16 December 1645 Peace treaty in Linz between Rákóczi and Ferdinand

Transylvania in the 30 Years’ War

In 1644, the Transylvanian Prince Rákóczi I György joined the Thirty Years’ War under the pretext of protecting the Hungarian Protestants and started his wars against the Habsburgs. The campaign brought mixed success, even when the prince signed an alliance treaty the following year with King Louis XIV of France. After that, he joined the Swedish army near Brno and could almost reach Vienna when the Sublime Porte’s banning decision arrived. Rákóczi had to retreat. Let us not forget that Transylvania did not enjoy full independence from the Turks, even though it had a lot greater freedom than Moldavia or Wallachia. Here you can read more about the special status of the Transylvanian Principality:


The anti-Habsburg wars of Prince Rákóczi I György

However, the negotiations between King Ferdinand III and Prince Rákóczi continued even when the two armies were fighting. As early as May 1644, the Transylvanian envoys, Lónyay Zsigmond and Kemény János sat at the negotiating table in Szendrő Castle with Archbishop Lippay György of Esztergom and Palatine Esterházy Miklós who represented the Habsburg monarch. Yet, the agreement failed primarily because of Esterházy’s stubbornness and arrogance, as did the new negotiations in June and September.

Palatine Esterházy Miklós

As it turned out, in the following year, due to external coercive conditions, Ferdinand was willing to make greater concessions to reach an agreement. He replaced Esterházy and appointed his Chamber Councilor, Tőrös János as head of the negotiating delegation, who was much more flexible and polite than the palatine. Under his leadership, the negotiations in June-August ended with results, Rákóczi signed the peace treaty on August 22, which his envoy took to the Emperor, who also ratified it on December 16, 1645.

King Ferdinand III

According to the peace treaty, the territories of Hungary were to receive full religious freedom, which also extended to serfs. Ferdinand also ordered the return of confiscated Protestant churches. Rákóczi also received the seven Upper Hungarian counties once awarded to Bethlen Gábor (Szatmár, Szabolcs, Bereg, Ugocsa, Abaúj, Zemplén, and Borsod), and he could even gain the right to pass on Szabolcs and Szatmár to his sons. As compensation, the prince also received the castles of Regéc and Tokaj, the town of Tarcal, Felső- and Nagybánya.

The Peace of Münster in 1648 (an example of how a treaty must have looked like)

You can read more about the life of Prince Rákóczi I György on my page:


This ended the participation of the Transylvanian princes in the Thirty Years’ War, and the Diet of Pozsony (Pressburg, Bratislava) finally ratified the peace treaty in June 1647. Yet, let us not forget that the Treaty of Westphalia which ended the 30-Year War, included the Transylvanian Principality. The Principality signed the treaty as an ally of the French and the Swedish, and Transylvania was accepted in it as a sovereign country. Moreover, it was regarded as a country that had significant importance in stabilizing the region. It was a real Western acceptance of the Transylvanian state. In fact, Westphalian sovereignty, or state sovereignty, is a principle in international law that each state has exclusive sovereignty over its territory.

The gold Forint of Prince Rákóczi I György of Transylvania from 1646

Source: Szibler Gábor and Wikipedia

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Prince Rákóczi I György of Transylvania