Bănia, Buzeşti Brothers and Mihai V.


The Great Government of Craiova appeared in the last decades of the XVth century and shortly became the second most important political institution in the country, after the sovereign. It is an institution borrowed from the Hungarians (it is met in Hungary and Croatia during the XIII-XIV century). Once Mircea the Elder rose to reign, the Great Governor takes it upon him the sovereign attributions (governing) of the territory of Oltenia, and had at his disposal an office, from which he issued acts, similar to the sovereign acts. Thus, the title of Great Governor of Craiova was equal to the highest office, the governor of Craiova representing, in the Middle Ages, the second most important man in state, after the king of the Principality of Romania.

In the second half of the XVI century, the Great Government is faced with a crisis, caused by the aggressive attempts of the Turks to install an effective domination in the Principality of Romania. The Great Government becomes again an institution of higher ranks, during the time of Mihai the Brave.


The Great Governor Preda Buzescu, the eldest of the famous Buzeşti brothers, played a great part amongst the noblemen of Mihai the Brave. Born in the first half of the XVI century, he dies in 1612. After his brothers, he was a Great Governor of Craiova.

Usually, when Mihai went in expeditions, he was left to rule the principality in his place. So it happens when Simon Movilă tries to usurp the throne of the brave ruler in 1601, the Buzeşti brothers, left to rule the principality, cast out this usurper. After the death of Mihai the Brave, they give support to Radu Şerban.

The Great Noblemen Radu Buzescu, former commander, the most famous of the brothers. In 1575, he was a councilor; in 1588 commander. As a prestigious general for Mihai the Brave, he was many times sent to defend the principality. In 1593, along with governor Udrea Băleanu and 6,000 soldiers from Oltenia, he passed through Ardeal, along Turnu Roşu, to meet with Mihai. In 1595, before the famous battle from Călugăreni, he rode along Stroe before the Tatar khan in Galaţi; in the same year, they are sent to reclaim Hârşova from the Turks, while the governor Mihalcea had Silistra under siege. Mihai sent him as messenger to Basta; under the reign of Radu Şerban, he remains a messenger for the Tatars.

Radu Buzescu dies on January 10th 1610 and is buried in Călui monastery.

The third brother Stroe Buzescu, master-chef and illustrious nobleman, died at the age of 70 in 1602. He is often around his older brother, Radu; it so happens that in 1595, in Vidin, both of them save the life of king Mihai, surrounded by a horde of Turks, ready to kill him. He is the one that fights with the son of the Tatar khan Gherai; being mortally wounded and then buried at the church in Stăneşti, Vâlcea district. He died without heirs.


Mihai the Brave (b. 1558, Târgul de Floci – d. August 9th, 1601, Turda) was a small governor of Strehaia territory, master-chef and governor of Craiova and, further on, ruler of the Principality of Romania and, for a short while during 1600, de facto king of the three Romanian medieval principalities that form the current Romania: the Principality of Romania, Transylvania and Moldova.

By the end of the year 1588 he became master-chef at the court of Mihnea Turcitul, and, in 1593, he becomes governor of Craiova during the reign of Alexandru the Bad. In September 1593, with the help of the patriarch of Constantinople, as well as the help of the Ottomans, to whom he paid a record sum of 1,5 million coins, he became effective ruler of the Principality of Romania as of October 11th. He adheres to the Christian “Holy League”, established by the Pope Clement VIII, which was initially comprised of the Papal State, Spain, Austria, Ferrara, Mantova and Toscany (England and Poland held their reservations towards the papal policy of crusades). Soon after, Transylvania also adheres to it, which is considered to be a decisive factor in drawing the allegiance of the other two Romanian principalities, Moldova and the Principality of Romania. King Aron, the ruler of Moldova, signs a treaty with the Hapsburg emperor on September 16th, 1594, offering another reason for Mihai the Brave, with the approval of the noblemen, to join the anti-ottoman alliance.

After the victory against Andrei Bathory (the battle of Selimbăr, October 18/28, 1599), he enters victoriously in the city of Alba Iulia on November 1st, 1599, and receives the keys to the fortress from the bishop Demetrius Napragy. Even if the legislative conclave only recognized Mihai the Brave as imperial governor, he was the de facto ruler of Transylvania.

On May 1600, Mihai the Brave cast away Ieremia Movilă from the throne of Moldova, winning against him at Bacău, and thus accomplishes the first union of the Romanian principalities. The title the king used (in a document dating from July 6th, 1600) was: “Ruler of the Romanian Principality and Ardeal and of the whole country of Moldova”.

The international context was not favorable for Mihai. He doesn’t manage to defeat the riot of the Hungarian noblemen from Transylvania, aided by general Basta (September 18/28, 1600) in Mirăslău and he soon loses the territory of Ardeal. Shortly after, Moldova will fall again under the rule of the Movileşti, who served the Polish interests. Mihai tried to resist the Polish attack against the Principality of Romania, but he is unsuccessful, as Simion Movileşti came to the throne of the Principality of Romania.

Forced into exile, Mihai asks the king Rudolf II for aid, who, set against the re-installment of Sigismund Bathory on the throne of Transylvania, accepts to aid Mihai. Together with general Basta, Mihai sets on a campaign to take back the Romanian territories. Through his victory at Guruslău (August 3rd, 1601), the Romanian king banishes Bathory from Transylvania. He continues by taking back the Principality of Romania by banishing Simion Movilă from the throne. In these conditions, the perspective of a new Romanian union reared its head, a position which did not suit the Habsburg emperor, Rudolf II. He orders the removal of the Romanian ruler and, on August 9/19, 1601, 3 km south of Turda, Mihai the Brave is killed by General Gheorghe Basta. His head is taken by one of the ruler’s captains and buried by Radu Buzescu at Dealu Monastery, close to Târgoviste. On his funeral stone at Dealu Monastery, it is written: “Here lies the head of the late and honest Christian Mihail, Great Lord, who was ruler of the Principality of Romania, Ardeal and Moldova”.