Royal Hungary, 1526-1683 Ottoman Hungary, 1526-1683 Transylvania, 1526-1683

The Battle of Mohacs, 1526

A.) Prehistory

During the 15th century, Latin christianity made several attempts to contain the Ottoman Empire on the Balkans Peninsula. While these attempts either ended in utter failure (Nicopolis 1396, Varna 1444) or failed to reach the Balkans Peninsula (French expedition to Naples, 1494-1495), the Kingdom of Hungary, for a number of decades, was capable of standing up to the Ottoman challenge.
In 1521, however, the vital fortress of Belgrade (which previously had withstood several sieges) fell to the Ottomans.

B.) The Battle of Mohacs, 1526

With France, Spain, the Emperor entangled in the Franco-Habsburg War 1521-1529, Pope Clement VII. and the Republic of Venice entering the League of Cognac (1526), an alliance with France intended to break the Habsburg hegemony, there was little prospect for Hungary receiving any aid from the west.
An Ottoman army, reportedly 100,000 men strong, invaded Hungary, and, in the Battle of Mohacs, not only crushed the Hungarian army of c. 25,000, but also killed King Lajos II. (Louis II.).

C.) The Legacy

The Ottoman expedition was intended to be a raid, was to crush the enemy, not to conquer. Factions of Hungarian nobles, independent of each other, elected Janos Zapolyai respectively Ferdinand of Habsburg king. For the next decades, the two contested the Hungarian crown - a situation welcome to Suleyman the Magnificent, as it divided the Hungarian force.
With Zapolyai's death, Ferdinand of Habsburg was the only King of Hungary. In 1541 an Ottoman force took the Hungarian capital of Buda. In the same year, Transylvania became an Ottoman vassall.
Central Hungary would become Ottoman territory, while the western and northern fringe of the kingdom (including parts of Croatia and most of Slovakia, then referred to as Upper Hungary) became Royal Hungary, the Habsburg Dynasty supplying the kings. In the east, the Duchy of Transylvania gained a greater degree of independence.

The Fall of The Medieval Kingdom of Hungary: Mohacs 1526 - Buda 1541, by Geza Perjes, posted by Corvinus Library, Hungary
DOCUMENTS Illustration Belgrade 1521, posted by yuheritage
Biography of Louis II., from Columbia Encyclopedia
Hungary, Reign of Ulaszlo II and Louis II, 1490-1526, from

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 3rd 2003, last revised on November 17th 2004

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