|Croatian–Slovene Peasant Revolt|
A non-contemporary representation of the execution of Matija Gubec at the square in front of st. Mark's Church in Zagreb, by Oton Iveković (1912)
|Croatian and Slovene peasants||
Croatian, Styrian and Carniolan nobility|
|Commanders and leaders|
Matija Gubec |
Ivan Pasanec †
|8,000–12,000 peasants||5,000 soldiers|
|Casualties and losses|
The Croatian–Slovene Peasant Revolt (Slovene: hrvaško-slovenski kmečki upor), Gubec's Rebellion (Croatian: Gupčeva buna) or Gubec's peasant uprising of 1573 was a large peasant revolt on territory forming modern-day Croatia and Slovenia. The revolt, sparked by cruel treatment of serfs by Baron Ferenc Tahy, ended after 12 days with the defeat of the rebels and bloody retribution by the nobility.
In the late 16th century, the threat of Ottoman incursions strained the economy of the southern flanks of the Holy Roman Empire, and feudal lords continually increased their demands on the peasantry. In Croatian Zagorje, this was compounded by cruel treatment of peasants by baron Ferenc Tahy and his disputes with neighbouring barons over land, dating back to 1564, which escalated into armed conflicts. When multiple complaints to the emperor went unheard, the peasants conspired to rebel with their peers in the neighbouring provinces of Styria and Carniola and with the lower classes of townspeople.
The rebellion broke out simultaneously in large parts of Croatia, Styria, and Carniola on 28 January 1573. The rebels' political program was to replace the nobility with peasant officials answerable directly to the emperor, and to abolish all feudal holdings and obligations of the Roman Catholic Church. A peasant government was formed with Matija Gubec, Ivan Pasanec and Ivan Mogaić as members. Far-reaching plans were drawn up, including abolition of provincial borders, opening of highways for trade, and self-rule by the peasants.
The captain of the rebels, Ilija Gregorić, planned an extensive military operation to secure victory for the revolt. Each peasant household provided one man for his army, which met with some initial success; their revolutionary goals alarmed the nobility, however, which raised armies in response. The rebels used a network of informers who relayed the information on movements of the opposing units; in turn, spies among the peasants themselves passed the information on the spread of the rebellion to the nobility.
On 5 February, Uskok captain and baron Jobst Joseph von Thurn (Croatian: Josip Turn) led an army of 500 Uskoks from Kostanjevica and some German soldiers that defeated a rebel detachment of Nikola Kupinič at Krško (in Lower Styria), which was the first larger rebel defeat. This rapidly weakened the rebellion in Carniola and Styria.
The next day, another rebel force was defeated near Samobor. On 9 February, the decisive Battle of Stubičko polje was fought. Gubec and his 10,000 men resisted fiercely, but after a bloody four-hour battle the baronial army defeated and captured Gubec. The revolt failed.
Retribution was brutal: in addition to the 3,000 peasants who died in the battle, many captives were hanged or maimed. Matija Gubec was publicly tortured and executed on 15 February. Officers Petar Ljubojević, Vuk Suković and Dane Bolčeta (who were Orthodox), and Juraj Martijanović and Tomo Tortić (Catholics) were all sentenced to life in prison and lost all their property. Mogaić was killed in the final battle, and Pasanec was most probably killed in one of the skirmishes in early February, while Gregorić managed to escape, but was captured within weeks, brought to Vienna for interrogation, and executed in Zagreb in 1574.
The revolt and torture of Gubec acquired legendary status in Croatia and Slovenia. It has inspired many writers and artists, including the writers Miroslav Krleža and August Šenoa, the poet Anton Aškerc and the sculptors Antun Augustinčić and Stojan Batič. Leading Croatian film director Vatroslav Mimica produced the film about uprising, entitled Anno Domini 1573, in 1975, as well as television series in four parts. Gubec-beg, the first Croatian rock opera (1975), was also inspired by the events.
Large monument in Gornja Stubica
(Antun Augustinčić, 1971)
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