Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

The Long War, Part 38; 1606 – The creation of a Double Treaty of Peace

The “Hungaries”: Royal Hungary, Principality of Transylvania, the Ottoman Occupied Lands

The Diet of Kassa (Kosice, Kaschau) has discussed the points of the planned truce again in April 1606. As it had been already adjusted with the Habsburgs in Vienna before, the talks were going on smoothly, led by Illésházy. It must be noted, though, that the terms were a lot less radical than the points of the Korpona Diet had been. The treaty was signed in Vienna on 23 June.

The Peace of Vienna, 1606

As a result of this, the Protestant noblemen, burghers, and Borderland warriors were free to practice their religion and the previous law which had been restricting the rights of the Protestants was withdrawn. The treaty said they had to elect a Palatine soon because it has not been done so since 1526. The Palatine used to be the highest rank in the kingdom, he was authorized to rule the country in case of the Hungarian king was abroad. Also, the Holy Crown was to be brought to Pozsony (Bratislava, Pressburg) to be safeguarded there. 

Emperor Rudolf II of the HRE, also King of Hungary

The main officeholders had to be Hungarians and the properties which had been gifted to foreigners immediately were supposed to be given back to their original owners. The privileges of the free royal towns had to be reinforced. The treaty ruled a few points in favor of the Roman Catholic Church as well but it was decided that only those chief priests were allowed to take part in the Council of the King who had their congregational areas in earnest. The male heirs of Bocskai were given the right to rule over the Principality of  Transylvania and the Partium, including the three counties of Royal Hungary, namely Ugocsa, Bereg, and Szatmár counties. In the lack of a male heir, these lands would return to the Hungarian Crown, though.

Prince Bocskai István of Transylvania

Emperor Rudolf was unwilling to sign all the points of the treaty so Archduke Matthias has faked the document instead of him so it was handed over to the Hungarian delegation like this. At this time, the power of the Emperor was gradually decreasing already. Read more about Bocskai István here:

The relationship with the Sublime Port had to be addressed, too. The 15-Year-War has exhausted both empires. As for the Ottomans, they have got richer with two newly conquered castles, Kanizsa and Eger. On the other hand, the Christians have regained the forts of Nógrád County. Transylvania has got hold of the castles along the Maros River. The Turks have won only 20 of the battles and sieges out of the 83, the rest have been the success of the Christians.

Sultan Achmed I

The Ottoman Empire has been losing its interest in the fight against the Habsburgs since 1603 because of its wars against Persia.
Yet, the Sublime Port was willing to get engaged in discussions only after they have taken Esztergom again. Sultan Achmed I seized the throne in 1603 and he was willing to make peace. 

Peace negotiations of Zsitvatorok, 1606

The talks took place under a tent in a camp near Esztergom at the River Zsitva. They agreed that both sides could keep the forts and the lands they had occupied. The raids and castle-takings, castle buildings were forbidden in the future but they were allowed to maintain the constructions of the previously taken castles. Both empires agreed to release their prisoners of war. The Ottomans were not allowed to make those Christian noblemen who lived outside of the Ottoman Occupied Lands to pay taxes to them. The Sultan has accepted the Holy Roman Emperor as an equal ruler and didn`t demand him to pay him taxes anymore, except an amount of 200,000 gold Forints which was to be paid him now.

The envoys of the Habsburg Court and the diplomats of the Hungarian Estates signed the document with the Sultan`s envoys on 11 November. The Turk customs usually required that a treaty like this should last for a couple of years but this truce was valid for 20 years. The attitude of the Ottoman empire has changed significantly in this respect.

Prince Bocskai István survived the signing of the Zsitvatorok Treaty only a few months and he died in Kassa on 29 December. Before his death, he had urged his successors to preserve the independence of Transylvania as long as the Habsburgs reigned in Royal Hungary. Bocskai thought that it was his chancellor Káthay Mihály who was poisoning him. The Hajdú soldiers of Bocskai also claimed that Káthay had falsified Bocskai’s testament to prevent the young Báthory Gábor from seizing the throne of Transylvania. The Hajdús attacked Káthay on the main square of Kassa and cut him into pieces on 12 January 1607 before the suspicion could have been properly proven. 

Source: Szibler Gábor


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