THE “KURUC PEOPLE”
The so-called “kuruc people” were armed anti-Habsburg Hungarian rebels grouped in Hungary between 1671 and 1711. The army of the “kuruc people” was composed mainly of Hungarians, and the leading nobles were usually Hungarian, too.
The first “kuruc” uprising took place in 1672. The “kuruc” army was formed in Patrium, where many refugees of different roots were hiding from religious and political persecution ongoing in Hungary. They named themselves “bújdosók” (on the run). The main sub-groups were formed of Protestants, who were disturbed by the ambitions of the Habsburg monarchs to implement a Catholic reform, as well as of nobles from lower ranks adhering to their prerogatives while the Habsburgs were trying to get rid of poor nobles, and of soldiers from “végvárs”, i.e. castles on the borders, who were dismissed by the Habsburg generals. Later, the oppression of the Hungarians by the Habsburgs gradually started to play an important role in the motivation of the “kuruc people”. The more areas the Turks were losing in the Habsburg monarchy, the harsher the Austrian tyranny was growing. The first attack of the “kuruc” army took place in the upper part of Hungary in August 1672, where the army conquered the castles of Diósgyőr, Ónod, Szendrő and Tokaj. After the defeat of the Habsburg army of Paris von Spankau near Kassa, the cities of upper Hungary surrendered, and many dissatisfied people from the Slovak and Ruthenian northern districts joined them.
Historically, the “kuruc people” are the symbol of two great anti-Habsburg uprisings in Hungary between 1680 and 1711, the so-called Thököly’s uprising and the so-called Rákóci’s uprising. Despite the fact that these uprisings are generally known as “kuruc” wars, their social basis was much wider in reality, and their political goals were much more difficult than the goals of the original “kuruc” movement.