Hungary History

By | January 9, 2023

Hungary (National flag)

Hungary National Flag

The current Hungarian flag was first hoisted officially in 1957. The colors, red, white and green, originate from the country’s medieval royal coat of arms, and the juxtaposition in a horizontal tricolor has the French flag as a model. Such a tricolor had been in use for some time before the first official status in 1848, but the flag was often changed with changing state coats of arms in the white stripe. Since 1956, the flag has been unarmed in the middle.

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Hungary (Prehistory)

From Vértesszőllős in Western Hungary originates the oldest find, approximately 1/2 million. years old, with pebble tools and skull parts of homo erectus; Neanderthal humans have been found in the Subalyuk Cave in northern Hungary. The Paleolithic culture aurignacia is known from Istállóskő. Agriculture was introduced approximately 6000 BC with the Körös culture, and approximately 5500 BC developed the ribbon ceramic culture. Smaller farm-like settlements were replaced approximately 5000 BC of actual villages with larger houses, and also town mounds arose. The Neolithic cultures are characterized by excellent pottery and beautiful figurines. approximately 4000 BC the Copper Age began with the Tiszapolgár culture; jewelry and prestige items were made of copper and gold, and in addition, massive copper axes were made. approximately 2500 BC began the Bronze Age. In the west known around Budapest, the easternmost of the bell beaker culture cups. In the east, the development was closely linked to Romania, in the north to the Aunjetitz culture. Fortified settlements arose in both the east and the west. approximately 1700 BC large parts of Hungary were part of the high grave culture; sacrificial finds testify to wealth, such as the Hajdúsámson find from eastern Hungary with magnificent bronze axes. approximately 1200 BC began the urnmark culture. Metal processing reached a peak with production centers in western Hungary, where bronze buckets, adorned with driven motifs of a religious nature, such as sun images and sun ships, were produced. approximately 800 BC began the Iron Age, during which the western parts of the country were linked to the Hallstatt culture, while in the easternmost there was an immigration of Scythian or proto-Scythian peoples. approximately 400 BC the Celts settled in the western and central parts of Hungary, and a rich Celtic culture developed. In the east, the Sarmatians immigrated shortly before the birth of Christ.

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Hungary (History)

According to a2zgov, during the Roman Campaign 12-9 BC. the area west of the Danube became part of the Roman Empire. It first formed part of the Illyricum, but was established in 8 AD. as the independent province of Pannonia. Along the Danube border, several legion camps were established, including Aquincum; the settlement around this camp later developed into an important city, modern-day Budapest. From the end of 300-t. the area was invaded by Germanic peoples, and in 425 it was conquered by the Huns. Their dominion was short-lived, and from the middle of the 400-t. needed ostrogotes and longobards in, and in the second half of the 500-t. avarer. I 800-t. was western Hungary under Frankish rule, and eastern under the Bulgarians.

Hungary until 1526

The invasion of the Magyars in 896 on the Hungarian Plain and in the Carpathian Arch was the last of a series of migrations that had marked the country since Roman times. From Hungary, the Magyars ravaged large parts of Europe under the leadership of the dynasty founder Árpád (d. 907) and his sons. But after the defeat of Lechfeld 955 to Otto the Great’s German troops, the Magyars promised to live in peace with their neighbors. As early as 948, the first tribal princes were Christianized from the Byzantine Empire. Árpad’s great-grandson, Grand Duke Géza (reigned 972-97), who created a strong central power, however, orientated himself towards the papacy, which thus won the mission race for Hungary. His son István(Stephen) the Holy was crowned King of Hungary in the year 1000 with the blessing of the Pope. After the Great Schism of 1054, the Kingdom of Hungary was firmly entrenched in the Western Church hemisphere. Hungary supported the papacy during the Investigation Struggle, and in return the kings long retained a significant influence on the Hungarian church organization.

With the annexation of Croatia and Dalmatia in 1102, Hungary became an Adriatic power with close ties to the Mediterranean world. At the same time, there were lively contacts with Constantinople, and the administration was modernized after the Byzantine model under Béla 3. (reigned 1172-96), which created a new service nobility. The strife after his death meant that the aristocracy could settle on a large part of the crown estate, which had hitherto covered more than half of the country’s territory. András 2. (reigned 1205-35) had to issue a golden bull in 1222, which set limits on the king’s exercise of power. The nobility thus gained the right to revolt as well as security against arrests and confiscations in addition to tax exemption and a reduced military duty. Central government finances were based to a greater extent on revenues from mining, coinage and customs duties. Foreign merchants and miners were lured to Hungary with the promise of city privileges following the German pattern.

The antagonism between monarchy and aristocracy is one of the reasons why Hungary stood so helplessly against the onrushing Mongols who in 1241 destroyed most of the villages east of the Danube. The great loss of population was partly offset by the fact that Romanian mountain shepherds took over empty villages in the Carpathian Arch and that the area between the Danube and Tisza was populated by Cumannian tribes displaced from the southern Russian steppe. In addition, immigration of Germans and Jews increased. After the extinction of the Árpád dynasty in 1301, the great men were able to play lords in the country for a while. However, the Anjou dynasty (1308-87) defeated the aristocratic opposition, basing its power on the lava part, and in 1351, Louis the Great established with a letter of privilege that all nobles in the country had the same rights.

In the late Middle Ages, Hungary became one of the leading countries in Europe. Gold mines accounted for 1/3 of European production, and the business flourished. The kings took the lead in Christianity’s struggle against the Ottomans in the Balkans. The last of these crusades was led by the Polish-born King Ulászló I (see Władysław III), who fell in 1444 at the Battle of Varna. During his reign, it was claimed that Hungary was an electoral kingdom. Thereafter, Reichstag was held almost annually with representatives of the nobility and the clergy, initially also for the privileged cities. The National King Matthias Corvinus(reigned 1458-90), which made Hungary a great power and one of the centers of European Renaissance culture, sought to reverse this trend, declaring itself autocratic. But after his death, the Reichstag again elected weak kings of the Polish dynasty Jagiellon, and with the adoption of the Tripartite in 1514, it was established that Hungary was a noble state with a crowned head. A special position, however, occupied Transylvania, which had played a major role in the kingdom’s border defense against the Eurasian Steppe and therefore had its own constitution.

The three-part Hungary (1526-1699)

After the death of King Louis II at Mohács in 1526, his brother-in-law, the Habsburg Ferdinand of Austria (see Ferdinand I), made inheritance claims on the Hungarian crown. But the Austrian only managed to gain a foothold in the northwestern third of the country. The majority of the nobility chose a national counter-king, János 1. Szapolyai, who was supported by Sultan Süleyman 1 during the ensuing civil war.

After his victorious campaign in 1541, Süleyman decided to incorporate central and southern Hungary into the Ottoman Empire. Transylvania became a tributary principality with extensive autonomy, and Ferdinand also had to pay tribute to the sultan for his part of Hungary.

Culturally, Ottoman rule meant that Protestantism could take root in the central and eastern parts of the country because the sultan protected both Calvinists and Lutherans from the Habsburg counter-reformation. After the defeat at Vienna in 1683, the Ottomans were gradually expelled from Hungary. In 1687, the Hungarian Reichstag in Pozsony (Bratislava) recognized Habsburg’s inheritance rights to the St. Stephen’s Crown. In return, Emperor Leopold I confirmed the medieval privileges of the nobility, apart from the right of rebellion. In 1691, the Trans-Sylvian Reichstag also took the oath of allegiance to Leopold, who promised to preserve the administrative independence of the principality. At the Peace of Karlowitz in 1699, the Ottoman Empire had to cede central Hungary and Transylvania to Austria.

Hungary during the Habsburg dynasty (1699-1918)

In the 1700’s. the medieval privileges were increasingly attacked by Habsburg absolutism, which pursued a policy of centralist reform in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Joseph II’s attempt to make German the only language of administration and teaching gave rise to a national revival, especially in the Hungarian lava part. The national movement, accompanied by a cultural upsurge, was split in the 1840’s into a moderate wing led by István Széchenyi and a radical wing led by Lajos Kossuth. The European Revolution of 1848 gave the radicals a headwind, and in April 1849, Kossuth declared Hungary independent and Emperor Francis I 1st deposed. However, the Hungarian freedom movement was defeated a few months later when Russian troops came to the emperor’s rescue. The subsequent “neoabsolutism” meant a political disenfranchisement of the Hungarians. Only after the defeat of Prussia in 1866 did the Vienna government realize the need to take into account the Hungarian elite, and at the landmark Ausgleich in 1867, Hungary was equated with Austria under the Habsburg dynasty. The two constitutional monarchies had a common head of state as well as a common military and financial system; but they each got their own parliament (see Austria-Hungary).

Transylvania, which had a majority population of Romanian peasants, was reunited with Hungary, which also included Slovakia, Croatia and Vojvodina. The Hungarians now had to take into account the fact that they were in the minority in their own half of the kingdom. In 1868, their bicameral parliament passed a restrictive nationality law defining Hungary as a nation-state with Hungarian as its official language. Only the Croats gained regional autonomy, preserving their old country day. In 1875-90, under the government of Kálmán Tisza, a deliberate policy of starvation was initiated, which together with the growing social distress in the countryside caused many minority farmers to emigrate. The share of Hungarian-speakers in the total population increased from 46% to 54% in the years 1880-1910. The Romanians, Slovaks, Croats and Serbs, on the other hand, did not feel at home in Hungary, and when World War I broke out in 1914, these minorities were already finding other state affiliations.

Hungary in the interwar period and World War II

The dissolution of the dual monarchy as a result of the defeat in World War I led to Hungary being declared an independent republic under the leadership of Mihály Károlyi. He refused to accept the territorial conditions of the victorious powers and in March 1919 handed over government power to a coalition of Social Democrats and Communists. The leader of the latter, Béla Kun, took advantage of the situation to establish a Soviet-style Soviet republic. The “Council of People’s Commissars,” which numbered several prominent Jews, made extensive nationalizations and mass executions of “counter-revolutionaries.” While Hungarian troops fought in Slovakia, Budapest was conquered and plundered by Romanian forces, and in August Kun had to flee to Soviet Russia. His short-lived regime gained great importance because it compromised the entire Hungarian labor movement and stimulated anti-Semitism. The regime was replaced by a widespread “white terror”, with both Hungarian and Romanian troops murdering Jews, intellectuals and socialists. In March 1920, the military commander-in-chief, Miklós Horthy, was elected head of state and head of state, and he proclaimed Hungary as “vacant throne “.

It was then clear that the victorious powers would not allow the return of the Habsburg dynasty, and at the Treaty of Peace in Trianon on 4.6.1920, Hungary had its borders dictated. Hungary had to cede Slovakia and Ruthenia to Czechoslovakia, Transylvania to Romania and Croatia, Slavonia and Vojvodina to the new Yugoslav state. Overall, Hungary lost 2/3 of its former territory and 3/5of the population. Restungarn was an ethnically homogeneous nation-state whose main political goal was a revision of the borders of the Treaty of Trianon. The country had 1921-31 conservative governments under the leadership of aristocrat István Bethlen, who curtailed the right to vote and rejected demands for land reforms. He had to resign due to the social unrest in the wake of the world economic depression in 1929. Then right-wing radical governments followed in 1932-36 under Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös, who was anti-Semitic and fascinated by Nazism. In his time, the rapprochement with Germany began, which resulted in Hungary reclaiming parts of Slovakia and Transylvania by arbitration awards in 1938/40. In 1941, Hungarian troops took part in Germany’s attacks on Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. When Horthy sought to pull Hungary out of the war in 1944, he was forced by Hitler to resign and hand over power to the leader of the Arrow Cross Party, Ferenc Szálasi, who also assisted the Germans in the extermination of the Hungarian Jews. After the capitulation, Hungary regained its 1920 borders.

The post-war period

After the entry of the Red Army, a provisional government in the spring of 1945 implemented a popular land reform that broke the power of the large landowners. The parliamentary elections in November gave an absolute majority to the Household Party, which after Soviet pressure formed a coalition government with communists and social democrats. The Interior Ministry went to the Communists, led by the Moscow faith Mátyás Rákosi. The country, which became a republic on February 2, 1946, came to belong to the Soviet sphere of interest, and the Soviet troops that remained in the country supported the Communist Party’s elimination of its opponents. In the period from August 1945 to July 1946, the country suffered from one of the world’s worst hyperinflations, which culminated in Hungary’s transition on 1 August 1946 from money toforint as a currency whose value was set at 400,000 quadrillion (4 x 10 29) money 29 for 1 forint. In 1947-48, the party, which merged with the Social Democratic Party, took over all key positions and a comprehensive nationalization was carried out.

People’s Republic of Hungary (1949-1989)

In 1949, Hungary was proclaimed a people’s republic, and a forced collectivization was initiated. After Stalin’s death in 1953, there was a brief period of political and economic softening. Reform Communists under the leadership of Imre Nagy tried to change the party line, but Nagy was in 1955 deposed by Rákosi and excluded. When Khrushchev began de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union in 1956, it had repercussions, first in Poland, then in Hungary, and Rákosi had to hand over power to Ernő Gerő. The election of Gerő on 23 October 1956 provoked a popular uprising, after which Nagy re-entered as head of government. His attempt to carry out a far-reaching democratization as well as Hungary’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pactand reintroducing the multiparty system triggered 4.11.1956 a Soviet-led military intervention. One week later, the uprising was defeated and János Kádár was installed as head of government (see The Hungarian Uprising). After consolidating, Kádár implemented a three-year plan to rebuild the country, reorganize the industry and rehabilitate the economy. In 1960-61 the collectivization of agriculture was completed, and in the following years there was a gradual liberalization of the economic sector. Hungary was a loyal ally of the Soviet Union in foreign policy, but in domestic politics there was a significant softening. The economic program The New Economic Mechanism, introduced in 1968, made Hungary the most market-oriented country in Eastern Europe. The standard of living grew, and cultural life also had freer opportunities for development.

Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union after 1985 also triggered reform demands in the Hungarian Communist Party. In 1988, Kádár was forced to resign, and the following year the Communist Party abolished itself. On October 23, 1989, on the 33rd anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising, the Republic of Hungary was proclaimed.

Hungary as a parliamentary republic (since 1989)

The first free election since 1946 was held in March 1990, and after the election, power went to a coalition government led by the Conservative Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) with József Antallas head of government. However, the economic development based on market economy did not reach the expected results. A skewed income distribution, the country’s deep debt, violent inflation and a very high unemployment rate contributed to the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) gaining an absolute majority in the 1994 election, after which Gyula Horn formed a government with the Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz). The new government continued the privatizations of state-owned enterprises, and foreign investment flowed into the country. Despite a marked decline in GDP, the economy now showed a healthy development trend. In order to reduce the budget deficit, the government also implemented a crisis package. In the 1998 election, Fidesz and leader Viktor Orbán wonbecame Prime Minister. He formed a coalition with the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) and the Independent Peasants’ Party (FKGP). In 1999, Hungary became a member of NATO.

Hungary in the early 2000’s.

In 2002, the Conservative government led by Viktor Orbán had to give way after a narrow election defeat to the Social Democratic-Liberal opposition led by the old Socialist Party, and Péter Medgyessy became Prime Minister. The economy was growing, but the new government faced the challenges of restoring the weakened health care system, fighting corruption and tightening tax policy.

In May 2004, Hungary, along with nine other Eastern European countries, joined the EU. That same year, Péter Medgyessy was fired from the government due to a controversy with the coalition party, and the socialist Ferenc Gyurcsány (MSZP), Minister of Sports, Youth and Children, was appointed as a replacement. The government declared comprehensive poverty reduction and increased pensions, while introducing wage increases for public servants; however, this led to a large budget deficit.

In the 2006 parliamentary elections, the MSZP won again and Gyurcsány became Prime Minister for the second time. However, the government soon became unpopular, and already the same year there were violent protests against the government in Budapest.

Hungary was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, and the IMF, the EU and the World Bank had to step in with an aid package of 25 billion. dollars. In the European elections in 2009, the right-wing nationalist party Jobbik received 15% of the vote, a result that attracted a great deal of attention in the outside world.

In the 2010 parliamentary elections, Fidesz won a landslide victory and Viktor Orbán became prime minister again. Under his leadership, the country has embarked on a more nationalist course, and the government has come under international criticism for leading Hungary in a more authoritarian direction. In 2011, a new electoral law was passed, which halved the number of MPs and introduced new constituency boundaries. According to critics, the changes have primarily benefited Fidesz. The government has also gained greater control over the central bank, an initiative that has been heavily criticized by the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank.

Hungary (Religion)

The Hungarians became Christians in the 900’s. by mission from the Byzantine Empire and Germany, but around the year 1000, István I the Holy joined Rome and the Western Church. After the Reformation, Protestantism spread in the Ottoman territories, but the Roman Catholic Church remained dominant. approximately 92% of the population are Christians (66% Catholic, 19.7% Reformed, 4.3% Lutheran, 1% other Protestants, 0.5% Orthodox), approximately 1% are Jews (1999).