Biography of John Hunyadi. Hunyadi (c. 1406 –1456) was a leading Hungarian military and political figure in Central and Southeastern Europe during the 15th century. According to most contemporary sources, he was son of a noble family of Romanian ancestry. He mastered his military skills on the southern borderlands of the Kingdom of Hungary that were exposed to Ottoman attacks. Appointed voivode of Transylvania and head of a number of southern counties, he assumed responsibility for the defense of the frontiers in 1441.