Military Review

How King Carl Robert Saved Hungary

How King Carl Robert Saved Hungary

680 years ago, 12 in November 1335, in Visegrad, the residence of the King of Hungary, Charles I Robert, the meeting of the rulers of the three powers - Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, marked the beginning of the military-political alliance, the first in Central Europe. Karl Robert, together with Casimir III Polsky and Jan Luxembourg of Bohemia, agreed to restrain the expansion of the Austrian Habsburgs and to establish new trade routes bypassing Vienna. In addition, Jan, in exchange for recognition of his rights to Silesia and 120 thousand Prague groszy (400 kilograms of silver), refused to claim the Polish throne.

Of stories Hungary

As a result of certain historical processes, Hungary finally became part of Western civilization. At the same time, Hungary did not dissolve in it, retaining its national characteristics, including the sphere of social and political structure and culture. Hungary was very different from its Orthodox neighbors in the east and southeast. It retained its integrity, in contrast to the controversial Balkan states, which after a period of power degraded and were eventually absorbed by the Ottoman Empire, and Russia, which experienced a period of disintegration and transfer of the center of political activity to the northeast (Vladimirskaya and Moskovskaya Rus). The Hungarian kingdom remained a solid state entity with clear and more or less permanent borders. This allowed Hungary to survive the Horde invasion, the end of the Arpad dynasty - the family of princes (from 1000 - kings) of Hungary, which ruled from the end of the 9th century to 1301, and fierce feudal wars, including the battle for the vacated throne.

Hungary's economy was stable, although the industry was far behind the advanced countries. However, the presence of mines, where most of the gold and silver mined for the mints and repositories of Europe, combined with a strong central authority, allowed Hungary to have a powerful army.

The last third of the XIII century was overshadowed by the struggle between the factions of the barons, who literally tore the country apart, screwing it into anarchy. Dynastic problems only aggravated the situation. With his young son Istvan V - Laszlo IV (1272 - 1290), the flames of civil war burned in the kingdom. Matured Laszlo tried to appease the feudal lords with the help of Kuman-Polovtsy (his mother Elizaveta Kumanskaya was the daughter of Khan Kotyan). Laszlo Kun was able to unite the country.

However, the papal legate Bishop Philip, who arrived in Hungary officially for "strengthening the king's status" in the conditions of feudal turmoil, but in fact called upon opponents of the king, who complained to Rome that Laszlo allegedly retreated from the Christian faith and fully adopted Paganism and his lifestyle relatives - Polovtsy, his actions caused a new confusion. Rome was outraged by the king's alliance with the Gentile Polovtsy. King Laszlo was forced to agree to the introduction of the so-called. “Polovtsian laws”, which forced the Polovtsy to stop leading a nomadic lifestyle and settle down on reservations. Polovtsi responded uprising and plunder of the eastern regions of Hungary. As a result, the papal legate turned the former support of the Hungarian throne - Polovtsy - into rebels, destroying everything that the king managed to do with great difficulty for the restoration of the Hungarian state.

King Laszlo had to speak out against his recent Polovtsy allies and smash them, and then fight with the governor of Transylvania Fint Aba. Fint was able to break, and in 1282, Laszlo Kun finally defeated the Polovtsy. Part of the Polovtsy left the Hungarian kingdom in the Balkans. However, internal turmoil greatly weakened Hungary. The king, having lost hope of settling affairs and appeasing the magnates, again became close with the Polovtsy. In 1285, the Eastern Horde was ravaged by Eastern Hungary. Although the King managed to defend Pest, the Hungarian state fell into complete decay. King Laszlo IV was excommunicated. Pope Nicholas IV even thought about organizing a crusade against Hungary in order to transfer power to his nephew Laszlo Karl Martell of Anjou. The country was in ruins. In 1290, noble Polovtsians, dissatisfied with the king's ambivalent policies, killed Laszlo (according to another version, they were just mercenaries hired by magnates).

After his death, the central government of the Hungarian kingdom, in fact, ceased to exist. Laszlo had no children, and the main line of Arpadov was cut short. Andrash III (1290 - 1301), the grandson of Istvan V, the son of Venezian Tomazina Morosini, was raised to the throne. However, the nobility doubted at the expense of its legitimacy. His father, Istvan Postum, was declared a bastard by his brothers, so the new king immediately faced a number of contenders for the throne. Emperor Rudolf I, who considered Hungary to be part of the Holy Roman Empire, advanced his son, the Duke of Albrecht I of Austria, to the Hungarian throne. The Polish adventurer, who declared himself Andrash Slavonsky, the younger brother of King Laszlo IV Kuhn, declared his claims to the throne, but his army was defeated by supporters of Andrash III. In addition, Queen Mary of Naples, sister of the assassinated king, also announced her claim to the crown. She later transferred these claims to her son, Karl Martell of Anjou, and after his death to her grandson Karl Robert.

Andras III forced Duke Albrecht I to abandon claims to the Hungarian crown. The king fought against the supporters of Charles Martel of Anjou and the feudal magnates, barons. By the end of his reign, Andras (Endre) was able to restore some stability in Hungary and temporarily crush some of the barons. However, in general, he was unable to overcome the separatism of tycoon oligarchs, who had power over entire areas and relied on their own armies and smaller feudal lords. So, in the west of the country openly did not recognize Andrash as the king of the Kёсshegi clan; Laszlo Kahn rules over in Transylvania; Omode Aba and Kopas Borshi - in the northeast. Matyash Chaka had more than 50 castles and fortresses in the north-west of the country, more than 500 villages and villages.

Reign of king charles robert

“The last golden branch of the Arpad tree” Andrash unexpectedly died in January 1301. As a result, the stay on the Hungarian throne of the Arpad dynasty ended. Karl Robert, the representative of the Anjou-Sicilian House, who was supported by the Roman throne and the barons of the southern provinces, ascended the throne. For nearly a decade, he had to contend with other aspirants to the Hungarian throne, and then another decade against the separatism of local tycoons and oligarchs. Nevertheless, Karl Robert became one of the most successful rulers of Hungary, retaining the unity of the kingdom and restoring the economy of the country.

At first, under the pretext that Karl Robert was crowned “wrong” (without the Crown of St. Stephen, and in Esztergom, and not in Szekesfehervar, as the tradition demanded), most church and secular nobles did not recognize his authority and proclaimed King Václav Czech (later he will become the last king of Bohemia from the family of Premyslov), son of Vaclav II. Vatslav became engaged to Elizaveta Töss, daughter of King András III, and under the name Laszlo was crowned Crown of Saint Stephen in Székesfehervar, Archbishop John of Kalos. However, Pope Boniface VIII confirmed Carl Robert’s claims to Hungary, and his maternal uncle, King Albrecht I of Germany, provided him with military assistance. On the side of Karl went magnates Matush Chuck and Aba, who had previously supported Vaclav Chesky. Therefore, the Czech King Vaclav II soon realized that his son’s position in Hungary was too weak, and decided to take Vaclav and the crown with him to Prague.

In 1305, Mr Václav Český, occupying the throne of Bohemia, abdicated the Hungarian throne in favor of his supporter and relative - Otto III, Duke of Bavaria, who was the grandson of King Bele IV. The Bavarian Duke was crowned under the name of Bela V, but, not having serious support in Hungary, was defeated. In 1307, the magnates at the Rakosch meeting again proclaimed Karl Robert king, but the richest aristocrats (Matush Chuck and Laszlo Kan) ignored the congress. Only the third coronation in 1310 was “legal.” However, after becoming king, Charles had not yet received full power, it was necessary to pacify the tycoons and oligarchs.

Ownership of Hungarian magnates in 1301-1310

The magnates did not enter into force because of the fall of the Arpad dynasty, it only accelerated the process. It was a long and regular process, characteristic of all feudal powers. The power of the king gradually weakened, and the great feudal lords, many of whom held high government posts (Palatin, voivode, ban, and Ishpan), who used to expand their power and wealth. This led to the emergence of "states in the state" with their rulers, courts, armies, which carried out an independent policy, tried to establish dynastic and diplomatic relations with other states and participate in external wars. The magnates tried to completely get rid of the central government.

To challenge the oligarchs and take on the unification of the country, it was necessary to be a talented statesman and military leader. Karl possessed these talents. It also helped that he was young and simply outlived many of his opponents, not allowing their heirs to enter into full force. Originally, the king settled in Temesvár, where Baron Ugrin Chuck, one of his most reliable comrades, ruled. The king was able to gradually, one by one defeat enemies who quarreled with each other and almost never entered into an alliance against the king. Interestingly, to finance military operations, the king actively seized church property.

In 1312, the king defeated the troops of Chuck and the sons of Amade Aby, but it was not yet a decisive victory. After the death of Laszlo Kahn in 1315, the king took control of Transylvania. In 1316, the Kösegi clan was defeated, 1317 was defeated Palatina Kopas Borshi’s army. In 1319, Mr. Karl Robert defeated the Serbs who invaded Southern Hungary. After that, Karl Robert occupied Belgrade (later the Serbs fought off Belgrade), as well as the territory of Machvi. The death of 1321 in March of Matush Chuck, the most powerful tycoon of the kingdom, led to the disintegration of his possessions, and the royal troops were able to occupy all the fortresses of the deceased nobleman until the end of the year. In 1323, the king defeated the troops of Shubiche and Babonich in the south-west of the country, establishing control over Dalmatia and Croatia.

Thus, Karl Robert restored the unity of power and was able to embark on the necessary reforms. The idea of ​​unity of the country received a symbolic expression in the fact that the king transferred his residence from Temesvara to Visegrád (Vysehrad) - to the very heart of Hungary. Here, by 1330, a new royal residence was erected near the local fortress.

For twenty years of struggle, Karl Robert gained great prestige, besides, he had the sense to show the continuity of politics with the Arpad house. The king emphasized that his main task was “restoring the good old order”. During the war, many castles of the fortress passed into the hands of the king and his supporters. The king has retained many of them in order to be the largest landowner of the kingdom in the times of the first Arpadas. The rest of the property was distributed among the nobles, who from the very beginning faithfully served the monarch. Of the influential clans of the previous era, few were able to hold positions, mostly old aristocratic families assimilated with the new nobility.

New barons were loyal to the king. In addition, their possessions were not large enough to threaten royal power, even considering the royal castles that they ruled. Karl Robert established the so-called “honor system”: instead of large donations, the faithful servant of the king received a position (“honor”), so he became the royal custodian on the ground and the representative of the king. At the same time, these posts were not granted forever - the king could withdraw the person replacing a specific post at any time. All this has strongly strengthened the new Anjou dynasty. Karl ceased to convene state meetings regularly, which he regularly did while his position was precarious. Karl Robert took under his personal control all the territorial royal courts by selecting judges who were loyal to him, strengthened the central apparatus.

Karl strengthened the economy. The king abolished private customs duties between parts of the Hungarian kingdom established by the magnates during the interregnum period. The old customs system was restored at the borders of the kingdom. Customs again became the royal regalia. The king successfully curbed inflation by introducing new coins with a constant gold content. Now only the king could mint a coin. Florins (forint) were minted from 1325 in the Mint opened in Kremnica and soon became a popular means of payment in Europe. And the circulation of gold and silver in bullion was henceforth a royal monopoly.

Financial reform has led to a significant replenishment of the treasury. After the discovery of new deposits, gold production increased significantly (up to 1400 kg per year). It was one third of the gold mined at that time in the world and Hungary mined five times more gold than any other state in Europe produced. At the same time, 30-40% of the income from gold mining settled in the royal treasury, which allowed King Karl Robert to carry out important reforms and at the same time maintain a luxurious courtyard. In addition, silver was mined in Hungary. Since 1327, local landowners have the right to leave one third of the revenues from the mining industry, which has stimulated its development. Gold and silver attracted Italian and German merchants to Hungary.

In addition, to replenish the treasury, Karl Robert streamlined and reformed the system of regalia, consisting of direct and indirect taxes, taxes and monopolies. The salt mines in Transylvania became the most important source of income for Hungarian kings, who had a monopoly on the production and trade of salt. Customs duty now levied on all foreign trade - 1 / 30 on the value of imported goods for all foreign traders. And the tax was going much stricter. An annual tribute to florin at 1 / 5 was all peasant farms. As a result of these reforms, the economic disruption in the country was overcome, the country's economy developed steadily, the treasury was full, which strengthened the military power and international prestige of the Hungarian kingdom.

Florin Carl Robert

These were serious successes. True, do not exaggerate them. Hungary remained a rather remote and backward corner of Europe. Only the production of precious metals allowed Hungary to occupy a worthy place in the economy of Europe. Hungary was a supplier of gold, silver, cattle and wine, while its markets were occupied by industrial goods and luxury goods from other countries. At the same time, the country was quite deserted, because of this, it was spared by the plague of the “black death”. The Anjou dynasty encouraged the influx of migrants from Moravia, Poland, the Russian principalities, and also attracted the Germans, the Romanians, giving them various privileges. However, land in the north and east remained fairly sparsely populated.

The unification of the country, almost absolute power and success in the economy allowed Karl Robert to pursue an active foreign policy. However, to achieve great success he failed. From 1317 to 1319, he conquered the Machva region from Serbia. Cities of Dalmatia surrendered under the authority of the Venetian Republic. The desire of Karl Robert to unite the crowns of Hungary and Naples ran into opposition from Venice and the Pope, who feared that Hungary might gain dominance in the Adriatic. Karl’s attempt to subjugate Wallachia (Rumanian principality) ended in complete failure. In November 1330, the Hungarian army was trapped by the Vlachs on the pass near Posada and was almost completely slaughtered. King Charles himself miraculously survived, disguised in the clothes of one of his knights. Only a strong economy allowed Hungary to rebuild the army.

Karl achieved great success in diplomacy, concentrating on relations with his northern neighbors - Poland and Bohemia. Three states found themselves in a similar situation. The dynasties of the Piast and Przhemyslov in Poland and Bohemia were interrupted at about the same time as the rule of the Arpad house in Hungary. Karl Robert, Vladislav Loketek and John (Jan) Luxemburg assisted each other. Charles the third wife took Elizabeth of Poland, the daughter of Vladislav Loketka (Lokotka). And the successor of Vladislav Casimir the Great appointed the king of Hungary or his heir as his successor on the throne in case he died without an heir.

The most significant success of Karl’s foreign policy was his mediating role in reconciling Casimir and John. John, in exchange for recognition of his rights to Silesia and 120 thousand Prague groszy (400 kilograms of silver), refused to claim the Polish throne. This happened in 1335 during the meeting of the three monarchs in Visegrad. There was a three-party defensive treaty against the expansion of Austria and an important trade agreement. The purpose of the trade agreement was the organization of new trade routes to Germany, bypassing the territory of Austria, in order to deprive Vienna of its transit, intermediary income.

Karl's foreign policy did not bring any other special results. Although it was this resolute and purposeful ruler who saved Hungary from chaos and collapse, laid the foundations of the greatness and glory with which his son, the brilliant warrior king Louis I the Great (Layosh the Great), will glorify the Hungarian kingdom. Louis the Great will become one of the most famous rulers of Europe of the late Middle Ages, expanding the possessions of his state from the Adriatic to the Black Sea and almost to the Baltic in the north. Among his vassals were the rulers of Bosnia, Serbia, Wallachia, Moldavia and Bulgaria. Hungary will reach the peak of its greatness. However, the foundations of his power were laid precisely under Karl Robert. Louis only used the potential that created his father in the Hungarian kingdom.

Hungarian king Karl Robert died in Visegrad in 1342 year. The funeral ceremony was held in Szekesfehervar with the participation of his allies - Casimir III of Poland and Charles IV (the future emperor of the Holy Roman Empire).
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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 12 November 2015 07: 46
    On August 29, 1526, at the battle of Mohach, 50 army of Sultan Suleiman I led by the great vezir Ibrahim Pasha inflicted 000. The Hungarian army suffered a brutal defeat: the main reason was the feudal anarchy that had begun, many Hungarian nobles did not come to the king’s call, the feudal lords and did not dare to arm the peasants. Lajos II drowned in a swamp while fleeing, after 25 days Suleiman entered the capital, which surrendered to the Turks without a fight. From this date, the sunset of Hungary began.
    1. Your friend
      Your friend 12 November 2015 12: 57
      Quote: parusnik
      On August 29, 1526, at the battle of Mohach, 50 army of Sultan Suleiman I led by the great vezir Ibrahim Pasha inflicted 000. The Hungarian army suffered a brutal defeat: the main reason was the feudal anarchy that had begun, many Hungarian nobles did not come to the king’s call, the feudal lords and did not dare to arm the peasants. Lajos II drowned in a swamp while fleeing, after 25 days Suleiman entered the capital, which surrendered to the Turks without a fight. From this date, the sunset of Hungary began.

      Yes, and then the Turks came and it was all over.
      1. parusnik
        parusnik 12 November 2015 17: 38
        Yes, and then the Turks came and it was all over. No, that was the beginning of the end ..
  2. Ingvar 72
    Ingvar 72 12 November 2015 14: 25
    The new barons were loyal to King Charles strengthened the economy.
    Financial reform has led to a significant replenishment of the treasury.
    As a result of these reforms, the country's economic collapse was overcome, the country's economy was developing steadily, the treasury was full, which strengthened the military power and international prestige of the Hungarian kingdom.
    Everything is so simple and full of examples. Why is it different with us ?! am
  3. Megatron
    Megatron 12 November 2015 14: 40
    This is the trouble of all geyrops - fragmentation and following only their own interests. In the 19th century, a paradoxical situation generally developed - instead of crushing the decrepit Ottomans, Christian states used the port in their intrigues, playing on internal contradictions.

    And in general, Western civilization began its degradation, which has now passed into complete degeneration - from the era of Protestantism. It was this heresy that served as the very poison that poisoned and undermined all the foundations of morality, which rolled into the pursuit of the golden calf.
    1. Morrrow
      Morrrow 12 November 2015 20: 56
      There was a problem who will become the heir to Turkish possession