Rákóczi, György II

Rákóczi, György II, b 30 January 1621 in Sárospatak, Transylvania, d 7 January 1660 in Nagyvárad (now Oradea), Transylvania. Prince of Transylvania from 1648; son of György I Rákóczi. He continued his father’s relations with Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky until Khmelnytsky’s military intervention in Moldavia in 1652. Rákóczi then broke with Khmelnytsky and joined the side of Wallachia and Poland against Ukraine. In 1654, however, he resumed diplomatic relations with Khmelnytsky, and in 1656 he entered into an anti-Polish coalition consisting of Transylvania, Ukraine, and Sweden. In 1657 Rákóczi’s army captured a large part of Poland, including Cracow and Warsaw, with the help of Swedish and Ukrainian forces. He quickly proved not to be an able military or political leader, however, and Khmelnytsky withdrew his troops (commanded by Col Antin Zhdanovych) to Ukraine. Abandoned by his allies, Rákóczi was surrounded by the Poles on 23 July 1657 and forced to surrender near Chornyi Ostriv, in Podilia.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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