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Secundogeniture

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Title: Secundogeniture  
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Subject: House Treaty of Gera, Propylaea (Munich), Nobility, Florence, Habsburg Monarchy
Collection: Fatherhood, Nobility
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Secundogeniture

A secundogeniture (from Latin: secundus "following, second," and genitus "born") was a dependent territory given to a younger son of a princely house and his descendants, creating a cadet branch. This was a special form of inheritance in which the second and younger son received more possessions and prestige than the apanage which was usual in principalities practising primogeniture. It avoided the generational division of the estate to the extent that occurred under gavelkind, and at the same time give younger branches a stake in the stability of the house.

The creation of a secundogeniture was often regulated by a house law. The younger sons would receive some territory, but much less than the older brother, and they would not be sovereign. Examples of such house laws would be

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