Popular Revolt, Religion, and the Habsburg-Ottoman Border in Seventeenth-Century Hungary


ACLS Fellowship Program




This study is both a microhistory of a 1672 popular revolt on the Hungarian border between the Habsburg and Ottoman empires, and an exploration of preconditions leading to a major shift in power in Central Europe. It reassesses the current historical interpretation that Hungarian nobles instigated the revolt to defend constitutional rights against Habsburg absolutism. This interpretation misses the revolt’s most striking features: rebels’ close ties with the Ottomans, their rootedness in popular milieux, and religious opposition to the Counter-Reformation. Based on multi-lingual archival data, this project reconstructs a multi-ethnic (Hungarian-Slav-German) and multi-confessional (Protestant-Orthodox) border society poised to secede from the Habsburg Empire and trigger a war of world historical importance.