Why were the Habsburgs unable to consolidate their power in Hungary during this period?

Why were the Habsburgs unable to consolidate their power in Hungary during this period?

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The seventeenth century was undeniably a period of great division, war and turmoil for Hungary. After the events of the previous century, Hungary remained divided into three distinct areas. The largest was Ottoman Hungary, under the direct control of Constantinople, which encompassed the south and south-east of Hungary. Second, there was the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom founded by János Zápolyai in 1526, who after the defeat of the Hungarian forces at the First Battle of Mohács sought the support of Sultan Suleiman I to be crowned King of Hungary by a rival faction of the nobility and became the Sultan’s vassal. After 1571, with the coronation of István Báthory, this Kingdom became the Principality of Transylvania which was semi-autonomous with Habsburgs and Ottomans vying for control. Lastly there was Royal Hungary, the only part of Hungary still under Habsburg control in this period. It consisted of the western and north-western areas that had been secured by Ferdinand I after being declared King of Hungary by the pro-Habsburg part of the noblity in 1526. This division remained the status quo into the seventeenth century. In this essay, it will be argued that due to this division the Habsburgs found it impossible to consolidate power in Hungary as well as a variety of other factors such as, confessional divisions in Hungary opposed to the Catholic dynasty, Habsburg priorities resting in religious conflict in Germany and securing influence in the Mediterranean from Ottoman and French fleets, Habsburg involvement in the Thirty Years War and the revived Franco-Ottoman Alliance. All these factors together ensured that the Habsburg would not gain control of Hungary until 1699.
The first factor that should be argued is the lasting d...


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...bargaining position, which led to the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699. Under the treaty, Sultan Mustafa II was forced to make peace and give up all the territory conquered after 1526 to the Habsburgs, mainly Hungary. Finally, the Habsburgs controlled Hungary but could not consolidate their power until 1711 when Transylvania became ruled by Habsburg governors. However through the entirety of the period 1600-1700, the Habsburgs were unable to cement their rule in Hungary due to factors listed above.



Works Cited

E. Pamlényi, History of Hungary (Budapest, 1973)
D. Sinor, History of Hungary (London, 1959)
R. A. Kann, A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526-1918 (Los Angeles, 1974)
C. M. Kortepeter, Ottoman Imperialism during the Reformation (New York, 1972)
M. Cook, A History of the Ottoman Empire to 1730 (London, 1976)
C. V. Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War (Yale, 1939)

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