Legacy of the Hunyadi Family: John and Matthias Hunyadi’s Impact on Hungarian History

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Origins of the Hunyadi Family
  3. John Hunyadi’s Rise to Power
  4. Matthias Hunyadi’s Ascension to the Throne
  5. Matthias Hunyadi’s Reign and Achievements
  6. Conclusion


This video, produced in collaboration with other esteemed history channels, delves into the remarkable history of the Hunyadi family and their significant contributions to Hungary. It also highlights the importance of continuous learning in today’s ever-changing world, sponsored by SkillShare.

The Origins of the Hunyadi Family

The Hunyadi family’s origins have been a subject of debate throughout history. While some sources suggest Romanian roots, others contend that they hailed from Transylvania. This uncertainty persists, but it is known that Voic, the patriarch of the family, held Hunyadi Castle, and his lineage included notable figures like Magos, Radal, and Serbe.

John Hunyadi’s Rise to Power

John Hunyadi, the eldest son of Voic, was born between 1405 and 1407. His early years saw him serving in the courts of formidable barons. Eventually, he ascended to become the Count of Transylvania and Seccales in 1441. His pivotal role was defending Hungary against the Ottoman Empire, where he achieved notable victories, particularly during the Balkan Peninsula battles in 1443. Over time, John Hunyadi became one of Hungary’s wealthiest landowners, with an extensive domain comprising 25 fortresses, 30 towns, and over 1,000 villages. His greatest triumph was the siege of Belgrade in 1456, but he passed away on August 11, 1456.

Matthias Hunyadi’s Ascension to the Throne

Matthias Hunyadi, John’s younger son, was born in February 1443. He faced adversity when he was arrested under the orders of King Ladyslaus V of Hungary in 1457. Escaping a potential revolt, the king fled to Prague with Matthias. Ladyslaus V, who died childless in November 1457, prompted a diet to elect a new monarch. With the support of Matthias’s maternal uncle and 10,000 armed noblemen, Matthias was proclaimed King on January 24, 1458.

Matthias Hunyadi’s Reign and Achievements

Matthias Hunyadi’s reign was marked by military campaigns against the Czechs and the occupation of Moravia and Cieszyn in 1468. He was even proclaimed King of Bohemia by the Catholic estate of Moravia in 1469. Matthias implemented new taxes and faced rebellions in Transylvania in 1467, which he managed to quell. His military successes extended to defeating the Ottoman Empire and securing the release of Vlad the Impaler. Matthias also established the Black Army of Hungary, reformed the judicial system, reduced the power of the nobility, and promoted merit-based appointments.

Under Matthias’s rule, Hungary embraced the Renaissance, becoming the first country in Europe to do so. His royal library was renowned as one of the largest in Europe, fostering intellectual growth. Matthias Hunyadi’s reign, spanning 32 years, was a period of unparalleled brilliance and prosperity in Hungarian history.


The Hunyadi family’s legacy, particularly through the remarkable achievements of John and Matthias Hunyadi, left an indelible mark on Hungary’s history. Their dedication to defending the kingdom, promoting education, and fostering cultural growth laid the foundation for a prosperous and influential era in Hungary.

  1. What were some of Matthias Hunyadi’s major achievements during his reign as King of Hungary?

    Matthias Hunyadi’s reign was marked by numerous achievements. He expanded Hungary’s territory, introduced important reforms in governance and justice, promoted the arts and sciences, and established the renowned Black Army of Hungary. Matthias embraced the Renaissance, making Hungary the first European country to do so. His reign ushered in a period of cultural and intellectual flourishing, leaving a lasting legacy in Hungarian history.

  2. Who were John and Matthias Hunyadi, and what was their significance in Hungarian history?

    John and Matthias Hunyadi were key figures in Hungarian history. John Hunyadi, the elder, was a renowned military leader who defended Hungary against the Ottoman Empire and amassed significant power and wealth. His son, Matthias Hunyadi, became a notable Hungarian king known for his reforms, cultural contributions, and military successes. Their significance lies in their pivotal roles in defending Hungary, fostering cultural growth, and shaping the nation’s history during the medieval period.