The Treaty of Passarowitz and the Hungarians
From the perspective of Hungarian historiography, the Treaty of Passarowitz means the restoration of the territorial integrity of the historical Kingdom of Hungary after almost two centuries. The author of this study aims to examine if there were any possible alternative ways to resolve this conflict other then what became known as the Treaty of Passarowitz, when the war initially broke out in 1716. After the failed uprising (1703–1711), Francis II Rákóczi continued his diplomatic efforts to reclaim the lost Principality of Transylvania. Despite the difficult international situation, he left France for the Ottoman Empire and tried to use the military conflicts between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire to achieve his goals. The study also examines the circumstances of Rákóczi’s invitation to the court of the Sultan, and explains that the first letter of invitation sent to him was a formal political treaty, in which the Sultan gave him the Principality of Transylvania. However, he never received this document, instead he got another letter, but this one only promised his confirmation as prince at a later date. The second half of the study analyzes an unpublished Turkish manuscript from the 18th century, which contains the Turkish exchange of letters regarding the peace negotiations at Passarowitz. In this volume several references to Rákóczi can be found, as well as four documents originating from him and two letters sent to him by the Grand Vizier. Through these documents we can examine the prince’s international relations, and how the Ottoman Porte tried to use Rákóczi to decrease its international isolation.
French foreign policy and Hungary at the time of the Treaty of Passarowitz
After the defeat of the Rákóczi uprising European diplomacy went through drastic changes. Following the War of Spanish Succession, the great European powers made stronger commitments to peaceful conflict resolution and “balance of power” politics. The death of Louis XIV also caused significant changes in French foreign policy. The new French government aspired to improve French-English relations, which led to the alliance of these two great powers, and later to the creation of the Triple Alliance when the Dutch Republic joined in January 1717. The conspiracy led by Cardinal Alberoni questioned the division of the Spanish inheritance established in the peace treaty and seriously threatened peace in Europe. As a reaction the Habsburg Empire also joined to alliance in 1718, forming the Quadruple Alliance. The new European political landscape was not favorable for the continuation of the Hungarian independence movements, and the new shapers of French foreign policy did not support the Hungarians working against their legitimate ruler either. For Francis II Rákóczi, who fled to France after the Treaty of Szatmár, the reignition of the Habsburg- Ottoman war in 1716 presented a new chance to spark rebellion in Hungary. Rákóczi accepted the Sultan’s invitation in 1717 and travelled to Turkey. To the disappointment of the emigrant Hungarians, the war was near its end, and the Treaty of Passarowitz extinguished all their hopes. After this, French foreign policy treated the question of Hungarian political emigration as a primarily Ottoman issue. However, on the level of secret diplomacy they kept the fate and plans of the Hungarian emigrants under surveillance, and in certain political situations -like during states of war- sometimes they renewed their relations with Hungarian emigrant leaders through Hungarian agents in French service.
From Karlowitz to Passarowitz: the relations of the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire from an Italian perspective
In this study the author first gives a short summary of Venetian–Ottoman relations from their first contact in the 15th century to the Treaty of Karlowitz (1698-1699), focusing on the nature of these relations and the occasional military conflicts. After briefly discussing the creation of the Treaty of Karlowitz – which can be considered a direct antecedent of the Treaty of Passarowitz –, primarily from a Venetian perspective, it describes the military conflict of 1714–1718, originally between only Venice and the Ottoman Empire, with Austria joining in two years later. Finally the author attempts to review the process and outcome of the 1718 peace conference in the light of the relations of the Rebublic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire, using the work of Vendramino Bianchi, the secretary of the Venetian representative during the peace negotiations at Passarowitz as a primary source, that was published in Italian in 1719 in Padua (Bianchi, Vendramino: Istorica Relazione della Pace di Posaroviz di Vendramino Bianchi. Padova, 1719).
Suleiman’s peace. The connection between Ottoman-Hungarian peace treaties and Ottoman tax censuses in Hungary
Starting from the second half of the 15th century, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were separated by the natural border of the rivers Sava and lower Danube, fortified with border castles. With the capture of Belgrade, Zemun, and Sabac, the army of Suleiman I punched through this functional, formally established defense line, which led to the creation of the 150-year-long Ottoman rule in Hungary. During the more than 150 years following the Hungarian-Ottoman peace treaty of 1519, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire came to a peace agreement fourteen times. However, while the treaties of 1503 and 1519 specifically established the border settlements on the Sava-lower Danube line, as did the double committee sent out after the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, the treaties between these never specified border castles or specific border marks. In the 16th century, on the western border of the Ottoman Empire the Ottomans used a unique, one might say genius method not used in other parts of the Empire to legitimize their rule in a region even before conquering it by force. They did not only utilize their army, but their diplomacy and administration as well, to subjugate these regions. The author of this study examines the correlations between the Ottoman-Hungarian peace treaties and the sanjak censuses appraising the taxability of the population, as well as their roles in the border negotiations. Furthermore, the study puts the findings of previous studies regarding the making of sanjak censuses in a broader context and provides a new foundation for these findings.
An “open border” – the effects of a military history paradox
Thoughts about the characteristics of the Kingdom of Hungary’s defense system against the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. After the advance of the Ottoman Empire halted at the middle of the Kingdom of Hungary in the late 16th century, the Habsburg Empire, bearers of the Hungarian crown at the time, and the Ottoman Empire both built their own defense systems. The two empires created thousand kilometers long, similarly structured castle systems. The opposing defense lines were balanced in terms of power. Both sides had a force of approximately 20,000 soldiers. The upkeep of this kind of military force was a significant burden on both empires, and they could only secure their system of strongholds, but couldn’t close the border down. The Treaty of Adrianopole (1568) didn’t draw a clear border, it only aimed to determine the affiliation of the border settlements and the part of the populace that paid taxes to both sides. While the Ottomans ruled over the Christian border area, the Kingdom of Hungary partially reorganized state presence in Ottoman Hungary (royal, palatine, and county rights, and the way noble’s lands were managed) with the help of the military of the border castles and landowners. A peculiar, “open” border area was created, the size of which depended on how large an area the Hungarian and Ottoman border castles collected taxes from. This system of shared rulership (condominium) and the resulting tax structure became the main reason behind the skirmishes, raids, and the constant state of border war. The Treaty of Zsitvatorok (1608) regulated taxation by the Hungarian and Ottoman parties in the border area, sometimes even allowing the presence of the other side’s armed forces within their dominion. This became the norm not only in the border area at this time, but in entire Ottoman Hungary apart from the Temesköz and Szerémség regions. During the early 17th century, due to the Bocskai uprising (1604–1606), and the Western engagements of the Habsburgs, the role of the Hungarian political and military elite, and the armies of the Hungarian aristocracy grew stronger in the governance, financing and military structure of the kingdom’s border areas. Despite the deficiencies of the border castle system, the balance of military power remained intact on the Ottoman border. An important aspect of this was the Hungarian taxation in Ottoman Hungary, and the presence of the soldiers of the border castles.