List of rulers of Transylvania

Coat of arms of the Grand Principality of Transylvania (19th century).

List of rulers of Transylvania, from the 10th century, until 1918.


Before 1556, the administration of the eastern parts of the Hungarian Kingdom, referred as Partes Transsylvana (Latin for "parts beyond the forests"), was in the hands of a voivode (Hungarian: vajda) appointed by the king. The word voivod or voievod first appeared in historical documents in 1193. Prior to that, the term ispán was used for the chief official of the County of Fehér. The whole territory of Transylvania came under the jurisdiction of the voievod after 1263, when the functions of Count of Szolnok (Doboka) and Count of Fehér were terminated.

The Voivode of Transylvania (woyuoda Transsiluanus) was one of the barons of the kingdom. The voivode was, in effect, a territorial governor or viceroy appointed by the Hungarian crown. He was also the chief magistrate and military commander of Transylvania's seven counties. His jurisdiction, however, was limited, because the Transylvanian Saxons and the Hungarian-speaking Székelys were under the authority of royal officials specifically assigned to this task, the Count of Hermannstadt and the Count of the Székelys, respectively. Furthermore, the royal free cities also were exempted from the authority of the voivode.

In the 16th century, the conflict between Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire allowed Transylvania to gain a certain independence as the Principality of Transylvania under Ottoman suzerainty until it was finally integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy around 1700. The Habsburg rulers continued to use the title Prince of Transylvania (and later Grand Prince of Transylvania) as part of their official title until the end of Austria-Hungary in 1918. The territory was administered by an appointed governor until 1867, when it was dissolved as an administrative unit in the wake of the Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich of 1867 and integrated into Hungary. At the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1919, Transylvania, along with other regions of eastern Hungary, became part of the Kingdom of Romania. It was divided between Romania and Hungary in 1940 but reverted to Romania in 1945.


Early rulers

Affiliation Ruler Years Remarks
Gelou Gelou, legendary Duke of Vlachs, is mentioned exclusively in the 13th century Gesta Hungarorum written by an unknown chronicler referred to as Anonymus. Romanian historiography claims that he was an actual person. Hungarian historiography claims that Gelou is a fictional person created by Anonymus from a toponym by etymology.
Tuhutum/Töhötöm 904–? One of the legendary seven Hungarian chieftains, as given by Anonymus
Gyula II 950 Hungarian tribal leader, initially his domains were situated at the region of southeast Hungary bordered by the rivers Temes, Maros, Körös, Tisza and Tutisz (unknown, but possibly the Béga). Gyula’s tribe moved to Transylvania possibly around 950, however according to early chronicles, his family’s progenitor was one of the seven conqueror chiefs who occupied Transylvania at the time of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin
Gyula (or Prokuj) ?–1003 Ruler of the upper Tisza region and northern Transylvania. Defeated by his nephew, Stephen I of Hungary
Kean fictional person, voivode of the southern Transylvanian Bolgars and Slavs, defeated by Stephen I of Hungary c. 1003–1015. He is mentioned in the chronicle family of Chronicon Pictum The name was created from the word khan as an impersonification of the dignity "Khan".
Arpads St. Stephen I (István) 1003–1038 first Christian King of Hungary (1000), maternal grandson of Gyula the Old, defeated Gyula the Young and the Bulgarians ("Kean")

Royal appointees

Semi-independent monarchs

Habsburg monarchs and their governors

External links

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