Reformation Reunited Hungary

Ottoman Hungary, 1526-1683

In the BATTLE OF MOHACS, the Hungarian branch of the Jagiellon dynasty had ended with the death of Louis II. Hungary now was open to Ottoman raids, but also open for Emperor Ferdinand I. of Habsburg to press his claim of Hungary's crown. Hungary's diet in the meantime had elected JANOS ZAPOLYAI, the Vajda of Transylvania, king. Ferdinand's army chased him out of the country, fleeing to Poland. He submitted to Ottoman rule; an Ottoman army defeated the Habsburg forces in 1529 and laid siege to Vienna in 1529, without success.
The war lingered on; the Turks took Buda in 1541. By now it had become apparent that Hungary was partitioned in three parts - Royal Hungary in the west, under Habsburg control (with core Croatia and much of Slovakia), Ottoman Hungary in the central plains, and Transylvania in the east, largely autonomous until 1683. In 1547 and 1568, peace was agreed upon on the basis of the status quo.

Ottoman Hungary was divided into sandzaks (provinces), the highest ranking Ottoman official in Hungary being the Pasha of Buda. Pashas and beys were responsible for administration, jurisdiction and defense. Of major importance to Istanbul was the collection of taxes, some of which were used to pay for the construction of fortification. Taxation left little for the landlords to collect; Hungary's nobility by and large emigrated into Royal Hungary or Transylvania, as did large numbers of Hungary's burghers.
Peace was fragile; the Habsburgs pursued plans to both reunite Hungary, to promote the Counterreformation and to continue with their policy of centralization. The Ottomans attempted to use the religious division of their christian opponents in 1620 and, with vigour, in 1683 when they laid siege to Vienna for the second time.

The 16th Century, from A Short History of Austria-Hungary by H. Wickham-Steed, 1914
Hungary, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914 edition
DOCUMENTS Portraits of Suleyman Pasha, commander of Buda, taken prisoner in 1599, of Cigala Pasha, an Italian renegade, Turkish military commander in Hungary, of Count Nicholas of Serenyi, defender of Szegedin, from Domenicus Custos, Atrium heroicum Caesarum, regum, [...] imaginibus [...] illustr[atum]. , Augsburg 1600-1602, posted by MATEO, Univ. Mannheim
Henry Blount : A Voyage Into The Levant, 1634, from Modern History Sourcebook
REFERENCE Peter F. Sugar (ed.), A History of Hungary, Indiana Univ. Press 1990, 432 pp.

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First posted in 2000, last revised on November 11th 2004

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