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Stephen Bocskai or Istv├ín Bocskai (or Bocskay, (1 January 1557 ÔÇô 29 December 1606) was a Hungarian noble from Transylvania, between 1604-06 the leader of an anti-Habsburg uprising in Royal Hungary (more exactly in today's eastern Slovakia) - partly also in Moravia and Austria - and from 1605-06 the prince of Transylvania.

Born in Kolozsv├írmarker (Cluj-Napocamarker), Bocskay was the most eminent member of the ancient Bocskay family and the son of Gy├Ârgy Bocskay and Krisztina Sulyok. As the chief counsellor of Prince Sigismund B├íthory, he advised his sovereign to form an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor instead of holding to the Ottoman Empire, and rendered important diplomatic services on frequent missions to Praguemarker and Viennamarker.

The enmity towards him from the later Báthory Princes of Transylvania, who confiscated his estates, drove Bocskay to seek protection at the Imperial court in 1599. However, the attempts of Emperor Rudolf II to deprive Royal Hungary of her constitution and the Protestants of their religious liberties speedily alienated Bocskay, especially after the terrible outrages inflicted on the Transylvanians by the imperial generals Giorgio Basta and Giacomo Belgiojoso from 1602 to 1604.
Crown of Stephen Bocskay
To save the independence of Transylvania, Bocskay assisted the Turks. In 1605, as a reward for his part in driving Basta out of Transylvania, the Hungarian Diet assembled at Medgyes/Mediasch (Media┼čmarker) elected him Prince of Transylvania; in response the Ottoman sultan Ahmed I sent a special envoy to greet Bocskay and presented him with a splendid jewelled crown made in Persiamarker. Bocskay refused the royal dignity, but made skillful use of the Turkish alliance.

To save the Hungarian provinces of the Habsburg Monarchy, Archduke Matthias, setting aside his unstable brother Rudolf II, entered into negotiations with Bocskay and concluded the Peace of Vienna on 23 June 1606. The peace guaranteed all the constitutional and religious rights and privileges of the Hungarians both in Transylvania and Royal Hungary. Bocskay was acknowledged as Prince of Transylvania by the Austrian court, and the right of the Transylvanians to elect their own independent princes in the future was officially recognized.

The fortress of Tokajmarker and the counties of Bereg, Szatm├ír and Ugocsa were at the same time ceded to Bocskay, with reversion to Austriamarker if he should die childless. Simultaneously at the ┼Żitava Rivermarker, the Peace of Zsitvatorok ( ) was concluded with the Ottomans, which confirmed the Peace of Vienna. Bocskay survived this diplomatic triumph for only a few months- on 29 December 1606 he was allegedly poisoned in Kassa by his chancellor, Mih├íly K├íthay, who was then hacked to bits by Bocskay's adherents in the town's marketplace.

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