|Republic of Hungary
Location of Hungary on the European continent
|Anthem: Himnusz ("Isten, áldd meg a magyart")
"Hymn" ("God, bless the Hungarians")
|Patron Saint(s): Saint Stephen I of Hungary|
|-||Prime Minister||Ferenc Gyurcsány|
|-||2008 estimate||10,041,000 (79)|
|GDP (PPP)||2007 estimate|
|-||Per capita||19,019 (39)|
|GDP (nominal)||2007 estimate|
|-||Per capita||13,745 (43)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Hungary (Hungarian: Magyarország), officially the Republic of Hungary (Hungarian: Magyar Köztársaság) is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Hungary has been a member state of the European Union since May 1, 2004. Its capital city is Budapest.
In the time of the Roman Empire, the Romans called the region Pannonia (west from the Danube river). After Rome fell under the Germanic tribes migration and Carpians' pressure, the Migration Period continued bringing many invaders. First came the Huns, who built up a powerful empire under Attila. The name "Hungary" comes from the name of a later, 7th century Turkic alliance called On-Ogour, which in Old Turkish meant "(the) Ten Arrows". After the Hunnish rule faded, the other Germanic tribes Lombards and Gepids ruled in Pannonia for about 100 years, during which the Slavic tribes also began migrating south. In the 560s, these were supplanted by the Avars who would maintain their supremacy of the land for over two centuries. The Franks under Charlemagne from the west and the Bulgars from the southeast finally managed to overthrow the Avars in the early 9th century. Soon after, the Franks retreated, and the Slavonic kingdom of Great Moravia and the Balaton Principality controlled much of Pannonia until the end of the century. Finally, the Magyars migrated to Hungary in the late 9th century.
The Magyars, a Finno-Ugric people, are the descendants of Riphath, the son of Gomer, son of Japheth. Tradition holds that the Country of the Magyars (Magyarország) was founded by Árpád, who led the Magyars into the Pannonian plains after 895. The "Ten Arrows" mentioned above referred to ten tribes, the alliance of which founded the basic Magyar invaders' "army".
The Kingdom of Hungary was established in 1000 by King St. Stephen I (Hungarian: Szent István). Stephen, a direct descendant of Árpád, was baptized as a child. He married Gisella, the daughter of Henry II, Duke of Bavaria in 996, becoming the country's ruler in 997- after his father, Prince Géza.
St. Stephen I received his crown from Pope Silvester II in 1000. As a Christian king, he established the Hungarian Church with ten dioceses and the royal administration of the country that was divided into counties (comitatus or vármegye). Hungary became a patrimonial kingdom where the majority of the lands were the private property of the ruler.
Initially, Hungarian history and politics developed in close association with that of Poland and Bohemia, driven by the interventions of various Popes and Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Between 1241–1242, Hungary was devastated, suffering great loss of life at the hands of Mongol (Tatar) armies of Batu Khan who defeated the Hungarians at the battle of Muhi.
Gradually Hungary, under the rule of the dynasty of the Árpáds, turned into an independent kingdom, forming a distinct Central European culture with ties to greater West European civilization. Ruled by the Angevins since 1308, the Kingdom of Hungary briefly extended its control over Wallachia and Moldavia. The non-dynastic king Matthias Corvinus, son of János Hunyadi, ruled the Kingdom of Hungary from 1458 to 1490. He strengthened Hungary and its government. Under his rule, Hungary became an important artistic and cultural centre of Europe during the Renaissance. Hungarian culture influenced others, for example the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. King Matthias Corvinus was also successful in many battles against the Ottoman Empire. However, since he had no successors, his empire fell apart after his death.
Hungarian independence ended with the Ottoman conquest in 1526, after severe defeat by the Magyars at the battle of Mohács; the old Kingdom of Hungary then came to be divided into three parts: one third of Hungary fell under Ottoman rule; one third (in the West) was annexed by Austria (the Habsburg rulers of which thus also became "Kings of Hungary"); only the last third, in the East, remained "independent Hungary": the Principality of Transylvania.
After the final retreat of the Turks, struggle began between the Hungarian nation and the Habsburg kings for the protection of noblemen's rights (thus guarding the autonomy of Hungary). The fight against Austrian absolutism resulted in the unsuccessful popular freedom fight led by a Transylvanian nobleman, Ferenc II Rákóczi, between 1703 and 1711. The revolution and war of 1848–1849 eliminated serfdom and secured civil rights. The Austrians were finally able to prevail only with Russian help.
Thanks to the victories against Austria by the French-Italian coalition (the Battle of Solferino, 1859) and Prussia (Battle of Königgratz, 1866), Hungary would eventually, in 1867, manage to become an autonomous part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (see Ausgleich). Having achieved this, the Hungarian government made an effort to nationally unify the kingdom by Magyarization of the various other nationalities. This lasted until the end of World War I, when the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed. On November 16, 1918, an independent Hungarian Republic was proclaimed.
In March 1919 the communists took power, and in April, Béla Kun proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic. This government, like its predecessor, proved to be short-lived; after some initial military successes against the Czechoslovak army, the Romanians attacked to prevent a campaign in Transylvania. By August more than half of present-day Hungary, including Budapest, was placed under Romanian occupation, which lasted until November. Rightist military forces, led by the former Austro-Hungarian Admiral Miklós Horthy, entered Budapest in the wake of the Romanian army's departure and filled the vacuum of state power. In January 1920, elections were held for a unicameral assembly, and Admiral Horthy was subsequently elected Regent, thereby formally restoring Hungary to a kingdom, although there were no more Kings of Hungary, despite attempts by the former Habsburg king to return to power. Horthy continued to rule with autocratic powers until 1944.
On June 4, 1920 the Treaty of Trianon was signed, fixing Hungary's borders. Compared with the pre-war Kingdom, Hungary lost 71% of its territory,66% of its population, and with the new borders about one-third of the Magyar population became minorities in the neighbouring countries. Hungary also lost its only sea port in Fiume (today Rijeka).Therefore, Hungarian politics and culture of the interwar period were saturated with irredentism (the restoration of historical "greater Hungary").
Horthy made an alliance with Nazi Germany in the 1930s, in the hope of revising the territorial losses that had followed World War I. The alliance did lead to some territories being returned to Hungary in the two Vienna Awards. Hungary then assisted the German occupation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, occupying the Banat right afterwards, and finally entered World War II in 1941, fighting primarily against the Soviet Union. In October 1944, Hitler replaced Horthy with the Hungarian Nazi collaborator Ferenc Szálasi and his Arrow Cross Party in order to avert Hungary's defection to the Allied side, which was constantly threatened since the Allied invasion of Italy.
Following the fall of Nazi Germany, Hungary became part of the Soviet area of influence and was appropriated into a communist state following a short period of democracy in 1946–1947. After 1948, Communist leader Mátyás Rákosi established a Stalinist rule in the country, which was hardly bearable for the war-torn country. This led to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and an announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact which were met with a massive military intervention by the Soviet Union. Nearly a quarter of a million people left the country left during the brief time that the borders were open in 1956. From the 1960s on to the late 1980s Hungary was sometimes satirically called "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern bloc, under the rule of late controversial communist leader János Kádár, who exercised autocratic rule during this period. In the late 1980s, Hungary led the movement to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and shifted toward multiparty democracy and a market-oriented economy. On October 23, 1989, Szűrös Mátyás declared the Third Hungarian Republic and became interim President of the Republic. The first free elections were held in 1990. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Hungary developed closer ties with Western Europe, joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union on May 1, 2004.
The Hungarian people, are a mixture of several different ancestral tribes. Linguistically they are descendants of Ugrians who were under the control of the Huns and who crossed the western banks of the Volga river in the 460sAD having been subjugated by the Avar Juan-Juan. The Huns' Ugrians (Hun-Ugors) had established themselves in the area of modern day Hungary by the end of the 7th century AD. The Magyars, a Turkic ruling elite, liberated the Hun-Ugrians from foreign rulers towards the end of the 9th century AD. Linguistically, the Hunugors had absorbed all their Turanian overlords by the 11th century. Other Finno-Ugrians who remained in the Volga region under the control of the Khazars were eventually Turkicized and are known today as the Chuvashes. Hungarian legend describes the two ruling dynasties (Huns and Magyars) as being descendants of two brothers Hunor and Magor the sons of Nimrod (symbolizing Persia rather than Nimrod son of Kush) who was allegedly a son of a certain Iapetus (who many people have mistaken for Japheth) reflecting the Byzantine belief that the first Persian dynasty descended from the Greek Hero Perseus, son of Jupiter. However, the legend does not reflect any kind of reality. Their Finno-Ugric language relates them ethnically related to other peoples such as the Finns, Estonians, Karelians, Khanti and Mansi (Voguls).
Finno-Ugric is a group of related languages, which does not mean that the peoples currently speaking those languages are equally related in terms of ethnicity. The same holds true, for example, for Indo-European languages. Also, the Ugric Hungarian language is about as distantly related to Finnic languages like Finnish and Estonian as, e.g., Russian is related to Italian or Spanish.