Prince Ferenc Rhédey of Transylvania


May 28, 2022

Count Ferenc Rhédey of Kisrédei (Oradea, circa 1610 - Huszt, May 13, 1667) Prince of Transylvania between 1657 and 1658. The son of Ferenc Rhédey, the chief captain of Oradea and the son of Kata Károlyi, the son-in-law of Prince István Bethlen.


The former prince, who resigned from compulsion in favor of György I. Rákóczi in December 1630, after barely three months of reign, became the stepfather of Ferenc Rhédey, as his mother married him in 1623 after the death of his father. Rhédey faithfully served the people of Rákóczi, for which György I. Rákóczi was appointed chief lord of Küküllő County and a member of the princely council in 1637. He even received the position of chief mare of Maramures from the old prince in the summer of 1648, but György Rákóczi Jr. also had a trustee, as he remained a princely adviser. From January 1657, together with Ákos Barcsai and István Serédi, he was the governor of Transylvania. II. György Rákóczi was one of the commanders of the Transylvanian army in his unfortunate campaign in Poland. On November 2, 1657, the Parliament of Gyulafehérvár resigned due to the war started without the permission of the port. György Rákóczi chose his trusted man, Ferenc Rhédey, as his prince. However, before the election of the prince, Rákóczi made an agreement with the orders that if he was the same as the Porta, the new prince would return power to him. The Transylvanian parliament and Rhédey himself accepted Rákóczi's offer, who left Transylvania temporarily after resigning. On January 9, 1658, however, the parliament again believed in Rákóczi. Rhédey resigned in favor of Rákóczi, which the contemporary historian János Szalárdi no longer understood: As soon as the Transylvanians chose Ferenc Rhédei as their prince, he was reassured by a huge emperor, allowing him to be sent a letter from Athnám. And the Transylvanians, without the fame of the emperor, laid it down in the principality; or is it not a great mistake, and is it a transgression of the Transylvanians? The fact that Rákóczi organized an army of border soldiers, nobles and locals in the Partium, placed the Hajduks and Szeklers next to him, and also moved to a key castle of Oradea, probably contributed to the decision. Rhédey did not have any armed forces at his disposal, although Szalárdi later became right, because II. The re-election of György Rákóczi against Ferenc Rhédey proved to be a serious mistake, as the Porta declared that Rákóczi could no longer be a prince of Transylvania. However, at first the Turks did not act armed against Rákóczi, instead they tried to settle the case with several calls. Finally, in the summer of 1658, the Turkish Grand Vizier personally led the revenge campaign. Rhédey was not counted on by the Turks, and after taking over Jenő's castle, he appointed Ákos Barcsai prince of Transylvania in September. Seeing the necessity of Rákóczi's future fall, Rhédey retreated more and more from political life, although he still kept in touch with György Rákóczi Jr., who cramped his principality. The struggle of Rákóczi and Barcsai, who was supported by the Turks, was still in full swing, when Emperor Leopold I elevated Ferenc Rhédey to the rank of count on January 13, 1659, hoping that this would gain another respectable believer in Transylvania. Rhédey was also wanted by the Turks, and II. After the fall and death of György Rákóczi, he once again offered the principality to him, László's son and nephew, Dávid Zólyomi, but in September 1661 Pasha Ali made Mihály Apafi the prince of Transylvania. Rhédey remained a princely adviser at the time of the new, unconditionally loyal prince. He supported Reformed church institutions, especially schools. He died on May 13, 1667, in Huszt Castle.