RAKOCZY, the name of a noble Hungarian family, which in the 10th century was settled in the county of Zemplen, and members of which played an important part in the history of Hungary during the 17th century.
GEORGE I., prince of Transylvania (1591-1648), who began his career as governor of Onod, was the youngest son of Sigismund Rakoczy (1544-1608), who shared in the insurrection of Stephen Bocskay against the Emperor Rudolph II., and was for a short time prince of Transylvania. In 1616 he married his second wife, the highly gifted zealous Calvinist, Susannah Lorantffy, who exercised a great influence over him. He then took a leading part in the rebellion of Gabriel Bethlen, who made him commandant of Kassa, and was elected prince of Transylvania on the 26th of November 1630 by the diet of Segesvar. He followed the policy of Gabriel Bethlen, based on the maintenance of the political and religious liberties of the Hungarians. His alliance with Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden for that purpose was no secret at Vienna, where the court estimated at their right value Rakoczy's hypocritical assurances of pacific amity. On the 2nd of February 1644, at the solicitation of the Swedish and French ambassadors, and with the consent of the Porte, he declared war against the Emperor Ferdinand III. Nearly the whole of imperial Hungary was soon in his hands, and Ferdinand, hardly pressed by the Swedes at the same tune, was compelled to conclude (Sept. 16, 1645) with Rak6czy the peace of Linz, which accorded full religious liberty to the Magyars, and ceded to Rakoczy the fortress of Regec and the Tokaj district. On the death of Wladislaus IV. (1648) Rak6czy aimed at the Polish throne also, but died before he could accomplish his design. His capital, Gyula Fehervar, was a great Protestant resort and asylum.
See Secret Correspondence of the Age of George Rdkoczy I. (Hung.), ed. Agoston Otvos (Klausenburg, 1848); Rakoczy's Correspondence with Pdzmdny, Esterhazy, etc. (Hung.), ed. Antal Beke (Budapest, 1882); Sandor Szilagyi, The Rdkoczy Family in the 18th Century (Hung.) (Pest, 1861).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)