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Matthias Corvinus

1443-1490, king of Hungary (1458-90) and Bohemia (1478-90), second son of John Hunyandi.

He was elected as king of Hungary on the death of Ladislaus V. Holy Roman Emperor Frederik III sought to contest the election but recognized him in 1462.

Matthias won a reputation as a crusader against the Ottomans. He was persuaded by Pope Pius II to take up arms against king of Bohemia. Having conquered Moravia, Silesia, and Lusatia, Matthias had himself crowned (1469) king of Bohemia, but was not recognized by the Bohemian diet.

The war continued after the accession of Ladislaus II as king of Bohemia. In 1478 peace was made: both Ladislaus and Matthias were to keep the title king of Bohemia; Matthias was to retain his conquests, which where, however, to revert to Bohemia after his death. After fighting tow wars (1477, 1479) against Frederik III, Matthias began (1482) a third campaign. He took Vienna (1485) and conquered Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, but his conquest were lost again after his death. His military success was largely due to the establishment of a standing army. During his rule Hungary reached its last flowering before its fall to the Ottoman Empire. He respected the national institutions but was harsh in his fiscal policy and in his administration of justice. A true Renaissance ruler, he protected learning and science. His library of Buda, the Corvina, was one of the finest in Europe. He was succeeded in Hungary by Ladislaus II of Bohemia, who ruled as Vladislaus of Hungary.