1527 Cserni (aka Black or Nenad) Jován’s uprising
A bloody moment after the Battle of Mohács
Note: the aim of this writing is not to offend our Serbian friends; I work with the information I have. I always appreciate all kind of help to make the story full.
Before King Szapolyai was cornered and had no other choice but to get allied with Sultan Suleiman in 1528, there had been a very bad inside war before he made this decision. This war just made his situation even more unstable.
After Mohács, Hungary was slowly regaining its power and the elected and crowned king, Szapolyai wanted to reorganize a southern borderline against the Turks. He appointed his trusted man, the Serbian Cserni (aka Black or Nenad) Jován who had fought in the Battle of Mohács, to organize the Serbians against the Ottoman invaders.
The conflict between the Serbs and the Hungarians began in earnest when the Hungarians returned to their lands after the troops of Suleiman had been gone. The Serbs found shelter in the abandoned houses of those Hungarians who had fled from the Turks.
In the meantime, Szapolyai tried to settle the Serbs in Bács and appointed Jovan, his servant as their leader. Jovan was a talented military leader and a physically very strong warrior; he was trying to persuade Szapolyai to attack Habsburg Ferdinand before the Austrian Archduke would launch his inevitable attack against Hungary. Most sadly, King Szapolyai didn’t listen to his advice.
Not much later, the things turned out very bad: gradually, Cserni Jován (1492-1527) declared himself an independent Czar and he was busy creating his small country in Southern Hungary. A most brutal war was taking shape. Jován was said to be not less violent and brutal than his master; soon, he claimed that it is „his God-given mission” to drive the Turks out and indeed, he was fighting against them in the first time.
The local Hungarian lords didn`t trust him and clashes began. Jován took Szabadka in November 1526 but the hostility between the Serbs. It triggered a conflict with the local lords. The local noblemen attacked the Serbs which caused an uprising.
Soon, the Czar’s soldiers killed and destroyed everybody after a short time, Hungarians, Wallachians, and Saxons alike.
To make things worse, Habsburg Ferdinand began to support Jovan and instigate him against the Hungarians by sending him valuable gifts.
Jován’s power was growing and he defeated the Hungarian-Saxon army of Péter Perényi on 22 May 1527, then he began raiding and destroying south-Transylvania. Many Wallachians and Saxon peasants and burghers were killed by his men, not just Hungarians. By this time, lots of Serbs had abandoned his army and returned to the Ottoman-conquered lands of Szermémség / Sirmium.
Surprisingly, those Hungarian peasants who had been fighting in Dózsa`s Peasant Uprising in 1514, now sided with their landlords against the army of Jovan. They flocked under the flags of the very landlords who had so brutally put them down a decade ago. King Ferdinand has also quit supporting Jovan.
Cserni Jovan and his men were defeated in July 1527 by the combined army of Hungarian, Serbian, Wallachian and Saxon peasants and lords. They were led by Lord Perényi and Bishop Imre Czibak of Várad and the Comes of Temes County and the battle took place at Sződfalva, near to Szeged. Jovan was shot by a musket and killed in Szeged not much later. As a result of this, thousands of Serbs fled back to the Ottoman Empire.
Yet, Szapolyai lost much of his reputation because he had not broken up with Jovan soon enough.
Many of Jovan`s men joined the Turkish army. They took revenge on the Hungarians when Suleiman led his troops in the years to come against Vienna. The folks between the Danube and the Tisza River suffered much in that period.
Hundred years later, Jovan became a dividing person between Serbs and Hungarians and sadly, has contributed to many ethnic troubles in the 19th and 20th century.
Many Serbians, though, remained in either Royal Hungary or in Transylvania and continued fighting against the traditional enemy, the Ottoman Empire.
In the map, you can see modern statues of Cserni Jovan and his country.