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Knightly Order of Vitéz

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Knightly Order of Vitéz

Vitéz, or Order of Vitéz (Vitézi Rend in Hungarian) (frequently spelled in English as 'Vitez') was a Hungarian order of merit which was founded in 1678. It was awarded as a state honour during two periods of Hungarian history. The Order of Vitéz survives today as an order of chivalry under protection of the royal family of Hungary.

The Order of Vitéz under Thököly

The Order of Vitéz (the Hungarian word "Vitéz"' means valiant soldier or galant) was established in 1678 by Imre Thököly (1657-1705). He was a Hungarian nobleman who led a rebellion against Leopold I of Austria when he suspended the Constitution and placed Hungary under a directorate headed by the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. Thököly gathered behind him a force of disaffected Hungarians composed mainly of disbanded soldiers and peasantry. His followers were known as 'kuruc' (crusaders), a designation that was also used a century earlier by the followers of another rebel leader, György (George) Dózsa. Appointment to the Vitéz Order was Thököly's way to designate and promote some of his lowly-born followers who distinguished themselves in the struggle and around whom other newer rebels could gather with confidence. [1]

The Order of Vitéz under Horthy

In August 1920, the Vitéz Order was revived by Miklós Horthy to serve as an award in the Regency of Hungary.[2] Admittance into the Order was in the gift of the Regent, and initially he restricted membership to men who served with special distinction in World War I. Subsequently, admittance was widened to include both military and civilian supporters of his regime. Members received a badge and were entitled to use the designation Vitéz as a prefix to their names. Admission into the Order also carried with it a land grant of 40 cadastral holds to an officer, 8 cadastral holds to other ranks or civilians[3] (1 cadastral hold = c. 1.43 acres). The honour of Vitéz become hereditary, and the three grants (title, badge and land grant) were to be passed on by the recipient to his eldest son.[2] Miklós Horthy was the first to be admitted into the revived Order and was also the Order's Commander in Chief (Főkapitány). In 1920 Archduke Joseph August of Austria became the first knight of the Order of Vitéz. New appointments to the order ceased with the end of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1946.

The Order of Vitéz in modern era

After the end of World War II, veterans' groups including knights appointed by Horthy began work on re-establishing the Order of Vitéz in exile. These efforts were carried largely by monarchist and legitimist groups. In 1953 General Hugó Sónyi (vitéz Sónyi) re-established the Vitéz Order as an order of chivalry according to traditional statutes. Since 1983 Vitéz Order has been awarded to individuals who have been defenders of Hungarian national interests and culture. The Captains General of the extant order have been:

References

External links

  • A history of the Order of Vitéz during the Regency (1920–1946)
  • Hungarian site of the private Order of Vitéz
  • Hungarian site of the Order of Vitéz
  • site of another branch of the private Order of Vitéz
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