Peasant Revolt of Babolna
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|Budai Nagy Antal revolt|
|Transylvanian peasants and petty nobles||Transylvanian aristocracy|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Antal Nagy de Buda †||László Csáki (Voivode of Transylvania)|
|40 000 man||unknown|
The Budai Nagy Antal revolt, or Bobâlna revolt[note 1] (Hungarian Erdélyi paraszt felkelés, that is Transylvanian peasant revolt, Romanian: Răscoala de la Bobâlna meaning Bobâlna Revolt), of 1437 in Transylvania, was the only significant popular revolt in the Kingdom of Hungary prior to the great peasant war of 1514. The event is named after the leader of the revolt, Antal Nagy de Buda, or is simply called the "Transylvanian Peasant revolt".
Events leading to the revolt
In order to tackle financial burdens resulting from the Hussite wars and military campaigns against the Ottoman Empire, King Sigismund put lower value silver coins into circulation in Hungary. György Lépes, the Bishop of Transylvania, decided in 1434 not to collect taxes until this money was used; however, he demanded the arrears of the tithes in one sum three years later, in 1437, when valuable golden coins were issued again by the royal treasury. The peasants, having received revenues in silver coins earlier, were not able to pay taxes in the new valuable currency. When the peasants refused to pay, the bishop excommunicated them. The peasants were also aggrieved over the unwillingness of their lords to respect their right of free movement. Furthermore, the bishop required payments from petty noblemen and even from Vlach (Romanian) peasants who did not belong to the Roman Catholic Church.
The rebellion breaks out
The rebellion broke out in northern Transylvania, but soon spread to the counties of Szatmár (Satu Mare) and Szabolcs. In June 1437, an army of Hungarian and Vlach (Romanian) peasants built a camp on a hill at Bábolna (Romanian: Bobâlna). They were joined by petty noblemen and priests. They proclaimed and demanded the recognition of an Estate of their own, called universitas Hungarorum et Valachorum - Estate of Hungarians and Romanians and were led by a poor nobleman called Antal Nagy de Buda and five other captains (three Hungarian peasants, a Romanian peasant, and a burgher from Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca)). The rebels sent envoys to Transylvanian voivode László Csák. The voivode promptly executed the envoys, but after the rebel troops scored a victory over his forces, he feigned willingness to negotiate. On 6 July at Kolozsmonostor (Cluj-Mănăştur) a contract was signed between the parties that met many of the rebels' demands. Both parties also sent envoys to King Sigismund of Hungary asking for arbitration.
However, on 16 September the Transylvanian nobility, the Saxon burghers, and the Székely free guards formed an alliance of mutual aid, which was termed the Union of Kápolna (Căpâlna). The alliance was designed to protect Transylvania from Tatar and Ottoman incursions, and to support feudal landlords in the noble counties (Comitates) in their fight against the peasants.
A new treaty with the rebels was signed on 6 October at Apáti (Apateu), which repealed some aspects of the previous agreement. The new agreement exempted petty nobles from paying taxes and thus left the peasants alone with their requests. When Sigismund died in December, the allies attacked and defeated the rebels in a pitched battle. Antal Nagy de Buda died on the battlefield. They also besieged Kolozsvár, where the surviving rebels found refuge, and took the town in January 1438.
The leaders of the revolt were executed at Torda (Turda), while Kolozsvár was deprived of its urban privileges and its inhabitants declared peasants. On 2 February 1438 the alliance set out by the Union of Kápolna was renewed; it later became the Union of Three Nations.
Hungarian author Géza Hegedüs wrote an historic novel about this event titled Erdőntúli veszedelem (Danger Beyond the Forest).
- Romanian history writing prefers using "Bobâlna Revolt", by the place where the peasant rebels first gathered (Bábolna/Bobâlna).
- Chronicle of Johannes de Thurocz
- Held, Joseph (1977). "The Peasant Revolt of Babolna, 1437-1438". Slavic Review. 36 (1): 25–38.