Sigismund Báthory

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Sigismund Báthory (Hungarian: Báthory Zsigmond, Romanian: Sigismund Bathory) (1572 – March 27, 1613) was Prince of Transylvania.



Hailing from the Báthory family's Somlyó branch, he was the son of Christopher Báthory, Voivod of Transylvania, and nephew of Stephen Báthory, King of Poland. He was elected prince in his father's lifetime, but being quite young at his fathers death, the government was entrusted to a regency.

In 1588 he attained his majority, and joined the league of Christian princes against the Turk. The obvious danger of such a course caused no small anxiety in the principality, and the diet of Torda even went so far as to demand a fresh coronation oath from Sigismund. Upon his refusal to render it, the members threatened him with deposition. Ultimately Bathory got the better of his opponents, and executed all whom he got into his hands (1595).

In 1595, at Gyulafehérvár, Sigismund Bathory signed a treaty with Michael the Brave, the Voivod of Wallachia, in which Wallachia came under sovereignty of Transylvania, requiring to Sigismund to send aid to Michael the Brave for fighting the Ottomans.

On August 13, 1595 at the Battle of Călugăreni near the Neajlov river, Michael defeated a Turkish army led by Sinan Pasha. Despite the victory Michael, having too few troops to continue the war, retreated toward Transylvania. Joining Sigismund Bathory's 40,000-strong army led by István Bocskay, they liberated Târgovişte (October 8, 1595), Bucharest (October 12, 1595) and Brăila. Wallachia was liberated on October 29, 1595.

The turning-point of his career was his separation from his wife, the archduchess Maria Christina of Austria (daughter of Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria), in 1599, an event followed by his own abdication the same year, in order that he might take orders. It was on this occasion that he offered the throne of Transylvania to Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary, in exchange for the duchy of Opole in Silesia. As Duke of Opole he also was a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire.

In April 1598 Sigismund resigned as Prince of Transylvania in favor of Emperor Rudolf, reversed his decision in October 1598, and then resigned again in favor of Cardinal Andrew Báthory, his cousin. This allowed Transylvania to fall under the influence of the King of Poland. Michael the Brave reestablished an alliance with Emperor Rudolf, began a campagain against Andrew on October 5, 1599, and became Prince of Transylvania in November 1599, while the Habsburg general Giorgio Basta entered Transylvania from the west at the same time.

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