Miklós Zrínyi

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Miklós Zrínyi or Nikola Zrinski (Hungarian: Zrínyi Miklós, Croatian: Nikola Zrinski; January 5, 1620–November 18, 1664) was a Croatian and Hungarian soldier, statesman and poet, member of the Zrinski (Hungarian: Zrínyi) noble family.



Miklós was born in Čakovec (Csáktornya) to Juraj Zrinski and Magdolna Széchy. At the court of Péter Pázmány, he was an enthusiastic student of Hungarian language and literature, although he prioritized military training. From 1635 to 1637, he accompanied Szenkviczy, one of the canons of Esztergom, on a long educative tour through the Italian Peninsula.

Over the next few years, he learned the art of war in defending the Croatian-Hungarian frontier against the Ottoman Empire, and proved himself one of the most important commanders of the age. In 1645, during the closing stages of the Thirty Years' War, he acted against the Swedish troops in Moravia, equipping an army corps at his own expense. At Szkalec he scattered a Swedish division and took 2,000 prisoners. At Eger he saved the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand III, who had been surprised at night in his camp by the offensive of Carl Gustaf Wrangel. Although not enthusiastic for having to fight against his fellow Hungarians of Transylvania, subsequently he routed the army of George I Rákóczi, prince of Transylvania, on the Upper Tisza. For his services, the emperor appointed him captain of Croatia. On his return from the war he married the wealthy Eusebia Drašković.

In 1646 he distinguished himself in the actions against Ottomans. At the coronation of Ferdinand IV of Austria, King of the Germans, King of Hungary, and of Bohemia, he carried the sword of state, and was made ban and captain-general of Croatia. In this double capacity he presided over many Croatian diets, becoming noted for his efforts to defend the political rights of the Croats and insisting that, as regarded Hungary, they were to be looked upon not as partes annexae but as a regnum.

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