History of Hungary

Explore the History of Hungary

It has been proposed that the name 'Hungary' might have been derived from Huns who once built a powerful empire in the region. However, this is only one possible explanation. The region now known as Hungary has, over history, been populated by many different national groups. The Romans, the Huns, the Lombard's and Gepids, the Slavs, the Avars, the Franks, the Bulgars and lastly the Magyars have all spend a period of time dominating the area.

The Magyars migrated to Hungary in the late 9th century and by 1000 they had established a Kingdom after much liaising with the Popes and Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1241, Hungary was attacked by the Mongol armies of Batu Khan and suffered great losses. Over time, Hungary became an independent kingdom with a distinct culture. Under the rule of Kin Matthias Corvinus Hungary became an important artistic and cultural center of Europe - to the point where Hungarian culture influenced others.

The country's independence ended with Ottoman conquest in the early 16th century. Statedom was temporarily preserved by the annexing of unconquered Hungarian land to Transylvania and Austria. Near the end of the 17th century, Austria and her allies retook the rest of Hungary from the Ottoman Empire. However, this put the country under Austrian rule which was not very popular either. It led to an unsuccessful freedom fight between 1704 and 1711 and a revolution war in 1848 and 1849. Eventually, through a French-Italian coalition, Hungary managed to become an autonomous part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On achieving this the Hungarian government began to unify the Kingdom. At the end of World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed and Hungarian was proclaimed an independent Hungarian Republic.

In 1919 the communists took over and proclaimed a Hungarian Soviet Republic. This too, did not continue for long. In January 1920, Hungary was formally restored to a Kingdom though it no longer had a King. In June 1920 the Treaty of Trianon was signed. This decided Hungary's borders, reducing pre-war Hungary to about two thirds of what it was previously. In the 1930s, an alliance was made with Nazi Germany in an effort to regain land lost after World War I. This alliance saw the deaths of more than thousands of Hungarian Jews and Romas.

After World War II, Hungary was appropriated into a communist state by the Soviet Union. This lead to the Hungarian Revolution and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact. In the late 1980s, Hungary started instituting on a multi-party democracy and a market-orientated economy. It developed closer ties with Western Europe and joined NATO and European Union.


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