King of Hungary
A brief biography.
Béla IV was born as the son of Andrew II in November 1206 in Esztergom, and King of Hungary (1235-1270) during whose reign the Mongol invasions left three-quarters of Hungary in ruins. Routed on the banks of the Sajó River in 1241 by Mongols under Batu Khan, Béla fled to Dalmatia, and for a year the Kingdom of Hungary did not exist. So nearly complete was the country's destruction that Hungarians, when referring to total calamity, use the word tatárjárás, meaning Tatar invasion.
When the Mongols withdrew because of dynastic troubles, Béla began to reconstruct his realm, a task that occupied the rest of his reign. Particularly difficult was the recovery of western portions of the Kingdom seized by Frederick of Austria as the price of the aid he promised against the Mongols but never delivered. Béla defeated Frederick, who died in the battle near the Leitha River on June 15, 1246. Three years earlier Béla had been forced to cede Zadar to Venezia, but he retained Split and other Dalmatian provinces. Because of his policy of religious toleration in Bosnia, that province remained quiet for years.
Béla fought wars with the new Serbian Kingdom, founded by the Nemanja dynasty, and was frequently in conflict with Otakar II over Styria, which ultimately fell to the Bohemians. Béla turned back a second Mongol invasion of Hungary, in 1261, and he resisted the Premyslid dynasty, which had constructed a new Bohemian empire, absorbing territories of the Austrian Babenbergs and threatening Hungary itself.
Béla had two sons and seven daughters by his consort, Maria, daughter of the Byzantine Emperor of Nicaea, Theodore II Lascaris. Of these children, St. Margaret of Hungary, (27.01.1242-18.01.1270), and Kunigunda (Kinga), Princess of Hungary (+ 24.07.1296), became the best known.
Béla sent out the Dominicans Julian and Gellert to discover the old tribes of Magyars in de Near East. They were found by Julian but after a year when Julian came to bring them to Hungary they were murdered by the Tartars.
Béla was a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, and died on 03.05.1270.
Béla IV (1206-1270), King of Hungary (1235-1270).
Hungary 1942, Mi 701, Sc B 153.
Hungary 1942 Mi 702, Sc B 154.
King Bela IV consulted his architect.
750th Celebration of the
charter of Zagreb by the Golden Charter
of King Bela IV in 1242.
On the seal the portrait of the King
Croatia 1992, Mi 217, Sc 142.
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