Esterhazy (Esterhazy de Galantha; Hun. Eszterhazy), a family of Hungarian magnates, distinguished for their wealth, of whom the first authentic record is dated in 1238. This record mentions the division of the estates of Solomon of Estoras between his two sons, who assumed from their lands the names of Zerhazy and Illyeshazy. Francis Zerhazy was knighted in 1584, and adopted the name of Esterhazy of Galantha. His sons Gabriel, Daniel, Paul, and Nicholas became the founders of four lines, of which the first became extinct in 1070, while the others have come down to our day. Of these the lines of Old Zolyom or Altsohl and Csesznrk were created counts in 1683, and the line of Frakn6 or Forchenstein as early as 1626, through its representative Nicholas Esterhazy of Frakno, who died with the rank of palatine and field marshal in 1645. The two younger sons of the last named, Paul and Francis, became the founders of the line of counts and of the line of princes of the house of Esterhazy-Frakno. The line of counts separated into three branches, all of which are still represented, as are also the Old Zolyom and Csesznek lines.
The princely main branch of the house of Esterhazy was founded by Paul IV. in 1635, who was created prince in 1687 in reward of his services as general of cavalry and palatine of Hungary. He died in 1713. He was succeeded by Prince Michael, who died in 1721, leaving no male issue. The succession fell to his brother Joseph Antony, who died in the same year. The elder of his two sons, Prince Paul Antony, born in 1711, rose in 1747 to the rank of field marshal lieutenant, was appointed ambassador to Naples in 1750, and died as field marshal in 1762. His brother Nicholas Joseph, born in 1714, attained the rank of field marshal, and had conferred upon him the title of prince, hereditary in both male and female issue. His son, Prince Paul Antony, born in 1738, became lieutenant field marshal, and died in 1794. He was the father of the princes Antony and Nicholas. The latter, born in 1765, served in the army, and subsequently in the diplomatic corps, and gained distinction as a promoter of arts and sciences, and as the founder of a gallery of paintings and engravings.
It is said that in 1809 he refused the crown of Hungary offered to him by Napoleon. He died at Como in 1833. His son, Paul Antony, born March 10, 1786, distinguished himself as a diplomatist, chiefly at the court of England; but returning to his native country in 1842, he embraced the national cause, and in 1848, as Hungarian minister of foreign affairs, vainly attempted to bring about a reconciliation between the Austrian court and Hungary, resigning before the dissolution of the Batthyanyi ministry. By extraordinary munificence and extravagant displays of wealth, both abroad and at home, he ultimately brought about a legal sequestration of his immense estates. He died May 21, 1866, and was succeeded by his son Nicholas Paul, born June 25, 1817, who married in 1842 Lady Sarah, daughter of George Child Villiers, earl of Jersey. His entailed inheritance in Hungary embraces 29 estates with 21 castles, 60 towns, 414 villages, and 207 other landed possessions; the princely seat is at Eisenstadt. Besides these he is the owner of the domains of Pottenstein and Schwarzbach in Lower Austria, and of Edelstetten in Bavaria.