No other king of Hungary, perhaps, was so mischievous to his country. Valiant, enterprising, pious as he was, all these fine qualities were ruined by a reckless good nature which never thought of the morrow. He declares in one of his decrees that the generosity of a king should be limitless, and he acted up to this principle throughout his reign. He gave away everything, money, villages, domains, whole counties, to the utter impoverishment of the treasury, thereby rendering the crown, for the first time in Hungarian history, dependent upon the great feudatories, who, in Hungary as elsewhere, took all they could get and gave as little as possible in return. In all matters of government, Andrew was equally reckless and haphazard. He is directly responsible for the beginnings of the feudal anarchy which well-nigh led to the extinction of the monarchy at the end of the 13th century. The great feudatories did not even respect the lives of the royal family, for Andrew was recalled from a futile attempt to reconquer Galicia (which really lay beyond the Hungarian sphere of influence), through the murder of his first wife Gertrude of Meran (September 24, 1213), by rebellious nobles jealous of the influence of her relatives.
In 1215 he married Iolanthe (Yolande) of France, but in 1217 was compelled by the pope to lead the Fifth Crusade to the Holy Land, which he undertook in hopes of being elected Latin emperor of Constantinople. The crusade excited no enthusiasm in Hungary, but Andrew contrived to collect 15,000 men together, whom he led to Venice; whence, not without much haggling and the surrender of all the Hungarian claims upon Zara, about two-thirds of them were conveyed to Acre. Nevertheless the whole expedition was a forlorn hope. The Christian kingdom of Palestine was by this time reduced to a strip of coast about 440 sq. m. in extent, and after a drawn battle with the Turks on the Jordan (November 10), and fruitless assaults on the fortresses of the Lebanon and on Mount Tabor, Andrew started home (January 18, 1218) through Antioch, Iconium, Constantinople and Bulgaria. On his return he found the feudal barons in the ascendant, and they extorted from him the Golden Bull.
Andrew's last exploit was to defeat an invasion of Frederick of Austria in 1234. The same year he married his third wife, Beatrice of Este. Besides his three sons, Bela, Coloman and Andrew. Andrew had a daughter Iolanthe (Yolande), who married the king of Aragon. He was also the father of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
No special monograph for the whole reign exists, but there is a good description of Andrew's crusade in Reinhold Roehricht, Geschichte des Konigreiches Jerusalem (Innsbruck, 1898). The best account of Andrew's government is in Laszlo Szalav's History of Hungary (Hung.), vol. i. (Leipzig and Pest, 1851-1862). (R. N. B.)
See also: List of Hungarian rulers