István Illésházy (1541 - 5 May, 1609, Vienna)

István Illésházy
Besides Miklós Pálffy he was the most significant and powerful Hungarian politician of the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. Between 1587-1608 he was royal court master, from 1608 until his death he was holder of the office of the palatine, which was not filled from 1562 (he was also the first Protestant palatine). He originated from a common noble family and from the vice bailiff (ispán) of castle district Pozsony he became one of the most respected barons of the country. Besides his military and office services his marriage and court relationships also played an important role in his rise. He received significant estates and pawn estates for his services. However, in 1603 the court wanted to regain the possession of these and instigated a lawsuit in which he was falsely accused of treason in order to offset losses to the treasury. He escaped to Poland, then he supported Bocskai's movement. In spite of the fact that he became one of the most influential counsellors of the principal, he arranged the peace of Vienna as the leader of the Bocskai's negotiation delegation so that both parties (the court and the Hungarian orders) were satisfied. He was a humanist thinker, who liked the arts and literature. He wrote a diary about the 15-year war (1591-1606) and several minor works in Latin.