Today is the 490th anniversary of the battle of Mohács. This was one of the most significant battles not only in Hungarian history but in that of Europe. If one consequence was the destruction of the medieval kingdom of Hungary and the advance of the Turks into the central Danuble plain where they remained until the end of the seventeenth century, another was the creation in consequence of that union of territories which constituted the birth of what was to become Austria Hungary.
In 1490 the death of King Matthias Corvinus led to the accession of the Polish Jagiellonian King Vladislaus II, under whom the central power of the monarchy in Hungary declined, aristocratic power increased, there was an increasing likelihood that the monarchy might become elctive as was to happen in Poland later on in the century, and meanwhile the Ottomans were gathering strength to the south. The political background is set out in the online account of the Battle of Mohács and in the related article on the leading nobleman John Zápolya. As that points out it was the birth in 1506 of the future King Louis II that made the survival of the Hungarian Jagiellonians possible. In 1514 the King Vladislaus II faced a major peasant rebellion led by György Dózsa - this had begun as a crusade against the Turks which then evolved into a jacquerie, which further weakened the realm.
King Louis II succeeded at the age of ten in 1516 to the thrones of both Hungary and Bohemia, and had been crowned in his father's lifetime in the case of each realm. He was taken up by the Emperor Maximilian who arranged adouble marraige, that of King Louis to the Emperor's grandaughter Mary, who was tens months oldere than him, and of Louis' sister Anne to Maximilian's second grandson the Archduke Ferdinand ( eventually the Emperor Ferdinand I ). As a dutiful Habsburg the Emperor did not pass up the chance of prudential and providential marriages for the next generation.
Emperor Maximilian I and his family in 1515
At the front the future Emperors Ferdinand I and Charles V and on the right King Louis II