Immediately after the death of King Louis, who fell on the field of battle, the emperor Ferdinand and John Zapolya, voivode of Transylvania, competed for the vacant crown, and both were elected almost simultaneously.
In 1561 the adventurer and impostor Jacob Basilicus succeeded with Hungarian help in turning out the voivode Alexander Lapusheanu (1552-61 and 1563-68) and seizing on the reins of government.
The pope urged the king of Hungary to take advantage of this favourable opportunity by breaking the truce solemnly agreed upon, and nineteen days after it had been concluded a coalition was formed against the Turks; a large army headed by Ladislaus I., king of Hungary, Hunyadi, voivode of Walachia, and Cardinal Cesarini crossed the Danube and reached Varna, where they hoped to be joined by the Greek emperor.
A week later Trumbic and his colleagues were welcomed on the Balkan front by the Voivode Misic with an impassioned speech in favour of unity.
A little later (January 1657) he suppressed with ruthless severity a rising of the spahis; a certain Sheik Salim, leader of the fanatical mob of the capital, was drowned in the Bosporus; and the Greek Patriarch, who had written to the voivode of Wallachia to announce the approaching downfall of Islam, was hanged.
He had to be content with armistices, reconciliations and matrimonial contracts, because the great dignitaries of the state, men like the palatine Laszlo Garai, Count Ulrich of Cilli, and the voivode of Transylvania, Mihaly Ujlaky, thwarted in every way the novas homo whom they hated and envied.
The office of voivode or hospodar was sold to the highest bidder at Stambul, to be farmed out from a purely mercenary point of view.
The government remained in the hands of Cardinal Bakocz till his death in 1521, when the supreme authority at court was disputed between the lame palatine Istvan Bathory, and his rival, the eminent jurist and orator Istvan Verbdczy (q.v.), - both of them incompetent, unprincipled place-hunters, - while, in the background lurked Janos Zapolya (see John (Zapolya), King Of Hungary), voivode of Tran sylvania, patiently waiting till the death of the feeble and childless king (who, in 1522, married Maria of Austria) should open for him a way to the throne.
Three years later a Polish invasion of Moldavia under John Albert with 80,000 men ended in disaster, and shortly afterwards the voivode Stephen, aided by a Turkish and Tatar contingent, laid waste the Polish territories to the upper waters of the Vistula, and succeeded in annexing for a time the Polish province of Pokutia, between the Carpathians and the Dniester.
As in Walachia at a somewhat later date, the Phanariote regime seemed now thoroughly established in Moldavia, and it became the rule that every three years the voivode should procure his confirmation by a large baksheesh, and every year by a smaller one.