Royal Hungary

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Royal Hungary was the name of a territory of the former Kingdom of Hungary where the Habsburgs were able to secure their control and recognition as Kings of Hungary in the wake of the Ottoman victory at the Battle of Mohács and subsequent invasion of the country. Although it was formally an independent Kingdom, its rulers treated is as a province of the Habsburg Empire. It existed between c. 1541 and c. 1700, and it corresponded approximately (the borders were constantly changing) to:

During this period, the remaining parts of former kingdom had different faiths. The central territory of the kingdom was ruled (over two thirds of what todays is Hungary) by the Ottoman Empire (see Ottoman Hungary). The autonomous principality of Transylvania under Ottoman suzerainty in 1541 ruled the eastern parts of the former Kingdom (now mostly in Romania).

Image:Partition of Hungary.png
Consequences of the Battle of Mohács, and the conquest of Buda in 1541 by the Ottomans: the Kingdom is partitioned. The central and southern part are annexed by the Ottoman Empire (Ottoman Hungary). The northwestern part ("Royal Hungary") remainded under Hapsburg rule, while in the east, the former integrating Voivodate of Transylvania, became a semi-independent vassal state of the Ottoman Empire.

Royal Hungary was part of the Habsburg Monarchy. The Habsburg emperors were elected by the Diet and took an oath on the constitution of the Kingdom of Hungary at the coronation. After the Habsburgs conquered from the Ottomans the Hungarian pashalik, the term Royal Hungary fell into disuse, and the Emperors addresed their possesion with the name of "Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen".

Royal Hungary became a small part of the Habsburg Empire and enjoyed little influence in Vienna. The Habsburg Emperor directly controlled Royal Hungary's financial, military, and foreign affairs, and imperial troops guarded its borders. The Habsburgs avoided filling the office of palatine to prevent the holder's amassing too much power. In addition, the so-called Turkish question divided the Habsburgs and the Hungarians: Vienna wanted to maintain peace with the Ottomans; the Hungarians wanted the Ottomans ousted. As the Hungarians recognized the weakness of their position, many became anti-Habsburg. They complained about foreign rule, the behavior of foreign garrisons, and the Habsburgs' recognition of Turkish sovereignty in Transylvania. Protestants, who were persecuted in Royal Hungary, considered the Counter-Reformation a greater menace than the Turks, however.

The Reformation spread quickly, and by the early seventeenth century hardly any noble families remained Catholic. Archbishop Péter Pázmány reorganized Royal Hungary's Roman Catholic Church and led a Counter-Reformation that reversed the Protestants' gains in Royal Hungary, using persuasion rather than intimidation. The Reformation caused rifts between Catholics, who often sided with the Habsburgs, and Protestants, who developed a strong national identity and became rebels in Austrian eyes. Chasms also developed between the mostly Catholic magnates and the mainly Protestant lesser nobles.

Royal Hungary was the cause of clashes between the Ottoman baked John Zápolya and the Austrian Habsburgs. For a time, John Zápolya (ruled between 1526 and 1540) and his son John II Sigismund Zápolya (ruled between 1540 and 1570) managed to rule Royal Hungary under Ottoman suzerainty (note: during John Zápolya's rule, Royal Hungary also comprised territories as far south as Buda. After his death in 1540, Süleyman annexed these territories to his possesions, the apex of this policy being the capture of Buda in 1541.).

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This article contains material from the Library of Congress Country Studies, which are United States government publications in the public domain.he:הונגריה המלכותית sk:Kráľovské Uhorsko

Royal Hungary

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