Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- 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:
- The Nehru-Gandhi family in India
- Inheritance by Khaleda Zia from her late husband Ziaur Rahman; and by Sheikh Hasina from her late father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Bangladesh
- The Zulfikar Ali Bhutto dynasty in Pakistan
- Lee Kuan Yew's family in Singapore
- Aung San Suu Kyi's political inheritance in Burma
- The extended family of Solomon Bandaranaike in Sri Lanka
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):
- the Churchills (the family of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
- the Russells (such as John Russell, 1st Earl Russell)
- the Chamberlains (descendants of Joseph Chamberlain)
- the Greys (notably Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey)
- the Pitts (for example: William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham)
In sports, the term dynasty may refer to a team that enjoys a period of dominance over the sport, generally gauged via championship titles.
- Packers of the 1960s
- Steelers of the 1970s
- 49ers of the 1980s
- Washington Redskins of the 1980s and 1990s
- Cowboys of the 1990s
- NE Patriots of the 2000s
- Edmonton Oilers of the mid to late 1980s
- Montreal Canadiens of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s
- New York Islanders of the early 1980s
This incomplete list requires further research and clarification.
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