House of Zrinski

House of Zrinski


Parent house House of Šubić
Titles Prince, Count
Founded 1347
Founder Juraj I Zrinski
Current head Extinct
Dissolution 1703

The Zrinski family (Hungarian: Zrínyi ) was a Croatian-Hungarian noble family,[1][2][3] influential during the period in history marked by the Ottoman wars in Europe in the Kingdom of Hungary and Croatia and in the later Austro-Hungarian Empire. Notable members of this family were Bans (viceroys) of Croatia, considered national heroes in both Croatia and Hungary, and were particularly celebrated during the period of romanticism; this movement was called Zrinijada in Croatian.


The Zrinski, meaning "those of Zrin", are a branch of the Šubić family, which arose when king Louis I the Great needed some of the Šubićs' fortresses for his coming wars against Venice, and the city of Zadar in particular.

In 1347, Louis I took their estates around Bribir in the Hrvatsko Primorje hinterlands (they used to be known as "princes of Bribir") and gave them the Zrin estate with Zrin Castle in the Croatian region of Banovina, south of the modern city of Petrinja and west of Hrvatska Kostajnica. Already by the end of the twelfth century, the Šubić family, whose fief was Bribir, held the title of princes. Later, their power steadily increased, so that they acquired the territory between the rivers Krka and Zrmanja and the sea by the 13th century. At the outset of the 14th century, Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the longest-ruling Ban of Croatia (1275–1312), as well as lord of all of Bosnia (1305-1312). His son was Paul II Šubić of Bribir.

Paul I's grandson was the first Zrinski, Juraj III. Šubić of Bribir, who took the title Juraj I. Zrinski. His cousin, princess Jelena Šubić, was at the same time married to Vladislav Kotromanić. Their first-born child, Tvrtko I, became the Ban of Bosnia and from 1377 the King of Bosnia. Their niece and adopted daughter, Elizabeta Kotromanić (Elisabeth of Bosnia), married Louis I the Great. Elizabeth's and Louis' daughters succeeded their father and became queens in their own right, as Mary of Hungary and Jadwiga of Poland.

Ruins of Zrin Castle, Croatia.

The Zrinskis were Croats and played a crucial role in the history of the Croatian state, both before their arrival in Zrin and later. On the other hand, they are also identified as hungarus or natio hungarica, which means "somebody from the Kingdom of Hungary", regardless of the language spoken. They were among many noble families in the Kingdom of Hungary. In the 16th century, Ban Nikola Šubić Zrinski gained dominion over Međimurje County in the northernmost part of Croatia with its capital Čakovec. Because they lived, worked, and intermarried with nobility from all parts of the multiethnic kingdom, it was natural and expected that they should be fluent in four or five languages. It is certain, that Nikola Zrinski spoke at least Croatian, Hungarian, Italian, Turkish and of course Latin. It is of interest that he was the most prominent Hungarian poet in the 17th century, while his brother Peter is known for his poems in Croatian language.

Among the many notable personalities of the family, there were a few women. Katarina Zrinska (1625–1673), a noted poet, was born in the Frankopan family, and, having married Petar Zrinski, became the member of the Zrinskis. Her daughter, Jelena Zrinska, was the wife of Francis I Rákóczi, the prince of Transylvania.

The common belief is that the noble families Zrinski and Frankopan perished through execution in Wiener Neustadt on April 30, 1671, owing to their role in the so-called Zrinski-Frankopan Plot (in Hungarian historiography called the Wesselényi Plot) against the Emperor Leopold. The estates of Zrinski and Frankopan families were confiscated and their surviving members relocated. The last male Zrinski descendants were Adam Zrinski (1662-1691), son of Nikola Zrinski, a Habsburg Monarchy army lieutenant-colonel. He inherited from his father the large and valuable "Bibliotheca Zriniana". Died in the Battle of Slankamen in 1691, accidentally shot in his back by one of his fellow soldiers. Ivan Antun Zrinski (1654-1704), son of Petar Zrinski, was Habsburg army officer, who was accused of high treason and died after years in dungeons. There's a possibility that descendants of the Zrinski family are still alive in Greece under the family name "Sdrinias".


The family produced four bans of Croatia (viceroys):

Zrinski in art

Zrinski in literature and theatre

Zrinski in paintings

Zrinski family was often topic in the paintings of Oton Iveković.

Zrinski in sculptures


Some castles which were propriety of the family. Some castles, like Dubovac, Kraljevica, Ozalj, Severin na Kupi and others were jointly owned with Frankopan family.

See also


  1. Piotr Stefan Wandycz: The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present, 2nd edition, Routledge, London, 1992
  2. Dominic Baker-Smith, A. J. Hoenselaars, Arthur F. Kinney: Challenging Humanism: Essays in Honor of Dominic Baker-Smith, Rosemont Publishing & Printing Corp., 2010
  3. Marcel Cornis-Pope, John Neubauer (editors): History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe, Volume 1, John-Benjamin Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 2004
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