Principality of Transylvania (1711–1867)

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(Grand) Principality of Transylvania
(Groß)Fürstentum Siebenbürgen (de)
Erdélyi (Nagy)Fejedelemség (hu)
(Marele) Principat al Transilvaniei (ro)
Land of the Hungarian Crown
Crown land the Habsburg Monarchy (1711-1804) and the Austrian Empire (1804-1867)

Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location of Transylvania
Grand Principality of Transylvania, 1859
Capital Sibiu (Hermannstadt) 1711–1791, 1848–1861
Cluj (Klausenburg) 1791–1848, 1861–1867
 •  1711–1740 Charles III (first)
 •  1848-1867 Franz Joseph I (last)
 •  Rákóczi's Revolt crushed 1711
 •  Immigration of Transylvanian Landler 1734–1756
 •  Revolt of Horea 1784
 •  Hungarian Revolution 1848
 •  Incorporated into Hungary 1867
Today part of  Romania

The Principality of Transylvania, from 1765 Grand Principality of Transylvania, was a crown land of the Habsburg Monarchy and a constituent land of the Austrian Empire. The Habsburgs recognized that Transylvania was part of the Kingdom of Hungary and ruled the area as Kings of Hungary,[1] although the territory was not incorporated into "Hungary proper" until 1867, when Austria-Hungary was established.

During Hungarian Revolution of 1848 Transylvania became fully integrated into Hungary, however, after the fall of the revolution, the March Constitution of Austria defined that the Principality of Transylvania as being a separate crown land that is entirely independent of Hungary.[2]


In the Great Turkish War the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I had occupied the vassal Ottoman Principality of Transylvania and forced Prince Michael I Apafi to acknowledge his overlordship in his capacity as King of Hungary. Upon his death in 1690, Emperor Leopoeld decreed the Diploma Leopoldinum, which affiliated the Transylvanian territory with the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1697 Michael's son and heir Prince Michael II Apafi finally renounced Transylvania in favour of Leopold; the transfer to the Habsburg lands was confirmed by the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz between the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire.

Transylvanian estates:
  Transylvanian Saxons
  Hungarian counties

After Rákóczi's War of Independence had failed, the Peace of Szatmár was concluded in 1711: Habsburg control over Transylvania was consolidated, and the Princes of Transylvania were replaced with Habsburg imperial governors (Gubernatoren). In 1765 Maria Theresa and her son Emperor Joseph II proclaimed the Grand Principality of Transylvania, consolidating the special separate status of Transylvania within the Habsburg Monarchy, established by the Diploma Leopoldinum in 1691.

From about 1734 onwards, southern Transylvania became the settlement area of German-speaking Transylvanian Landler expellees, Crypto-Protestants from the Habsburg hereditary lands of Upper Austria, Styria and Carinthia, who were exiled to the easternmost outpost of the Habsburg Monarchy. The area around Sibiu (Hermannstadt) had been colonized by Transylvanian Saxons since medieval times; here the Landler had to settle in regions devastated during the Great Turkish War.

The majority of the Transylvanian population was Romanian, many of them peasants working for Hungarian magnates under the precarious conditions of serfdom. The 1784 Revolt of Horea, Cloșca and Crișan, however, and all demands of political equality were of no avail.

During the 1848 Revolutions, the Hungarian insurgents called for the re-unification of Transylvania with Hungary—opposed by Romanian (Wallachian) revolutionaries led by Avram Iancu—, but also for the abolition of serfdom. After the Hungarian revolt was crushed, Transylvania remained under military administration for several years. In 1853, the Transylvanian Military Frontier, which existed from 1762, was abolished and again incorporated into Transylvania.

In 1866 the Transylvanian Diet voted for the affiliation with Hungary, which was accomplished in January 1867. With the subsequent Austro-Hungarian Compromise (Ausgleich), the centuries-long autonomous status of Hungarian nobility, Székelys and Transylvanian Saxons ended and the Grand Principality of Transylvania was incorporated into the Kingdom of Hungary,[citation needed] itself a constituent Land of the Crown of Saint Stephen within the Dual Monarchy.


Before its abolition in 1867, the Principality of Transylvania bordered the Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary to the northwest and west, the Habsburg Bukovina to the northeast, the Habsburg Military Frontier to the southwest, and the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia to the south and east.


Year Total Romanians Hungarians and Székelys Germans Notes
1712-1713 34% 47% 19% An official estimate by the Verwaltungsgericht (Austrian administrative authority) from 1712-1713[3]
1720 806,221 49.6% 37.2% 12.2%
1730 ~725,000 57.9% 26.2% 15.1%
1765 ~1,000,000 55.9% 26% 12%
1784 1,440,986 - - -
1790[4] 1,465,000 50.8% 30.4% -
1835 - 62.3% 23.3% 14.3%
1850 2,073,372 59.1% 25.9% 9.3%


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Art. 1741 XVIII, 1.§
  2. ^ Austrian Constitution of 4 March 1849. (Section I, Art. I and Section IX., Art. LXXIV)
  3. ^ Trócsányi, Zsolt (2002). A NEW REGIME AND AN ALTERED ETHNIC PATTERN (1711–1770) (Demographics), In: Béla Köpeczi, HISTORY OF TRANSYLVANIA Volume II. From 1606 to 1830, Columbia University Press, New York, 2002, p. 2-527, ISBN 0-88033-491-6
  4. ^ Peter Rokai – Zoltan Đere – Tibor Pal – Aleksandar Kasaš, Istorija Mađara, Beograd, 2002, pages 376–377.