B bábi, Tibor

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Bercsényi, Count Miklós (Nicholas) (Temetvény, now only a castle-ruin beside Hradek, Slovakia, 6 December 1665 - Rodosto (now Tekirdağ), Turkey, 6 November 1725) – Kuruc general under Prince Ferenc (Francis) Rákóczi II. He was one of the major organizers and a leading figure in the historic Hungarian Freedom Fight against Austrian rule (1703-1711). He studied at the University of Nagyszombat (now Trnava, Slovakia); then, under Palatine Pál (Paul) Esterházy, he began a study of military strategy. In 1685 he was appointed Captain of Vágsellye (now Sal’á, Slovakia). In 1686 he excelled at the Battle of Buda, was promoted to Colonel, then Captain-General of Szeged Castle. In 1687 he was made Knight of the Golden Spur, and from 1691 Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Ung (now in Carpatho-Ukraine) and Lieutenant General of its mining district. From 1696 to 1698 he was Superintendent of Northern Hungary (Upland, Felvidék, now Slovakia). During the 1690s he found himself more and more in opposition to the absolutism and political suppression of King Lipót I (Leopold) (1654-1705). With his political vision he bewitched the young Rákóczi and together they embarked on organizing an uprising of noblemen to end the Habsburg rule in Hungary, with France’s assistance. When Prince Ferenc (Francis) Rákóczi II was captured in 1701, Bercsényi escaped to Poland, where at first by himself, and later with Rákóczi, tried to gain the assistance of the French and Swedish kings in support of the Hungarian bid for political freedom. From the spring of 1703, as soon as the Freedom Fight started with the uprising of the peasants of Tiszahát in northeastern Hungary, he was almost constantly involved in the fighting, leading the army for the next eight years. He also took part in the diplomacy of the fight for freedom as one of the Prince’s most confidential and able advisers. From 1705 on he was General of the Hungarian allied estates, the first member of the Senate; and in 1707 he became the Prince’s Governor General. In Warsaw he led the delegation to forge a secret agreement with Czar Peter I. At the end of 1710, with the help of the Russian military, he departed for Poland. He did not accept the 1711 Peace Treaty of Szatmár. Between 1711 and 1716 he lived in the fort of Brezna, Poland. At the outbreak of the Turkish-Austrian war he was invited by the Turkish Sultan to move to the territory of the southern Danube River in 1716. In 1717 he attempted to break into Hungary at Orsova; but after the Peace Treaty at Pozsaverácz he moved to Rodosto (Tekirdağ) Turkey in 1728, where physical and spiritual inactivity took a toll on him. He was buried in front of the throne of the Archbishop at the Greek Church in Rodosto. On his grave there is an inscription: “He is famous for his titles, for his merits he is honourable, and now a handful of soil covers the exile. You, traveler, learn from this that because of human adversities, no one in exile has permanent wealth. How does one have to live in order to go to Heaven? In his life with pious dignity, in his sickness with lengthy patience, and with his short but heroic struggle with death, he left a noble example to his successors. Go traveler, and do not forget the piously departed. Consider, then that with these weapons he won entrance to Heaven”. His ashes were brought back to Hungary amid nationwide celebration in 1906. – B: 0883, 1358, T: 7668.→Kuruc; Bercsényi, Count László; Rákóczi, Prince Ferenc II; Szatmár, Treaty of; Freedom Fight of Rákóczi II, Prince Ferenc.

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