The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







For the television series, see Dynasty (TV series).

A dynasty is a family or extended family which retains political power across generations, or more generally, any organization which extends dominance in its field even as its particular members change. See also: family dictatorship.

A series of dynasties dating back to the Xia ruled China until the Revolution of 1912 - and historians traditionally recount China's story within a framework of successive dynasties. A similar pattern happened in the Persian Empire, and dynasties such as the Carolingians, the Capetians, the Bourbons, the Hapsburgs, the Stuarts, the Hohenzollerns and the Romanovs successively and together dominated much of European political history.


Political families in democracies

Though in democratic governments rule does not pass automatically by inheritance, political power often accrues to generations of related individuals. Influence, familiarity, tradition and even nepotism may contribute to this phenomenon. See, for example, the list of U.S. political families, which includes the Roosevelts , Kennedys, Bushes, and Adamses.

Apart from the United States case, political dynasties also occur commonly in other former parts of the British empire, particularly in southern Asia. Note especially:

In Britain itself, the persistance of aristocratic families and their varying titles may serve to disguise some of the on-going influence of several political dynasties (as opposed to the royal dynasties which have provided monarchs of England and of Scotland):


In sports, the term dynasty may refer to a team that enjoys a period of dominance over the sport, generally gauged via championship titles.





This incomplete list requires further research and clarification.

Last updated: 08-04-2005 17:56:52
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46