This article aims to be an introductory article about Hungarian history.
We can classify Hungarian history a lot of way, so this is just one of the possible classifications:
- Hungarian prehistory (until 896)
- Principalty of Hungary (896 – 1000) and Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages (1000 – 1526)
- Hungary is divided to 3 parts: 1. Royal Hungary (1526 – 1699) 2. Ottoman Hungary (1541 – 1699) 3. Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, later Principalty of Transylvania (1529 – 1711)
- Kingdom of Hungary as part of the Habsburg Empire (Royal Hungary part: 1538 – 1867, other parts: 1700 – 1867), later Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (1867-1918)
- modern times (since 1918): Horthy’s rule (1920-’44), Arrow Cross terror (1944-’45), socialism (1948 – 1989), 3rd republic (since 1989)
1. Hungarian prehistory ( – 896)
This is a very unclear part of the Hungarian history, there are a lot of theorems, each having supporters and opposers. There are also plenty of alternative prehistories, mostly about relationships with different nations (including Skythians, Sumerians, Chineses, Japaneses etc.). The relationship with the Huns is also unclear. There are also doubts about the linguistic relations. Some historians also question the relationship with the Finnic languages. What is sure, that ancient Hungarians came from Asia.
The stations of Hungarians’ migration:
- Urheimat, or in Hungarian: Őshaza (the homeland of ancient Hungarians, today Russia, near to Chelyabinsk)
- Magna Hungaria (today Russia, near to Kazan and Samara)
- Levédia (today eastern part of Ukraine)
- Etelköz (today Ukraine and Moldova)
- Carpathian basin
In Etelköz, the Seven chieftains of the Hungarians made the Blood oath, which made one nation out of the seven Hungarian tribes. One of the chieftants was Grand Prince Álmos, of whom son was Grand Prince Árpád, the leader of the conquest of the Carpathian Basin.
2. Principalty of Hungary (896 – 1000) and Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages (1000 – 1538)
The conquest of the Carpathian Basin is said to happen in 896, after which Hungarians settled down in today’s Hungary, Slovakia, Transylvania, Transcarpatia, Vojvodina. These times they still lived their nomad life style, they lived in yurts, prowled around Europe (see: Battle of Riade, 933, Battle of Lechfeld, 955). So they definitely differed from the European civilization surrounded by them. In 997 Grand Prince Vajk – who was Grand Prince Árpád’s great great grandchild – acquired the throne after defeating Koppány and his cousin Vazul. Vajk aimed to europanisate his principalty – unlike Koppány and Vazul, who wanted to keep the nomad traditions -, so picked up Christian religion, picked up the Christian name Stephen, built churches, got crown and apostolic blessing from the pope, got support from Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor and found the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000, which was ruled by the Árpád dynasty until 1301.
After Stephen I’s death (1038) the kingdom weakened because of internal wars, rebellions, outer attacks. The next hard-handed king was Ladislaus I (1077 – 1095) who adopted rigorous laws and in 1091 he annexed Croatia (which was then under Hungarian rule 8 centuries long until 1918, the end of WWI) and parts of Dalmatia.
Andrew II issued the Golden Bull (1222) which was the first constitutional document of Hungary and one of the first constitutions in Europe that set limitations about a king’s power. His son Béla IV had to face with the Mongols in 1241-1242. In the Mongolian invasion (which we call Tatar-run) half of the country’s population died (1.5 million people out of 3 million). Béla IV rebuilt the country after the invasion.
The Árpád dynasty died out in 1301 by the death of Andrew II. Then after a period of interregnum with 3 pretenders the Anjou dynasty ruled for 85 years (until 1386). The kings from 1301 to 1526 are called the mixed dynasty kings as in this period the Anjou and Jagiellonian dynasty and kings from no dynasties ruled alternately. The most significant king from this period is Matthias Corvinus. After the death of Louis II in 1526, two different pretender showed up: Ferdinand Holy Roman Emperor and John Szapolyai, Voivode of Transylvania. Their struggles and the expanding Ottoman Empire led to the disintegration of the Kingdom of Hungary to 3 parts.
TO BE CONTINUED