- Mihai Racoviţă
Mihai or Mihail Racoviţă (d. July 1744) was a Prince of
Moldaviaon three separate occasions (September 1703- February 23, 1705; July 31, 1707- October 28, 1709; January 5, 1716-October 1726) and Prince of Wallachiaon two occasions (between October 1730 and October 2, 1731, and from September 1741 until his death). His rules overlapped with the ascension of Phanariotesin the Danubian Principalities- he is considered himself a Phanariote for the duration of his last rule in Moldavia and his rules over Wallachia.
boyarof the Racoviţă House (and the father of Constantin Racoviţă), closely related to the Cantacuzino familyand the son-in-law of Constantin Cantemir, Mihai Racoviţă was appointed ruler of Moldavia by Ahmed III, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, but had to continue fighting off other candidates for the throne, as well as their boyar supporters. To counter these, the Prince relied on Greek supporters: notably, his allies were the first members of the Rosetti family.
These conflics brought an increase in
taxation, as well as new fiscal demands. He was replaced by Antioh Cantemir, who, by contrast, was seen as an exceptional ruler. Again on the throne, Racoviţă was deposed on orders from the Sultan, and recalled to Istanbulon pressures from Russia's Peter the Great; he was replaced by Nicholas Mavrocordatos.
He was returned to rule in
Iaşiupon the outbreak of the Austro-Turkish War, given his image as an enemy of the Habsburg Monarchy. When the Habsburg troops entered Moldavia, Racoviţă suffered heavy losses, and called on help from the Nogai Tatars in Yedisan. Subsequently, he was able to defeat the infiltrating forces, and had the Habsburg commander executed together with those boyars who had risen against him.
Transylvanian campaign and late rules
He was ordered by the Ottomans to pass into
Transylvaniawith Nogai assistance, where he was to help Francis II Rákócziin his anti-Habsburg rebellion; his campaign met fierce Habsburg resistance in Bistriţa, and his retreat was marked by another Habsburg invasion, as well as by the wide-scale plunder of boyar estates by the Nogais (allowed by Racoviţă as payment for their participation in combat). After the incident, he was ousted from the Moldavian throne after his rival Mavrocordatos appealed to the Sultan, was jailed and replaced with Grigore II Ghica.
In 1726, Racoviţă presided the Iaşi trial of four Jews from the
Bessarabian borough of Oniţcani, who stood accused of having ritually murdered a five-year old child on Easter. The defendants were eventually acquitted following diplomatic protests (notably, the French ambassador to the Porte, Jean-Baptiste Louis Picon, remarked that such an accusation was no longer accepted in "civilized countries"). [Oişteanu, p.211-212]
His ascension to the throne in
Bucharestcame in the context of Patrona Halil's Ottoman rebellion, which had toppled Ahmed III and brought Mahmud Ias Sultan; Halil's downfall in the following year almost brought about Racoviţă's, but he successfully furnished the Portewith income provided by raised taxes. He died in Istanbul.
Ion Neculce, "Letopiseţul Ţării Moldovei", Chapters XV-XVIII, XXI
Andrei Oişteanu, "«Evreul imaginar» versus «Evreul real»" ("«The Imaginary Jew» Versus «The Real Jew»"), in "Mythos & Logos", Editura Nemira, Bucharest, 1998, p.175-263
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