Beside the Erdodys, from the second half of the sixteenth to the twentieth century the Draškovićes were the most prominent and richest peers in the Croatian Zagorje and in the Croatian kajkavian region...
Beside the Erdodys, from the second half of the sixteenth to the twentieth century the Draškovićes were the most prominent and richest peers in the Croatian Zagorje and in the Croatian kajkavian region. The family provided four Bans (Juraj II, Ivan II, Ivan III and Ivan V), many generals and high-ranking officers who fought for the defense of Croatia and the Habsburg Monarchy (Gašpar I, Ivan II, Knight of the Golden Spur Ivan III, General Ivan IV, vice-marshals Ivan V, Josip Kazimir, Juraj VI etc.), bishops (Juraj II, Juraj IV), a cardinal (Juraj II), a Hungarian Palatine (Ivan III), royal chancellors etc.
The Drašković family stems from the district of Buža (Bužani) in Lika, where they were members of the minor Croatian landed gentry. In the fifteenth century they owned estates around the town of Žažična (today Pazarište) near Gospić. The ancestral family patriarch was called Ivan, and he distinguished himself as a hero when he went to the Holy Land as part of the suite of King Andreas II (1205-1235). The family genealogy began with Juraj, who lived in about 1450, and is mentioned in charters written in Glagolitic script issued in Žažično Donje in 1490. His grandson Bartol was named "of Knin" in about 1520 because his lands stretched right to Knin. Bartol fled to Pokuplje from the Turks, taking his family with him. Everything he owned he lost fighting the Turks, and the only thing he left his widow Ana and his sons Juraj II, Gašpar I and Ivan I was his sword. Ana's brother, Cardinal Juraj Utišenić, helped his sister bring up the children. Juraj was schooled for a priest in Cracow, Vienna, Bologna and Rome, and Gašpar and Ivan were destined for the army. Juraj II (1525-1587) achieved high church and state positions and enabled the family to grow rich. At thirty-two, in 1557, he became Bishop of Pečuj, in 1563 he became Bishop of Zagreb, and in 1585 he became Cardinal. From 1567 to 1576 he was Ban of Croatia. As Bishop of Zagreb and Ban of Croatia he quelled the 1573 Peasant Revolt in Donja Stubica and punished its leaders. In 1578 he was named Chancellor to the Emperor Rudolf II, and in 1584 Regent in Hungary. It was thanks to him that the Emperor granted Trakošćan and Klenovnik to his brother Gašpar I (1530-1585). This brought the Drašković family into the circle of rich feudal lords. The third brother, Ivan I, died young defending Siget from the Turks, together with the Croatian Ban Nikola Zrinski.
All the later Draškovićes descend from Gašpar I, who gained great wealth through his marriage to Katarina Sekelj of Ormož and became a Zagorje peer. In 1569 Gašpar I was created Baron of Trakošćan, and from then up to the Second World War Trakošćan was the main seat of the Drašković family. Gašpar's sons Ivan II (1550-1613) and Petar I (15551614) founded two branches of the Drašković family. Ivan II founded the "Banal" branch that provided three important Bans in three generations, and Petar I founded the Ljutomer branch. The last descendant of that branch was Eusebija, grand-daughter of Petar I, who married the younger Nikola Zrinski. After her death, Nikola had to return Trakošćan and Klenovnik to the Draškovićes. Ivan II was Ban of Croatia (1596-1608), well-known general and Vice-President of the Court War Council. He gained fame in the Battle of Sisak in 1593 under Ban Toma Erdody. He extended the family estates to Krapina and its surroundings, and in 1604 he leased the fortress of Medvedgrad from AnaMarija, widow of Nikola Gregorijanec. The third 'Drašković Ban was the son of Ivan II, Ivan III (1603-1648). In his time the Draškovićes achieved their peak in wealth and power. Ivan III built Klenovnik, he was Ban of Croatia (1640-1648), he was a prominent general and Knight of the Golden Spur. He graduated in philosophy in Graz, and law in Bologna. In 1631 the Emperor Ferdinand II conferred on Ivan III, Nikola I and their cousin Gašpar II (son of Petar I, member of the Ljutomer branch of the Drašković family) the title of count. Ivan V (1660-1733), grandson of Ivan III, was the fourth and last Drašković Ban (1732-1733). He became Vice-Marshal, commanded the Croatian national army and was very popular among the people, so he was known as the "People's Ban". Soon after his appointment he died. Ivan V represented the interests of Croatia when the Požarevac Peace Treaty was drawn up in 1718, after the victory over the Turks at Belgrade.
Many members of the Drašković family chose a military career. Success in wars against the Turks brought the family great honour and high positions: Besides the family members already mentioned, Josip Kazimir, Ivan VIII and Juraj VI must also be mentioned as distinguished soldiers. Josip Kazimir (1716-1765), son of Ivan V, was a soldier all his life and fought against the Turks and Friedrich the Great. He became Vice-Marshal. When he was Commander of the Varaždin Military District he quartered part of his cavalry, 900 men, in Trakošćan for a time. His son Ivan VIII (1740-1788) continued his father's career as a colonel of the Military March in Glina. He founded a masonic lodge in Croatia. Juraj VI (1803-1889), who became Vice-Marshal, is best-known for his remodelling of Trakošćan in the middle of the nineteenth century. Since he had no heirs, Juraj VI left Trakošćan to his nephew Ivan IX (18441910) who married the artist Countess Julijana Erdody of Novi Marof. Their son Ivan X Petar (1916-1993) was the last owner of Trakošćan in the Drašković family.
One of the most prominent members of the Drašković family was Count Janko Drašković (1770-1849), together with Ljudevit Gaj the originator of the Illyrian Croatian National Revival in the thirties of the nineteenth century. As a soldier he fought against the Turks and Napoleon. Everywhere he defended and represented the state right of his homeland Croatia and his people, for which he sacrificed almost all his wealth. He was buried together with Gaj and other members of the Illyrian Movement in the arcades of Zagreb Mirogoj Cemetery.
The Drašković family was immensely rich. They owned many estates in Croatia, but also in Styria, Lower Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Switzerland. In the middle of the eighteenth century their estates had about 2,300 families of serfs and freemen. In the Varaždin region the Draškovićes owned Trakošćan, Klenovnik, Vinica and Opeka with Zelendvor. In the Križevci region they owned the domain of Veliki Bukovec, Bisag and Hrašćina. In the surroundings of Zagreb they owned Brezovica and Božjakovina, and near Karlovac they owned Rečice. Besides castles, manors and curias, the Draškovićes also owned many town mansions and houses: a mansion in Budapest that they sold in 1832, a house in Graz that Juraj VI bought in 1858, several houses and a mansion in Varaždin, in which the Empress Maria Theresia stayed in 1754 when she visited Croatia, and several houses and mansions in Zagreb.