The Rise And Fall Of The Habsburgs

Misha Glenny presents the incredible story of Europe's most influential dynasty.

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From humble origins in the lowlands of Switzerland, the Habsburgs emerged to become kings of Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Croatia; archdukes of Austria; grand princes of Transylvania; grand dukes of Tuscany; and Holy Roman Emperors for centuries on end. Some were remarkably intelligent, some rather less so.

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By the beginning of the 16th Century, the Habsburg emperor Charles V controlled so much territory - in Spain, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands - that his advisors were dreaming of a united Europe. Even England was not immune from their plans.

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By 1848, the Habsburg court had fled Vienna and the emperor was being asked to step aside. But the dynasty was to remain in power until the First World War.