fall bestämdes. Denna pfalziska husets arfsrätt utsträcktes till att bli agnatisk-kognatisk på sätt i Norrköpings arfförening uttryckligen var stadgadt, genom Stockholms riksdagsbeslut 3 jan. 1683, som stadfästes genom Karl XLs, af ständerna i Stockholms riksdagsbeslut 20 nov. 1693, § 2, såsom en oföränderlig laga stadga antagna testamente. Vid Karl XII:s död skulle därför som tronarfvingar kunnat ha ifrågakomma hans syster Ulrika Eleonora och hans äldre då döda syster Sofias son hertig Karl Fredrik af Holstein-Gottorp, men ingendera af dessa prinsessor hade i afseende på sina giftermål iakttagit de i Norrköpings arfförening stadgade villkoren för arfsrätt på kvinnolinjen. Ständerna ansågo sig därför berättigade att förfoga öfver kronan, och 21 febr. 1719 kom så till stånd ett rikets ständers beslut ang. Ulrika Eleonoras "utkorelse till Sveriges krona och regemente", hvaruti, med uteslutande

af arfsrätt på kvinnlig linje, rätt till kronan tillerkändes Ulrika Eleonora och hennes manliga bröstarfvingar "efter 1650 års riksdagsbeslut" (d. v. s. tronföljden blef åter agnatisk). Bestämmelse härom intogs i regeringsformen (§ 3) af samma dag och upprepades så väl i ständernas "förening" 24 mars 1720, hvarigenom kronan öfverflyttades till Ulrika Eleonoras gemål Fredrik I, som i regeringsformen 2 maj s. å. (§ 3). Då denna arfsrätt gällde endast Fredriks ättlingar med Ulrika Eleonora, som afled barnlös 1741, måste då ett nytt konungahus utköras, och detta skedde redan under Fredriks regering genom rikets ständers förening 23 juni 1743, hvari ständerna utsago Adolf Fredrik af Holstein "till kungl. höghet och efterträdare på den kungl. svenska tronen" och "efter honom dess manliga bröstarfvingar till arf tagare af Sveriges krona, på sätt, som Sveriges rikes successionsordningar innehålla och förmå". Konungaförsäkran 25 nov. 1751 (§ 14) gör härtill det tillägg, att ständernas bifall ej ovillkorligen fordras för prinsars och prinsessors giftermål, utan, därest det ej tålde dröjsmål, egde konungen med råds rade därom sluta och förordna. I 1772 års R. F. (§ 3) stadgades, att "med successionsordningen till riket blifver alldeles vid arfföreningen. såsom den år 1743 gjord och vidtagen blifvit", och ständernas samtycke till prinsars giftermål gjordes ej längre erforderligt för arfsrättens bibehållande, utan genom föreskrifter i § 36 förklarades konungens bifall vara till fyllest. Sedan rikets; ständer 10 maj 1809 förklarat Gustaf IV Adolf och. hans bröstarfvingar för alla tider förlustiga Sveriges krona, blef uti 1809 års R. F. (§ 1) stadgadt, att Sveriges rike skulle vara ett arfrike, med den. svccessionsordning för en afliden konungs manliga efterkommande, som af rikets ständer fastställdi varder. Till följd däraf är i Sverige den ärftliga; monarkien konstitutionellt grundad. Denna stats-form är således ej fäst vid någon viss ätts tillvaro, efter hvars utslocknande representationen skulle ega fria händer att bestämma om statsformen. Och i öfverensstämmelse härmed föreskrifves i R. F. (§ 94) att, därest den konungaätt, hvilken arfs-rätten till riket uppdragen vore, på manliga sidan utginge, riksdagen skall sammanträda för att ett nytt konungahus utköra med bibehållande af denna regeringsform. Den i R. F. § l åberopade successionsordningen förklarades uti R. F. § 85 skola som grundlag anses och vid samma riksdag af konung cdi riksdag gemensamt fastställas. Efter det attr Kill tronföljare 28 aug. 1809 blifvit vald prins Kiistian August af Slesvig-Holstein-Sönder-borg-Angustenborg, blef också som grundlag fastställd föi successionsordning för hans manliga bröstarfvingar 18 dec. 1809. Sedan prinsen, som var ogilt, aflidit, 28 maj 1810, och därefter prinsen af Ponte-Corvo Johan Baptist Julius (Bernadotte) blifvit på urtima riksdagen i Örebro genora den af rikets ständer 21 aug. s. å. upprättade förening och valakt utkorad till Svea rikes kronprins, fastställdes likaledes i Örebro i öfverensstämmelse med den föregående år beslutna den nu gällande successionsordningen 26 sept. 1810 som orygglig grundlag. Den tronföljd, som därigenom tillerkändes kronprinsens (Karl Johans) äkta bröstarfvingar, än- agnatisk (de al kung:!, huset a£ kvinnkön och

deras efterkommande, ändock dessa af mankön äro, h-i ingen rätt till kronan, enl. S. 0. § 3) och rätt nedstigande, d. v. s. lineal efter förstfödslorätt, den ofödde hans rätt förbehållen. Vissa behörighetsvillkor äro stadgade för successionsrättens bevarande. Den af kungl. familjen, som ej bekänner sig till den rena evangeliska läran, vare från all successionsrätt utesluten, heter det i S. 0. § 4. Prins, som utan konungens vetskap .och samtycke gifter sig eller tager till gemål enskild svensk eller utländsk mans dotter, haf ve förverkat arfsrätt till riket för sig, barn och efterkommande (S. 0. § 5), och samma påföljd inträder, om prins utan konungens och riksdagens samtycke blifver regerande furste af utländsk stat (S. 0. § 8). Om genom uraktlåtande af dessa föreskrifter hela det arfsbe-rättigade konungahuset förlorat successionsrätten, blifver, heter det i S. 0. § 9, tronen, likaväl som om konungahuset utgått på manssidan, ledig till nytt val och skall ett nytt konungahus utköras. Som successionsordningen är grundlag, hvilken ej kan ändras vid samma riksdag som den, då fråga därom väckfis, så måste i sådant fall de uti nu gällande S. 0. innehållna grunder anses ega giltighet för det nya konungahusets arfsrätt, till dess de i laga ordning ändras. - Under den svensknorska unionen blef S. 0. af 26 sept. 1810 enligt Norges grundlov af 4 nov. 1814, § 6, och riksakten af 6 aug. 1815, § 2, tronföljdslag äfven för Norge, men genom unionsupplösningen 1905 har den åter blifvit gällande blott för Sverige. S. B. (talk) 04:32, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

I underline that even this text clearly says that 'agnatisk' system excludes all females. (talk) 04:32, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Arguments in favor?[edit]

None of the arguments in favor are actually arguments:

  1. Why are subdivision and selling property (or pressures to sell property) bad? As section "Arguments in fovor" mentions, there has even been an argument that subdivision of land is a good thing.
  2. How can the conquistadors and English gentry settlers to America be seen as a good thing?? They caused many terrible things, including enslavement, slave trade, genocide of native peoples, and economic exploitation of poorer settlers.
  3. The text admits that the argument for Japan is flawed because there were very few opportunities for female empresses to "prove" that they can be "good" in whatever sense one wishes to consider.

-Pgan002 (talk) 04:46, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

those 'phenomena' should not be evaluated here into universal values, basically. It would suffice that the phenomena, i.e consequences, are mentioned and explained. why to have an opinion what of it is good, what bad ? it makes more sense to explain why certain phenomena were advantageous to some and disadvantageous to some others, and how, than to generalize that some phenomenon is good or bad to all... (talk) 08:02, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not the place for a debate on the merits of the arguments. The article is describing the arguments that have historical been used, to explain why things happened the way they did. Whether they are good or bad does not matter in this context; if the system existed because it made it easier for the King to get away with murder, that would be an "argument in favor", even though murder is bad. (talk) 16:29, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Erroneous statement re 19th-century Europe[edit]

The statement "In the 19th century, only the Bourbons and Savoys among Europe's historic national dynasties continued to exclude women from succession" is wrong. As one example, the House of Hanover observed the Salic law; otherwise, Queen Victoria would have succeeded as Queen of Hanover as well as Queen of England. But because of the Salic law, her uncle the Duke of Cumberland succeeded as King of Hanover.


but was 'Hanover' a nation ? instead of a slice of a nation... (talk) 17:26, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

It is a popular myth that Victoria was blocked from the Hanoverian succession by Salic law. Queen Victoria succeeded to the crown of the UK but not to that of Hanover because the UK follows male-preference primogeniture (aka agnatic mixed-female succession; the daughter of an elder brother inherits before the son of a younger brother), whereas Hanover's dynasty followed semi-Salic primogeniture (daughter inherits only if all males of the dynasty pre-decease her). Victoria would have also succeeded in Hannover if all males of the Hanover and Brunswick branches died leaving her the nearest female relative of the last ruler. Not only did the succession law of most German monarchies (Hannover included) explicitly evolve into semi-Salicism by the end of the 19th century, but general princely law (gemeine Furstenrecht) simultaneously evolved to consider that German monarchies were inherently semi-Salic, "Today, all German thrones are allodial, and female lines must be considered as having a subsidiary right after extinction of all male lines. This is recognized explicitly in a number of constitutions (Bavaria, Baden, Würtemberg, GD Hessen, Saxony, Hannover, Waldeck, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen)", as explained by Germany's pre-eminent monarchical jurist, Heinrich Zoepfl. Moreover, the traditional (i.e. pre-French Revolution) non-German monarchies also continued to operate according to semi-Salicism in the 19th century. The exceptions, as the article states, were the Bourbon and Savoy crowns and, later, the new monarchies (Belgium, Greece, Norway, Serbia, etc).Lethiere (talk) 23:30, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

"It is a popular myth that Victoria was blocked from the Hanoverian succession by Salic law". I hate to be picky but this is the sort of hyper-technical picky remark that confuses rather than enlightens. Semi-salic and Salic give the exact same result until a dynasty actually goes complete extinct which obviously is quite rare. To write "Salic" instead of "semi-Salic" may be technically wrong, but is far too minor a transgression to warrant talk of "popular myth" !! Jamesdowallen (talk) 14:54, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

What, pray tell, is "Direct Descent"?[edit]

I had my head chopped off in a debate a few years back about the meaning of "Direct Descent". Does it imply agnatic primogeniture or is it genealogical grandstanding? Some clarification would be appreciated. Thanks. Paul. Paul Roberton (talk) 01:01, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Many people seem to use "direct descent" just to mean what I'd call "descent." These people, believe it or don't, would say that the present Prince of Wales is "descended" from the childless King Edward VIII, but "directly descended" from Edward's brother, King George VI. Jamesdowallen (talk) 14:39, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
A direct descent is thus: Son/Daughter, Grandson/Granddaughter, Great-Grandson/Great-Granddaughter etc etc. GoodDay (talk) 19:47, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

"Absolute, equal or lineal primogeniture, known in French as aînesse intégrale (integral primogeniture),[1] is inheritance by the oldest surviving child without regard to gender. It is also known as (full) cognatic primogeniture today. This form of primogeniture was not practiced by any modern monarchy before 1980.[2]" This is just not true, in the case of the United Kingdom, for example. What about Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria and the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II? There has been absolute primogeniture in England, Scotlanc (Mary Queen of Scots springs to mind) for several hundred years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:51, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

No, those women ascended the throne because they had no brothers. Had they had a brother (even a younger brother), they wouldn't have ascended the throne. They ascended according to the rules of male-preferance cognatic primogeniture. Absolute cognatic primogeniture was only invented in 1980. Surtsicna (talk) 17:18, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Citations desperately needed[edit]

I reverted the addition on "unintended effects..." because it didn't contain sources. When I looked at the rest of the article, however, a lot of it is lacking sources. This is a significant problem. There are some fairly detailed claims, both scientific and historical, in this article, that desperately need sourcing. Wikipedia requires all information to be verifiable through the use of reliable sources. Personally, I was tempted to scrap everything in the "Arguements for...," "Historical Examples," "Historical reasons...," and "(Unintended) effects..." sections until reliable sources can be found. I may well come back and do that in a few days if no sources are found. At this point, a reader has no way of distinguishing any of this from original research. I am assuming that the people who added this info have sources for their information, so I would urge them to start adding citations--it shouldn't be up to others to go out and find sources to support your additions.Qwyrxian (talk) 03:25, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

As a side note, I am going to the list in "Other Methods" section, because it doesn't belong here--for example, in the article on cars, you don't find a list of other types of vehicles, just a brief description and link to the main article; I'll do the same thing here later on today.Qwyrxian (talk) 03:25, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Help - Simple Question - Not Well Addressed in the Article[edit]

I agree this page needs a major edit. All I got out of it was eldest son comes first. Which everyone knows already. Then all this agnate and cognate stuff...whatever that is. Please define the terms (hyperlink them to a valid explanation).

So here's the question, which, if the answer was in the article, good luck finding it. The king has 3 sons, Albert, Bobby and Charlie. King Dies, Albert ascends. Albert dies without issue. At the time of Albert's death, Bobby is deceased. Bobby's son Bobby Jr is age 32. Charlie is living, aged 30. Who is the new king? Bobby Jr (ie, like a depth first search) or Charlie (like in a breadth first search)?

Thanks to anyone who can knows for sure; I think an example like this belongs in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Bobby Jr. (i.e. Robert II) becomes king if the crown passes according to primogeniture. For example, William IV had four younger brothers. The eldest of those younger brothers, Edward, had a daughter, Victoria, but died before William. The other three brothers, younger than both Edward and William, were alive when William died. But since they were younger than Victoria's father, Victoria succeeded to the throne. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (talk) 09:05, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

>>Thanks Spy Who Came in, I apprectiate the information. I think the article would very much benefit from this explanation of how primogeniture operates in absence of an heir, this is afterall the interesting case. I agree with the other poster that there is way to much POV in the article. Skates61 (talk) 03:44, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Primogeniture in East Asia[edit]

I would really like to see a section on Primogeniture in East Asian culture where it has had a long history and deep impact. I would also like to see the history section split into Primogeniture in the western world + middle east (monotheocratic world) and Primogeniture in the far east. At the moment only Primogeniture in the western world + middle east (monotheocratic world) seems to be discussed on this topic. I would venture to write it my self but I do not feel as thought I know enough about primogeniture in the far east to do the subject any justice.--Discott (talk) 22:10, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Uterine (or Ovarian) primogeniture[edit]

In such cases, inheritance was based on uterine kinship. So a king would typically be succeeded by his daughter's husband jure uxoris or by his sister's son.

A king's daughter is not related to him by uterine descent; her husband even less so. I'm removing the words marked. —Tamfang (talk) 05:10, 1 January 2011 (UTC)


Spain is listed as being both absolute cognatic primogeniture and male-preference primogeniture. Can someone with an authoritative source please clarify. (talk) 15:28, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Say what? Self-contradicting paragraph[edit]

I'm a bit confused by this paragraph (emphasis mine):

In the 19th century, only the royal houses of Bourbon and Savoy among Europe's historic national dynasties continued to exclude women from succession, while the new monarchies or dynasties of France (under the Bonapartes), Belgium, Denmark (from 1853), Sweden (from 1810), and the Balkan realms of Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia introduced Salic law. During this era, Spain fought civil wars which pitted the Salic and female-line heirs of their dynasties against one another for possession of the crown.

According to the wikipedia article on Salic Law, its salient feature on this matter is exactly that it 'exclude[s] women from succession.' Bonaparte France, 1820, and 1853 would all seem to be during (or on the eve of) the 19th century. So, how can it be said that only the Houses of Bourbon and Savoy excluded women from succession in the 19th century if all these other countries also followed Salic for at least some part of the 19th century? I'd fix the grammar if I knew the answer on the substance. I'm hoping someone else does. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheCormac (talkcontribs) 20:42, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Agreed- it's nonsense. Throughout the former Holy Roman Empire the Salic law remained in effect- that's why William IV was the last English monarch who was also Elector/King of Hanover. Victoria couldn't inherit. Solicitr (talk) 16:23, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
On the contrary, it's accurate. Note the word "historic": The Bonaparte, Balkan and post-Napoleonic monarchies (Belgium, plus Denmark and Sweden under new constitutions) only became Salic in the 19th century -- and none are still so. Previously, these countries were not independent or women had been eligible to succeed. As for the Holy Roman Empire, Salic law was not the norm pre-1800: The emperorship itself was elective, not hereditary at all. The electorships were Salic (because, properly, they were offices of the Empire rather than realms) but the title was only hereditary in four of them (Bohemia, Prussia, Palatinate, Saxony) prior to c.1700, and the remainder (Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Baden, Wurttemberg) were only electorates for between 3 and 100 years before abolition of the Empire in 1806 -- at which point they became kingdoms and adopted semi-Salic succession (except Hesse-Cassel and Baden). Most of the lesser principalities of the Empire were semi-Salic, i.e. women could inherit, but only upon extinction of all males of the dynasty. Semi-Salic and male-preference primogeniture (a daughter inherits after all of her father's male-line descendants, but before her father's younger brothers and their descendants) were the most common forms of succession in Europe's monarchies, pre- and post-1800. Hanover is a widely misunderstood example: because its throne bypassed Princess Victoria of Kent and went to her uncle Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland when she inherited the UK, it's widely but wrongly believed that Hanover's succession was Salic. In fact, it was semi-Salic, thus if no male of the House of Hanover had been alive when William IV, King of Great Britain and Hanover died, Victoria would indeed have become reigning Queen of Hanover. FactStraight (talk) 20:15, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Virginia planters[edit]

"Many of the early Virginians who were plantation owners were such younger sons who had left England fortuneless due to primogeniture laws." This enduring myth seems to have been concocted by the planter class themselves, or more likely their post-Civil War descendants. In fact there is no evidence for it at all: the Virginia planters large and small were with only a few exceptions men of no family at all who were able to acquire large land holdings, mostly through Crown grants, in the New World. In more than a few cases they came over as transported convicts or indentured servants. Solicitr (talk) 18:25, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


Absolute primogeniture is apparently informally called Tolkien primogeniture by some, because he used it for the Ruling Queens of Númenor decades before it happened in actuality... AnonMoos (talk) 11:07, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

It's not called "Tolkien primogeniture" but "Numenorian primogeniture". But you're right, this usage has gained considerable acceptance in genealogical circles in recent years. FactStraight (talk) 03:28, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

X chromosomes[edit]

The paragraph on the inheritance rules for the X chromosome is incorrect. A female inherits one X chromosome from her father intact, however, the one that is inherited from her mother goes through recombination. Even the one that was inherited from her father was previously inherited from his mother after going through recombination. So, it is not the case that X chromosomes can be passed down through the generations intact like the Y chromosome (only about 95% of the Y chromosome is passed down intact, the rest goes through recombination with the X chromosome).

This section on the X Chromosome is complete nonsense and should be deleted.

Wemagor (talk) 19:09, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Primogeniture in Anjou and the Angevin Empire[edit]

In medieval Anjou, it was actually the custom that those closest to a deceased lord would be the heirs: that is, a king's younger son would inherit ahead of the grandchildren born to a deceased older son. Inheritance goes through a complete sibling set before proceeding to any grandchildren. This is fairly important because it specifically became a focal point for the inheritance argument following the death of Richard I of England. Of Henry II's surviving three sons (Richard, Geoffrey of Brittany, and John), Geoffrey died in 1187 but his pregnant wife later bore a son, Arthur of Brittany. Richard died without issue in 1199. Arthur claimed that, under normal primogeniture law, as the son of John's older brother Geoffrey, he was the lawful heir to the throne. John countered that inheritance law in Anjou always favored "those closest to deceased", i.e. all siblings without one generation, favoring younger sons ahead of the children of older sons. Ultimately of course, what played a major role in deciding the issue was that Richard I himself, when mortally wounded, ordered that John was his legitimate heir - because Arthur was a young boy of 12 and under the influence of King Philip II of France. So is there a technical term for this kind of inheritance law, which "exhausts a sibling set" before proceeding to grandchildren? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:25, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

It's called succession according to agnatic seniority, and is still the way that the throne of Saudi Arabia is inherited among the male-line descendants of the dynasty's founder, Ibn Saud. It is an alternative to primogeniture, therefore deserving separate treatment in its own article. FactStraight (talk) 04:29, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Salic Primogeniture[edit]

Salic Primogeniture gets its name from the Salian Franks. The Salian Franks were the Franks who lived "by the Sea side" (probably means the Franks next to the Atlantic Ocean aka the Franks living in modern day France), in comparison to the Ripuarian Franks (probably along or on the side of or perhaps on the other side of the River, I think this was the Rhine river). This was at the time of Clovis king of the Salian Franks, who at some time during his tenure produced a list of laws titled in its present Manuscript form something aproximating: "The Laws of the Franks by the Sea side" now aka "The Salic Law". We know him as Clovis the Great, however there were a number of Frankish Kings of this name, which moderns equate to the name Louis. From this culture we inherit a definition of Primogeniture as passing things to the eldest male child of the last reigning/owning male or his closest living male descendant. This was not what the Scots had at the time of MacBeth, it was what he fought against and what became the way of chosing Kings of the Scots after his death. This was what was in US schools meant when one says "the classic form of Primogeniture", and what was meant in History class when anyone who remembers seeing Vietnahm on TV would have learned of it at that time. Why all this otherstuff is here... and why is this excluded ? John5Russell3Finley (talk) 15:28, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Two reasons: 1st, this article is about primogeniture not about Salic law, which is a feature of one type of primogeniture -- and is only widely remembered as applicable to most European thrones because succession to those thrones was generally misunderstood: even today most people think that Germany, especially, practiced Salic law and that Queen Victoria failed to become Queen of Hanover when she became Queen of Great Britain because of it, whereas the truth (as stated in sections above) is that almost all German realms, as well as Russia, descended by semi-Salic law (i.e, it was always theoretically possible for a woman to reign if all males of her dynasty -- not just the male issue of her father, as in Britain's male-preference primogeniture -- died out). The fact that this only happened in post-Napoleonic Europe in the House of Nassau (twice: once to Wilhelmina of the Netherlands in 1890, and once to Marie Adelaide, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg in 1912) reflects sheer chance and the fact that pre-19th century most German dynasties didn't practice primogeniture at all and therefore proliferated a lot of cadet branches, so there were usually plenty of males to inherit, although often very distantly related to the senior reigning branch. 2nd, since 1980, most European monarchies have adopted gender-neutral succession, and feminism has swiftly neutered primogeniture so that it no longer carries the implicit meaning of "masculine primogeniture", which is what everyone (mis)interpreted the word to mean until 40 years ago. So Wikipedia is retro-actively re-defining the term (just as the words "husband" and "wife" are being expunged in favor of "spouse", even though that's not what most people say or write -- yet). FactStraight (talk) 04:50, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Opening sentences[edit]

It seems misleading to start by saying that "primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn son to inherit ..."m and then in the second sentence to say "Historically, the term implied male primogeniture ...." Yes, but. It seems to me that it might be more helpful to say "Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn child to inherit .... Historically the term implied the priority of male children ..." or something similar. --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 03:19, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Incorrect claim in opening paragraphs[edit]

The opening paragraphs claim that the birth of Prince George has made the issue of primogeniture "moot" in the UK for "a generation". Given that a generation is typically reckoned at 30 years, this claim should be viewed as incorrect, since it is very easy to imagine that if a second child was born who was female, there would be questions of eligibility for the throne in the case of the first prince being ineligible, for whatever reason, whether choice, mental incompetence, or death. There's no certainty it will be moot for the next 30 years. Tsop (talk) 19:36, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

"moot" was put in the article a month ago (03:50, 7 August 2013)[5], but it is not clear what is intended by this in plainer English. The law of succession has not yet been changed; it may have been by the end of this year, or sometime next year. Mootness explains that the ordinary British meaning of "moot" is "debatable", but what is debatable about the present law of succession under which Prince George is next in line after his father, and so he will be when the law is changed, whether or not any sister or brother is born, who would become next in line after George? As soon as the law is changed, the next in line after George will be immediately determined. So far as primogeniture is concerned, there will be nothing to debate about. There will only be a change, according to the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, if there happens then to be any daughter who will move up the line above a brother born after her. Qexigator (talk) 22:18, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

inheritance by queen regnant[edit]

I was going to integrate a statement that I was moving from a matriarchy article revision, where it didn't belong, into this article, but I wasn't clear where to put it; and it lacks a citation:

Even in patriarchical systems of male-preference primogeniture, there may occasionally be queens regnant.{{Citation needed|date=October 2013}}

What it would add to the article is that the queen as inheritor can inherit the full power to rule, i.e., being female does not mean that her rule is only symbolic with a man lawfully making her decisions. However, without a citation and given the several varieties of primogeniture described in the article, it's unknown how a source would contextualize it and therefore where it would go. If anyone knows about this better than I do, please edit as you see fit.

Thanks. Nick Levinson (talk) 19:34, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Saudi Arabia?[edit]

They must have some kind of rule. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:06, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Commonwealth realms[edit]

All 16 Commonwealth realms have adopted absolute primogeniture succession. GoodDay (talk) 15:31, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

The word "Primogeniture"[edit]

I'm sorry if this sounds very pedantic, but the meaning of the word 'primogeniture' is "the state of being the first-born child" (Oxford Dictionary as on the Apple Mac). As far as I know that is all it is. Primogeniture does not have a specific reference to the gender of that child. The opening paragraph of the article is, therefore, misleading when it states that it is the custom of males inheriting. (talk) 11:34, 3 May 2015 (UTC) Best wishes, Luke Wiseman

The word "Primogeniture" revisited[edit]

After a little further research in the Encylopaedia Britannica 1963 edition, it appears that 'primogeniture' does, indeed, refer to the "eldest son and his issue" (EB/1963; vol18, page492). That means that my comment above (The word 'Primogeniture') is incorrect and should be withdrawn. Luke Wiseman88.107.148.102 (talk) 08:22, 4 May 2015 (UTC)


According to the article Monarchy of Canada (if I'm reading it correctly), Canada is still male-preference. Therefore the statement "...and the other Commonwealth realms", may well be misleading. GoodDay (talk) 16:18, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Please take any further discussion of this issue to Talk:Monarchy_of_Canada#Succession to keep the discussion in one place. Meters (talk) 19:48, 16 November 2015 (UTC)


With respect to hereditary titles, [male-preference primogeniture] is usually the rule for Scotland and baronies by writ in the United Kingdom; although baronies by writ go into abeyance when the last male titleholder dies leaving more than one surviving sister or more than one descendant in the legitimate female line of the original titleholder.

This formulation includes some circumstances that do not cause abeyance, and omits some that do.

As I misunderstand it, the cause is that the English common law of inheritance recognizes no seniority among sisters. Whenever two or more sisters (or their heirs) reach the top of the queue, no one inherits the whole claim, so the title becomes abeyant. This can happen if the late titleholder had no sons and two daughters, or no children, no brothers and two sisters; or if the title would have passed to a cousin, who had died leaving two daughters ...

If the founder of the lineage had several sons, each of whom had one daughter, then there are "more than one descendant in the legitimate female line" — but that's not enough to cause abeyance. —Tamfang (talk) 11:02, 20 December 2015 (UTC)