Nikola Šubić Zrinski

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Nikola Šubić Zrinski
Zrínyi Miklós
Nicolaus Zrin.jpg
Nikola Šubić Zrinski on a 17th-century print
Ban of Croatia
In office
24 December 1542 – 27 December 1556
Preceded byPetar Keglević
Succeeded byPéter Erdődy
Personal details
Bornc. 1508
Zrin, Kingdom of Croatia
Died(1566-09-07)7 September 1566
Szigetvár, Kingdom of Hungary
Resting placePauline monastery in Sveta Jelena, Croatia
Spouse(s)Katarina Frankopan
Eva of Rosenberg
ParentsNikola III Zrinski
Jelena Karlović
Military service
Battles/warsSiege of Pest (1542)
Battle of Babócsa (1556)
Battle of Moslavina (1562)
Siege of Szigetvár (1566)

Nikola Šubić Zrinski (Croatian pronunciation: [nǐkɔla ʃûbitɕ zrîːɲskiː][1]) or Zrínyi Miklós (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈzriːɲi ˈmikloːʃ]) (1508 – 7 September 1566) was a Croatia-Hungarian[2][3] nobleman and general in the service of the Habsburg, ban of Croatia[4] from 1542-56, and member of the Zrinski noble family. He was known across Europe for his involvement in the Siege of Szigetvár and is today seen as a hero by both Hungarians and Croats.


Portrait of Nikola Šubić Zrinski by Oton Iveković
A portrait by Miklós Barabás
Park dedicated to Nikola Šubić Zrinski in the center of Zagreb

Nikola was born in 1508 as the son of Nikola III Zrinski and Jelena Karlović (sister of future Croatian ban Ivan Karlović) He distinguished himself at the siege of Vienna in 1529. In 1542, he saved the Imperial army from defeat before Pest by intervening with 400 Croats, for which service he was appointed Ban of Croatia.

In 1542 he routed an Ottoman force at the Battle of Somlyo. In 1543 he married Katarina Frankopan, a sister of Count Stjepan Frankopan Ozaljski ("Stephen Frankopan of Ozalj" in English), who placed the whole of her vast estates at his disposal. She bore him many children, among which was his successor Juraj IV Zrinski. The king Ferdinand I gave him large possessions in Hungary and Croatia, and henceforth the Zrinskis–Zrínyis became as much Magyar as Croatian magnates.

As a compensation for his battles with the Ottomans, he was granted the whole area of Međimurje (Muraköz) on 12 March 1546 from King Ferdinand, hence the centre of the Zrinski family has moved from Zrin to the city of Čakovec (Csáktornya), where he rearranged the existing castle.[5][6]

In 1556, Zrinski won a series of victories over the Ottomans, culminating in the battle of Babócsa and thus preventing the fall of Szigetvár.[5] In 1563, on the coronation of the Emperor Maximilian as king of Hungary, Zrinski attended the ceremony at the head of 3000 Croatian and Magyar mounted noblemen, in the vain hope of obtaining the dignity of palatine, vacant by the death of Tamás Nádasdy. Shortly after marrying (in 1564) his second wife, Eva of Rožmberk (Rosenberg), a Bohemian heiress, he hastened southwards to defend the frontier, and defeated the Ottomans at Szeged.

The tomb of Zrinski in Čakovec
Sabre of Zrinski at an exhibition in Međimurje County Museum on the 450th anniversary of the siege of Szigetvár

In 1566, from 5 August to 7 September, his small force (2,300 soldiers) heroically defended the small fortress of Szigetvár against the whole Ottoman host (102,000 soldiers), led by Suleiman the Magnificent in person. The Siege of Szigetvár ended with every remaining member of the garrison, including Šubić Zrinski, in a last desperate sortie.[7] Suleiman the Magnificent had died from a cerebral hemorrhage one day before the Ottomans won the battle.[8]


Nikola Šubić Zrinski was the great-grandfather of Croatian Ban (Viceroy) and Croatian/Hungarian poet Miklós Zrínyi, as well as his younger brother Petar Zrinski. The former wrote the Hungarian epic poem the Peril of Sziget, of which the elder Zrinski is the hero, which has assured Zrinski's place in Hungarian culture. The epic remains in print today and is considered one of the landmarks of Hungarian literature.[9]

A park in Zagreb is named Trg Nikole Šubića Zrinskog after him.[10] Zrinski's last battle was made the subject of a tragedy, Zrinyi: Ein Trauerspiel, by Theodor Körner.[11]

The Order of Nikola Šubić Zrinski is the eighth-ranked honour order given by the Republic of Croatia. It is awarded to Croatian or foreign citizens for acts of heroism.[12] Recipients include 47 military units of the Croatian Armed Forces for valor in the Croatian War of Independence[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pravopisna komisija (1960). Pravopis srpskohrvatskoga književnog jezika. Zagreb: Matica srpska, Matica hrvatska.
  2. ^ The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History, Derek Sayer
  3. ^ The Rise and Fall of the Hubsburg Monarchy (1972) by Victor-L. Tapie;
    "One of the richest lords of the region, Nicholas Zrinsky, a Croat whose name took the form of Zrinyi in ..."
  4. ^ Mucha, Dalibor Kusák, Marta Kadlečíková and Alphonse Marie Mucha, 1992
  5. ^ a b Ferdo Šišić: Povijest Hrvata - Pregled povijesti hrvatskog naroda 1526-1918 - drugi dio, pg. 295
  6. ^ "Zrinski, Nikola IV", Croatian Encyclopedia (in Croatian), Leksikografski zavod Miroslav Krleža, 1999–2009, retrieved 19 April 2014
  7. ^ Count Miklos Zrinyi (1508—1566), Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
  8. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Zrinyi, Miklós". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
  9. ^ Miklós Zrínyi. (2009). Profile, Encyclopædia Britannica Online],; accessed 28 September 2016.
  10. ^ Nikola Šubić Zrinski square, as seen from the map of Zagreb
  11. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Zrinyi, Niklas". Encyclopedia Americana.
  12. ^ Zakon o odlikovanjima i priznanjima Republike Hrvatske Archived 2007-06-11 at the Wayback Machine., Narodne novine 20/95 ("Law on Decorations"); accessed 1 September 2016. (in Croatian)
  13. ^ "Odlikovanja i pohvale ratnim postrojbama i zapovjedništvima Oružanih snaga" (in Croatian). Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia. 26 May 2006.


  • Lendvai, Paul: Die Ungarn: Eine tausendjährige Geschichte, C. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich, 1999 (Title No.021/00218), Chapter 12.
  • Treaty of peace with Germany: Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations... ...signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919, and submitted to the Senate on July 10, 1919 - "the Slavs rescued them from a strangle-hold, namely, Nicholas Zrinsky and John Sobieski. one a Croatian and the other a Pole."

External links[edit]

Nikola Šubić Zrinski
Born: c. 1508 Died: 7 September 1566
Political offices
Preceded by
Petar Keglević
Ban of Croatia
Succeeded by
Péter Erdődy
Preceded by
Gábor Perényi
Master of the treasury
Succeeded by
Juraj Zrinski