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Hungary, a unitary republic situated in Central Europe, is located on the Carpathian Basin and is surrounded by Slovakia on the north, Ukraine on the northeast, Romania on the east, Serbia on the south, Croatia on the southwest, Slovenia on the west, and Austria on the northwest. Budapest is its capital as well as the largest city, and the national language is Hungarian. A full 76% of the population is Christian and 21% claim no religion, with the remaining 3% being of other religions.

The leaders of seven Hungarian tribes were united under an unwritten constitution called Vérszerződés, or "the Covenant of Blood" in 895, after which they set out to conquer the Carpathian Basin. That goal was accomplished, and the Principality of Hungary was established.

In AD 1000, King Stephen of Hungary, the first monarch of that nation, was crowned. established as the Catholic Kingdom of Hungary with that coronation. He set about seeing to the conversion of his subjects, and he ruled over a prolonged peace. In fact, Stephen felt that his main that making his nation a Christian state was one of his main priorities, and he forced his people to abandon pagan rituals. He established a system of governance which was based on the Frankish model, which allowed for the division of the whole kingdom into counties, each with its own royal official who was both obedient and accountable to the King of Hungary. King Stephen remained the king until he died in 1038.

In 1054, after the Great Schism which created the Eastern Orthodox Church as an offshoot of the Rman Catholic Church, Hungary declared itself the most eastern of Roman Catholic civilization, prompting Pope Pius II to the emperor of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, "Hungary is the shield of Christianity and the protector of Western civilization."

The monarchs of the 12th and 13th centuries were both the wealthiest and the most powerful, and Hungary added to its kingdom the land of Bosnia as well as Dalmatia and gained suzerainty over Serbia, a process which ended up helping to break the Byzantine Empire up, thus shoring up the nation's peace and power.

In April of 1241, The Mongol inaction of Europe yielded a disastrous blow to Hungary. Historians put the damages at up to 50% losses. The settlements in the plains suffered up to 80% losses. During the Battle of Mohi, Hungary's King Béla IV fled the battlefield. A Mongol detachment pursued him from one town to the next until he ended up on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Meanwhile, the Mongol army destroyed the military and the country itself. But then, unexpectedly, the Mongols withdrew in March of 1242. Béla implemented radical changes in order to protect the kingdom from future invasions. He ordered the construction of fortified towns and promoted the building of stone walls by prelates and barons, and he allowed them to have and train private armies. In short order, hundreds of fortifications and stone castles were erected. He then agreed to help smaller nations, which resulted in long term alliances.

In 1286, Hungary had the opportunity to test their new defenses, as the Mongols returned that year. Between the numerous well-armed knights and the edifices stopped them cold. They were defeated near Pest and turned tail. There were other attempts over the years, but each time, the Mongols were repelled.

In the 16th century, the Ottomans invaded and were successful at conquering large portions of the Hungarian kingdom, and the lack of national unity made things even more difficult. Eventually both portions of Hungary became part of the Habsburg Monarchy, with Austrian Frederich of Habsburg presiding.

Finally, in 1849, after a year of revolution, Hungary established an independent government, and that government seceded from the Austrian Empire. The First Republic of Hungary was created. Meanwhile, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria enlisted the help of the Russian Czar Nicholas. Less that four months after their independence was declared, Hungary was beset upon. The Russian army invaded Transylvania at at the same time that Austrian forces marched on Hungary from the west, and in August, Hungarian dictator General Artúr Görgei surrendered to Russia.

In 1867, a Hungarian delegation negotiated with the Habsburg and a dualistic system of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy was approved.

In 1914, with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Once World War I was over, the union between Hungary and Austria was dissolved.

After World War II, Hungary, part of the Axis, was taken over by Russia for the next 44 years. In 1989, Hungary finally became an independent democracy as the Soviet Union began its collapse.



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