Principality of Transylvania
Administrative map of the Principality of Transylvania, 1606-1660
|Status|| Vassal state of the Ottoman Empire;|
Hungarian Crown Land
|Capital|| Alba Iulia (Gyulafehérvár) 1570–1692 |
Cibinium (Nagyszeben/Hermannstadt/Sibiu) 1692–1711
|Common languages|| Latin (in administration, science and politics)|
Hungarian (vernacular, language of Diet and legislation )
German (vernacular, business, some official functions and instruction)
Romanian, Ruthenian (vernacular).
|Religion|| Roman Catholicism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, Eastern Orthodoxy,|
Greek Catholicism, Unitarianism, Judaism
|Government||Principality, Elective monarchy|
• 1570–1571 (first)
|John II Sigismund Zápolya|
• 1704–1711 (last)
|Francis II Rákóczi|
|16 August 1570|
|28 September 1604–23 June 1606|
|23 June 1606|
|31 December 1621|
|16 October 1690|
|26 January 1699|
|15 June 1703 – 1 May 1711|
|29 April 1711|
|Today part of|| Romania |
The Principality of Transylvania (German : Fürstentum Siebenbürgen; Hungarian : Erdélyi Fejedelemség; Latin : Principatus Transsilvaniae; Romanian : Principatul Transilvaniei or Principatul Ardealului; Turkish : Erdel Voyvodalığı or Transilvanya Prensliği) was a semi-independent state, ruled primarily by Hungarian princes. Its territory, in addition to the traditional Transylvanian lands, also included the other major component called Partium, which was in some periods comparable in size with Transylvania proper. The establishment of the principality was connected to the Treaty of Speyer. However Stephen Báthory's status as king of Poland also helped to phase in the name Principality of Transylvania. It was usually under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire; however, the principality often had dual vassalage (Ottoman Turkish sultans and the Habsburg Hungarian kings) in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The principality continued to be a part of the Lands of the Hungarian Crownand was a symbol of the survival of Hungarian statehood. It represented the Hungarian interests against Habsburg encroachments in Habsburg-ruled Kingdom of Hungary. Traditional Hungarian law had to be followed scrupulously in the principality; furthermore, the state was predominantly Protestant. After the unsettled period of Rákóczi's War of Independence, it was subordinated to the Habsburg Monarchy.
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On 29 August 1526, the army of Sultan Suleiman of the Ottoman Empire inflicted a decisive defeat on the Hungarian forces at Mohács. John Zápolya was en route to the battlefield with his sizable army but did not participate in the battle for unknown reasons. The youthful King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia fell in battle, as did many of his soldiers. As Zápolya was elected king of Hungary, Ferdinand from the House of Habsburg also claimed the throne of Hungary. In the ensuing struggle John Zápolya received the support of Sultan Suleiman I, who after Zápolya's death in 1540, occupied Buda and central Hungary in 1541 under the pretext of protecting Zápolya's son, John II. Hungary was now divided into three sections: Royal Hungary in the west and north, Ottoman Hungary, and the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom under Ottoman suzerainty, which later became the Principality of Transylvania, where Austrian and Turkish influences vied for supremacy for nearly two centuries. The Hungarian magnates of Transylvania resorted to a policy of duplicity in order to preserve independence.
Transylvania was administrated by Isabella, John Sigismund's mother, from 1541 to 1551, when it fell for five years under Habsburg rule (1551–1556). The House of Zapolya gained again the control of Transylvania in 1556,when the Diet of Szászsebes elected Sigismund as prince of Transylvania.
Transylvania was now beyond the reach of Catholic religious authority, allowing Lutheran and Calvinist preaching to flourish. In 1563, Giorgio Blandrata was appointed as court physician, and his radical religious ideas increasingly influenced both the young king John II and the Calvinist bishop Francis David,eventually converting both to the Anti-Trinitarian (Unitarian) creed. In a formal public disputation, Francis David prevailed over the Calvinist Peter Melius; resulting in 1568 in the formal adoption of individual freedom of religious expression under the Edict of Torda. This was the first such legal guarantee of religious freedom in Christian Europe, however only for Lutherans, Calvinists, Unitarians and of course Catholics, with the Orthodox Christian confession being "tolerated", with no legal guarantees granted.
The Principality of Transylvania was established in 1570 when John II renounced his claim as King of Hungary in the Treaty of Speyer (ratified in 1571),however he became a Transylvanian prince. The treaty also recognized that Principality of Transylvania belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary in the sense of public law. Upon the death of John II in 1571 the Royal House of Báthory came to power and ruled Transylvania as princes under the Ottomans; and briefly under Habsburg suzerainty, until 1602. Their rise to power marked the beginning of the Principality of Transylvania as a semi-independent state.
Prince Stephen Báthory was the first powerful prince of independent Transylvania,a Hungarian Catholic who later became king under the name Stephen Báthory of Poland, undertook to maintain the religious liberty granted by the Edict of Torda, but interpreted this obligation in an increasingly restricted sense. The latter period of Báthory rule saw Transylvania under Sigismund Báthory – prince of the Holy Roman Empire – enter the Long War, which started as a Christian alliance against the Turks and became a four-sided conflict involving Transylvania, the Habsburgs, the Ottomans, and the voivode of Wallachia, Michael the Brave. After 1601 the principality for a short time was under the rule of Rudolf I who initiated the Germanization of the population, and in order to reclaim the Principality for Catholicism the Counter Reformation. From 1604 to 1606, the Hungarian nobleman Stephen Bocskay led a successful rebellion against Austrian rule. Bocskay was elected Prince of Transylvania on 5 April 1603 and prince of Hungary two months later. He achieved the Peace of Vienna in 1606. By the Peace of Vienna, Bocskay obtained religious liberty and political autonomy, the restoration of all confiscated estates, the repeal of all "unrighteous" judgments, and a complete retroactive amnesty for all Hungarians in Royal Hungary, as well as his own recognition as independent sovereign prince of an enlarged Principality of Transylvania. By the Treaty of Vienna (1606) was guaranteed the right of Transylvanians to elect their own independent princes, but Georg Keglević, who was the Commander-in-chief, General, Vice-Ban of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, was since 1602 Baron in Transylvania. It was a very difficult and complicated peace treaty after a long war.
Under Bocskay's successors Transylvania had its golden age, especially under the reigns of Gábor Bethlen and George I Rákóczi. Gábor Bethlen, who reigned from 1613 to 1629, perpetually thwarted all efforts of the emperor to oppress or circumvent his subjects, and won reputation abroad by championing the Protestant cause. Three times he waged war on the emperor, twice he was proclaimed King of Hungary, and by the Peace of Nikolsburg (31 December 1621) he obtained for the Protestants a confirmation of the Treaty of Vienna, and for himself seven additional counties in northern Hungary. Bethlen's successor, George I Rákóczi, was equally successful. His principal achievement was the Peace of Linz (16 September 1645), the last political triumph of Hungarian Protestantism, in which the emperor was forced to confirm again the articles of the Peace of Vienna. Gabriel Bethlen and George I Rákóczi also did much for education and culture, and their era has justly been called the golden era of Transylvania. They lavished money on the embellishment of their capital Alba Iulia, which became the main bulwark of Protestantism in Eastern Europe. During their reign Transylvania was also one of the few European countries where Roman Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans, and Unitarians lived in mutual tolerance, all of them belonging to the officially accepted religions – religiones receptae, while the Orthodox, however, were only tolerated.
The fall of Nagyvárad to the expansionist Ottomans on 27 August 1660 marked the decline of the Principality of Transylvania. To counter the Ottoman threat, the Habsburg policy determined to gain influence in and perhaps control of this territory. Under Prince Kemeny, the diet of Transylvania proclaimed the secession of a sovereign Transylvania from the Ottomans (April 1661) and appealed for help to Vienna but a secret Habsburg-Ottoman agreement resulted in further increasing Habsburg influence. After the defeat of the Ottomans at the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the Habsburgs gradually began to impose their rule on the formerly autonomous Transylvania. Following the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz, Transylvania was formally attached to the Habsburg-controlled Hungaryand subjected to the direct rule of the emperor's governors. From 1711 onward, Habsburg control over Transylvania was consolidated, and the princes of Transylvania were replaced with governors.
Until 1691 Transylvania was ruled by Unio Trium Nationum, the three state-constituting socio-ethnical entities termed "nations", consisting of the Hungarian nobility, the Saxon urban settlers, and the Székely peasant-soldiers, while a significant part of the general population, consisted of Orthodox Romanians, remained deprived of any civil and political rights.
The Unio Trium Nationum (Latin for "Union of the Three Nations") was a pact of mutual aid codified in 1438 by three Estates of Transylvania: the (largely Hungarian) nobility, the Saxon (German) patrician class,and the free military Székelys. The union was directed against the whole of the peasantry, regardless of ethnicity, in response to the Transylvanian peasant revolt. In this feudal estate parliament, the peasants (whether Hungarian, Saxon, Székely or Romanian in origin) were not represented, and they did not benefit from its acts, as the commoners were not considered to be members of these feudal "nations".
The coalition of the "Three Nations" retained its legal representative monopoly under the prince as before the split of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom occasioned by the Ottoman invasions. According to Dennis P. Hupchick, though there were occasional clashes between the Hungarian plainsmen and the Székely mountaineers, they were united under the patronymic "Magyars" and, with Saxon support, formed a common front against the predominantly Romanian peasantry.
Official censuses with information on Transylvania's population have been conducted since the 18th century, but the ethnic composition was the subject of different modern estimations.
Based on a work by Antun Vrančić (1504–1573), Expeditionis Solymani in Moldaviam et Transsylvaniam libri duo. De situ Transsylvaniae, Moldaviae et Transalpinae liber tertius, more estimations exist as the original text is translated/interpreted in a different way, especially by Romanian and Hungarian scholars. According to Hungarian interpretations, Vrančić wrote about the inhabitants of Transylvania and about the Romanians: "the country is inhabited by three nations, Székelys, Hungarians, and Saxons; I should also add the Romanians who – even though they easily equal any of the others in number –have no freedom, no aristocracy, no right of their own, besides a small number living in the Haţeg district, where the capital of Decebalus is believed to have stood, and who, during the time of John Hunyadi, a native of those places, were granted aristocratic status because they had always taken part in the struggle against the Turks. The rest of them are all commoners, serfs of the Hungarians, having no places of their own, spread all over the territory, in the whole country" and "leading a wretched life", while in Romanian interpretations, it is noted that the proper translation of the first part of the sentence would be: "...I would nevertheless add the Romanians, who – even though they easily equal the others in number –..."
According to Károly Kocsis and Eszter Kocsisné Hodosi argue that the Hungarians were the most numerous ethnic group before the second half of the 17th century, when they were exceeded by Romanians. They assert the following structure of the population: in 1595, out of a total population of 670,000, 52.2% were Hungarians, 28.4% Romanians, 18.8% Germans.Around 1650, Moldavian prince Vasile Lupu, in a letter written to the Sultan, affirms that the number of Romanians are already one-third of the population. By 1660, according to Miklós Molnár, 955,000 people lived in the principality (Partium included) and the population consisted of 500,000 Hungarians (including 250,000 Székelys), 280,000 Romanians, 90,000 Germans and 85,000 Serbians, Ukrainians and others and reached its end-of-century level.
On the other hand, according to Dennis P. Hupchick, Romanians were the majority population in the region during the rule of Stephen Báthory (16th century).In 1600, according to George W. White, Romanians, who were primarily peasants, constituted more than 60 percent of the population. This theory is supported by Ion Ardeleanu, who states that the Romanian population represented "the overwhelming majority" in the age of Michael the Brave.
In Benedek Jancsó's estimation, there were 250,000 Romanians, 150,000 Hungarians and 100,000 Saxons in Transylvania at the beginning of the 18th century.In 1720, according to Károly Kocsis and Eszter Kocsisné Hodosi, out of a total population of 806,221, 49.6% were Romanians, 37.2% Hungarians, 12.4% Germans.
Christopher Báthory was voivode of Transylvania from 1576 to 1581. He was a younger son of Stephen Báthory of Somlyó. Christopher's career began during the reign of Queen Isabella Jagiellon, who administered the eastern territories of the Kingdom of Hungary on behalf of her son, John Sigismund Zápolya, from 1556 to 1559. He was one of the commanders of John Sigismund's army in the early 1560s.
Sigismund Báthory was Prince of Transylvania several times between 1586 and 1602, and Duke of Racibórz and Opole in Silesia in 1598. His father, Christopher Báthory, ruled Transylvania as voivode of the absent prince, Stephen Báthory. Sigismund was still a child when the Diet of Transylvania elected him voivode at his dying father's request in 1581. Initially, regency councils administered Transylvania on his behalf, but Stephen Báthory made János Ghyczy the sole regent in 1585. Sigismund adopted the title of prince after Stephen Báthory died.
Gabriel Bethlen was Prince of Transylvania from 1613 to 1629 and Duke of Opole from 1622 to 1625. He was also King-elect of Hungary from 1620 to 1621, but he never took control of the whole kingdom. Bethlen, supported by the Ottomans, led his Calvinist principality against the Habsburgs and their Catholic allies.
John Sigismund Zápolya or Szapolyai was King of Hungary as John II from 1540 to 1551 and from 1556 to 1570, and the first Prince of Transylvania, from 1570 to his death. He was the only son of John I, King of Hungary, and Isabella of Poland. John I ruled parts of the Kingdom of Hungary with the support of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman; the remaining areas were ruled by Ferdinand I of Habsburg, who also ruled Austria and Bohemia. The two kings concluded a peace treaty in 1538 acknowledging Ferdinand's right to reunite Hungary after John I's death, though shortly after John Sigismund's birth, and on his deathbed, John I bequeathed his realm to his son. The late king's staunchest supporters elected the infant John Sigismund king, but he was not crowned with the Holy Crown of Hungary.
Hungarian irredentism or Greater Hungary are irredentist and revisionist political ideas concerning redemption of territories of the historical Kingdom of Hungary. The idea is associated with Hungarian revisionism, targeting at least to regain control over Hungarian-populated areas in Hungary's neighbouring countries. Hungarian historians did not use the term Greater Hungary, because the "Historic Hungary" is the established term for the Kingdom of Hungary before 1920.
Gabriel Báthory was Prince of Transylvania from 1608 to 1613. Born to the Roman Catholic branch of the Báthory family, he was closely related to four rulers of the Principality of Transylvania. His father, Stephen Báthory, held estates in the principality, but never ruled it. Being a minor when his father died in 1601, Gabriel became the ward of the childless Stephen Báthory, from the Protestant branch of the family, who converted him to Calvinism. After inheriting his guardian's most estates in 1605, Gabriel became one of the wealthiest landowners in Transylvania and Royal Hungary.
The Banat of Temeswar or Banat of Temes was a Habsburg province that existed between 1718 and 1778. It was located in the present day region of Banat, which was named after this province. The province was abolished in 1778 and the following year it was incorporated into the Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary.
Michael the Brave was the Prince of Wallachia, Prince of Moldavia (1600) and de facto ruler of Transylvania (1599–1600). He is considered one of Romania's greatest national heroes. Since the 19th century, Michael the Brave has been regarded by Romanian nationalists as a symbol of Romanian unity, as his reign marked the first time all principalities inhabited by Romanians were under the same ruler.
Stephen Bocskai or Bocskay was Prince of Transylvania and Hungary from 1605 to 1606. He was born to a Hungarian noble family. His father's estates were located in the eastern regions of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, which developed into the Principality of Transylvania in the 1570s. He spent his youth in the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian, who was also the ruler of Royal Hungary.
The Prince of Transylvania was the head of state of the Principality of Transylvania from the last decades of the 16th century until the middle of the 18th century. John Sigismund Zápolya was the first to adopt the title in 1570, but its use only became stable from 1576.
Partium or Részek was a historical and geographical region in the Kingdom of Hungary during the early modern and modern periods. It consisted of the eastern and northern parts of Hungary proper. At times, it included Miskolc, and Kassa.
Transylvania is a historical region in central and northwestern Romania. It was part of the Dacian Kingdom, Roman Dacia, the Hunnic Empire, the Kingdom of the Gepids, the Avar Khaganate and the 9th century First Bulgarian Empire. During the late 9th century, western Transylvania was reached by the Hungarian conquerors and later it became part of the Kingdom of Hungary, formed in 1000.
The coat of arms and flag of Transylvania were granted by Maria Theresa in 1765, when she established a Grand Principality within the Habsburg Monarchy. While neither symbol has official status in present-day Romania, the coat of arms is marshalled within the national Romanian arms; it was also for decades a component of the Hungarian arms. In its upper half, it prominently includes the eagle, which may have been one of the oldest regional symbols, or is otherwise a localized version of the Polish eagle. Early versions of the Transylvanian charges were first designed in Habsburg Hungary at some point before 1550, and were therefore symbols of pretence.
The Early Modern Times in Romania started after the death of Michael the Brave, who ruled in a personal union, Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia – three principalities in the lands that now form Romania – for three months, in 1600. The three principalities were subjected to the Ottoman Empire, and paid a yearly tribute to the Ottoman Sultans, but they preserved their internal autonomy. In contrast, Dobruja and the Banat were fully incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.
The Eastern Hungarian Kingdom is a modern term coined by historians to designate the realm of John Zápolya and his son John Sigismund Zápolya, who contested the claims of the House of Habsburg to rule the Kingdom of Hungary from 1526 to 1570. The Zápolyas ruled over an eastern part of Hungary, and the Habsburg kings ruled the west. The Habsburgs tried several times to unite all Hungary under their rule, but the Ottoman Empire prevented that by supporting the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom.
Moses Székely was Prince of Transylvania in 1603.
The Edict of Torda was a decree that authorized local communities to freely elect their preachers in the "eastern Hungarian Kingdom" of John Sigismund Zápolya. The delegates of the Three Nations of Transylvania – the Hungarian nobles, Transylvanian Saxons, and Székelys – adopted it at the request of the monarch's Antitrinitarian court preacher, Ferenc Dávid, in Torda on 28 January 1568. Though it did not acknowledge an individual's right to religious freedom, in sanctioning the existence of a radical Christian religion in a European state, the decree was an unprecedented act of religious tolerance.
The Transylvanian Diet was an important legislative, administrative and judicial body of the Principality of Transylvania between 1570 and 1867. The general assemblies of the Transylvanian noblemen and the joint assemblies of the representatives of the "Three Nations of Transylvania"—the noblemen, Székelys and Saxons—gave rise to its development. After the disintegration of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary in 1541, delegates from the counties of the eastern and northeastern territories of Hungary proper also attained the Transylvanian Diet, transforming it into a legal successor of the medieval Diets of Hungary.
The Principality of Transylvania, from 1765 the Grand Principality of Transylvania, was a realm of the Hungarian Crown and from 1804 an Austrian crownland ruled by the Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine monarchs of the Habsburg Monarchy. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian government proclaimed union with Transylvania in the April Laws of 1848. After the failure of the revolution, the March Constitution of Austria decreed that the Principality of Transylvania be a separate crown land entirely independent of Hungary. In 1867, as a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, the principality was reunited with Hungary proper.
István Kendi de Szarvaskend was a Hungarian noble in the Principality of Transylvania, who served as Chancellor of Transylvania from 31 March 1608 to 20 March 1610.