Bethlen, Gabriel


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Bethlen, Gabriel

(bĕth`lən), 1580–1629, prince of Transylvania (1613–29). He was chief adviser of Stephen BocskayBocskay, Stephen
, 1557–1606, Hungarian noble, voivode [governor] (1604–6) and prince (1605–6) of Transylvania. Seeking to secure the independence of Transylvania, he supported his nephew, Prince Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania, first against the
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 and was elected prince after the assassination of Gabriel BáthoryBáthory
, Pol. Batory, Hungarian noble family. Stephen Báthory, 1477–1534, a loyal adherent of John I of Hungary (John Zápolya), was made (1529) voivode [governor] of Transylvania.
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. A Protestant, though tolerant toward all religions, he allied himself (1619) with the Protestant Frederick the Winter KingFrederick the Winter King,
1596–1632, king of Bohemia (1619–20), elector palatine (1610–20) as Frederick V. The Protestant diet of Bohemia deposed the Roman Catholic King Ferdinand (Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II) and chose Frederick as king.
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 and overran Hungary, of which he was elected king (1620). After Frederick's defeat at the White Mt. (1620), Bethlen signed with Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand IIFerdinand II,
1578–1637, Holy Roman emperor (1619–37), king of Bohemia (1617–37) and of Hungary (1618–37); successor of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias.
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 the Treaty of Nikolsburg (1621), by which he renounced the royal title but retained control of seven Hungarian counties and received the rank of prince of the empire. He continued his relations with the Protestant powers opposing the emperor in the Thirty Years War and married the sister of the elector of Brandenburg; however, he kept the interests of Transylvania paramount. He was a wise administrator and encouraged the development of law and learning.