John II Sigismund Zápolya

John II Sigismund Zápolya

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John II Sigismund Zápolya (Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

: Zápolya/Szapolyai János Zsigmond, Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

: Ivan Žigmund Zapolja) (18 July 1540 in Buda
For detailed information see: History of Buda CastleBuda is the western part of the Hungarian capital Budapest on the west bank of the Danube. The name Buda takes its name from the name of Bleda the Hun ruler, whose name is also Buda in Hungarian.Buda comprises about one-third of Budapest's...

, Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 – 14 March 1571, Gyulafehérvár, Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

) was King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

 from 1540 to 1570 and Prince of Transylvania from 1570–1571.


The son of King John I
John Zápolya
John Zápolya was King of Hungary from 1526 to 1540. His rule was disputed by Archduke Ferdinand I, who also claimed the title King of Hungary between 1526 and 1540. He was the voivode of Transylvania before his coronation.- Biography :...

 and Isabella Jagiełło, he succeeded his father as an infant. For much of his reign the country was governed by his mother, Isabella, with the support of Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...



John passed the Edict of Torda, the first broad decree of religious freedom in the modern history of Europe (1568), and supported the establishment of the Unitarian Church of Transylvania
Unitarian Church of Transylvania
The Unitarian Church of Transylvania is a church of the Unitarian denomination, based in the city of Cluj in the Principality of Transylvania, present day in Romania...

. John encouraged respect for and open dialogue between all religious viewpoints; he sponsored a public debate between Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and Unitarians. Other religious groups, including Jews, Muslims, and the numerous Orthodox, were granted tolerance but not legal guarantees of freedom.


John II abdicated as King of Hungary in favor of the Habsburgs in 1570. He then became the first Prince of Transylvania (1570–1571). His will left the throne of Transylvania to his treasurer, Gáspár Békés
Gáspár Bekes
Gáspár de Kornyath Bekes was a Hungarian noble who fought with Stephen Báthory for the throne of Transylvania after the death of John II Sigismund Zápolya in 1571...

, but the nobles did not honor his wishes and elected Stephen Báthory as their voivode. This led to a brief civil war, which ended in Báthory's victory.