House of Habsburg
The House of Habsburg was once a power in Europe, though today it is no more ... formally anyway. There is surely informal evidence the House of Habsburg, like other houses of the so-called Black Nobility, retains clout and wealth, enough to place it amidst the elite families of Europe and Britain. None of these entities ever really die, in our opinion. The elite that runs the West never entirely shuts its door; once in you do not get out. It's a Mafia.
Otto von Habsburg was not only alive but doing well and garnering titles until July 4, 2011 as president of the Pan European Union, honorary professor of the University of Jerusalem and recipient of the 'International Humanitarian Award' of the Anti Defamation-League (ADL) of the Jewish B’nai B’rith Masonery Lodge.
The Habsburgs were splendidly powerful. Their members were formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, also potentates of the Austrian Empire and Spanish Empire and several other countries. The dynasty hailed from Switzerland and the basis of its reign was in Austria where they ruled for some 600 years. Marriages extended the family's reach to Spain, Hungary and other nations.
The House eventually died out on the male side in the 1700s. The Austrian branch formally ended in 1780 with the death of Empress Maria Theresa. Theresa was succeeded by the so-called Vaudemont via her son, Joseph II.
The founding father of the House of Habsburg may have been Guntram the Rich, who hailed from the 900s. Grandson Radbot, Count of Habsburg, built the Habsburg Castle. The Habsburg Castle was the seat of the family's power for the next 300 years.
By the second half of the 13th century, Count Rudolph IV (1218–1291) had become one of the most influential territorial lords in the area between Vosges Mountains and Lake Constance. Due to these impressive preconditions, on 1 October 1273 Rudolph was chosen as the King of the Romans and received the name Rudolph I of Germany.
It is Rudolph to whom we must pay special attention. By 1253, Rudolph Habsburg had married the daughter of Hermann VI of Kyburg and in 1264, became the Duke of Kyburg. Rudolph was a strikingly amoral individual. He killed Hermann's son by challenging him to a duel in order to gain the title of Duke. Later on, he played off the rivalries within the Catholic Church itself to gain even more power.
Eventually, Rudolph petitioned "AntiPope" Gregory X (1271-1276) to gain the official title of King of Germany. This title was indeed granted after Rudolph focused most of his time and energy on his adopted city, Zürich.
Rudolph has gone down in history not only for expanding the greatness of Zurich but for banning the charging of interest. In 1276 Rudolph along with Gregory X declared "usury" a mortal sin publishable by death. Rudolph then dragooned wealthy Jewish merchants into providing the Habsburgs services by declaring them servi camerae regis (serfs of the royal treasury).
Rudolph now moved many of these wealthy Jewish trading families to Zürich to help create the largest financial monopoly of its day. This confluence of Jewish trading wealth provided the fundament of greatness not only for Zürich but for the Habsburgs as well. Within ten years, Zürich was the wealthiest city in the world – a position it has pretty much held ever since.
The last ruler of the Habsburgs is generally recognized as Charles I (who also reigned as Charles IV of Hungary). In 1919, after World War I, the new republican Austrian government passed a law banishing the Habsburgs from the Austrian territory until they renounced the throne and accepted the status of private citizens. Charles made several attempts to reclaim his throne but was never successful. The reign of the House Habsburg, built apparently on a monopoly of Jewish merchant-trading, had come to a formal close.