JOHN HUNYADI(YANOSH KORVIN)
John Hunyadi was born somewhere about 1400 in a noble Wallachian family, settled down in Hungary. His father Vaik worked for king Sigizmund as the chief court officer, managing state administration as well. For a long time the family used to be called “the Wallachians”, but in 1409 Vaik received the Transylvanian citadel Hunyad as a present and the family began to use the name of Hunyadi. Because of many posts he occupied, young John Hunadi enlarged his horizons to a state and even European scale. At the end of 1430 he joined Sigizmund, who was striving for being crowned the Rome Emporer. In 1433 he knighted John into his court knighthood. In 1436 John took part in Sigizmund’s Czech campaign and became a member of the King’s Council.
In his struggle against the Ottomans, John entered Serbia up to the vicinities of Belgrad, where he defeated bey Issa’s army. In the middle of March 1442 bey Mezid committed outrages near Dulafehervar (Transylvania). Hunyadi arrived there only a few days before and his weak army was first defeated on March 18, but on March 22 he made up on the leaving Turks and beat them at the Iron Gates. Hunyadi’s new victory raised a wave of enthusiasm and hope in the whole Christian world because it was the first great victory of a European army over the Ottman one.
In 1443 Hunyadi gathered an army, prepared for an aggressive war, and on July 22 set off southwards to join Vladislav’s campaign. In August 1454 Hunyadi protected Serbia and made Mehmed II to raise the siege of Smederevo. In 1456 he stood at the head of the army, besieged in Belgrad and defeated the Turks. He died of plague on 11.08.1456 in Belgrad.
Europe before Vladislav Varnenchick and John Hunyadi’s campaigns in 1443-1444
At the end of the 14th century a great part of Balkan territories went to the Turks. Bulgaria completely lost its independence after the Nickopol battle in 1396. The Ottoman army crossed the Danube and devastated Wallachian and Hungarian territories. In 1441 and 1442 the remarkable Transylvanian leader John Hunyadi defeated the Ottoman Turks.
His victory gave a hope of a successful military action against the conquerors in the future. Unfortunately, Hungarian state was too weak to undertake the hardship of the struggle all by itself. It had been shaken by the impressive anti-feudal revolt of the serfs in Transylvania in 1437-1438.
Another calamity for Hungary was the civic war, unleashed in 1440-1442 between the upholders of the young Polish-Hungarian king Vladislav III Yagello, and Elisabeth, the widow of king Albrecht, who aimed at keeping the Hungarian crown for her infant son. The struggle between the two sides was hard and prolonged and didn’t stop even after Elisabeth’s death in December, 1442. John Hunyadi firmly supported Vladislav and believed that only a large-scale military alliance was able to stop the invaders. So, John began to agitate the neighbouring countries, threatened by the Turkish invasion, for support.
When the news of John Hunyadi’s victories over the Turks in 1441-1442 spread over Europe, Pope Eugene IV understood that only Hungary was able to make his striving for the enforcement of the Pope authority and enlargement of Catholic influence on the Balkans come true. All his future efforts were directed to the fulfilment of the purpose. Juliano Chezarini, a Pope legate, was sent to Hungary and he directed his efforts to pacification of the hostile ruling classes and preparation of the anti-Turkish Crusade.