Michael the Brave

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Michael the Brave,

d. 1601, prince of Walachia (1593–1601), of Transylvania (1599–1600), and of Moldavia (1600). Michael was one of Romania's greatest medieval rulers, as well as a celebrated military commander. Having been obliged to pay a large sum to the Ottoman emperor for his appointment as prince of Walachia, he did away with his Ottoman creditors, who had advanced him the money, by summoning them to his palace and then having them massacred. This act was imitated throughout Walachia and became known as the Walachian Vespers. Michael repeatedly routed an Ottoman retaliatory army with the help of Sigismund 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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, prince of Transylvania, and mercenaries; Michael's subjects were oppressively taxed to pay for the victory. In 1596 the sultan made peace, leaving Walachia virtually independent. Michael now turned to the conquest of Transylvania, which he accomplished after defeating (1599) Andrew Cardinal Báthory, to whom Sigismund had given up his throne. Initially, Michael had the support of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf IIRudolf II,
1552–1612, Holy Roman emperor (1576–1612), king of Bohemia (1575–1611) and of Hungary (1572–1608), son and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II.
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 and he was able to unite all Romanians under his sole rule. However, Rudolf II soon came to suspect Michael's increased power, and when Transylvanian nobles provoked a rebellion against Michael, the imperial army in Hungary under Gen. George Basta came to their aid. Defeated, Michael fled and presented himself at the imperial court in Vienna, where he was pardoned and reinstated as governor of Transylvania. Returning, he defeated Sigismund Báthory, who had renewed his claim to the principality, but Michael was shortly afterward assassinated on the order of General Basta. After his death Walachia and Moldavia reverted to Ottoman control, while Transylvania came under Austrian domination; the union of the three areas became a national ideal in succeeding generations, and Michael himself a national hero.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Michael the Brave


(Mihai Viteazul). Born 1558; died Aug. 9, 1601. Hospodar of Wallachia from 1592.

Michael fought against Turkish domination and for a centralized Rumanian state. He was supported by the Muscovite state and by the Ukrainian cossacks. In 1595, Wallachian troops under Michael’s command defeated the Turks in the battle of Calugareni (between Giurgiu and Bucharest); Michael proved himself in this battle to be a brilliant general. In 1600, Michael united for a short time Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania and began calling himself “hospodar of Wallachia, Transylvania, and all the Moldavian land.” Michael was killed by boyars who were dissatisfied with his policy of centralization.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
If, in ancient history, Burebista paid for his ambition of uniting the Geto-Dacian tribes, Michael the Brave had the same destiny later on.
Burebista, Michael the Brave and Alexandra Ioan Cuza are three leading figures of our history united by the same dream and the same destiny.
Michael the Brave's ascension and ruling took place alongside the creation of a common anti-ottoman front named "The Christian League", initiated by the Habsburgs, that was subsequently joined by Spain, Venice, the Papacy and, subsequently, the Italian duchies of Tuscany, Mantua and Ferrara, as well as the Romanian countries.
Pursuant to these victories, Michael the Brave became famous in Europe and was considered "one of the bravest, strongest and wisest princes living nowadays".