The first step we are going to take is to determine the etymological origin of the term firstborn. Thus, we can make it clear that it emanates from Latin, since it is the result of the sum of three components of this language: the word “primus”, which can be translated as “the first”; the noun “genus”, which is equivalent to “lineage”; and finally the suffix “-ito”, which is the one that receives the relevant action.
Firstborn is the son born first. It is known as primogeniture to the right wave prerogative of the firstborn. For instance: “The first-born male will inherit the throne”, “I was the firstborn and then my parents had four more children”, “As the firstborn, I think it is up to me to decide what to do with the house”.
It should be noted that the question of primogeniture was very important in ancient times, when the inheritances, the privileges and the obligations they used to be decided according to the age of the descendants, with the oldest (that is, the first born) being the one with the greatest rights.
Thus, for example, we find the fact that during the Middle Ages it was perfectly established that the first-born of any family was the one who benefited remarkably from being the first child. Why? Because he was the one who inherited all the lands.
This circumstance had an explanation. Specifically, with it, what was intended was that these properties were not divided and, therefore, the power that the family in question did not weaken in the society of the moment.
From the social changes of the XIX century, the firstborn lost their special status. The western law usually recognizes equality of conditions between all the children of a person.
On some issues, however, the firstborn still has privileges. The title of nobility, which distinguishes the members of the nobility, it is hereditary and his succession falls on the first-born son of the previous possessor. Currently these titles are formal, although in the Middle Ages they were the basis of the feudal system. Spain, United Kingdom, Monaco, Sweden and Holland are some of the countries that maintain the titles of nobility.
In terms of successions to the throne, during History we have been able to verify how the primogeniture exists but in what refers to the line of men. That is, when a king abdicated or had to be succeeded, for different reasons, only the one who was his first male child could take possession of the throne.
A clear example of this has now happened in Spain. Thus, the monarch Juan Carlos I has abdicated and has been succeeded not by his first-born, Infanta Elena, but by his first and only male child: Felipe, who has come to reign as Felipe VI. However, it is true that it is planned to change the law that establishes it, since he only has two daughters, Leonor and Sofía, the first being the heir.
The primogeniture is usually established with a difference of years, when the first child is born on a certain date and the next, four or five years later, for example. In those cases there are no doubts about who is the firstborn. More complicated is the situation of Twins: the firstborn is considered to be the child who comes out of the womb first.