Kings & Queens of Hungary

The mediaeval and early modern kingdom of Hungary was in the front line between Christian Europe and the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and much of its history until the final confrontation between the two sides in 1685, was taken up with efforts to repel Ottoman invasion. Unlike much of Europe, primogeniture was not the norm in Hungary, and younger brothers frequently preceded sons. When the Angevin dynasty died out, a Hungarian noble, Matthias Corvinus, was elected as King, but heavy taxes led to unrest, and internal fighting prevented a united front being presented to the Ottomans, who encroached further.

Disputes with the Holy Roman Emperor occurred during the later 15th century, partly in relation to Matthias’ election as King of Bohemia, in conjunction with Vladislaus II. Matthias had only an illegitimate son, John Corvinus, to succeed him, and, on his death Vladislaus was chosen as King of Hungary. Vladislaus’ children, Louis and Anna, were married to the siblings Mary and Ferdinand of Austria, grand-children of the Emperor. Louis was killed at the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, a disastrous defeat for Christian Europe by the Ottomans. Anna’s husband, Ferdinand, was offered the crown but this was disputed by John Zapolya, a prominent Hungarian aristocrat and general. Hungary was divided, with Zapolya ruling the Eastern part (known as Transylvania) as an Ottoman Protectorate and the Western part (Royal Hungary) passing to Ferdinand.

The division was the source of continual dispute, with Transylvania passing in and out of the hands of the Holy Roman Emperors, and also the Kings of Poland.

MonarchDates of ReignSpouse(s)
Matthias I24 January 1458 – 6 April 1490

Catherine of Prodebady

Beatrice of Naples
Vladislaus II15 July 1490 – 13 March 1516

Barbara of Brandenburg
Beatrice of Naples

Anne of Foix-Candale
Louis II13 March 1516 – 29 August 1526Mary of Austria
John I
11 November 1526 – July 1540Isabella Jagiellon of Portugal
John II
(disputed succession to John I)
13 September 1540 – 16 August 1570
Ferdinand I (disputed)
(Also Holy Roman Emperor)
17 December 1526 – 25 July 1564Anna Jagellonica of Bohemia
Maximilian I (disputed until 1570)
(Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II)
25 July 1564 – 12 October 1576Maria of Austria

Rudolf I

(Holy Roman Emperor)
12 October 1576 – 20 January 1612

Matthias II

(Holy Roman Emperor)
13 June 1612 – 20 March 1619Anne of Austria

Ferdinand II

(Holy Roman Emperor)
28 August 1619 – 15 February 1637

Maria Anna of Bavaria

Eleonora Gonzaga of Mantua