BELA, ba',16, the name of four Hungarian kings of the Arpad dynasty. BELA I, son of Ladislaf, competed for the crown with his brother Andrew, whom he ultimately defeated, and mounted the throne in 1061. He established a coinage and weights and measures. BELA II, surnamed the Blind, because his eyes had been put out in early life by his uncle, succeeded to the throne in 1131, and at first seemed inclined to act with moderation and justice, but the vindictive spirit of his Queen involved him in quarrels with his nobles, and his own intem perate habits brought on a disease which ter minated his life in 1141. BELA III, grandson of Bela II, succeeded, in 1173, and held the reins of government with a strong hand, vigorously correcting the abuses and putting down the tur bulent spirit which the troubles of previous reigns had engendered. He also repelled in cursions of Bohemians, Poles and Austrians, and retaking the towns of which the Venetians had possessed themselves, compelled them to accept of peace in 1189. He died in 1196, and
was succeeded by one of two sons by his Queen, a sister of Philip Augustus, king of France. BELA IV succeeded his father, Andrew II, in 1235, and was shortly after obliged to collect an army to oppose the Tartars, who had invaded the country. In the battle which en sued he was signally defeated, and obliged to take refuge in Austria, where he was detained prisoner, and only recovered his liberty by the payment of a large ransom. The Tartars hav ing retired in 1242, Bela regained his throne, and made it his object to repair the results of their invasion. He subsequently established his rule over Bosnia and northern Serbia, and died in 1270.