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Stephen Báthory
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Stephen Báthory

Multiple members of the Bathory family of Hungary were named Stephen (Báthory István). The nephew of the 2nd Stephen Bathory, named Sigismund Bathory was Prince of the Holy Roman Empire.

1. The first Stephen Báthory (1477-1534) was a Hungarian noble and loyal adherent of King John Zápolya of Hungary. Thus, in 1529, he was made Governor of Transylvania.

2. Stephen Bathory's youngest son was also called Stephen Báthory (1533-1586). He succeeded John II Zapolya as Prince of Transylvania and held this position from 1571-75, giving it to this brother Christopher Bathory (1530-81) afterwards. From 1575 - 1586, he was King of Poland as Stefan Batory.

Stephen was elected to become King of Poland, after Henry III of Valois returned suddenly to become King of France. He married Anna, daughter of Sigismund II Jagiello.

The Hanse city of Danzig (Gdańsk) had backed Emperor Maximilian II in his attempt to become King of Poland. Stephen Bathory, upon becoming King of Poland, attacked Danzig and tried to take it by military force. Batory was able to defeat Danzig's mercenary army in open field, but unable to take the city; so compromise was reached. Bathory had to accept that Danzig continued to hold some of its privileges and the city recognised him as ruler of Poland and paid enormous sum in gold as "apology". Bathory confirmed the privileges of Danzig in 1577. Gdańsk later was loyally serving the Kingdom during the war with Sweden and Russia, providing help when requested.

Bathory, with his chancellor Jan Zamojski, led the Polish army in a brilliant decisive campaign against the Baltic invaders of Ivan "the terrible" Vasleivich. The Russians had invaded Livonia and took Dorpat from the Polish vassal, the Teutonic Brothers of the sword. The Poles under Bathory routed a Russian force at Wielkie Luki and Pskow. In the Peace treaty in Jam Zapolski, Poland got back Livonia and Polock.

Stephen Bathory planned a Christian alliance against the Ottomans. He proposed an anti-Ottoman alliance with Russia, which he considered a necessary step for his anti-Ottoman crusade. However, Russia was on the way to Great Smuta so he could not find a partner there.

When Stephen Bathory died, there was a one year interregnum. Emperor Mathias's brother Maximilian III tried to claim title of King of Poland, but was defeated at Byczyna and Sigismund III Vasa of Sweden followed Stephen Bathory's reign.

Preceded by:
Henry III
King of Poland Succeeded by:
'''Sigismund III