Rakoczy, a noble family of Transylvania, several members of which were princes of that country. Of these, George I. (1631-'48) made himself conspicuous by his cooperation with the Swedes in the latter years of the thirty years' war, when he succeeded in forcing the emperor Ferdinand III. to restore the liberties of Hungary by the treaty of Linz (1645). (See Actes et documents pour servir ŕ l'histoire de l'alliance de George Rákóczy axec les Français et les Suédois, etc, by A. Szilágyi, Pesth, 1875.) His son George II. was less successful in a war with Poland (1657). The most celebrated member of the family, Feancis II., grandson of the preceding, born in 1676, died at Rodos-to, Turkey, April 8, 1735. After the death of his father, Francis I., and the surrender of Munkács to the Austrians after a heroic defence by his mother, he was brought up under the care of the court of Vienna, and during the insurrection under Tökölyi was placed under the Jesuits in Bohemia, who strove in vain to induce him to abjure Protestantism. Subsequently he received part of the estates of his relatives, and was permitted to reside in Hungary. Accused of being engaged in a conspiracy to excite rebellion, he was taken in May, 1701, to Austria, and confined in a dungeon at Wiener-Neustadt; but he escaped and fled to Poland, and in 1703 suddenly appeared in the vicinity of Munkács, collected an insurrectionary band, and issued a bitter manifesto against Austria. He was subsidized by Louis XIV., then engaged in the war of the Spanish succession, and after a short time had most of Hungary and Transylvania in his power, and even threatened Vienna. The revolted Hungarian districts and cities in 1705 formed a confederation similar to those of Poland, appointing Rákóczy, who had previously been elected prince of Transylvania, their chief with the title of dux (Hung. vezér). But in August, 1708, while investing Trentschin, he was surprised and badly defeated by the Austrian general Heister, and barely escaped.
From this time the arms of Austria were in the ascendant, and her victories in the field were assisted by the dissensions which long before had manifested themselves among the confederates. Rákóczy having gone to Poland, in order to meet with Peter the Great of Russia, a peace was concluded in his absence between Austria and the confederates at Szatmár in 1711. After living several years in France and Spain, Rákóczy went to Turkey, and with other refugees passed the rest of his life at the castle of Rodosto on the sea of Marmora. He wrote a narrative of the struggle in Hungary under the title of Mémoires sur les révolutions de Hongrie (the Hague, 1738). He also composed meditations, hymns, soliloquies, and a commentary on the Pentateuch.