Andrew II


son of: Béla III
periods of reign: 1205-1235
spouse: Gertrude of Merania
Yolanda de Courtenay
Beatrice D’Este
children: Maria, Béla, Elisabeth, Coloman, Andrew, Yolanda, Stephen
succesor: Béla IV


The reign of the 18th king of the Árpád Dynasty, Andrew II is considered to be one of the most significant periods of Hungarian history. He issued the Golden Bull, a charter that contained measures that were in force with minor or major amendments till 1848.

His father did not want Andrew to be king. In his will he gave Andrew money and castles, and ordered him to fulfil his vow, leading crusades to the Holy Land. Instead, Andrew used the money to strengthen his power. Before his death, Andrew’s brother appointed him his son’s guardian and regent of the country. The early death of the child removed all obstacles and he could finally become king.

Andrew had to face both internal and external foes. He tried to reinforce his power by giving away money and royal estates, as well as, by military invasions. Being against the German partisans’ acquisitions of properties, the Hungarian Lords murdered the queen and the majority of her courtiers during the king’s absence. This period is covered in József Katona’s legendary historical tragedy called Bánk Bán. As a result of his donations and his profligate way of living, the king’s power had weakened economically by 1219. This led to the issue of the Golden Bull in 1222. In the chart the king was coerced into decreeing the cancellation of further donation of entire counties or other privileges, the renunciation of expatriates’ receiving properties, and no one ever being dispossessed his estates received by honest service. The document is a witness of a unique, medieval “democratization”. However, the king continued his former policy of giving away royal counties.

The king’s relationship with his son Duke Béla was not entirely harmonic. Already in 1220, Béla had joined the lords who were against the king, and later fled to Austria from the king’s vengeance. Andrew died in Summer 1235, after 30 years of eventful reign.