George II Rákóczi
George II Rákóczi (30 January 1621 – 7 June 1660), was a Hungarian
Prince of Transylvania
Prince of Transylvania (1648-1660), the eldest son of George
I and Zsuzsanna Lorántffy.
Born in Sárospatak, Hungary, he was elected Prince of Transylvania
during his father's lifetime (19 February 1642). On 3 February 1643,
he married Sophia Báthory, who was required by his mother to convert
Roman Catholic to Calvinism.
On ascending the throne (October 1648), his first thought was to
realize his father's ambitions in Poland. With this object in view, he
allied himself, in the beginning of 1649, with the
Bohdan Khmelnytsky, and the hospodars of
Moldavia and Wallachia
Vasile Lupu and Matei Basarab), but took no action for several years.
On 6 December 1656, by the Treaty of Radnot, he also allied with King
Charles X Gustav of Sweden
Charles X Gustav of Sweden against King John II Casimir of Poland.
Rákóczi was to seize the provinces of Lesser
Poland and Mazovia,
together with rich salt deposits in
Wieliczka and Bochnia. In 1657, he
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the third part of the
Second Northern War (1655-1660), also known as The Deluge.
In late January 1657, Rákóczi’s army of some 25,000 crossed the
Carpathians near Krosno. The Transylvanians headed towards Medyka,
where they were joined by some 10,000
Zaporozhian Cossacks under Anton
Zdanovich. The Transylvanian-
Cossack army approached Lwow, but failed
to capture the fortified city. Then it headed westwards, to Kraków.
The march of the army was marked by numerous atrocities, destruction,
and looting. Rákóczi captured and destroyed Dukla, Lesko, and Sanok,
but failed to seize Przemyśl, Krosno, and Łańcut. On 21 March 1657,
Rákóczi entered Tarnów, and seven days later reached Kraków, which
had already been under Swedish control.
The Swedish garrison of
Kraków was reinforced by 2,500 Transylvanians
under János Bethlen, while Rákóczi headed northwards. On 12 April,
near Ćmielów, the Transylvanians joined the Swedish army under
Charles X Gustav. The combined forces crossed the
Zawichost, on 19 April capturing Lublin. On 8 May the
Swedish-Transylvanian army besieged Brzesc nad Bugiem, capturing it
two days later. After the siege, Rákóczi’s soldiers busied
themselves with plundering and looting. Among others, the
Biała Podlaska and Brańsk.
On 20 May, news of the Dano-Swedish War reached Charles X Gustav and
the king decided to march towards Swedish Pomerania, leaving Gustaf
Otto Stenbock in charge. The army then marched towards Warsaw, burning
the towns of Mielnik, Drohiczyn, Nur, Brok, and Pniewo. On 17 June,
after a three-day siege, Rákóczi and Stenbock captured Warsaw.
Swedish forces remained in
Warsaw only for a few days, as on 22 June
they left the city, marching to Szczecin, to join the war against
Denmark. Since Rákóczi was well aware of the real quality of his
army, he decided to abandon
Warsaw as well, and head southeast.
Following an order of Polish King John II Casimir Vasa, the
Transylvanians were followed by a 10,000 strong mounted army of Stefan
Czarniecki, supported by Lithuanians of Aleksander Hilary
Połubiński (pl) and Austrian allies of Poland. At the same
time, forces of Jerzy Lubomirski organized a revenge invasion of
Transylvania, with widespread looting and destruction of Rákóczi’s
On 8 July 1657 in Lancut, Polish leaders decided to split their
Stefan Czarniecki was to follow Rákóczi, while Jerzy
Stanisław "Rewera" Potocki
Stanisław "Rewera" Potocki were to cut the
Transylvanians and Cossacks from crossing the border and escaping
Poland. On 11 July Czarniecki partly destroyed the Transylvanian army
in the Battle of Magierów. On 16 July, the Polish armies united and
on 20 July they defeated Rákóczi in the Battle of Czarny Ostrów.
After the defeat and subsequent retreat of his
Rákóczi withdrew towards the Podolian town of Miedzyboz, where he
capitulated to Jerzy Lubomirski (23 July), promising to break his
alliance with Sweden, abandon the cities of
Kraków and Brzesc
Litewski, and pay a contribution in the total amount of over 4 million
złotys. Polish commanders allowed his forces to march towards
Transylvania, but on 26 July, Rákóczi was attacked by the Crimean
Tatars, who at that time were allied with Poland-Lithuania. Rákóczi
abandoned his army, leaving it in the hands of János Kemény. The
Transylvanian camp, located near Trembowla, was captured by the Tatars
on 31 July. Some 500 were killed, and about 11,000 Transylvanians were
captured and taken to the Crimea. As a result, Rákóczi’s army
ceased to exist.
On 3 November 1657, at the command of Turkey (to which Transylvania
was tributary), the Diet deposed him for undertaking an unauthorized
war. But in January 1658 he was reinstated by a new session of the
Diet at Medgyes. Again he was deposed by the Turkish Grand Vizier, and
again reinstated as if nothing had happened. Finally the Turks invaded
Transylvania, and Rákóczi died at Nagyvárad of wounds received at
the battle of Gilău (May 1660).
Ancestors of George I Rákóczi
16. Zsigmond Rákóczi
8. János Rákóczi
17. Dóra Haraszthy
4. Sigismund Rákóczi
18. Miklós Némethy[not in citation given]
9. Sára Némethy
19. Katalin Lucskay[not in citation given]
2. George I Rákóczi
10. János Gerendi
5. Anna Gerendi
22. Bertalan Erdélyi
11. Kata Erdélyi
23. Klára Kemény
1. George II Rákóczi
24. János Lórántffy[not in citation given]
12. László Lórántffy[not in citation given]
25. Borbála Derencsényi[not in citation given]
6. Mihály Lórántffy
26. Albert Horváthy[not in citation given]
13. Erzsébet Horváthy[not in citation given]
27. Dorottya Bölcsey[not in citation given]
3. Zsuzsanna Lorántffy
28. Janos Zeleméri[not in citation given]
14. Miklós Zeleméri[not in citation given]
29. Anna Dobó[not in citation given]
7. Bora Zeleméri
30. Miklós Henyey[not in citation given]
15. Margit Henyey[not in citation given]
31. Anna Dombai[not in citation given]
Hangay, Zoltán (1987). Erdély választott fejedelme: Rákóczi
Zsigmond [Elected Prince of Transylvania: Sigismund Rákóczi].
Zrínyi Kiadó. ISBN 963-326-363-8.
Nagy, László (1984). A "bibliás őrálló" fejedelem: I. Rákóczi
György a magyar históriában [The "Bible-reader and Guarding"
George I Rákóczi
George I Rákóczi in Hungarian Hitoriography]. Magvető
Kiadó. ISBN 963-14-0204-5.
Péter, Katalin (1994). "The Golden Age of the Principality
(1606–1660)". In Köpeczi, Béla; Barta, Gábor; Bóna, István;
Makkai, László; Szász, Zoltán; Borus, Judit. History of
Transylvania. Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 301–358.
Encyclopedia of Ukraine Editor in Chief Vladimir Kubiiovych. - Paris,
New York: Young Life, 1954-1989.
George I Rákóczi
Prince of Transylvania
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name
needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University
ISNI: 0000 0000 5961 1421
BNF: cb145468122 (data)
^ Hangay 1987, pp. 91, 220-221.
^ Nagy 1984,