Stephen Báthory

Stephen Báthory (bäˈtôrĭ) [key], Pol. Stefan Batory, 1533–86, king of Poland (1575–86), prince of Transylvania (1571–75), son of Stephen Báthory (1477–1534). He was elected to succeed John II as prince of Transylvania. In Poland, he was elected by a majority to succeed Henry of Valois, who had left Poland in 1574 to rule France as Henry III. A minority voted for Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II, who died before he could make good his claim. As had been stipulated by the Polish diet, Stephen married Anna, daughter of Sigismund II, the last Jagiello king of Poland. To his brother, Christopher Báthory, he gave Transylvania. With his chancellor, Jan Zamojski, Stephen fought several successful campaigns against Ivan IV of Russia in the lengthy war for the succession to Livonia. Peace was made in 1582 through papal mediation, and Poland retained Polotsk and its part of Livonia. Toward the end of his reign Stephen Báthory planned a Christian alliance against the Ottomans. He also schemed to make Russia a vassal state of Poland—a project that he considered a necessary step for his anti-Ottoman crusade. He supported the Society of Jesus (see Jesus, Society of) in Poland in an attempt to foster the Catholic Reform, and he effected useful judiciary reforms. After his death Sigismund III, a Swedish nephew of Sigismund II, was elected king.

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