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Nikola Šubić Zrinski
File:Nicolaus Zrin.jpg
Nikola Šubić Zrinski on a 17th-century print
Born c. 1508
Died September 6, 1566(1566-09-06)
Place of birth Zrin (today Croatia)
Place of death Szigetvár (today Hungary)
Years of service 1529-1566
Rank General, eques auratus
Battles Siege of Szigetvár (Battle of Szigeth)

Nikola Šubić Zrinski (Croatian pronunciation: [nǐkɔla ʃûbitɕ zrîːɲskiː][1]) or Miklós Zrínyi[2] (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈmikloːʃ ˈzriːɲi]) (1508 – September 7, 1566) was a Croatian[3][4] nobleman and general in service of Habsburg Monarchy, ban of Croatia[5] from 1542 to 1556, and member of the Zrinski noble family. He was known across Europe for his involvement with the Battle of Szigetvár and is today seen as a hero by both Hungarians and Croatians.


Portrait by Oton Iveković

A portrait by Miklós Barabás

Nikola was born in 1508 as the son of Nikola III Zrinski and Jelena Karlović (sister of future Croatian ban Ivan Karlović) He distinguished himself at the siege of Vienna in 1529, and in 1542 saved the imperial army from defeat before Pest by intervening with 400 Croats, for which service he was appointed ban of Croatia. In 1542 he routed an Ottoman force at the Battle of Somlyo.

In 1543 he married Catherine (Katarina) Frankopan, a sister of Count Stjepan Frankopan Ozaljski ("Stephen Frankopan of Ozalj" in English), who placed the whole of her vast estates at his disposal. She bore him many children, among which was his successor Juraj IV Zrinski. The king Ferdinand I gave him large possessions in Hungary and Croatia, and henceforth the Zrinskis–Zrínyis became as much Magyar as Croatian magnates.

In 1556 Zrinski won a series of victories over the Ottomans, culminating in the battle of Babócsa. The Croats, however, overwhelmed their ban with reproaches for neglecting them to fight for the Magyars, and the emperor simultaneously deprived him of the captaincy of Upper Croatia and sent 10,000 men to aid the Croats, while the Magyars were left without any help, whereupon Zrinski resigned the banship (1561). In 1563, on the coronation of the Emperor Maximilian as king of Hungary, Zrinski attended the ceremony at the head of 3000 Croatian and Magyar mounted noblemen, in the vain hope of obtaining the dignity of palatine, vacant by the death of Tamás Nádasdy. Shortly after marrying (in 1564) his second wife, Eva of Rožmberk (Rosenberg), a great Bohemian heiress, he hastened southwards to defend the frontier, and defeated the Ottomans at Szeged.

The tomb of Zrinski in Čakovec

In 1566, from August 5 to September 7, his small force (2,300 soldiers) heroically defended the little fortress of Szigetvár against the whole Ottoman host (102,000 soldiers), led by Suleiman the Magnificent in person. The Battle of Szigetvár ended with Zrinski perishing with every member of the garrison in a last desperate sortie.[6] Suleiman had died shortly previous.[7]


The Croatian Renaissance poet and writer Brne Karnarutić, from Zadar, wrote The Conquest of the City of Sziget (Croatian language: Vazetje Sigeta grada ) sometime before 1573.[8]

He was the great-grandfather of Croatian Ban (Viceroy) and Croatian/Hungarian poet Nikola Zrinski, as well as his younger brother Petar Zrinski. The former wrote the Hungarian epic poem, the Peril of Sziget, of which Zrinski is the hero, which has assured Zrinski's place in Hungarian culture. The epic remains in print today and is considered one of the landmarks of Hungarian literature.[2] Nikola Šubić Zrinski is honoured both in Croatia and in Hungary as a national hero. A park in the Croatian capital Zagreb is named Trg Nikole Šubića Zrinskog after him.[9] Zrinski's last battle was made the subject of a tragedy, Zrinyi: Ein Trauerspiel, by Theodor Körner.[10] The Order of Nikola Šubić Zrinski is one of the highest Croatian national decorations.

See also

  • U boj, u boj
  • The Slav Epic (Painting: "Defense of Sziget against the Turks by Nicholas Zrinsky")


  1. Pravopisna komisija (1960). Pravopis srpskohrvatskoga književnog jezika. Novi Sad, Zagreb: Matica srpska, Matica hrvatska. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Miklós Zrínyi. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 09, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
  3. The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History, Derek Sayer
  4. The Rise and Fall of the Hubsburg Monarchy, Victor-L. Tapie, 1972 - "One of the richest lords of the region, Nicholas Zrinsky, a Croat whose name took the form of Zrinyi in ..."
  5. Mucha, Dalibor Kusák, Marta Kadlečíková and Alphonse Marie Mucha, 1992
  6. Count Miklos Zrinyi (1508—1566), Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
  7. Wikisource-logo.svg "Zrinyi, Miklós". New International Encyclopedia. 1905. 
  8. Karnarutić (1866), pp. 1–83.
  9. Nikola Šubić Zrinski square, as seen from the map of Zagreb
  10. Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed (1920). "Zrinyi, Niklas". Encyclopedia Americana. 


  • Lendvai, Paul: Die Ungarn: Eine tausendjährige Geschichte, C. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich, 1999 (Title No.021/00218), Chapter 12.
  • Treaty of peace with Germany: Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations... ...signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919, and submitted to the Senate on July 10, 1919 - "the Slavs rescued them from a strangle-hold, namely, Nicholas Zrinsky and John Sobieski. one a Croatian and the other a Pole."
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911) "Zrinyi, Miklós, Count (elder)" Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.) Cambridge University Press 

External links

  •  "Zrinyi, Count Niklas". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Petar Keglević
Ban of Croatia
Succeeded by
Péter Erdődy

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