|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|
Pascu p. 131 -132:
TRANSYLVANIA UNDER THE HABSBURGS (pp. 130-149)
(In the period in question, Transylvania was considerably larger than its historical territory; it included also several counties in Northern Hungary, with the towns Kassa, Munkács, Késmárk, Bártfa and Eperjes.)
The Austrian rule entailed in Transylvania a powerful counter-Reformation. The aim was to annihilate the vigorous Protestant atmosphere which characterized Transylvania at that time. Caraffa was called "the executioner of Eperjes". In the last few years of the 17th century, 40 Protestant priests were taken as galley-slaves; 158 a large number of Protestant churches and schools were confiscated. In spite of this persecution, areas with Reformed and Unitarian congregations survived in Transylvania. Least persecuted were the Lutherans, most of whom belonged to the Saxon population.
The Banat was under Turkish rule, between Hungary, Transylvania, Serbia and the Turkish empire, an area where large troops were moving in all directions and exposed to very severe devastation; most of its earlier inhabitants were killed or driven away. It was liberated from Turkish rule at the turn of the 17th century. As also mentioned by Pascu (p. 135), it was declared crown property. The Neoacquistica Commissio was a commission set up by the Austrian government to ensure the non-Hungarian majority in the Banat which would make it easier to govern it from Vienna. Thus, this territory was populated by settlers from Austria, Germany and some other Western European countries, (Pascu p. 141: "German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Bulgarian colonists were brought in to populate the region and given the most fertile land.") However, somewhat later, large groups of Rumanian refugees from Muntenia infiltrated the territory; the Austrian authorities were unable to send them back. The Hungarians were largely excluded from acquiring land there. It was during this time that the ethnic diversity of the Banat developed.
In the context of the religious turmoil, a very important fact should be mentioned: At the diet of Torda, in 1568, religious freedom - the freedom of conscience - was made law, at the same time when fierce battles between the different religions were fought in Western Europe. Four confessions: Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, and Unitarian received legal guarantees to freely develop their faith (received religion, Latin: recepta religio). The Orthodox faith was not among these, it was, however, an accepted religion (Latin: acceptata religio). This meant that although the rights of those who adhered to this religion were not coded in law, they were de facto treated in the same way as the believers of the received religions. Thus, the distinction was mainly formal.
Pascu, p. 133:
In the schools of Blaj, the center of the new Greek Catholic faith, generations of young people from all over Transylvania were educated without regard to differences of religion, as were many from Tara Româneasca and Moldavia.
This is not correct. Students who wanted to study at this school were subject to a very severe procedure of selection. They were to have been ethnic Rumanians; all were originally Orthodox and were converted to Greek Catholicism. Those who aimed at becoming priests, were supposed to belong to the Basilite branch of Greek Catholicism. This was not required of those who wanted to become teachers. Blaj was a school of high standards; a very differentiated network of the Rumanian education was developed there. It is only natural that students from Muntenia and Moldavia were sent there, since in those principalities, teaching for cantor and teacher was going on only at some of the large monasteries.
Pascu, p. 134:
Rákóczi called on nobles and commoners alike to join the struggle against the Habsburg rule, promising exemption from taxes and robota to those who responded.
Rákóczy did not promise such things.
The struggle, started by Ferenc Rákóczy II, was essentially the struggle of Hungarians against the Habsburgs; of course, many Slovaks, Ruthenians, and also a smaller number of Rumanians took part in it. Geographically, its centre was in Northern and North-Eastern Hungary. It had also some connections with social problems, but it was not, in the first place, a social movement. Thus, there is little substance in the assertion of Pascu: "The movement began to take on the appearance of a social rebellion..." (p. 134). Members of the petty nobility, as well as those who had lost their land and had become peasants, were now able to excel in battle; - and Rákóczy made many of them noble. Such a legendary figure was Tamás Esze. The Hungarians were organized in a society of estates, but these numerous acts of ennobling of individuals on the basis of military excellence show that this society was not rigid, there were many opportunities for people for social mobility.
The rebellion of the Szeklers at Madéfalva (Rumanian Madefalau, Cic-Matefalau, later changed to Siculeni) was put down by the Austrian army, as stated by Pascu (p. 138); a large number of Szeklers emigrated to Moldavia, where their descendants are still living.
|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|