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Partition of Hungary and Turkish Rule


PARTITION OF HUNGARY AND TURKISH RULE The Turks having retired, John Zapolya, voivode of Transyl vania, was elected king by the diet (Oct. 14, 1526), but he was a powerless dependent on Turkish support, and a second diet in 1527 elected Ferdinand I. (1527-64), archduke of Austria (em peror from 1556), who had married King Louis's sister. Suleiman supported Zapolya, and an internecine struggle went on till 1538, when by the secret treaty of Nagyvarad (Grosswardein) Hungary was divided, Ferdinand taking Croatia, Slavonia and the western counties, and Zapolya the remaining two-thirds, with the royal title, and Buda as his capital. Zapolya died in 1540 and his infant son, John Sigismund (154o-71), was elected, in spite of the peace of Nagyvarad, which formally acknowledged Ferdinand's right to the succession. Ferdinand asserted his right and laid siege to Buda in spite of the remonstrances of Martinuzzi (q.v.), Zapolya's able adviser, who knew that Suleiman would not allow the emperor to reign at Buda.

This brought a new Turkish invasion which lasted till when the exigencies of a war with Persia induced Suleiman to grant a truce. Hungary was partitioned, Ferdinand keeping his former share subject to payment of an annual tribute ; Transyl vania and some adjacent counties were assigned to John Sigis mund, with the title of prince; the rich central plain of Hungary, the Alf old, was annexed to the Turkish empire. This settlement lasted with some changes for 150 years. Throughout this time the national sentiment and what remained of national liberties found their best expression in Transylvania, where Turk and Habsburg were equally hated. The efforts of the Habsburgs to conquer Transylvania led to fresh Turkish invasions in 1552 and 1556, the latter being Suleiman's last descent on Hungary, and memorable for the heroic defence of Szigetvar by Miklos Zrinyi. The truce of Adrianople suspended hostilities from 1568 to 1593, but fron tier warfare was incessant and Habsburg relations with Transyl vania were almost always bad. The Habsburg ruling over other States, and regarding "royal" Hungary (i.e., their own portion of that country) as an unimportant border province, were constantly wounding Magyar sentiment. The office of palatine was suspended; and the country was governed from Vienna. Under Maximilian (1564-76) and Rudolph II. (1576-1608) the Magyar nobles were harassed and spoliated under trumped-up charges of treason, and the latter added religious to political persecution.

Partition of Hungary and Turkish Rule

The Reformation.

The teaching of the Reformation had been steadily gaining ground; the corrupt Church had lost its hold on the people ; the nobles, mostly Calvinists, coveted its riches, and Lutheran doctrines prevailed largely among the pa rochial clergy. In Turkish Hungary all creeds were tolerated, though the Catholics were always suspected as pro-Habsburg; in Transylvania toleration for both confessions was obtained in But the Counter-Reformation and the rise of the Jesuits changed the situation. The extirpation of Protestantism was the objective, and as Protestantism was then identical with Magyar ism the fate of each was equally involved, and the protests of the local diets were ignored. The persecution was fiercest during the "Long War" (1593-1606), a confused struggle in which Transyl vania was pitted against the Turks, the emperor Rudolph II., and Michael of Moldavia. Sigismund II., Bathory, prince of Transyl vania (1581-1600), gained a brilliant victory over the Turks, whose power was declining, but Transylvania was finally subdued by the imperial general, Basta. A reign of terror at once began, intended to Germanize the principality, and bring it back to Catholicism. Every kind of robbery and extortion was practised on the richer land owners and adherents of the reformed creeds.

Fortunately a deliverer appeared in Stephen Bocskay (q.v.), a wealthy nobleman and originally an adherent of the emperor. Elected prince of Transylvania on May 5, 1605, he called the Turks to his aid, over-ran northern Hungary, and raided Austrian territory. At the peace of Vienna, June 23, 1606, he obtained for his people religious liberty and political autonomy, an amnesty and restoration of the confiscated estates, and his own recognition as sovereign prince of an enlarged Transylvania. He also negoti ated the truce of 'Zsitvatorok (Nov. 1606) between the emperor and the sultan, which on payment of £400,000 freed the former from the humiliating annual tribute to the Porte, and established a working equilibrium between the three parts of Hungary, whose position was further improved when the archduke Matthias, who had negotiated the treaty with Bocskay, was elected king of royal Hungary in 1608, as Matthias II. (1608-19).

Transylvanian Hegemony.—For the next 5o years Transyl vania (q.v.) continued as the bulwark of Magyar liberty. Circum stances were favourable, as the whole strength of the empire was absorbed by the Thirty Years' War, and the princes who suc ceeded Bocskay were men of great ability, who gained for their country a power out of proportion to its real strength. Gabriel Bethlen (q.v.), who reigned from 1613 to 1629, was three times at war with the emperor, and twice crowned king of Hungary. His successor George Rakoczy I. (163o-48) also invaded royal Hungary, and at the peace of Linz (Sept. 16, 1645) forced the reluctant emperor to grant full autonomy and religious liberty to Catholics and Protestants, and to acknowledge the sway of Rakoczy over the north Hungarian counties, the threat of calling in the Turks ensuring submission.

The power of Turkey, after a long decline, again became for midable when the able and energetic vizier, Mohammed Kuprili (q.v.), became supreme at Constantinople in 1656. He deposed George Rakoczy II. (1648-60), who had ruined his principality in a mad venture for the throne of Poland, and by 166i Transyl vania had become a Turkish feudatory State. Royal Hungary was next invaded by his son, Fazil Ahmed, but with little success, the Turks being heavily defeated by Montecuculi at St. Gothard on Aug. 1, 1664, and the Peace of Vasvar (Aug. io) gave Hungary a respite from invasion for 20 years.

Catholic Reaction.—Far more important was the change which about this time was bringing Hungary back to Catholicism. The soul of the movement was the great Jesuit preacher and writer, Peter Pazmany, primate from 1616 to 1637. His policy was to convert the nobles and gentry, assured that in the end the people would follow their example. The educational sys tem of the Jesuits gave them a great advantage and the crown of Pazmany's labours was the foundation of a great Catholic university at Nagyszombat (1635), and a Hungarian translation of the Bible, to supersede the current Protestant version. The reaction in religion coincided with a sustained attack on political liberty. Nationalist aspirations were naturally opposed to a system of imperial government based on Divine right, and for 10o years the upper classes were subject to a cruel discipline. They were treated as an inferior race, excluded from office, their privileges over-ridden. Leopold I. (1657-1705) left the govern ment of the country in the hands of two bigoted Magyar prelates, Gyorgy Szelepesenyi and Lipot Kollonic. The abortive conspiracy of Peter Zrinyi, who with three other magnates was publicly exe cuted (1671), was followed by wholesale arrests and confiscations, and for a time legal government was susperseded (patent of March 3, 1673) by a committee presided over by Kollonic. Large numbers of Protestant ministers were haled before this tribunal for alleged conspiracy; of these 236 were "converted" or con fessed to acts of rebellion. The rest stood firm and were sentenced to death, commuted to slavery in the Neapolitan galleys, in spite of urgent protests from Sweden and the German Protestant States. Liberation from the Turks.—In 1678 Count Tokoli was the leader of a dangerous revolt which, for some time, made him master of northern Hungary. Encouraged by Tokoli's success, the vizier, Kara Mustapha, and the war party at Constantinople resolved to complete the conquest of the rest of the country. Alarmed for the safety of Vienna, and stirred up by Pope Innocent I., Leopold reluctantly allied himself with John III. Sobieski, king of Poland, and gave the command of his armies to Prince Charles of Lorraine. The war lasted 16 years, and after beginning with the siege of Vienna (July 14–Sept. 1683) and its relief by Sobieski, put an end to the Turkish dominion in Hungary. In 1684 the Pope succeeded in uniting the empire, Poland, Venice and Mus covy in the Holy League against the Turks, and was rewarded by a series of triumphs, culminating in the recapture of Buda (1686) and Belgrade, and the recovery of Bosnia (1689) . Jn 1690 the Turks rallied under the vizier, Mustapha Kuprili, brother of Fazil Ahmed, regained Serbia and Bulgaria, placed Tokoli on the throne of Transylvania, and took Belgrade by assault (Oct. 6) ; but in 1691 Kuprili was defeated and slain at Slankamen by the margrave of Baden. For six years the war languished but in 1697 Prince Eugene of Savoy routed the Turks at Zenta (Jan. 26, 1699), leaving the emperor the whole of Hungary except the "Banat," the territory enclosed by the rivers Theiss and Maros.

Francis Rakoczy.

The expulsion of the Turks and the peace of Karlowitz left the Magyars sullen and embittered. They had little share in the victories, which had been gained by foreign armies ; the war taxation had been crushing, and this combined with the ruthless repression of civil and religious liberty to make the whole nation ripe for rebellion. Yet Leopold judged the time opportune for changing Hungary from an elective to a hereditary monarchy (Oct. 1687), and for abrogating the clause in the Golden Bull which authorized armed resistance to unconstitutional acts of the sovereign. The terrorized and weakened diet was incapable of resistance, so the immediate effect of the Peace of Karlowitz was to strengthen the existing despotism. Bishop Kollonic was at the head of affairs, and his plan was to repopulate the regained territories, which were in a state of terrible dilapidation, by a vast immigration of German and Croatian colonists. Magyar landlords were forcibly deprived of their estates, which were di vided among the newcomers. No redress could be obtained and the whole nation was seething with discontent. The opportunity to break out came when the emperor, involved in the War of the Spanish Succession, withdrew almost all his troops from Hungary. There was an immediate rebellion, which found a leader in Francis Rakoczy II. (q.v.) (I 704–I 1), elected prince by the diet on July 6, 1704. The armies he raised were numerous but ill-equipped, and without artillery. Louis XIV. aided him with money, but the defeat of the French at Blenheim enabled the emperor to send an army into Hungary, and in 1705 Rakoczy was badly defeated. In 1707 two Rakoczian diets deposed the Habsburgs and formed an interior Government with Rakoczy at its head, till a national king could be elected, but Joseph I. (17o5-11), who succeeded Leopold, refused to come to terms with his subjects, though pressed to do so by his allies.

In 1708 Rakoczy was again defeated at Trencin, this time decisively, though a guerrilla war still went on. But in 1711 Joseph died and was succeeded by his brother, Charles VI. (1711-4o), a man of different stamp. A congress met at Szatmar (April 27, I 71 I), and peace was restored on the basis of a general amnesty, full religious liberty, and the inviolability of Magyar rights and privileges.

war, turks, emperor, transylvania, magyar, elected and peace