Neven Isailović, Croatian Noble Refugees in Late 15th and 16th Century Banat and Transylvania – Preliminary Findings

Neven Isailović - Institute of History, Belgrade
pp. 125-155
Online publication date: 
nobility; migrations; Croats; Banat; Transylvania; 15th century; 16th century

In the late 15th century, the Ottoman pressure on the Kingdom of Croatia within the Hungarian Realm became unbearable and many nobles decided to leave their native land and resettle in another part of the realm, where their status would be recognised and service to the ruler continued. The nobility of southern Croatia sought refuge in various parts of Hungary, among which were Banat and Transylvania. Their arrival to the easternmost part of the state mostly happened before the division between the Habsburgs and the Zápolyas and their loyalty after 1526 was usually dictated by the majority within the community they settled into. In Banatian and Transylvanian sources the Croats are identified by their conspicuous surnames and the epithet Croatus (Horváth) and, sometimes, by their noble predicates which specified their original main estate. Many of them acquired possessions in their new places of residence, married into local noble families and performed various duties, mostly as commanders of the cavalry or castellans of important fortresses. Even though they adapted to the new environment, it seems that the Croats kept close to each other, which can be observed through their documents, connections and family ties. Putting aside the most famous example of George Martinuzzi, this overview will include the short case studies of Martinuzzi’s compatriots – Mark Mišljenović of Kamičac, the Kučićs of Razvađe, the Šušalićs of Lukarić, Nicholas Kolunić, the Benkovićs and Bojničićs of Plavno, and Cosma Petričević of Raduč.