Hunyadi, John, Hung. Hunyadi János, c.1385-1456, Hungarian national hero, leader of the resistance against the Ottomans. He was chosen (1441) voivode [governor] of Transylvania under King Uladislaus I (Ladislaus III of Poland) and won numerous victories over the Ottomans. In 1444, however, the Christians were routed at Varna and the king was slain. Hunyadi, after a period of confusion, was chosen (1446) regent by the Hungarian diet. Young Ladislaus V, chosen king in 1444, was kept from his kingdom by his guardian, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, until 1453. When Ladislaus assumed his rule, Hunyadi laid down the regency and devoted his full energy to fighting the Ottomans. His fight was a Christian crusade and was aided by Pope Calixtus III. With St. John Capistran, Hunyadi defeated (1456) the Ottomans at Belgrade and thus staved off the Ottoman conquest of Hungary for 70 years. Hunyadi was bitterly opposed by many of the Magyar nobles. His elder son Ladislaus was executed in 1457 by order of King Ladislaus V for assassinating the king's uncle. John Hunyadi's younger son became king as Matthias Corvinus.
Hunyadi (also Hunyady in historical sources) is a noble family, with Vlach or cuman and Magyar ancestry.

Their Vlach ancestry is the subject of much heated debate, but unquestionable sources say at least their paternal lineage was wallachian but they became Roman Catholic and embraced their Hungarian side because Hungarians had a much higher status in Transylvania at the time.

This was not uncommon in the days of the Hunyadis, and many Hungarian noble families had some Vlach ancestry for this reason. Intermarriage between the two did not even become controversial until after the Ottoman wars.

The first recorded member of the family was Serbe (also called Serb, Serban or Sorb) who settled in Hunyad county in Transylvania from Wallachia. His son Vojk (alternatively spelled as Voyk or Vajk in English, Voicu in Romanian, Vajk in Hungarian), who had adopted Catholicism and the name László, became ennobled in 1409 and received the estate of Hunyad Castle (now Hunedoara in Romania, then Hunyadvár, now Vajdahunyad in Hungarian) which was to become the hereditary seat of the family.

Origin of the name Corvin

The origins of the name Corvin are still unclear. There exist a number of theories on the etymology of the Corvin name. The most widely accepted theory is that Corvin refers to the Corvus which appears on their coat of arms, however a connection to the Kovin/(Kubin, Keve in Hungarian; Covinum in Latin) town - "in Corvino vico, as Bonfini wrote" - is also possible.

The origins of the Coat of Arms of the Hunyadi family, which depicts a raven holding a golden ring in its beak, are unclear. The Silesian Annals state that when a raven carried off a ring King Matthias had removed from his finger, Matthias chased the bird down and slew him, retrieving the ring, and in commemoration of this event he took the raven as a symbol for his signet sign.

Others think that the Coat of Arms was derived from another property of the family, Raven’s Rock (Hollókő in Hungarian). Another legend says that when young Matthias was in prison in Prague his mother was able to send him a letter with a raven (that is why the Hungarian Postal Service had a raven as its symbol for more than a century).

Other theories say the raven is an ancient Turkic totem bird, like turul (a kind of falcon) for the Arpads. This coat of arms was used by Matthias's ancestors far earlier than he did. So this interpretation could also explain the family's possibly Cuman origin.

Hunyadi family tree

Hunyadi battleship

The second battleship of the Ersatz Monarch class of the Austro-Hungarian Navy (officially known as Schiff IX) was to be named Hunyadi. The ship was never completed due to the outbreak of World War One which interrupted all major warship construction in Austria-Hungary.

Present-day Hunyadis

There are several Hunyadis left, some in Tennessee. Were Hungary to become a monarchy again (and bypass the claims of the Habsburgs), its king mught be be Mr. Ladislaus Steve Hunyadi, and the queen - his wife, Mrs. Rosalyn Hunyadi.

They have four kids - Mrs. Kimberly Harris, Mr. Kirk Hunyadi, Mrs. Kristen Warrick and Mr. Keith Hunyadi.

The grandchildren, who would also become royal in such a case, include:

  • By Kimberly: Mr. Christopher Harris, Mr. Jonathan Harris and Mrs. Amy Harris
  • By Kirk: Mrs. Jennifer Hunyadi, Mr. Kirk Hunyadi
  • By Kristen: Mr. Thomas Warrick
  • By Keith: Mr. Ladislaus Hunyadi and Mrs. Sarah Hunyadi.

(Hunyadi Family Tree Last Updated 09/12/00)

Notable members


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