We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Apanage?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An apanage or appanage was a grant of land given by the sovereign to members of the royal family who would be without inheritance in nations using the system of primogeniture. This system was widely used in France, as well as several other nations and legacies of apanage can be seen today in the form of provinces and districts once owned by younger members of royal families. In nations where monarchies have been replaced by other forms of government, the maintenance paid to support surviving members of the royal family is sometimes referred to as a form of apanage.

Under the rules of primogeniture, the entirety of an estate goes to the eldest son, with everyone else in the family getting nothing. This practice was adopted in a number of nations to replace the system of dividing estates equally among family members. Primogeniture was designed to maintain the integrity of estates, keeping them large and consolidating power, but it was extremely unwelcome among younger members of the family, who inherited nothing and were forced to seek elsewhere for their fortunes.

The resentment created through the primogeniture system proved to be a problem in some regions, where family members might engage in blood feuds and civil wars as they wrestled for control of estates. Apanage was devised as a system for addressing this problem. The monarch would give younger sons grants of land with the understanding that the land couldn't be sold, transferred, or used as a dowry. In return, the sons agreed not to attack their older brothers, and the land they controlled would return to the crown in the event that their lines died out.

Members of the nobility sometimes adopted similar systems to prevent family strife. The system allowed families to maintain control of their holdings while ensuring that younger siblings did not grow restless. In practice, apanage was not always successful. In nations like France, it was not uncommon for residents of regions held in apanage to have more loyalty to their own lords than the king, and sometimes people took advantage of their popularity to assault the monarchy. Rivalries continued, with young siblings drawing on the wealth and power from the lands they controlled to contest for kingship.

As new systems of government were adopted, the apanage system was also phased out. Today, primogeniture is an unusual form of inheritance in many regions of the world and most royal families do not have the power and control they once wielded.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.