IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > B. Early Modern Europe, 1479–1815 > 1. Europe, 1479–1675 > l. Hungary
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1458–90)
l. Hungary
LADISLAS II, king of Bohemia, was elected king of Hungary by the nobles. To secure recognition from the Habsburgs, he gave up the conquests of Matthias and arranged dynastic marriages with the Habsburgs (his infant son Louis was married to Mary, granddaughter of Maximilian; his own daughter, Anne, was married to Maximilian's grandson Ferdinand). This policy led to the formation of a national party among the Hungarian nobility, headed by Stephen Zápolya (Szapolyai), the vajdu (prince) of Transylvania. The nobles refused Ladislas all effective financial support, so he was unable to maintain an army and was soon at the mercy of the nobles.  1
A great revolt of the peasants, led by George Dózsa, was directed against the ruthless exploitation by the aristocrats. It was suppressed in a sea of blood by John Zápolya, leader of the nobility.  2
The Tripartitum, a constitution worked out by Stephen Verböczy, was passed by the diet. It established the equality of all nobles and at the same time fixed the system of serfdom on the peasantry.  3
LOUIS II, the son of Ladislas, succeeded his father at the age of ten. His reign was marked chiefly by the spread of Protestantism. The movement first took root in the German areas and in the towns and was vigorously opposed by the nobles. In 1523 it was declared punishable by death and confiscation of property, but despite all edicts it took firm hold of the country.  4
The Ottomans took Belgrade, beginning their victorious advance into Hungary.  5
1526, Aug. 29–30
BATTLE OF MOHÁCS. Defeat and death of Louis when the Ottomans completely overwhelmed his disorganized army of 20,000.  6
The death of Louis was followed by a hot contest over the succession. Part of the nobility, hoping for German aid against the Ottomans, elected Ferdinand of Habsburg, brother of Emperor Charles V. The national party, on the other hand, elected John Zápolya king. After a civil war lasting two years, Zápolya was defeated. He appealed to the Ottomans, who supported him vigorously. By the Peace of Nagyvarad the two kings recognized each other, each ruling part of the territory. Zápolya became a vassal of the Ottomans but Ferdinand continued the war against them, which was interrupted only by occasional truces (See 1526).  7
Death of John Zápolya. The Ottomans recognized his infant son, John II (Sigismund) Zápolya (1540–71). This led to a new clash with Ferdinand, who began the invasion of eastern Hungary. The Ottomans again invaded and took Buda. They now took over the entire central part of Hungary (the great plain), which was organized in four pashaliks (border districts). There was no settlement by the Ottoman Turks, but the territory was granted in military fiefs and subjected to heavy taxation. Religious tolerance of the Ottoman Turks. Transylvania, under Zápolya, was a vassal state of the Ottoman Turks but was left almost entirely free. Under Cardinal Martinuzzi it was organized as a state (three nations: Magyars, Szeklers, and Germans, meeting in a Landtag, elected the king and passed laws). The Transylvanians (even the nobility) soon accepted Calvinism, so that during the later 16th century the larger part of Hungary was either Lutheran or Calvinist. In 1560 religious toleration was established in Transylvania. The Habsburgs, on the other hand, held only a narrow strip of western and northern Hungary, and even for this they long paid tribute to the Ottoman Turks. The Habsburgs employed Italian and Spanish mercenaries to defend their possessions, and these ravaged the country as much as Ottoman territory. Ferdinand and his successors governed from Vienna or Prague and with little reference to the traditional rights of the Hungarian nobility. This led to growing friction and later to serious conflict.  8
Sigismund Bathory, prince of Transylvania. His efforts to unite with the Habsburgs for a grand assault on the weakening Ottoman power met with vigorous opposition on the part of the Transylvanian nobility.  9
Beginning of the Counter-Reformation, under Habsburg auspices. This resulted in a revolt of the Hungarians, supported by the Transylvanians.  10
STEPHEN BOCSKAY became prince of Transylvania and, after defeating the Habsburgs, secured the Treaty of Vienna, by which Protestantism was given equal status with Catholicism. Nevertheless, the Counter-Reformation made great strides, especially among the nobility, owing to the efforts of Cardinal Pazmany and the Jesuits.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.