Hunyadi, John ho͝on´yŏdĭ [key], Hung. Hunyadi János, c.1385–1456, Hungarian national hero, leader of the resistance against the Ottomans. He was chosen (1441) voivode [governor] of Transylvania under King Uladislaus I (Ladislaus III of Poland) and won numerous victories over the Ottomans. In 1444, however, the Christians were routed at Varna and the king was slain. Hunyadi, after a period of confusion, was chosen (1446) regent by the Hungarian diet. Young Ladislaus V, chosen king in 1444, was kept from his kingdom by his guardian, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, until 1453. When Ladislaus assumed his rule, Hunyadi laid down the regency and devoted his full energy to fighting the Ottomans. His fight was a Christian crusade and was aided by Pope Calixtus III. With St. John Capistran, Hunyadi defeated (1456) the Ottomans at Belgrade and thus staved off the Ottoman conquest of Hungary for 70 years. Hunyadi was bitterly opposed by many of the Magyar nobles. His elder son Ladislaus was executed in 1457 by order of King Ladislaus V for assassinating the king's uncle. John Hunyadi's younger son became king as Matthias Corvinus.
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