Transylvania, an Ottoman vassal state, functioned for
years as an independent country. In 1542 Martinuzzi
1437 Union of Three Nations to govern the land, and the
Transylvanian nobles regularly met in their own Diet. In
Diet created freedom of worship and equal political rights
members of Transylvania's four "established" religions:
Catholic, Lutheran, Unitarian, and Calvinist. The Eastern
Orthodox Romanian serfs were permitted to worship, but the
Orthodox Church was not recognized as an "established"
and the Romanians did not share political equality.
In 1591 the Habsburgs invaded Transylvania under George
Basta, who persecuted Protestants and expropriated estates
illegally until Istvan Bocskay, a former Habsburg
mustered an army that expelled Basta's forces in 1604-05.
Bocskay concluded the Peace of Vienna with the Habsburgs
Peace of Zsitvatorok with the Turks. The treaties secured
position as prince of Transylvania, guaranteed rights for
Hungary's Protestants, broadened Transylvania's
freed the emperor of his obligation to pay tribute to the
Ottomans. After Bocskay's death, the Ottomans compelled
Transylvanians to accept Gabor Bethlen as prince.
prospered under Bethlen's enlightened despotism. He
agriculture, trade, and industry; sank new mines; sent
to Protestant universities abroad; and prohibited
barring children of serfs from an education.
Bethlen died in 1629, the Transylvanian Diet abolished
his reforms. After a short succession struggle, Gyorgy
(1648-60) became prince. Under Rakoczi, Transylvania
the Protestants in the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) and was
mentioned as a sovereign state in the Peace of Westphalia.
Transylvania's golden age ended after Gyorgy Rakoczi II
launched an attack on Poland without the prior approval of
Ottomans or Transylvania's Diet. The campaign was a
the Turks used the opportunity to rout Rakoczi's army and
control of Transylvania.
Data as of September 1989