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Bocskai's War of Independence
|Part of the Long Turkish War and the European wars of religion|
Bocskai's statue on the Reformation Wall (Geneva, Switzerland)
|Walloon, Italian, German mercenaries||
Hajduk rebels of Stephen Bocskai and Hungarian supporters and minorities (mostly Slovaks and Rusyns|
|Commanders and leaders|
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor|
Giovanni Barbiano di Belgiojoso
Balázs Németi †
Sokolluzade Lala Mehmed Pasha
The Bocskai uprising (in Hungary Bocskai's War of Independence Hungarian: Bocskai szabadságharc, Bocskai-felkelés) was a great revolt in Hungary, Transylvania and modern Slovakia, between 1604 and 1606 against Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, during the Long Turkish War. The leader of the rebels was Stephen Bocskai, a significant Protestant Hungarian nobleman. The great Ottoman war burdened the Hungarian Kingdom and led to famine and epidemics. The armies of the Christian states also destroyed as the Ottoman and Tatar forces.
Rudolph persecuted the Protestants and the rich Hungarian noblemen were falsely accused of treason. Because of injuries Stephen Bocskai organized the revolt and persuaded the Hungarian military units, the Hajduks, to join. Bocskai defeated the imperial forces and foreign mercenaries, and the Hungarian nobility, the Hungarian soldiers and peasants, and also the minorities went over to Bocskai's Hajduk army. Bocskai was supported by the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate, Moldavia, Transylvania and Wallachia, but prevented a possible Ottoman siege of Vienna. Bocskai was declared for the Prince of Transylvania and Hungary, but recognized the fact that the challenge of independence of Hungary is not possible against the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. Bocskai marked the political route for his supporters, namely the preservation of the independent Transylvania, which may be a base for the unification of Hungary.
Already Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria (Holy-Roman emperor from 1556) passed the centralization of the military and financial system of the Habsburg Empire. The Kingdom of Hungary, which has suffered a tragic territorial loss, has since been governed by the Hofkriegsrath, the Hofkammer and the Hofkanzlei, and the Secret Council, based in Vienna. The border fortress system, the headquarters, was built in the 16th century from Vienna. The chambers of Pozsony and Szepes(Spi?) were under the control of the central bodies of Vienna throughout. Moreover, the Court Chamber(Hofkammer) did not have any Hungarian members during its existence.
Regular complaints in the national parliaments included the behavior of foreign officials and mercenaries, as well as the fact that the Habsburgs spent very few time of their reign in Hungary. Rudolph even put his residency from Vienna to Prague in 1583 what was more safety from tge Ottomans but was more far away from Hungary. 1562 After the death of the Palatine Tamás Nádasdy his position remained vacant until 1608 because the Emperors tried to avoid to need to call any assembly amd that position could get a chance for the Estates to stand up for their rights.
The Long Turkish War
With minor clashes escalated along the border it began as early as 1591, but a more serious act of combat took place only in 1593, when III. Sultan Murad, null and void the peace of Drinapolis/Adrianapoly(from 1568), declared war on the Habsburgs. The sultan called on Zsigmond Báthory to join the Ottoman army, but he decided to join the anti-Ottoman league on the advice of his uncle, Captain of Várad(today Orodea) István Bocskai and Jesuit Father Alonso Carrillo. The majority of the Transylvanian Assembly, on the other hand, feared that even before the Allied Christian army arrived here, the Turk troops would ravage and looting Transylvania, so the prince's plan was not adopted. For this reason, Zsigmond Báthory resigned from the principality in the summer of 1594 in favor of his cousin, Boldizsár Báthory who represented the Turkish party. Meanwhile, Bocskai began working in the background to reverse this. After visiting the prince's trustees, he took control of the affairs in his hands, asking for soldiers. At first, it passed only a resolution with the Assembly of Kolozsvár on the dissolution of the Turkish alliance and on standing for the Emperor; but after the Turkish party was still against him, on the orders of Sigismund the opposition lords together with the prince in office(Boldizsár Báthory, cousin of the prince, Chancellor Farkas Kovacsóczy, councilor Sándor Kendy (father-in-law of Boldizsár Báthory and Farkas Kovacsóczy), Ferenc Kendy (brother of Sándor János Kendy), Gábor Kendy Gergely Literáti Szentegyedy (György in some places) and László Szalánczy from Branyicska.)were surrounded with an army, captured and executed, while others were imprisoned because prince Sigismund Bathory had pardoned to János Gerendi, Albert Lónyai, György Szalánczi and Boldizsár Szilvásy. The war was undecisive and the royal Hungary destroyed by German and Walloon mercenaries, Transylvania suffered the most from the war, which became the scene of a permanent civil war as a result of Zsigmond(Sigismund) Báthory's repeated resignations and returns. Rudolf first appointed Michael the Brave voivode as the governor of Transylvania, who overthrew the principality and tried to united amd rule Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldova together so Rudolph let him assassinated, and then placed General Giorgio Basta at the head of Transylvania.
1. Financial problems of the court
At the turn of the century (about 1600) because of the Long Turkish War, the debt of the Empire accumulated millions of Rhine forints a year. In some years of the 15-year war, expenditures also kicked in at 5 million forints a year, so the annual budget deficit of 800 thousand to 1.5 million became common, which could only be raised more or less from credit, in addition to various aids. Revenues in the 1570s were 2-2.5 million Rhine forints so the debt was sometimes 1500%. Rudolf (but mostly his advisors or some power and money hungry noble) tried to alleviate the problem of the treasury emptied during the Long Turkish War, the payment of his mercenary leaders and warlords by acquiring (consficating) the property of the Hungarian aristocracy thorough conceptional trials, which were very widespread in Europe in the Middle Ages (Trials of the Knights Templar) and the absolutist courts. Infringement (high treason) and betrayal lawsuits were started against the richest Hungarian barons and wealthier families, usually with loss of property and goods. The idea came not from the members of the Prague court, but the local Catholic high priests (living under the rule of the crescent, unable to occupy their seats, bearing only the titles, their income had to pay for the defense line against Turks). And their victims were chosen from the Protestant members of the Estates. Conceptual proceedings were initiated against even the most excellent soldiers in the Long Turkish War: Sigismund Rákóczi, Tamás Nádasdy (not the palatine), Mihály Telekessy, Alaghy, Balassa, Drugeth, Kállay families from Homonna. The first verdict was handed down in March 1603 in the case of Istvan Illésházy astles and estates were confiscated but let him to escape to Poland.
2. Religious disagreement
Unlike emperor Miksa, who was tolerant of Protestants, emperor Rudolf was already an indiscriminate supporter of recatholicization methods. Counter-Reformation began in the Austrian and Styrian provinces of the Habsburgs (where the Lutheran religion was dominant) and in Hungary (where the Calvinist trend of the Reformation prevailed but the cities of Upper Hungary were Lutherans). During the Long Turkish War, Rudolf his ius supremi patronatus(from Sigismund Hungarian king had decisive power about religious cases) in more times to give Protestant churches to Catholics. For example, In Kassa(Kosice), Barbian Belgiojoso brought cannons to the main square to force the city council to hand over St. Elizabeth's Cathedral to the Catholics, which was in the hands of the Lutherans more decades. In the spring of 1604, the articulus orders of the Diet of Pozsony also added an extra article (The XXII, what was a false articulus) by Rudolph that reaffirmed earlier anti-Protestant laws and banned religious issues from being discussed in Estates Assembly(later called Diet) from that time.
3. Gabriel Bethlen's letter to request Bocskai lead them against the unlawful king. On behalf of the fugitives who fled to Turkish territory, Gábor BethlenGabriel Bethlen encouraged Bocskai to take the lead in an anti-Habsburg uprising, with the prospect of a Turkish alliance. Bocskai had key position and he, who supported earlier his sister's son Sigismund Báthory was a battle hardened man. Their correspondence was intercepted by his opponent, the Chief Captain of Kassa, Barbiano, Count Belgiojoso. Bocskai had previously hired dismissed armed Hajduks to defend himself from any enforced "loan" from the imperial army. As an important military leader wanted to arrest him on charges of treason(and try to get his property for himself), so he had no another choice but confronted the imperial troops or gave up everything. He had the chance to link his own interest with the interest of Protestants, the citizens, the nobility and the free Hajduk soldiers who had very good battle experience because of Long Turkish war.
Some of Bocskai's men betrayed him about Turkish relations to Cyprian Concini(vicecaptain of Varad) made a deal with him, and Concini reported it to Giacomo Barbiano, count of Belgioso who ordered Bocskai to his camp by Rakamaz. The traitors, three men of the Lord of Bihar, Ferenc Székely, Captain of Szentjobb, Dáz Lázár Posgai, court judge and István Fráter who was even his late wife's relative on October 2, handed over Szentjobb to Concini, the vicar of Varad as they conpirated before. Next day Concini went against Bocskai' s fortress Nagykereki. Bocskai already recruited 300 Hajdús. The Hajdús of Kölesér and the castle soldiers under the command of Örvéndy form the core of the army fighting the freedom struggle - but in the meantime a lot of Hajdús serving in the war of the Chief Captain of Upper Hungary Belgiojoso. Bocskai resisted, fired a cannon to Concini at first he is just amazed, and in two days he retreated with no small loss. Of course, this does not end the threat. The emperor's army march in three columns -- each three separately stronger than the army Bocskai's private army and a few hundred Hajdús. However, after it is proved that the captains of the Hajdú captains serving in Belgiojoso's army - Balázs Lippai, Ferenc Ibrányi, Mihály Dengeleghy, Mátyás Szénássy, Balázs Németi - are willing to change the side which written in contract in Adorján on October 14. One of the three columns, leaded by Colonel Pezzen coming so he could manages to collide with him before he reaches Diószeg, and unites with Belgioioso 's main army. The decisive battle of the first phase of the campaign has already been established, not in any other well-planned Hajdú ambush. At night, in the wooded-wooded area between Álmosd and Diószeg, near the latter settlement, Bocskai encountered the loose, stretched column of Pezzen, the infantry that slowly followed the advancing cavalry, somewhere where cannons essential for the city ruin are being towed. Hajdu riders attacked and then disappear into the trees; they strike again: after the eighth attack, many of the Silesian riders returning from the top of the column, hurrying to the aid of the pawns, are cut off, the others are scattered, and the remnants of the musketeers await another attack in a hastily enforced chariot camp. The defense collapsd when one of the ammunition chariots hits buy a cannon and exploded - at least later, this was the explains the explosion that shook the chariot castle. No one can resist the last attack: the Hajdus were slaughtered everybody[ mercenaries 's families too]. The king's colonel is taken captive wounded, and the chief captain Belgiojoso fled into the walls of Varad on hearing the news. Bocskai 's men surrounded Varad bit could not besiege only cut from supplies. After October 20, the Count of Belgiojoso came out from behind the walls on a day that has not yet been identified, and retreats in a forced procession towards Tokaj. All he knew is that he was retreated by an anonymous, hitherto unknown force; he also writes to the court(his letter remained about an unprecedented betrayal, apparently because the devil's apostles, who are now chasing him to the Tisza under Bocskai's flags, were still his - mostly unpaid - soldiers the night before the Battle of Diószeg. His army scattered and mostly killed on fugitive. Belgioso's soldiers mostly deserted, citizen of Kassa locked her gates(because he seized their church before), he had to march until Szepes(today Spis) where he could hide and his pursuers encircle a loose siege. Balázs Lippai and Balázs Németi made a manifesto on 31 October called on the citizens of the mining towns to join the city of Kassa, illuminating the purpose and meaning of the war of independence. This document, of which only the Latin version is known "In addition to the true faith(he talked about Protestant), in addition to Hungary and next to the temple of God, the Hungarian Christian warrior orders armed with us are the chief captains of these."
Rudolf sent Giorgio Basta to deal with the rebels
In the second round, a real, battle hardened general confronted with Bocskai: Georgio Basta, with his armies previously commanded ro fight successfully against the Ottomans, marched from Esztergom against Bocskai's insurgents. Balázs Németi decided to take up the attack with his soldiers and the assembling peasant insurgents at Osgyán. Németi chose the place for the defense well, and the main reason for the defeat was the confusion(lack of discipline) Even before the bridge leading to the village, Nemeti's cavalry crashed into Basta's vanguard, and perhaps they would have had time to break away from the emperors and retreat behind the ramparts, but just then, Balázs Lippai's five hundred srinked men arrived and tangled the defenses, preventing the Nemeti's men from detaching from the attackers, so the fugitives brought the imperial cavalry, musketeers, and spades into the village on their backs. After that, it was only possible to stand the attack for a while. In the courtyard of the castle occupied in his hand - a small fraction of the defenders could only break out everybody else massacred - the wounded Nemeti captured and later had been executed by Basta. After his victory in Osgyán, Basta continued marching to Kassa, but first marched only to Edelény and the valley near Ládbeseny?, he was surrounded by the armies of Bocskai and the Turks auxiliary troops who arrived to help Bocskai. Sources also mention that Basta was already tinking it's his end, setting fire to his army supplies, but two days after, he found the weakest point of the ring at a foggy dawn, humiliating the Hajdu infantry assigned to the cannons - erupted in the direction of Kassa. But the city defended bu Miklós Segnyei's Hajdús - did not let him in. For two or three days, the general breaks the walls with cannons unsuccessfully, then in the descending frost he marched to Eperjes, where he is finally let him in - but he also closes himself off from the world and got same fate like Belgiojoso earlier. His place was well chosen becaise he had way to Poland in emergency but he could strike to Kassa as well. But Basta had to stay there because of the winter until April 1605 until he got able to move towards West. He tried to make negotiations with the Estates, the Hajduks, even with Bocskai but he thank Bocskai's terms insolent.
The uprising spreaded across Hungary (map)
In the third stage of the fights, Bocskai will be the initiator again. He realized not able to win in open battlefield but he can cut his enemies supply lines and his light cavalry can sprrd the uprising. He trusted the military leadership to the experts Settling his headquarter in Kassa, he organized his army for weeks and months, obtained the contribution of the liberated part of the country to the war as much as possible, dissolved the powerful oppositions among the Hajduks, serfs and nobility, and formulated the plans for the operation himself. Already in December, under the leadership of Ferenc Rhédey, who one of the former refugee to the Turks, launched one of his pillars to conquer the fortifications and mining towns of Lower Hungary (i.e. the Western Felvidék, now West Slovakia); the cities and castles one after the other set their flag. Balazs Lippai became too wild and killed a plenty of innocent people(e. g. wives and kids or the mercenaries). After the October victories, after receiving several villages from Bocska, he is already behaving as if his army is a state within the state, not sparing the people of the land while enriching his estates and wealth, and what the county nobility sees as public interest does not really matter to him. He started not obeying for Bocskai, behaved like a peasant leader what could alienated the nobility and the towns people from Bocskai. Bocskai knew he could not get the support only from Hajdus because he would not be a next György Dózsa, a peasant leader(whose fate always the defeat and execution) or Mozes Székely. He suspected Lippai started a secret corresponding with Georgio Basta so January 1605 he had to organise an assassination like execution of him. Bocskai made an announcement in Gönc calls do not remain ineffective, although the people of Upper Hungary should not be encouraged: the armed orders, led by Bálint Drugeth Homonnai, stand at Gönc; they were even recruited by Belgiojoso, and now they are switching for the first time, as is the guard of the castles in the area infiltrated by the insurgents; one of the first important capitals to capitulate, Captain Nagykálló, the Catholic Mihály Káthay, will soon be the chancellor of Bocskai. Despite the separate interests and even open debates of Hajduks, nobles, citizens and soldiers, the society of the first anti-Habsburg movement will be formed in a few months. The Transylvanians themselves, more precisely two orders of order, the Szeklers and the Hungarians, elect their own rulers; the Saxons were careful then still locked in their castles still awaiting what is going on. A proclamation to the peoples of Europe on the reasons for the struggle and the fact that the Hungarians only temporarily stopped fighting the Turks was issued in the name of the orders present in the National Assembly.
Basta broke out of Eperjes only one time before April 1605, but found no enemy anywhere, the Hajduks - along with their leader - dodge him everywhere, so he will have only one real achievement: to strengthen Tokaj, who remained loyal to the king, with food and ammunition. He then retreated into the walls of Eperjes. At the beginning of the spring, he realized that with his unpaided (the Hajduks also robbed the mercenaries' suppliers), starving units - and was many German Protestants among his soldiers - he couldn't regain, but not even keep, Hungary. He also got orders about the retreat from the court: now the hereditary provinces(Austria, Czech, Moravia etc.) of Vienna and Prague must be protected from Bocskai because his troops attacked from the Upper-Hungary(Felvidék) in several waves crash into those provinces and Transdanubia as well With the rest, he headed towards the West at the beginning of April, and because he failed to unite the armies there for the purposes of a counterattack, he eventually only stopped in Pozsony. From May 1605, after less successful initiatives - Tamás Horváth's April-like raid - Gergely Némethy's Hajdú troops began to conquer the Transdanubian castles. They soon reach the line of Sopron and K?szeg, which is equipped for defense; from here the army as a whole has no further path, but the raids, reinforced by Turkish auxiliary troops, trick far into Austria, "pacifying" the provinces there. Némethy first wanted to involve the Styrian and Croatian orders in the uprising party, but in practice he did not succeed with the Transdanubians either. The tradition of anti-Turkish struggles was even stronger here, revived by pagan robberies, and more interests were linked to the neighboring provinces. Némethy was not be able to conquer the western cities fortified for the protection of Vienna permanently - or at all - his new attempt in September will not be lasting, the imperial troops concentrated in Western Transdanubia started counterattack against Hajdús armies, with revenge and retaliation against who switched side. It is true, however, that Némethy manages to hold back a significant enemy force.
Previously, the emperor's armies concentrated in the districts of Komárom, Érsekújvár, Esztergom and startedba counterattack also recalled Rhédey's soldiers; Mátyás Somogyi transferred his three thousand (who were Western Hungarian, mostly supported the emperor) soldiers to the side of the emperor, and now he is guarding the river island for him. However, much of the country 's territory is still free - by the end of the summer, only a few fortresses was remained in the hands of Rudolph' s followers, most of them captured by the insurgents. After October, a war was started for Transylvania, under the siege of Szatmar, and at the end of January it will fall into the hands of the insurgents. The imperial army cannot receive supplies. In Transylvania, László Gyulaffy will be the first representative(governor) of (until his death in July)of Prince Bocskai. He gave back the freedoms, which he had taken away several times before to the Szeklers and also won the Moldavian prince for his goals. With these aid wars, the Estates occupied the whole of Transylvania without a major battle - here as well as above, with the exception of a few castles and, of course, the Saxon cities; György Rácz, the king's most successful leader here, is on standby in Medgyes, then in Segesvar, first he breaks Gyulaffy's blockade with a surprise attack, but he can only keep himself temporarily. On February 21, 1605, Bocskai was elected Prince of Transylvania by the Szeklers and the county nobility in Nyárádszereda. In April, the Assembly of Szerencs called him as Prince of Hungary. Prior to this, King Rudolf's peace envoys had already appeared to him. He did not negotiate with them, allegedly because they were only authorized to compensate him for his personal injuries but he wanted to represent the cause of the country - this is when the Estates's proclamation to Europe was written. When Bocskai went to Transylvania in the summer to take his princely oath, the Saxons also joined to him, including György Rácz. In the end, only an orphaned army remains in Varad. The main battlefield was still Lower Hungary in late summer and autumn. By this time Bálint Drugeth of Homonnai was already in control of the military operations. Now the smaller goal is to repel the weak counterattack from Moravia and Komárom; the greater: the conquest of Archbishop's Castle, not only from the emperors, but also from the Turkish ally. 1605 Bocskai had a meeting with the Turkish Grand Vizier by Rakos Field he accepted the crown but didn't want to crowned himself but make a negotiation with emperor Rudolph.
The Treaty of Vienna, concluded on June 23, 1606, ensured the rights of the Hungarian order and religious freedom, and annexed the counties of Szatmár, Bereg and Ugocsa to Transylvania for the life of its descendants. On September 24, King Rudolf issued a special certificate stating that he would not return to the crown with the extinction of the sonic descendants of Transylvania and Partium Bocskai, and that he would hand over Ugocsa, Bereg, Szatmár and Szabolcs counties and Tokaj castle with all its accessories to the prince and son's descendants, and the market towns of Tarcal, Bodrogkeresztúr and Olaszliszka. The Bocskai-mediated peace in ZitvatorokPeace of Zsitvatorok, concluded in the same year, also ended the Long Turkish War.
Bocskai singled out the soldiers of the victories of the war of independence, the majority of the Hajduks, from the landlord's rule, and settled them in the Hajdú towns with communal privileges and military obligations, as well as granted the Székelys their previous privileges.
After 1608 (until 1848) the rules of Assembly of the Estates consolidated. We can call the Assembly after that Diet where the Estates debated and voted the proposals. The Agreement of 1608 was mostly Rudolph's brother Matthias's merit who organised a "palace revolution" and enforced Rudolph to resign from all of his titles (Hungarian, Austrian, Moravian, Styerian etc. rulers rank) apart from Czech and Holy Roman Emperor. At 1611 he had to hand over the Czech kingdom as well. Istvan Illésházy elected as the new nádor (the first non-Catholic in this position).
In 1591 the Long Turkish War broke out. All forces of the Habsburg Monarchy (Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia, Moravia) and join also Transylvania, and the Ottoman vassals states Moldavia and Wallachia. Few European states sending troops in Hungary. The Papal State mostly recruit foreign Walloon and Italian mercenaries for the War. The Habsburg and the Spanish king also employed Walloon mercenaries besides the German, Italian and Spanish soldiers.
In the first interval of the War the Christian forces suppressed the Ottomans, until the Battle of Keresztes (1596), where the Christian forces defeated by the Ottomans. After the battle the war dragged and wears Hungary, Transylvania and Croatia. The corrupted and low Habsburg movement dissipate the military budget and the unpaid mercenaries (particularly the Walloons) foray into Hungary and Transylvania. The Tatar auxiliaries of the Ottoman army caused havoc in Hungary. A few thousand men died due to hunger and epidemics.
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