10 Interesting Things You Should Know About The Teutonic Knights

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2) The Hungarian affair of ‘stone’

Interestingly enough, after just a few years of its founding, the Teutonic Order also had the opportunity to establish itself in district of Burzenland (Terra Borza) in Transylvania, at the behest of the Hungarian king Andrew II. Burzenland was a wild mountainous region inhabited by diverse people including Vlachs, Slavs, Pechenegs and even the raiding Kipchaks. Suffice it to say, the Hungarian overlords were interested in maintaining a semblance of authority over the multifarious subjects of this frontier district, and thus the Teutonic knights were invited to control the mountain passes (as bulwarks against the nomadic Kipchak raids).

However while the Teutonic Order was given relative autonomy in the functioning of its troops in the region, the Hungarian king prohibited the knights from erecting stone-based fortifications – probably because he didn’t want the order to be an militarily independent faction with strong political influence in the area. But the Teutonic Knights broke their agreement and started constructing stone-based castles, and at the same successfully repelled various Kipchak raids. Thus the situation became complex for the Hungarian monarch, who actually proceeded on to gift even more ‘non-Hungarian’ lands to the order as reward for their effectiveness, in spite of their perceived ‘insolence’. But the unique political scope was extinguished in 1225 AD after many Hungarian barons and Vlach subjects (who were Orthodox Christians) were rebellious due to the rising power of the Catholic Teutonic Knights. As a result, the knights were unceremoniously expelled from Hungary, which finally propelled them to establish an independent power-base of their own.

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