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Primogeniture: The legal custom for the firstborn and only the firstborn to inherit the bulk of the estate, especially indivisible property.

Bastard: An illegitimate child without the right to inherit.

In which countries and periods of history, if any, could the order of primogeniture be adjusted by acknowledging a bastard? And could a previously legitimate heir be disinherited by "converting" them into a bastard?

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How do you convert someone into a bastard? –  grayQuant Oct 31 '13 at 1:43
It depends, I imagine, on the level of patriarchy in the kingdom. I.e. Whether the head of the household (the Patriarch) has the power to re-assign legitimacy at will. The pater familias, to take the Roman example, could perhaps be considered to be 'The Family' in and of themselves and hence in manner strange to our eyes, modify the membership of that family at will. Still I'm curious if actual historical societies of this sort existed. –  LateralFractal Oct 31 '13 at 1:51
Henry VIII did interesting things with his daughters and might have considered doing so with his son Henry Fitzroy –  Henry Nov 1 '13 at 0:41
Another example: Richard of Gloucester had his brother Edward IV's marriage declared invalid in 1483 after the latter's death, thus making Edward's surviving sons illegitimate, paving the way for Richard to be crowned King Richard III and for the princes to disappear. –  Nigel Harper Nov 1 '13 at 16:46
Veeeel, it's an open-ended list question, isn't it? Could you focus it on the countries you are interested in? –  Lennart Regebro Nov 4 '13 at 10:16

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