Newsroom
Friss Hírek
Project
Tervezet
Folklore
Folklór
Genealogy
Genealógia
 
  HIR HAL Lists HAN Events HAL Folklór AHM AHFC Honosítás / Dual Citizenship
   HUNGARY

> Hun / Székely Írásmód
> Csángó Magyarok
> Mohácsi vész / Turkish conquest
> King Lajos II
> St. Piroska
> 1956 Hungarian Revolution
> Revolution '06
> Dr. Ilona Tóth '56 martyr

> Ady Endre
> Áprily Lajos
> Arany János
> Babits Mihály
> Balassi Bálint
> Baróti Szabó Dávid
> Bartis Ferenc
> Berzsenyi Dániel
> Eötvös József
> Illyés Gyula
> József Attila
> Kányádi Sándor:
> Kárpáti Piroska
> KOCSIS GÁBOR
> Komjáthy Jenő
> Korondi F. János
> Petőfi Sándor
> Radnóti Miklós
> Radnóti miklós
> Reményik Sándor
> Szentmihályi Szabó Péter
> Tompa László
> Tóth Árpád
> Többi
> Vörösmarty Mihály
> Wass Albert
> Weöres Sándor


   HALists/MAListák

Topics - Témakörök

E-mail Address:
Real name:
go
   Related


2017 Máj 27 (Szombat) - Hella névnapja Search for: in

Content of this page:
    The History of Hungary: The Origin of Hungarians
    The Migration (V.-IX. c.) and The Conquest (895)
    The Foundation of The State (1000)
    The medieval Hungarian kingdom (XI.-XV. c.)
    The Turks in Hungary (XI.-XV. c.)
    The Habsburgs in Hungary
    The Reform Age (first half of XIX c.)
    The Revolution (15th March 1848) and Freedom War (1848-49)
    The Compromise (1867) and The Age of Dualism
    The First World War and Trianon (1920)
    The Second World War and The Communism
    The Revolution (1956)
    New chances...

The History of Hungary: The Origin of Hungarians

As is the case with many other nations, the exact origin of the Hungarians is not known. The most commonly accepted guess in scientific circles is that their ancient homeland was somewhere in Western Siberia. This theory is very much supported by the fact that the Hungarian language is a branch of the Finno-Ugric languages (Finnish and Estonian being the two other major languages belonging to this group).
The Migration (V.-IX. c.) and The Conquest (895)

The Hungarian tribes arrived to the Carpathian Basin with the last wave of the Great Migration at the end of the IXth century (see their route on this map). Under the leadership of Árpád the Hungarians easily conquered the sparsely populated territory. Some critical minds (always looking for the bad side of everything) do not miss the chance to point out here that the Hungarians were actually chased by another nomadic tribe, the Petchenegs. Anyway, in the first century after their settlement the Hungarians were leading regular raiding campaigns to the West and to the South, thus reaching the same reputation in continental Europe as the Vikings in coastal areas. As you can imagine, they were very popular indeed!

 <  home top  /\ 

The Migration (V.-IX. c.) and The Conquest (895)

Hungarian Migration
Hungarian Migration

Feszty: A magyarok bejövetele (1)
Feszty: A magyarok bejövetele (1)

The Hungarian tribes arrived to the Carpathian Basin with the last wave of the Great Migration at the end of the IXth century (see their route on this map). Under the leadership of Árpád the Hungarians easily conquered the sparsely populated territory. Some critical minds (always looking for the bad side of everything) do not miss the chance to point out here that the Hungarians were actually chased by another nomadic tribe, the Petchenegs. Anyway, in the first century after their settlement the Hungarians were leading regular raiding campaigns to the West and to the South, thus reaching the same reputation in continental Europe as the Vikings in coastal areas. As you can imagine, they were very popular indeed!

A famous XIX c. painting about Árpád (by another Árpád, FESZTY Árpád) and the six other chieftains leading the Hungarians into their new homeland. Árpád became the ruler of the Hungarians by uniting seven Hungarian tribes. According to the tradition the seven chieftains sealed the union by the symbolic act of drinking from each other's blood. (See another painting by SZÉKELY Bertalan http://www.kfki.hu/keptar/english/s/szekely/muvek/ ) .

 <  home top  /\ 

The Foundation of The State (1000)

Hungary in the 11th (XI) c.
Hungary in the 11th (XI) c.

Szent István with his wife Gizella
Szent István with his wife Gizella

The Hungarian policy of regularly attacking their neighbours was stopped by prince Géza in the second half of the X. century. He realized that in the interest of the long-term survival of the nation, Hungarians have to adapt Western standards. His work was finished by his son István, the first Hungarian king. István ruled Hungary between 997 and 1038. He converted Hungarians to Christianity (for which he was later canonized by the church) and created a strong feudal state (see map).

 <  home top  /\ 

The medieval Hungarian kingdom (XI.-XV. c.)

Visegrád
Visegrád

King Mátyás (1458-1490)
King Mátyás (1458-1490)

The foundations laid down by István proved to be rather solid. The first five hundred years of Hungarian history was a success story. Hungary established itself as a regional power in Central Europe and the Balkans: usually strong enough to defend its independence even from the contemporary superpowers and also strong enough to control smaller neighbouring states (which explains why some of our neighbours do not share our enthusiasm about this period). The country was a flourishing medieval kingdom, closing up to Western-European standards also in economical and cultural aspects.

Perhaps the most important chapter of these glorious centuries is the rule of king Mátyás (1458-1490). His father János Hunyadi (probably the most talented contemporary military leader and certainly Hungary's greatest military hero ever) managed to stop the advancing Turks in a series of brilliant battles between 1441 and 1456, which contributed to the long and prosperous reign of his son. Mátyás' famous "Black Army" deterred the Turks and ensured military supremacy over Central Europe. His famous renaissance court at Visegrád attracted many artists and his Corvina library at Buda was also world-famous. Hungary was at its peak.

 <  home top  /\ 

The Turks in Hungary (XI.-XV. c.)

Mohács Hungary was torn into three parts
Mohács Hungary was torn into three parts

King Lajos II also died in the battle Mohács
King Lajos II also died in the battle Mohács

But not for long, unfortunately. After Mátyás' death weaker kings came into power and although Hungary had successfully resisted the Turks since their appearance in the Balkans in the XIV. century, it was no longer able to do so: a huge Turkish army crushed the Hungarians at the battlefield of Mohács in the dark year of 1526.

After Mohács Hungary was torn into three parts (see map):

* the central areas were under direct Turkish control,
* a strip in the north-west remained legally the kingdom of Hungary but fell into the hands of the Habsburgs (thus the Habsburgs became Hungarian kings on a hereditary basis for the rest of the kingdom's existence),
* The eastern part became the more or less autonomous principality of Transylvania. It tried to maintain the illusion of Hungarian independence but was in reality under Turkish influence (though its role as a safe-haven for Hungarian culture in these bloody centuries was very important).

Worse than that, the next 150 years was a series of wars between the Turkish and the Habsburg empire. Hungary had the honour to provide the battlefield for these wars. As a result, the country was devastated: most towns had been destroyed and the population which used to be 4 millions at the end of the XV. century (in Mátyás' time) decreased to only 3 millions at the end of the XVII. century.

The battle of Mohács is perhaps the most tragic moment in Hungarian history. It marked the fall of a proud kingdom and put an end to Hungarian independence for four-hundred years. The tragic effects of Mohács influence the country's history to the present day and explain the famous Hungarian pessimism too well.

More at: The Fall of The Medieval Kingdom of Hungary: Mohacs 1526 - Buda 1541 http://www.hungary.com/corvinus/lib/warso/i

 <  home top  /\ 

The Habsburgs in Hungary

II. RÁKÓCZI Ferenc
II. RÁKÓCZI Ferenc

Siege of Vienna in 1683
Siege of Vienna in 1683

So, when the last major Turkish attack against Austria (the siege of Vienna in 1683) triggered a coalition of European powers (including Austria, Poland and some other countries) which managed to liberate Hungary in the following years, it was a long-awaited and very fortunate event, even though the impoverished country was in no position to retain its independence and got incorporated into the growing Central-European empire of the Habsburgs.

However, the relations between the Habsburgs and their Hungarian subjects were not entirely harmonious. The Habsburgs often referred to the Hungarians as "rebellious" and this opinion was not completely groundless as the Hungarians tried to get rid of the Habsburgs during a freedom war (1703-11) led by Ferenc Rákóczi II, Prince of Transylvania, but this was a rather hopeless effort and the rebels finally failed.

Otherwise the XVIII. century was long and surprisingly peaceful. The country was rebuilt basically from scratch and received a dominantly baroque architectural profile.

 <  home top  /\ 

The Reform Age (first half of XIX c.)

The Lánchíd: The first permanent bridge between Buda and Pest
The Lánchíd: The first permanent bridge between Buda and Pest

The Hungarian National Museum
The Hungarian National Museum

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences
The Hungarian Academy of Sciences

SZÉCHENYI István, the "Greatest Hungarian"
SZÉCHENYI István, the "Greatest Hungarian"

The beginning of the XIX. century brought the rise of national feelings everywhere in Europe. The wakening Hungarians found their country in a backward and underdeveloped state. The most prominent statesmen of the country recognized the urgent need of modernization and their message got through. A remarkable upswing started as the nation concentrated its forces on the inevitable modernization, even though the reactionary Habsburgs were obstructing important liberal reforms. Some highlights from this period:

* the Hungarian Academy of Sciences,
* the National Museum,
* theatres and other important institutions were founded.
* The first railway between Pest and Vác was established,
* and the first permanent bridge between the (at the time still separate) cities of Buda and Pest was built
* and even the Hungarian language itself was reformed (new words were invented, rules were simplified and unified).

 <  home top  /\ 

The Revolution (15th March 1848) and Freedom War (1848-49)

The battle of Tápióbicske
The battle of Tápióbicske

Petőfi Sándor (1823-1849)
Petőfi Sándor (1823-1849)

Deák Ferenc (1803–76), the "nation's wise man"
Deák Ferenc (1803–76), the "nation's wise man"

Kossuth Lajos, Hungary's leader in 1848-49
Kossuth Lajos, Hungary's leader in 1848-49

In 1848 the Hungarians happily joined the trend of revolutions sweeping through Europe (though some Hungarian extremists feel ashamed even today by the fact that the otherwise "loyal and subdued" Austrians managed to get their revolution done days earlier: in fact, the news arriving from the revolting Vienna urged the young revolutioners in Pest to start acting.)

For a few months everything seemed bright, but then revolutions failed elsewhere and the Hungarians stayed alone, their leaders facing not only the military threat from the reactionary Habsburgs but for the first time in the country's history also the rebellion of some national minorities, who began looking at the Hungarians the same way as the Hungarians treated the Habsburgs: their oppressors.

In the beginning the Hungarians surprised the world as - against the odds - their newly organized army inflicted defeat upon their enemies by early 1849. This led to the intervention of the Russians, who were apparently better trained to handle such rebellions. Hungarian resistance lasted for a few more months, but by the end of the summer the Russians and the reinforced Austrians finished their job: the freedom war was over.

Kossuth was Governor of Hungary during fight for independence and democracy which was eventually defeated by the union of the royalist Austrian Habsburg and Russian Czarist Armies (1848 - 1849). Kossuth envisioned a federation in the Kingdom of Hungary in which all nationalties participated in a vibrant democratic system based on fundamental democratic principles such as equality and parliamentary representation. The bloody conflict eventually led to a partial victory for Hungary - a great compromise known as the "Austro-Hungarian Empire," in which Hungary gained some autonomy.

Petőfi (1823-1849) is probably "the" Hungarian poet and hero of the 15th March revolution. His Nemzeti Dal (National Song) written for the revolution (yes, he wrote it especially for this occasion! Funny times, when writing a poem is part of conspiracy...) has become sort of an unofficial anthem for Hungarians. During the freedom war Petőfi was fighting in the revolutionary army. He was last seen in the battle of Segesvár (31th July 1849).

Victories in spring 1849

The battle of Tápióbicske was one in the series of Hungarian victories over the Austrians during spring 1849: by the end of May the revolutionary army controlled most of Hungary. (A painting by THAN Mór).

 <  home top  /\ 

The Compromise (1867) and The Age of Dualism

Budapest
Budapest

Nyugati railway station designed by Frenchman Gustave Eiffel
Nyugati railway station designed by Frenchman Gustave Eiffel

Although the Hungarians were finally defeated, the Habsburg empire was weakened by the internal crisis, which resulted in lost wars against France (1859) and Prussia (1866). This led to a compromise between Austria and Hungary in 1867. Hungary stopped seeking full independence and in return received autonomy. The Habsburg empire officially became the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy (a joint-venture, one could say), though Austria had the dominant position in the new dualist state.

The 50 years after the 1867 compromise are one of Hungary's better periods. A very dynamic economic and cultural development started: by the end of the century Hungary was closer to Western-European standards than ever, at least after Mohács. Some highlights from this period:

* Buda and Pest were united, the new capital became a metropolis,
* an extensive railway network was built in the country,
* educational reforms were introduced & massive industrialization started: by the end of the century Hungarian industry was leading in certain fields (electricity, transport industry, telecommunication),
* Hungary's cultural life flourished.

The 1867 Compromise

If the Hungarians around you are crazily shouting in their strange mother tongue and accuse each other with being "brainless" or "traitor" (or so you figure), there is some chance that this compromise is on the agenda. The historic deal elaborated (from Hungary's side, at least) by Deák Ferenc has been a subject of heated debates since its birth.

Those who oppose the deal say that:

* From an ethical point of view, Hungary changed side by this compromise and became a reactionary power itself, trying to supress other nations seeking democracy and independence.
* From a practical point of view, the country tied itself to the declining empire of the Habsburgs and lost the chance to control its own fate any more. In fact, some even believe that the collapse of Hungary fifty years later could have been avoided if the nation does not accept the compromise in 1867.

Those who agree with the compromise argue that:

* The deal had a very beneficial effect on the country in the short term in economical, cultural and even political aspects.
* They also add that the country had no reasonable alternative: full independence was impossible for the time being and refusing the compromise would have resulted in continuing opression by the Austrians, further weakening the country.
* Although they admit, that the compromise gave up the demand for full independence and directed the country towards a more opportunistic policy, they deny that the compromise can be blamed entirely for events that came fifty years later.

 <  home top  /\ 

The First World War and Trianon (1920)

Trianon is one of the royal palaces in Versailles
Trianon is one of the royal palaces in Versailles

Borders before and after WWI
Borders before and after WWI

The First World War put an end to this. Kaiser Franz-Josef I. of Austria-Hungary carefully "considered everything, then considered everything again", at least so he said when he declared war on Serbia, thus starting WWI. However, he probably did not even remotely thought of the collapse of his empire, which actually happened. At the end of the war the Monarchy disintegrated and the consequences for Hungary were even worse than for Austria: in the post-war chaos its neighbours easily occupied most of its territory and the peace treaty of Trianon dictated by the Western powers approved their capture.

The collapse of the Habsburg empire and Historic Hungary

The Treaty of Trianon

In case you do not know, Trianon is one of the royal palaces in Versailles: Hungary's peace treaty has actually been signed in Petit Trianon (marvellous architecture, but very sad associations for Hungarians) and it meant the following:

* that of about 283,000 sq. km. which had comprised the area of Historic Hungary, Hungary of Trianon was left with 93,000 sq. km.,
* Of the total population of 18 million, Hungary of Trianon was left with 7.6 million,
* and of the population of 10 million ethnic Hungarians, 3.2 million were allotted to the neighbouring states.

(Historic Hungary is a term meaning the kingdom that occupied the whole Carpathian Basin since the Conquest, while the country within its current borders is usually referred to as Hungary of Trianon.)

Trianon is often called the "second Mohács" as it marks the second and final fall of Historic Hungary: although most Hungarians admit today that this was an inevitable event (as the ethnic minorities had the right for independence), the treaty is still viewed not only as tragic but also unjust because the borders cut away territories populated solely by ethnic Hungarians, too.

 <  home top  /\ 

The Second World War and The Communism

The siege of Budapest
The siege of Budapest

The years between the two great wars are generally considered as years of crisis: although Hungary regained its independence after 400 years, this fact was overshadowed by the tragic consequences of the lost war. The political system, although the country had the formalisms of a parliamentary democracy, was very much authoritarian. The economy collapsed and just when it had been restored a little bit, the Great Recession of 1929-33 hit it hard again.

In its foreign policy the country was seeking the revision of the peace treaty: this policy insulated it politically in the 20s and pushed it towards Hitler's Germany in the 30s. When Hitler finally awarded some territories to Hungary in 1939-41, the country became a German ally with all the tragic consequences one can imagine. About one million Hungarians died during the war: soldiers on the front, Hungarian Jews in concentration camps and civilians during 1944-45, when the Red Army eventually drove out the German Wehrmacht. Of course, much of the country has been destroyed during the heavy fightings (See more info on the siege of Budapest here). The country once again was on the loser's side and the new peace treaty (once and for all) confirmed the losses of the previous war again.

The years after WWII were even worse than those between the two wars: as in other countries in the East, the Red Army suffered from heavy amnesia and forgot to go home: after a short democratic episode (between 1945-48) the Soviets pushed the Communists into power and a strict Stalinist dictatorship started. Yet another nightmare of the XX. century...

The siege of Budapest

The siege of Budapest lasted about nine weeks in the winter of 1944-45 and the last Germans surrendered only on 12th February 1945. 20% of the buildings has been totally destroyed.

 <  home top  /\ 

The Revolution (1956)

The 1956 Revolution
The 1956 Revolution

Budapest, 1956
Budapest, 1956

The Soviet rule in Central Europe was everything but popular among the locals concerned. This has been demonstrated in most countries during the forty years of Communism in one way or another. Hungary's turn was in 1956, when for about two weeks the country attracted the attention of the whole world. Unfortunately (but not really unexpectedly) the revolution was easily beaten by the Soviet Army and Hungary had to wait 33 more years to get rid of dictatorship.

The 1956 Revolution

23th October: the Revolution
Mass demonstration everywhere in the country against the Stalinist dictatorship. Some of the Communist controlled police force opens fire, but others both from the police and the army support the demonstrations: the uprising starts.
24th-29th October: the Uprising
Fightings between the rebels and the Communists. Although the Soviet army gets involved already in this phase, its role is limited and there are also various attempts to find a peaceful compromise. However, the Communists gradually lose their control over the government and the country.
30th October - 4th November: the Hope
Hungary has a government that fully supports the popular demand and that is supported by the people. Although fighting continues, the Communists lose ground everywhere and even signs of consolidation are visible. For a few days many Hungarians hope that the Soviets may "let Hungary go"...
30th October
Democratic multy-party system is legalized.
1st November
Hungary exits the Soviet controlled military alliance and declares neutrality.
4th November: The Intervention
The Soviet intervention means the end of all hopes: although fighting continues for some time, Communists gain the control of the country again. In the following months and years hundreds are executed, thousands are prisoned and about 200,000 Hungarians escape to the West.

 <  home top  /\ 

New chances...

The long awaited end of the Soviet rule came at the end of the 80s: The Soviet-union got into deep economic troubles and their empire, which looked so threatening even few years earlier, crashed like a rotten tree. The Central-European nations suddenly found their freedom. The process in Hungary started in 1988 and in the next two years the Communists gradually and peacefully gave up their supremacy. The free and democratic elections in 1990 brought the end of Communism.

Although the XX. century was one of the most disastrous century in Hungarian history, its last decade seems to give some hope to the nation that has suffered so much. Hungary has regained its freedom and has now the chance to fulfil its main goal which was set more than a thousand years ago by its founders and which has been the focal point in the country's history since then: to join Europe.

 <  home top  /\ 


Design & Content © 1993 Hungarian Online Resources - HunOR -, formerly known as UMCP Hungarian American Student Association
Fotóink, írásaink és grafikáink szerzôi jogvédelem alatt állnak © 1993 Amerikai Magyar Szôvetség: Magyar Online Forrás