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 Decline of Hungary (1490-1526)

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PostSubject: Decline of Hungary (1490-1526)   Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:55 pm

By the early 16th century, the Ottoman Empire had become the second most populous state in the world; this enabled the creation of the largest armies of the era.

The Hungarian magnates, who did not want another heavy-handed king, procured the accession of Vladislaus II (reigned 1490–1516), king of Bohemia because of his notorious weakness: he was known as King Dobže, or Dobzse in Hungarian orthography (king "okay") from his habit of accepting without question every petition and document laid before him.[49] Under his reign the central power began to experience severe financial difficulties, mostly because of the enlargement of feudal lands at his expense. The magnates also dismantled the national administration systems and bureaucracy throughout the country. The country's defenses sagged as border guards and castle garrisons went unpaid, fortresses fell into disrepair, and initiatives to increase taxes to reinforce defenses were stifled.[52] Hungary's international role declined, its political stability shaken, and social progress was deadlocked.

In 1514, the weakened old King Vladislaus II faced a major peasant rebellion led by György Dózsa, which was ruthlessly crushed by the nobles, led by János Szapolyai. The resulting degradation of order paved the way for Ottoman pre-eminence. In 1521, the strongest Hungarian fortress in the South, Nándorfehérvár (modern Belgrade) fell to the Turks. The strongest nobles were so busy oppressing the peasants and quarrelling with gentry class in the parliament, that they failed to heed the agonized calls of king Louis II against the Turks. The early appearance of protestantism further worsened internal relations in the anarchical country. In 1526, the Hungarian army was crushed at the Battle of Mohács by the Ottomans. The childless young king Louis II, and the leader of the Hungarian army, Pál Tomori died on the battlefield.

Through the centuries Hungary kept its old constitution, which granted special freedoms or rights to the nobility, the free royal towns such as Buda, Kassa (Košice), Pozsony (Bratislava), and Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) and groups such as the Jassic people and the Transylvanian Saxons.

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