When was Hungary? An Illustrated Timeline of the Magyars to 1848   Leave a comment

Conquest (Settlement of the Magyars in Hungary...

Conquest (Settlement of the Magyars in Hungary) Magyar: Magyar: Honfoglalás (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PPPWhen Was Hungary

  • Pre-history: It is generally believed that, during the Third Millenium BC, the Finno-Ugric group of languages originated with the ancient tribes living in the area to the west of the Ural mountains in the central-northern modern day Russian Federation. Of these surviving modern languages, Finnish and Estonian are believed to be, related to Hungarian. Before the arrival of the Slavic peoples in modern Russia, speakers of Finno-Ugric languages may have been scattered over the whole area between the Urals and the Baltic.

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  •  A.D. 406-453: Attila the Hun, who built up a powerful empire in Eurasia, has been wrongly assumed to be an ancestral ruler of the Hungarians. The name ’Hungary’ comes from the seventh century, when Magyar tribes settled in the former land of the Bulgar-Turkish alliance of the On-Ongour, meaning ’Ten Arrows’ in Turkish, or ’Ten Tribes’. There were several tribes bearing this name living between the Dneyper and Volga rivers from the fifth to the ninth centuries, mixing with the Magyars. The terms spread into French and German through the Latin, Hungaricus, in the seventh century, and led to the confusion of the Magyars with the Huns, since Attila had occupied the Carpathian basin before the arrival of the Magyars.

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  • A.D. 896: The Magyars established one of the first unified countries of Europe, before the establishment of the early French  and German kingdoms and the unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Árpád united the Magyar tribes in the Covenant of Blood, effectively creating one nation (though it wasn’t recognised as such) in the plains and hills surrounded by the Carpathian mountains.

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  • A.D. 955: Battle of Lechfield – the quick Hungarian (Magyar) horsemen were defeated by the heavy German cavalry. The nomadic tribes settled in the Carpathian ’basin’, beginning to farm the land. This was followed by stability and the adoption of Christianity with the foundation of a kingdom.

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  • 1000: Hungary was established as a Roman Catholic kingdom, recognised by Papal authority, in December of that year, with Vajk, baptised and re-named Stephen (István), receiving the Holy Crown as Stephen I. His kingdom was three times the size of the country determined by the Trianon Peace Treaty of 1920.

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  • 1222: Andrew II introduced the first constitution in Europe, called The Golden Bull (seven years after the Magna Carta in England). It limited the King’s power and declared the lesser noblemen equal to the magnates. They were also entitled to petition the monarch with their grievances, leading to the institution of parliament. Medieval Hungary controlled more territory than medieval France, and its population was the third-largest in Europe.

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  • 1526-70: Following the defeat and death of King Louis II at the Battle of Mohács, a large part of Hungarian territory was occupied by the Ottoman Empire for 150 years, with the area to the west of the Danube becoming part of the Habsburg Empire. The Ottoman sultan recognised János Szapolyai as the heir to the Hungarian throne, but many of the Hungarian nobles favoured the the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand of Austria, in their resistance to Turkish rule. For more than a decade there was a civil war between the forces of the two kings. This ended with the capture of Buda by Suleiman II and the division of Hungary into three parts. In the west, Ferdinand continued to rule less than one third of the old kingdom, while in the east there was a vassil state of the Ottomans, which became a new Hungarian state, Transylvania, by the Treaty of Speyer of 1570. The third part, the central plain, was ruled directly and extended gradually by the sultan until 1568, when the Treaty of Adrianople determined its borders.

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  • 1606-64: By the early seventeenth century, the Turkish hold on central Hungary was weakening. Transylvania emerged as an important and prosperous European power, ruled by Prince Bethlen Gábor (1613-29) (picture below). He was a staunch defender of Calvinism in central Europe during the Thirty Years’ War, but was also tolerant of other churches and religions. His influence, and that of his successor, György I Rákóczi meant that the Habsburgs couldn’t enforce the Counter-Reformation as brutally in the parts of Hungary they controlled as they did elsewhere. However, in 1657 the army of György II Rákóczi was destroyed by the Tartars while attempting to seize the crown of Poland. The Turks took advantage of this defeat by invading the Principality, seizing the western part, including the town of Várad. The  Habsburgs then won a surprise victory against the Turks, but the latter kept most of their gains under the settlement of Vasvár of 1664.

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  • 1678-1699: A young Transylvanian, Imre Thököly, raised the standard of revolt and occupied a large part of central Hungary. The Turks sent a huge army into Hungary in 1683, laying siege to Vienna, and putting the whole balance of power in Europe under pressure. However, the siege was lifted by September, 1683, due to the intervention of King Jan Sobieski of Poland, and by 1699 the Imperial forces swept the Turks out Buda (picture below) and most of Hungary, including the whole of Transylvania, which the Habsburgs now annexed.

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  • 1703-1711: Ferenc II Rákóczi of Transylvania (below), led a peasants revolt to drive the Hapsburgs out of his homeland. He had hoped for French support, but France had been defeated at the Battle of Blenheim by the Anglo-Austrian coalition in the War of the Spanish Succession. Any chance of a reconciliation with Vienna was destroyed by Rákóczi’s election as Prince by the Transylvanian nobles in 1704. The Principality became independent until the revolt was finally put down in 1711.

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  • 1718-1775: The Habsburgs gradually freed Hungarian lands in the east from Ottoman rule, but tried to keep them for themselves by creating a new crownland, which they named the Banat of Temesvár. However, in 1775 the Hungarian Diet persuaded them to return this land to Hungarian civil administration. Transylvania retained a separate status, though strongly Hungarian in character. The old borderlands of Hungary were governed by Transylvania until 1732, when an Imperial agreement allowed both countries to retain a share of them, while the Transylvanian borderlands to the east remained under Habsburg military administration.

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  • 1780-1835: Hungary’s relationship with the Austrian monarchy had always been, in Hungarian eyes at least, a voluntary one. In the 1780s and thereafter, the attempts of Joseph II and his successors to Germanise the Magyars had met with resistance. The abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 ended any territorial ambitions the Habsburgs had to expand northwest into Germany, opening the way for Prussia to assert its dominance among the German states. The Empire they were left with was a denial of the fashionable nineteenth-century doctrine of national self-determination.

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  • 1835-1848: Ferdinand V’s subjects spoke more than twelve different languages and belonged to four major churches, Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist and Orthodox, as well as Judaism. The Emperor could not ignore demands for language rights and religious freedoms. Although the plains of Hungary were largely monolingual, most parts of the Austrian Empire contained a mixture of peoples and languages. The Slav minorities began to assert their own identities through new national literatures, music and political organisations. Tensions between Vienna and Budapest over the Hungarians’ demands for Home Rule made relations with other nationalities still more complex. The Hungarians wanted control over all the traditional territories of their crown, and were themselves unwilling to extend equal political rights to the mix of Slavs which these lands contained. It was against this background that a series of national-liberal revolutions broke out around and within the Empire in 1848, spreading throughout Central Europe.

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Sources:

Géza Balázs (1997), The Story of Hungarian: A Guide to the Language. Budapest: Corvina Books.

András Bereznay, et.al. (2002), The Times History of Europe: Three Thousand Years of History in Maps. London: Times Books (Harper-Collins).

György Bolgár (2009), Made in Hungary. Budapest: Kossuth Publishing Corporation.

István Lázár (1968, 1996), Hungary: A Brief History. Budapest: Corvina Books.

István Lázár (1989), An Illustrated History of Hungary. Budapest: Corvina Books.

István Lázár (2001), A Brief History of Hungary with Sixty-two Pictures in Colour. Budapest: Corvina.

István Gombás (2000), Kings and Queens of Hungary; Princes of Transylvania. Budapest: Corvina.

Péter Hanak, et. al. (1988), One Thousand Years: A Concise History of Hungary. Budapest: Corvina.

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Posted September 27, 2013 by TeamBritanniaHu in Uncategorized

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