Granting the Hungarian Naturalization to the Foreigners in the Second Half of the 16th — mid. 17th Centuries (“indigenatio solemnis”)

Publication type Article
Status Published
editionVolume 5 Issue 6 (29)
AbstractThe dynastic change in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1526 led to the visible changes in the structure of the power elite. In search of the basis for their power the Austrian Habsburgs sought to reinforce the nobility of the Kingdom by granting “Hungarian naturalization/citizenship” to those aristocrats of German, Check, Italian origin who had proved their loyalty to the dynasty, had entered the Court and held the highest posts in the military and civil government. The paper focuses on one of the ways of Hungarian naturalization — «indigenatio solemnis» (acquisition to the “Hungarian nation”) and studies its consequences and significance for the elite and its relationship with the central authorities. The author links the granting of Hungarian citizenship to the foreigners to the meaning of the term “a nation” that was mostly political in the mind of the contemporaries. Only nobles could be members of “a nation”. According to the estate ideology of the time, membership in “the nation” meant membership in the “Holy Crown” or a country that was under the royal/state power. That by-turn presumed the right of the “Holy Crown” members to participate in the administration of power. I.e. the foreigners after having been granted “Hungarian citizenship” (by the presentation of the monarch and the approval of the Diet of Hungary) gained all the rights of the noble estates of the Kingdom of Hungary including the incorporated territories, with Croatia and Slavonia among them. How was the procedure held and how was it registered in the Kingdom of Hungary? How did the Hungarian Estates participate in it? As the “Hungarian naturalization” took place in the Diet of Hungary, the author studies the attitude of the Hungarian Estates to that royal right and to the emerging practice, focusing on their attempts to control it and to restrict it as far as possible. In the 16th century the Estates generally succeeded in it. But in the 17th century the number of naturalized foreigners grew significantly especially in the reign of Leopold I. The author follows the evolution of that practice which was in general unfavourable to the Estates and indicative of the absolutist tendency in the Habsburg policy towards Hungary.
Keywords«The Nation», the political elite, the naturalization of foreigners, the Austrian Habsburgs, the Kingdom of Hungary, the early modern period, the Diet of Hungary
Publication date10.11.2014
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