Zrínyi Ádám (1662-1691)
Zrínyi Ádám was born on 24 November 1662, he was the second son of the famous general, statesman, and poet, Zrínyi Miklós (Nicholas Zrínski). His mother was Löbl Mária Zsófia, the second wife of Zrínyi Miklós. Let me note that Hungarians and Croatians equally respect the Zrínyi family, and in the case of Zrínyi Miklós we can already talk about a person with double-identity as he had as much Croatian blood as Hungarian. I think, in the age before modern nationalism took shape, the Love of the Land was more important than the language.
Ádám had an elder brother, Izsák, born in 1658 but he died after a few months. We know that there were two sisters of Ádám as well. When he lost his father at the age of two, he inherited the immense lands of the family. It was his mother and his uncle Péter who were running the domains on his behalf. Emperor Leopold awarded him in 1666 as Chief Master of the Horse in recognition of his father’s deeds. You can read my thoughts about the relationship of the Habsburgs and the members of the Zrínyi family here:
Zrínyi Péter (Petar Zrínski) was arrested in 1670 for his involvement of the Wesselényi-Conspiration. All his properties were taken and he was executed in 1671. The family’s palace at Csáktornya (Cakovec) was garrisoned by German soldiers so Lady Löbl Mária and her children had to move out. They could find shelter at Varasd, later they had to go to Vrbovec. Finally, they ended up in Vienna and the widow had to make tremendous efforts to prevent getting dispossessed.
Zrínyi Ádám received an excellent education. At first, he learned at home from Jesuit monks, then he became the student of the Jesuit School of Vienna in 1673. He had access to the Habsburg court, and Emperor Leopold personally expressed his good-will towards him. When the ruler wed Princess Claudia Felicitas in 1673, the young Zrínyi Ádám was allowed to greet the young couple with a poem. Ádám continued his studies on the University of Vienna in 1676 where he acquired a classic education, including mathematics, military sciences, geography, state-administration, and legal studies. He was increasing his father’s library that had been quite large before, too. Fortunately, the library has been almost fully saved during the turbulent centuries and is stored now in the Zagreb. He was very much interested in the deeds of the Zrínyi family.
It was in the spring of 1679 when he returned home in order to legally take over his domains and the rank of Captain of Légrád that he has inherited from his father. It was also the first time when he, leading his soldiers first fought with the Turks. The captaincy of Légrád was withheld from him for the time being due to his caretaker, Batthyány Kristóf who rather sent him to learn abroad.
Ádám set out in January 1680 to Brussels, then he went to the famous university of Leuven where he learned jurisprudence and about military architecture and fortifications. He came home during the spring of 1681 when he was of full age already. thus, he could take over the control of his domains, and soon he went to war with his own military unit, joining the troops of noble insurrection. Ádám took part in the Battle of Kahlenberg in 1683 where he was defending the walls of Vienna.
He got married in 1684, his wife was Countess Maria Katherina Lamberg. Then, he was actively taking his share in the reconquest wars of Hungary. At first, he was leading his own military unit that consisted of his noblemen who fought under his flag. Later he became an Imperial Vice-Colonel of the Dragoons. Here is an article I wrote about the dragoons:
He was there at the taking of Verőce in July 1684 but fought on the southern Borderland in the next years, too. The Ottomans have come to know his name soon. Even the Grand Vizier was asking about his health from the Transylvanian envoys at Istanbul. The Christians also acknowledged his deeds: he was allowed to carry the king’s sword at the coronation of Joseph, the son of Leopold I on 9 December 1687. Ádám was also taking part both in the Hungarian and the Croatian Diet’s work. Sometimes he had to carry out diplomatic tasks as well.
He joined the army in March 1688 and fought along the Száva River. He took Brod at the end of July. He fought on the side of General Louis of Baden in the Battle of Dervent on 5 September when they defeated the reinforcing army of the Ottomans. Belgrade fell as a result of this on the very next day. He was in the general’s army during his Balkan campaign in 1689 when the castles of Kosztajnica, Dubica, Jeszenóc, Banjaluka were liberated, along with the Zrínyi family’s ancient nest, Zrín. Not much later they defeated the Ottoman army at Nis and at Batocsin. Here is a video about the reconquest wars of Hungary and Croatia:
Ádám fought in Transylvania in 1690, and we can find him with a sword in his hand in the Szerémség (Sirmium) in 1691. It was the location of the “bloodiest” battle of the century on 19 August 1691: the Battle of Szalánkemén. At first, the Ottomans managed to get around the army of General Louis of Baden and succeeded in pushing the Christians’ lines back everywhere. in the most crucial moment, Vice-General Johann Dietrich Dünnewald led the cavalry of the left-wing forward. Zrínyi Ádám was in this unit. The Imperials finally have gained victory but they lost 20,000 men, and Zrínyi Ádám was one of them. He was killed by a bullet when he was assaulting the Ottoman trenches.
His death was commemorated even abroad as well as in the Chronicles of Cserei Mihály. Some say, his body was buried on the battlefield but according to others, it was carried to the family’s crypt. Ádám had no children and his family became disconnected as his brother, János was never released from the prison of the Habsburgs. As for his domains, Ádám left to his wife the right to enjoy their benefit until the end of her life but the Viennese Court did not allow it to happen so his widow got dispossessed.
Source: Szibler Gábor
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