Croatian–Slovene Peasant Revolt

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A non-contemporary representation of the execution of Matija Gubec at the square in front of st. Mark's Church in Zagreb, by Oton Iveković (1912)
Statue of Matija Gubec, St. Mark's Square, Zagreb, Croatia

The Croatian–Slovene Peasant Revolt (Slovene: hrvaško-slovenski kmečki upor), Gubec's Rebellion (Croatian: Gupčeva buna) or Gubec's peasant uprising of 1573 was a large peasant revolt in the territory that nowadays belongs to Croatia and Slovenia. The revolt, sparked by cruel treatment of serfs by Baron Ferenc Tahy, ended after 12 days with the defeat of the rebels and bloody retribution by the nobility.


In the late 16th century, the threat of Ottoman incursions strained the economy of the southern flanks of the Holy Roman Empire, and feudal lords continually increased their demands on the peasantry. In Croatian Zagorje, this was compounded by cruel treatment of peasants by baron Ferenc Tahy and his warring with neighbouring barons over land. When multiple complaints to the emperor went unheard, the peasants conspired to rebel with their peers in the neighbouring provinces of Styria and Carniola and with the lower classes of townspeople.


The rebellion broke out simultaneously in large parts of Croatia, Styria, and Carniola on 28 January 1573. The rebels' political program was to replace the nobility with peasant officials answerable directly to the emperor, and to abolish all feudal holdings and obligations of the Roman Catholic Church. A peasant government was formed with Matija Gubec,[1] Ivan Pasanac and Ivan Mogaić as members. Far-reaching plans were drawn up, including abolition of provincial borders, opening of highways for trade, and self-rule by the peasants.

The captain of the rebels, Ilija Gregorić, planned an extensive military operation to secure victory for the revolt. Each peasant household provided one man for his army, which met with some initial success; their revolutionary goals alarmed the nobility, however, which raised armies in response.


On 5 February,[2] Uskok captain and baron Jobst Joseph von Thurn (Serbo-Croatian: Josip Turn) led an army of 500 Uskoks from Kostanjevica and some German soldiers[3] that defeated a rebel detachment of Nikola Kupinič at Krško (in Lower Styria),[2] which was the first larger rebel defeat.[3] This rapidly weakened the rebellion in Carniola and Styria.[2]

The next day, another rebel force was defeated near Samobor. On 9 February, the decisive Battle of Stubičko polje was fought. Gubec and his 10,000 men resisted fiercely, but after a bloody four-hour battle the baronal army defeated and captured Gubec. The revolt failed.

Retribution was brutal: in addition to the 3,000 peasants who died in the battle, many captives were hanged or maimed. Matija Gubec was publicly tortured and executed on 15 February. Officers Petar Ljubojević, Vuk Suković and Dane Bolčeta (who were Orthodox), and Juraj Martijanović and Tomo Tortić (Catholics) were all sentenced to life in prison and lost all their property.[4]


The revolt and torture of Gubec acquired legendary status in Croatia and Slovenia. It has inspired many writers and artists, including the writers Miroslav Krleža and August Šenoa, the poet Anton Aškerc and the sculptors Antun Augustinčić and Stojan Batič. Šenoa's 1877 novel was a basis for Anno Domini 1573, a 1975 feature film by Vatroslav Mimica. Gubec-beg, the first Croatian rock opera (1975), was also inspired by the events.

A museum near Oršić Castle in Gornja Stubica and one in Krško (Slovenia) are dedicated to the revolt.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vojna enciklopedija. Belgrade: Redaction of Vojna enciklopedija. 1972. pp. book 3, p 347. 
  2. ^ a b c Belgrade (Serbia). Vojni muzej Jugoslovenske narodne armije (1968). Fourteen Centuries of Struggle for Freedom. Military Museum. p. xxvi. 
  3. ^ a b Владимир Ћоровић (1933). Историја Југославије. Народно дело. p. 326. 
  4. ^ Klaić 1928, p. 14.


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