The Full Wiki

Gabriel Bethlen: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gabriel Bethlen
Prince of Transylvania, Duke of Opole
GabrielBethlen.jpg
A portrait of Gabriel Bethlen.
Reign As Prince of Transylvania (1613-1629), As Duke of Opole (1622-1625)
Born November 15, 1580(1580-11-15)[1]
Birthplace Marosillye, now Ilia, Hunedoara, Romania[1]
Died November 15, 1629 (aged 49)[1]
Place of death Gyulafehérvár, now Alba Iulia, Romania[1]
Consort Catherine of Brandenburg
Royal House Bethlen
The native form of this personal name is Gábor Bethlen. This article uses the Western name order.
Statue of Gábor Bethlen, Heroes' Square, Budapest, Hungary

Gabriel Bethlen (de Iktár) (Hungarian: Bethlen Gábor, Romanian: Gabriel Bethlen, German: Gabriel Bethlen von Iktár November 15, 1580-November 15, 1629)[1] was a prince of Transylvania (1613-1629), duke of Opole (1622-1625) and leader of an anti-Habsburg insurrection in the Habsburg Royal Hungary. His last armed intervention in 1626 was part of the Thirty Years' War. He led an active Protestant-oriented foreign policy.

Gabriel Bethlen, the most famous representative of the Iktári branch of the ancient Hungarian Bethlen family, was born at Marosillye (today Ilia in Romania) and educated at Szárhegy (today Lăzarea in Romania) at the castle of his uncle András Lázár. Thence he was sent to the court of the Transylvanian Prince Sigismund Báthory, whom he accompanied on his famous Wallachian campaign. Subsequently he assisted István Bocskay to become Prince of Transylvania in 1605 and remained his chief counsellor. Bethlen also supported Bocskay's successor Gabriel Báthory (1608-1613), but the prince became jealous of Bethlen's superior abilities and Bethlen was obliged to take refuge with the Turks of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1613, Bethlen led a large army against Prince Báthory, but in the same year Báthory was murdered by two of his officers. Bethlen was placed on the throne by the Ottomans in opposition to the wishes of the Austrian Habsburg emperor, who preferred a prince who would incline more toward Vienna than toward Turkish Constantinople. On October 13, 1613, the Transylvanian Diet at Napoca (today Cluj-Napoca), confirmed the choice of the Turkish sultan. In 1615, Bethlen was also officially recognized by the Emperor Matthias as the Prince of Transylvania; Bethlen promised in secret that he would help the Habsburgs against the Ottomans.

While avoiding the cruelties and excesses of many of his predecessors, Bethlen established a singular variant of patriarchal but sufficiently enlightened absolutism. He developed mines and industry and nationalised many branches of Transylvania's foreign trade. His agents bought up many products at fixed prices and sold them abroad at a profit, almost doubling his revenues. He built himself a grand new palace in his capital, Apulum (today Alba Iulia), kept a sumptuous court, composed hymns, and patronised the arts and learning, especially in connection with his own Calvinist faith. He founded an academy to which he invited any pastor and teacher from Royal Hungary; sent students abroad to the Protestant universities of England, the Low Countries, and the Protestant principalities of Germany;, conferred hereditary nobility on all Protestant pastors; and forbade landlords to prevent their serfs from having their children schooled.

Other parts of his revenue he devoted toward keeping an efficient standing army of mercenaries, with whose help he conducted an ambitious foreign policy. Keeping peace with the Ottoman Porte, he struck out to the north and west.

There were several reasons for his anti-Habsburg interventions in neighbouring Royal Hungary (1619-1626) which took place during Central Europe's Thirty Years' War:

  • He was partly motivated by personal ambition.
  • Habsburg absolutism in Royal Hungary.
  • The Habsburgs had started a successful Counter-Reformation in Royal Hungary which confiscated properties of local Protestants. Bethlen seems also to have been genuinely anxious to protect Protestant liberties.
  • The Habsburgs had violated the Peace of Vienna of 1606 that put an end to the anti-Habsburg uprising of Bethlen's "predecessor" István Bocskay.
  • The Habsburgs had violated the secret agreement with Bethlen of 1615 and prolonged the peace with Ottoman Empire in July 1615, and even entered into an alliance with George Druget, the captain of Upper Hungary (i.e. present-day Slovakia and adjacent territories) against Bethlen.
Gabriel Bethlen's seal.

While Emperor Ferdinand was occupied with the Bohemian rebellion of 1618, Bethlen led his armies into Royal Hungary in August 1619 and occupied the town of Kassa (Košice) in September, where his Protestant supporters declared him "head" of Hungary and protector of the Protestants. He soon won over the entirety of present-day Slovakia, even securing the capital of Royal Hungary, Pressburg (Bratislava), in October, where the palatine even handed over the Crown of St Stephen to Bethlen. Bethlen's troops joined with the troops of the Czech and Moravian estates (led by Count Jindrich Matyas Thurn), but they failed to conquer Vienna in November – Bethlen was forced to leave Austria after being attacked by George Druget and Polish mercenaries (lisowczycy) in Upper Hungary. Although he had conquered most of Royal Hungary, Bethlen was not averse to a peace, nor to a preliminary suspension of hostilities, and negotiations were opened at the conquered towns of Pressburg (Bratislava), Cassovia (Košice) and Neosolium (Banská Bystrica). Initially, they led to nothing because Bethlen insisted on including the Czechs in the peace, but finally a truce was concluded in January 1620 under which Bethlen received 13 counties in the east of Royal Hungary. On 20 August 1620 the estates elected him King of Hungary at the Diet in Neosolium with the consent of the Ottomans, but Bethlen refused to accept the crown because he wanted to reconcile with the Habsburgs and reunite Hungary. However, the war with the Habsburgs resumed in Royal Hungary and Lower Austria in September.

Print of Gabriel Bethlen on horseback

The defeat of the Czech rebels by Ferdinand II’s troops at the Battle of White Mountain on 8 November 1620 (to which Bethlen had sent 3,000 delayed troops which however came too late) gave a new turn to Bethlen’s insurrection against the Habsburgs. Ferdinand II took a fearful revenge upon the Protestant nobility in Bohemia and reconquered Royal Hungary (Pressburg reconquered in May 1621, central part of the country with the mining towns in June 1621). Because the Protestant nobles had not received the confiscated property of the Catholics on Bethlen's territory and thus rescinded their support for Bethlen, and because Bethlen was not directly supported by the Ottomans, Bethlen started peace negotiations. As a result, the Treaty of Nikolsburg was concluded on December 31, 1621, under which Bethlen renounced the royal title on condition that Ferdinand confirmed the 1606 Peace of Vienna (which had granted full liberty of worship to the Hungarian Protestants) and engaged to summon a general diet within six months). The treaty granted full liberty of worship to the Protestants of Hungarian Transylvania and agreed on the summoning of a general diet within six months. In addition, Bethlen secured the (purely formal) title of “Imperial Prince“ (of Hungarian Transylvania), seven counties around the Upper Tisza River (in present-day Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary and Romania), the fortresses of Tokaj, Munkács, and Ecsed, and a duchy in Silesia.

Subsequently Bethlen twice (1623-1624 and 1626) launched further campaigns against Ferdinand to the territory of Hungarian Highlands present-day Slovakia, this time as a direct ally of the anti-Habsburg Protestant powers. The first war was concluded by the 1624 Peace of Vienna, the second by the 1626 Peace of Pressburg- both confirmed the 1621 Peace of Nikolsburg. After the second of these campaigns, Bethlen attempted a rapprochement with the court of Vienna on the basis of an alliance against the Turks and his own marriage with an archduchess of Austria, but Ferdinand rejected his overtures. Bethlen was obliged to renounce his anti-Turkish projects, which had always remained a goal of his. Accordingly, on his return from Vienna he wedded Catherine of Brandenburg, the daughter of the elector of Brandenburg, and still more closely allied himself with the Protestant powers, including his brother-in-law Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, who, he hoped, would aid him in obtaining the Polish crown. Bethlen died on November 15, 1629 before he could accomplish any of his great designs to Unite Transylvania and Hungary, having previously secured the election of his wife Catherine as princess. His first wife, Zsuzsanna Károlyi, died in 1622.


Gabriel Bethlen was one of the most striking and original personages of his century. A zealous Calvinist who boasted he had read the Bible twenty-five times, he was not a bigot and had helped the Jesuit György Káldy to translate and print his version of the Scriptures. He was in communication all his life with the leading contemporary statesmen, so that his correspondence is one of the most interesting and important of historical documents. He also composed hymns.

References

External links

Gabriel Bethlen
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Gabriel Báthory
Prince of Transylvania
1613-1629
Succeeded by
Catherine of Brandenburg
Preceded by
Sigismund Bathory Duke until 1598
Duke of Opole
1622-1625
Succeeded by
Wladislaus IV of Poland Duke from 1645
Advertisements

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GABRIEL BETHLEN (GABOR) (1580-1629), prince of Transylvania, the most famous representative of the Iktari branch of a very ancient Hungarian family, was born at Illye, and educated at Szarhegy, at the castle of his uncle Andras Lazar. Thence he was sent to the court of Prince Zsigmond Bathory, whom he accompanied on his famous Wallachian campaign in 1600. Subsequently he assisted Stephen Bocskay to mount the throne of Transylvania (1605), and remained his chief counsellor. Bethlen also supported Bocskay's successor Gabriel Bathory (1608-1613), but the prince became jealous of Bethlen's superior abilities, and he was obliged to take refuge with the Turks.

In 1613 he led a large army against his persecutor, on whose murder by two of his officers that year Bethlen was placed on the throne by the Porte, in opposition to the wishes of the emperor, who preferred a prince who would incline more towards Vienna than towards Constantinople. On the 13th of October 1613, the diet of Klausenburg confirmed the choice of the sultan. In 1615 Gabor was also officially recognized by the emperor Matthias. Bethlen no sooner felt firmly seated on his throne than he seized the opportunity presented to him by the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War to take up arms in defence of the liberties and the constitution of the extra-Transylvanian Hungarian provinces, with the view of more effectually assuring his own position. While Ferdinand was occupied with the Bohemian rebels, Bethlen led his armies into Hungary (1619), and soon won over the whole of the northern counties, even securing Pressburg and the Holy Crown. Nevertheless he was not averse to a peace, nor to a preliminary suspension of hostilities, and negotiations were opened at Pressburg, Kassa and Beszterczebanya successively, but came to nothing because Bethlen insisted on including the Bohemians in the peace, whereupon (20th of August 1620) the estates of North Hungary elected him king. Bethlen accepted the title but refused to be crowned, and war was resumed, till the defeat of the Czechs at the battle of the White Hill gave a new turn to affairs. In Bohemia, Ferdinand II. took a fearful revenge upon the vanquished; - and Bethlen, regarding a continuation of the war as unprofitable, concluded the peace of Nikolsburg (31st of December 1621), renouncing the royal title on condition that Ferdinand confirmed the peace of Vienna (which had granted full liberty of worship to the Protestants) and engaged to summon a general diet within six months. For himself Bethlen secured the title of prince of the Empire, the seven counties of the Upper Theiss, and the fortresses of Tokaj, Munkacs and Ecsed. Subsequently Bethlen twice (1623 and 1626) took up arms against Ferdinand as the ally of the anti-Habsburg Protestant powers. The first war was concluded by the peace of Vienna, the second by the peace of Pressburg, both confirmatory of the peace of Nikolsburg. After the second of these insurrections, Bethlen attempted a rapprochement with the court of Vienna on the basis of an alliance against the Turks and his own marriage with one of the Austrian archduchesses; but Ferdinand had no confidence in him and rejected his overtures. Bethlen was obliged to renounce his anti-Turkish projects, which he had hitherto cherished as the great aim and object of his life, and continue in the old beaten paths. Accordingly, on his return from Vienna he wedded Catherine, the daughter of the elector of Brandenburg, and still more closely allied himself with the Protestant powers, especially with Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, who, he hoped, would assist him to obtain the Polish crown. He died before he could accomplish any of his great designs (15th of November 162 9), having previously secured the election of his wife Catherine as princess. His first wife, Susannah Karolyi, died in 1622.

Gabriel Bethlen was certainly one of the most striking and original personages of his century. A zealous Calvinist, whose boast it was that he had read the Bible twenty-five times, he was nevertheless no persecutor, and even helped the Jesuit Kaldy to translate and print his version of the Scriptures. He was in communication all his life with the leading contemporary statesmen, so that his correspondence is one of the most interesting and important of historical documents. He also composed hymns.

The best editions of his correspondence are those by Sandor Szilagyi, both published at Buda (1866 and 1879). The best life of him is that by the Bohemian historian Anton Gindely, Acta et documents historiam GabrielisBethleni illustrantia (Budapest, 1890). This work has been largely utilized by Ignae-Acsady in his excellent Gabriel Bethlen and his Court (Hung., Budapest, 1890). (R. N. B.)


<< Bethlehemites

Bethnal Green >>

(Gabor (Gabor (Gabor

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message