Austria, 1648-1740 Royal Hungary, 1526-1683 Ottoman Hungary, 1526-1683 Transylvania, 1526-1683

Royal Hungary : Kuruc Rebellion, 1679-1684

A.) Prehistory of the Conflict

The failure of the Habsburg monarchy to capitalize on what they perceived the defeat of the Ottoman Turks in the Habsburg-Ottoman War of 1663-1664, the missed opportunity to liberate at least a part of Ottoman-held Hungary, had caused dissatisfaction among Hungary's magnates, which caused a number of them to conspire against Habsburg rule.
When, in 1674-1675, Emperor Leopold went so far to order the arrest of Protestant preachers (some of them were sold as galley slaves), this violation of the Hungarian constitution only increased the number of the dissatisfied. Those who planned an open oppression called themselves the Kuruc (cross-bearers), in reference to the Hungarian Peasants' Revolt of 1514 which had started as a crusade.

B) The Rebellion

In 1677, French King Louis XIV. granted them a subsidy of 100,000 Thalers and dispatched 2,000 French soldiers to their aid. In 1678 they elected Imre Thököly their general; the rebellion began in 1679. Thököly established control over most of Upper Hungary (i.e. modern Slovakia and adjacent stretches of Hungary). In 1680 he signed a truce with Emperor Leopold; in 1681 the latter restored religious freedom in Hungary.
In 1683 an Ottoman army, responding to a call by Thököly, came and laid siege to Vienna, while the Kuruc, fighting alongside the Ottomans, undertook raids into Austria proper. Imre Thököly even was, under Ottoman protection, proclaimed King of Hungary. The Ottoman siege was broken, the Ottoman force defeated in 1683, the Kuruc rebellion was defeated in 1684 (Thököly's wife and children taken prisoner).

C.) Legacy

Thököly was arrested by the Ottomans and held prisoner in Adrianople 1686ff, later reinstated Duke of Transylvania. After the Habsburg-Ottoman War ended in the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699), the Kuruc Rebellion flared up again. Hungary was liberated from the Ottomans, but many Hungarians did regard Habsburg rule as oppressive.

Die Garnisonsstadt - Kuruzzenkrieg und barocke Erneuerung (The Garrison Town - Kuruc War and Baroque Renewal), from Geschichte der Stadt Fürstenfeld (History of the City of Fürstenfeld)
Biography of Imre Thokoly, from Columbia Encyclopedia, from EB 1911
The Fortress of Zamkova Hill, by Ihor Tymofeiev
REFERENCE Miklos Molnar, A Concise History of Hungary, Cambridge : UP 2001, pp.129-131

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 12th 2003, last revised on November 18th 2004

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