Captaincies of the Kingdom of Hungary

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Captaincies of Kingdom of Hungary around 1572.

The Captaincies of the Kingdom of Hungary (Hungarian: Magyar királyi főkapitányságok) were administrative divisions, military districts in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Ottoman Empire meant a constant threat to the kingdom therefore the Habsburg Hungarian kings needed to establish a well-working military administration. The captaincy (főkapitányság) was administered by the Royal Captain-general of the Captaincy.

In 1542, the Hungarian kingdom, primarily for military and administrative purposes, was divided into two captaincies, Captaincy of Cisdanubia (largely present-day Slovakia) and Captaincy of Transdanubia (the remaining Royal Hungary).[1] Captaincy of Győr was founded in 1556. In 1563 Captaincy of Lower Hungary was established at the regions of present-day western and central Slovakia. By 1566, Kanizsa at southwestern Transdanubia also evolved into a new captaincy.[2]

Irrespective of the military districts, there were coexistent superior (nemesi - noble) captaincies,[2] with their own captain-generals, however their role was different (organization of insurrectio, logistics etc.).


Superior (nemesi - noble) captaincies[edit]

  • Captaincy of Cisdanubia (from 1542)
  • Captaincy of Transdanubia (from 1542)
  • Captaincy of Upper Hungary (superior) (from 1554?)
  • Captaincy of Croatia-Slavonia

Captaincies of Transdanubia[edit]

Captaincy of Győr[edit]

The Captaincy of Győr (also called Duna-Balaton Köz) was located mainly at the western parts of Kingdom of Hungary (the territories between lake Balaton and river Danube). The captaincy was established in 1556, because of newly arisen military and administrative concerns,[3] though it formally worked as a separate district from 1554.[4] Its seat was in town of Győr. In 1594, the Ottomans captured Győr,[5] however the united armies reconquered it in 1598.[6]

Captaincy of Kanizsa[edit]

The Captaincy of Kanizsa or Captaincy of Balaton-Drávaköz was established in 1566.[2] Its territory was situated mainly between the Lake Balaton and River Drava. Initially, the main military center of the southern territories was in Szigetvár,[7] however, in 1566 the town fell to the Turks. The seat got to the newly formed captaincy of Kanizsa.[7] In 1600 Kanizsa also fell. In 1607 Körmend became the new center of the reorganized captaincy.[7]

Captaincies of Northern Hungary[edit]

Captaincy of Lower Hungary[edit]

The Captaincy of Lower Hungary (Alsó-Magyarország[8] in Hungarian, also called Bányavárosok, Bányavidék and Dunán-innen[9]) was established in 1563 as Article of 16 of 1563 stipulated.[9][10] Its territory was located mainly at region of present-day western and central Slovakia. Its headquarters was in Nitra, and later, in accordance with the military situation, in Šurany (from 1568 to 1581), Levice (from 1581 to 1589), Nové Zámky (from 1589 to 1663) and from 1663 in Komárno.[11]

Captaincy of Upper Hungary[edit]

The Captaincy of Upper Hungary (Hungarian: Felső-Magyarországi Főkapitányság or Kassai Főkapitányság) was located mainly at the northeastern parts of Kingdom of Hungary (mainly present-day eastern Slovakia, Carpathian Ruthenia and northeastern part of the Great Hungarian Plain). In 1554 town of Košice became its seat.[7] Its Captain-general was usually called just "Captain of Košice" (Kassai kapitány).[12]

Captaincies in Croatia and Slavonia[edit]

Captaincy of Croatia[edit]

Captaincy of Slavonia (also called Vend in Hungarian)[edit]



  1. ^ Pálffy 1999, p. 28.
  2. ^ a b c Pálffy 1999, p. 92.
  3. ^ Pálffy 1999, p. 63.
  4. ^ Imre Szántó, A végvári rendszer kiépítése és fénykora Magyarországon, 1541-1593, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1980, p. 40
  5. ^ Pálffy 1999, p. 142.
  6. ^ Pálffy 1999, p. 151.
  7. ^ a b c d "Zala vármegye". Magyar Katolikus Lexikon.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "katolikus" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Pálffy 1999, p. 6.
  10. ^ Hadtörténelmi közlemények, Volume 21, 1974, p. 36
  11. ^ Július Bartl, Slovak History: Chronology & Lexicon, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2002, p. 62
  12. ^ "Felső-magyarországi főkapitányság". A PALLAS NAGY LEXIKONA.