Battle of Baia

The Battle of Baia (Romanian: Bătălia de la Baia, Hungarian: moldvabányai csata) was fought on December 15, 1467, between the Moldavian prince, Stephen the Great and the Hungarian king, Matthias Corvinus. The battle was the last Hungarian attempt to subdue Moldavia, as previous attempts had ended in failure. Corvinus invaded Moldavia as a consequence of Stephen’s annexation of Chilia—a fortress and harbour on the coast of the Black Sea—from Hungarian and Wallachian forces. It had belonged to Moldavia centuries earlier.

Battle between Moldavia and Hungary
Battle of Baia
Part of Hungarian–Moldavian Wars
Date 15 December 1467
Location
Baia, present-day Romania
Result Moldavian victory[1][2]
Belligerents
Principality of Moldavia Kingdom of Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Stephen the Great Matthias Corvinus
Strength
12,000[3] 40,000; 500 cannons[4] 15,000–20,000 (modern estimate[5])
Casualties and losses
Unknown, possibly 7,000[3] 4,000–10,000[3]

The battle was a Moldavian victory, whose outcome ended Hungarian claims on Moldavia.

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In 1359, Bogdan I of Moldavia rebelled against the King of Hungary and founded an independent Moldavia. However, the Hungarian attempts to seize control over Moldavia did not end there, and in 1429, Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, and also King of Hungary, met with Władysław Jagiełło, King of Poland to try to persuade him to launch a common attack on Moldavia and divide the country in two equal parts—Polish and Hungarian.[6] Sigismund argued that the Moldavian nation did not “owe allegiance to anyone, is accustomed to live by theft and brigandage and so is everyone’s enemy.” He also complained about not receiving any help for his struggle against the Turks.[6] In the Annals of Jan Długosz, the Polish chronicler wrote the following on Władysław’s reply to Sigismund:

Wladislaw replies that it would not be right to wage war on the Moldavians, who confess the Christian faith and have given him and his kingdom obedience and submission; indeed, to do this would be an act of savagery. Though some may live by brigandage, they cannot all be tarred with the same brush, nor can they be blamed for not helping King Sigismund against the Turks, because they had gone with the Poles to the given rendez-vous on the Danube and got there on time, yet had to waste two months waiting there, and then return home. Rather does the blame for this attach to King Sigismund, who failed to turn up at the appointed time. The squabbling continues for several days, at the end of which Wladyslaw stubbornness compels Sigismund to abandon the plan and seek other ventures.[6]

After the death of Alexander I, the country was thrown into civil strife, in which the two claimants, Peter Aron III and Bogdan II, in order to gain the throne, pledged loyalty to either the Hungarian or the Polish king. The political turmoil lasted until 1457, when Stephen, son of Bogdan, having fled to Hungary and later Wallachia, with Wallachian help, gained the throne and ousted the boyars loyal to Aron. The latter fled to Poland, but was later forced to seek asylum in Hungary, after Moldavia and Poland concluded a new treaty. Stephen’s objective was to regain the region of Budjak with the castles of Chilia and Cetatea Albă. The region had previously belonged to Wallachia, but had been incorporated into Moldavia in the late 14th century.[7] Due to the decline of Moldavia during the civil war, the region reverted to Wallachia, with Chilia being co-ruled by Hungary and Wallachia.[citation needed]

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