The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Bethlen-Gabor
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|Edition of 1920. See also Gabriel Bethlen on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
BETHLEN-GABOR, bĕt-lĕm gä'bôr, or GABRIEL BETHLEN, Prince of Transylvania: b. 1580; d. 1629. He was a member of a prominent Protestant family of upper Hungary, which also held large estates in Transylvania. At the age of 17 be entered the service of Gabriel Bathori, prince of Transylvania, fought under his orders and then repaired to Constantinople, where his courage gained him the esteem of the Turks. Prompted by ambition, he became ungrateful to his first benefactor, and after bringing Bathori into bad odor with both the Transylvamans and the Turks, managed to make the latter declare war and actually headed a Turkish army against him. His treachery was successful and in 1613 he was proclaimed prince of Transylvania in defiance of the Emperor. Shortly after, having succeeded in stirring up the Hungarians against the Emperor Frederick II, he took several towns and in 1620 was chosen king of Hungary. Thereafter, supported by Turks and Tartars, he entered Austrian territory, laid waste Moravia, hemmed in the imperial army and was on the eve of gaining a complete victory when the refusal of the Turks to undergo a winter campaign defeated all his hopes. The approach of Tilly compelled him to withdraw. The Protestants of Germany were his allies, and when they were worsted at the battle of Prague Bethlen-Gabor concluded peace with Ferdmand II, receiving Kaschau, seven Hungarian counties adjoining Transylvania, the principalities of Oppeln and Ratibor in Silesia and the rank of Prince of the Empire. In 1625 he married Catharine of Brandenburg and became again involved in the Thirty Years War. He at length retired from the strife and gave his attention to the internal affairs of Transylvania. He was one of “the three great Magyars” of his time, was an able administrator and a promoter of sciences and literature. While preparing for a new war against the imperialists he died of dropsy. He is said to have participated in 42 battles.