Post by Jaak Suurpere Post by Gillian White Post by David / Amicus
Has there ever been a society with female only succession? I think with
groups that trace through matrlineal descent even there most often
leadership is male.
There is some evidence that the ancient Minoans lived under a matriarchal
The Akan people of Ghana are matrilineal. Men hold all positions of power,
but they succeed to those positions through their mother or sister.
The Minangkabau of west Sumatra are matrilineal.
However, there has been and still is a society with established
female-only succession. Namely the Rain Queens of Lovedu or Lobedu!
How are the other positions of power filled among the Lovedu?
Imerina in Madagascar had female-only succession established by law in
1828. One exception was made, but Radama II was deposed after 2 years.
In practice, Russia had a female-only succession for 71 years, 1725 to
1796. Among the men seeking leadership, Peter II was bypassed in 1725;
regent Biron was deposed in, IIRC, a few weeks; Ivan VI in one year
and Peter II in half a year.
Any other examples where women held the highest position either as a
matter of established law or by political preference - where men were
excluded not just because they happened not to get born or live long
but where men were consistently held ut of power or quickly deposed?
Another interesting example is the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Its kings tended to become such by marrying its queens, rather
than by birth - though of course this is an example of your category
where men 'happened not to get born'.
After the death of Baldwin V in 1186, you had: -
1. His Aunt Sybille (1186-90) (crowned with husband Guy de
2. Sybille's brother-in-law Conrad (1190-92)
3. Sybille's sister Isabeau I (born 1172)(1192-1205)(crowned
with husbands Henri de Champagne and Amaury de Lusignan)
4. Isabeau's daughter Marie (born after 15/4/1191)
(1206- aft 15/4/1212)(her husband Jean de Brienne was also King
5. Marie's daughter Isabeau II/Yolande (born about 1211)
(1212 - 8/5/1228) (her husband Emperor Frederick II was also King
6. Isabeau II's son, Holy Roman Emperor Conrad IV (25/4/1228 - 1254)
I wonder if, by 1228, people were starting to wonder if a
Mohammedan Curse was preventing the Royal House of Jerusalem
from producing sons? Conrad IV was the first boy to be born
in the dynasty since his grandmother's cousin Baldwin V in about
1177. (Apart from infants like Isabeau I's son Amaury). Marie
la Marquise lived just long enough to produce a daughter before
dying, and Isabeau II differed only in that the baby she left
behind was a son.
Incidentally, Heraldica says that Emperor Frederick II 'forced
his parents-in-law to turn over the throne to him in 1225.'
Wasn't his mother-in-law Marie la Marquise dead by then, leaving
Frederick's wife as her heiress?