|Hungary Table of Contents
The Ottoman Empire gradually weakened after Suleyman's death in 1559. Soon, the Ottoman occupation of Hungary continued not so much because of the Turk strength but because of the West's disunity and lack of resolve. Hungarian nobles grew impatient with the Habsburgs' persecution of Protestants and reluctance to take steps to drive out the Turks. Their discontent exploded after the Habsburg imperial army routed a Turkish force at St. Gotthard in 1664. Instead of pressing for concessions, Emperor Leopold I (1657-1705) concluded the Treaty of Vasvar in which he conceded to the Turks more Hungarian territory than they had ever possessed. After Vasvar, even many Catholic magnates turned against the Habsburgs.
After a failed Hungarian plot to throw off Habsburg rule, Leopold suppressed the Hungarian constitution, subjected Royal Hungary to direct absolute rule from Vienna, and harshly repressed Hungarian Protestants, handing over Protestant ministers who refused to deny their faith to work as galley slaves. Hungarian discontent deepened. In 1681 Imre Thokoly, a Transylvanian nobleman, led a rebellion against the Habsburgs and forced Leopold I to convoke the Diet and restore Hungary's constitution and the office of palatine. Sensing weakness, the Turks made their strike against Austria, but Polish forces routed them near Vienna in 1683. A Western campaign then gradually drove the Turks from Hungary, and the sultan surrendered almost all of his Hungarian and Croatian possessions in the Peace of Karlowitz in 1699.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress