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Principality of Transylvania (1570–1711)

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Title: Principality of Transylvania (1570–1711)  
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Subject: Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, Vassal and tributary states of the Ottoman Empire, History of Romania, History of Austria, Treaty of Speyer (1570)
Collection: 1570 Establishments in Europe, 16Th Century in Hungary, 16Th Century in Romania, 16Th Century in Serbia, 16Th Century in Ukraine, 1711 Disestablishments, 1711 Disestablishments in Europe, 17Th Century in Hungary, 17Th Century in Romania, 17Th Century in Serbia, 17Th Century in Ukraine, 18Th Century in Romania, 18Th Century in Ukraine, History of Romania, History of Transylvania, Ottoman Period in the History of Hungary, Ottoman Period in the History of Romania, Ottoman Serbia, Principality of Transylvania (1570–1711), States and Territories Established in 1571, Vassal and Tributary States of the Ottoman Empire
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Principality of Transylvania (1570–1711)


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}} The Principality of Transylvania (German: Fürstentum Siebenbürgen; Hungarian: Erdélyi Fejedelemség; Romanian: Principatul Transilvaniei or Principatul Ardealului) was a semi-independent state, ruled primarily by Hungarian princes.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Its territory, in addition to the traditional Transylvanian lands, also included eastern regions of Hungary, the so-called Partium. The establishment of the principality was connected with Treaty of Speyer.[7][8] However Stephen Báthory's status as king of Poland also helped to phase in the name Principality of Transylvania.[9] 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.[10][11]

The polity was a symbol of the survival of Hungarian statehood,[12] and it represented the Hungarian interests against Habsburg encroachments in Habsburg ruled Kingdom of Hungary.[13] All traditional Hungarian law remained to be followed scrupulously in the principality,[10] furthermore the state was imbued with a preponderantly Protestant feature.[14] After the unsettled period of Rákóczi's War of Independence, it became part of the Habsburg Monarchy.

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  • Eastern Hungarian Kingdom and Zápolya family 1
  • Principality of Transylvania 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Gallery 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Eastern Hungarian Kingdom and Zápolya family

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 his 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: the West and north Royal Hungary, 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 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 5 years (1551–1556) under Habsburg rule. Zapolya House gained again the control of Transylvania in 1556,[15] when the Diet of Szászsebes elected Sigismund as prince of Transylvania.

Transylvania was now beyond the reach of John II and the Calvinist bishop Francis David,[16] 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 Turda (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).

Principality of Transylvania

Over the centuries the area today known as Transylvania has been ruled by various different people ranging from the Romans, Magyar, Habsburgs, and Ottomans to the Wallachians.[17] 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),[8][18] however he became a Transylvanian prince.[19] The treaty also recognized that Principality of Transylvania belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary in the sense of public law.[20]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.

His Royal Highness Prince Stephen Báthory was the first powerful prince of independent Transylvania,[16] a Hungarian Catholic who later became King under the name 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 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 recaepte, while the Orthodox, however, were only tolerated.

The fall of Nagyvárad (1660) marked the decline of the Principality of Transylvania with the Habsburg monarchs gaining increased control of this territory. Under Prince Kemeny, the diet of Transylvania proclaimed the secession of 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. At the end of the 17th century, Transylvania was attached to the Habsburg controlled Hungary[21][22] and 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 nations consisting of the Hungarian nobility, the Saxon urban settlers, and the Székely peasant-soldiers, with general population, consisted of Orthodox Romanians, deprived of any civil and political rights.[23][24]

The coalition of the "Three Nations" retained its legal representative monopoly under the prince as before the split of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom. 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.[10]

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.

Antun Vrančić (Antonius Verancsics) (1504–1573) wrote about the inhabitants of Transylvania and about the Romanians: "the country is inhabited by three nations, Székelys, Hungarians, Saxons; I would nevertheless add the Romanians, who, though they rather outnumber [the others(?)] have no freedom, no aristocracy, no right of their own, besides a small number living in the Haţeg district, where they say Decebal’s capital was, and who, during the time of John Hunyadi, born there, were granted aristocratic status because they had always taken part in the struggle against the Turks. The other [Romanians] are all commoners, bondsmen to the Hungarians and having no place of their own, spread everywhere, throughout the country" and lead "a miserable life".[24][25]

According to Dennis P. Hupchick, Romanians were the majority population in the region during the rule of

  • Ethnic and Religious Mentalities in Transylvania during the time of Nicolaus Olahus at

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Richard C. Frucht, Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture, Volume 1, ABC-CLIO, 2004, p. 408
  8. ^ a b Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation, Viking, 2004, p. 443
  9. ^ Katalin Péter, Beloved Children: History of Aristocratic Childhood in Hungary in the Early Modern Age, Central European University Press, 2001, p. 27
  10. ^ a b c Dennis P. Hupchick, Conflict and chaos in Eastern Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, 1995, p. 62
  11. ^ Peter F. Sugar, Southeastern Europe under Ottoman rule, 1354–1804, University of Washington Press, 1993, pp. 150–154
  12. ^ Károly Kocsis, Eszter Kocsisné Hodosi, Ethnic Geography of the Hungarian Minorities in the Carpathian Basin, Simon Publications LLC, 1998, p. 106
  13. ^ Transylvania article of Encyclopedia Britannica [1]
  14. ^ István Lázár, Hungary, a Brief History, 1989, ISBN 963-13-4483-5
  15. ^ Peter F. Sugar, Southeastern Europe Under Ottoman Rule, 1354–1804, p. 332
  16. ^ a b c d e
  17. ^ Mallows, L. (2013). Transylvania (2nd ed.).Guilford, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press Inc.
  18. ^ Instytut Historii (Polska Akademia Nauk), Historický ústav (Akademie věd České republiky), Political Culture in Central Europe: Middle Ages and early modern era, Institute of History, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 2005, p. 338
  19. ^ István Keul, Early Modern Religious Communities in East-Central Europe: Ethnic Diversity, Denominational Plurality, and Corporative Politics in the Principality of Transylvania (1526–1691), BRILL, 2009, p. 61
  20. ^ Anthony Endrey, The Holy Crown of Hungary, Hungarian Institute, 1978, p. 70
  21. ^
  22. ^ Transylvania; The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Columbia University Press.
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b Religiones and Nationes in Transylvania During the 16th Century: Between Acceptance and Exclusion
  25. ^ Nations and Denominations in Transylvania (13th - 16th Century), Universita di Pisa, Dipartimento di Storia. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2012-06-01.
  26. ^ Dennis P. Hupchick. Conflict and Chaos in Eastern Europe p. 64
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b Károly Kocsis, Eszter Kocsisné Hodosi, Ethnic Geography of the Hungarian Minorities in the Carpathian Basin, Simon Publications LLC, 1998, p. 102 (Table 19)
  30. ^ Miklós Molnár, A Concise History of Hungary, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 113
  31. ^ Demographic Changes. Retrieved on 2012-06-01.
  32. ^


See also


In 1720, out of a total population of 806,221, 49.6% were Romanians, 37.2% Hungarians, 12.4% Germans.[29] 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.[31]

On the other hand, Károly Kocsis and Eszter Kocsisné Hodosi[29] affirm that Hungarians were the most important 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. 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.[30]

[28] This theory is supported by Ion Ardeleanu, who states that the Romanian population represented "the overwhelming majority" in the age of Michael the Brave.[27]

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