The History of Hungary in a nutshell

My goal with this page is to show you in a nutshell the rout-and-tumble history of Hungary, as I promised on the Hungarian culture page.

Here below you will find a short overview about the Hungarian history, where I just put the most important dates.

Of course the History of Hungary is a very big and wide topic, from what I could easily build a full website to cover each-and-every event.

But, this is not my goal.

I think this small summary is quite enough to get to know about the history of our nation, but if you are a real history fan and you need much more precise and detailed work I recommend you visit Wikipedia. Or email me and I'll try to help you.

OK, so let's jump into the middle of the turbulent History of Hungary!

The Early Times

The Árpád Dynasty

The Turkish Threat

The Domination of Habsburgs

War, Peace, Communism

End of Communism and The New Republic

The Early Times

350,000 BC
Earliest remains of people living in Danube and Carpathian basins

1st-4th century AD
The Romans conquer the Danube and create the state Pannonia in western Hungary.

Legendary chieftan Árpád leads the Hungarians (Magyars) into the Carpathian Basin and takes control of Pannonia.
Hungarian History - Arpad
Chieftan Arpad arrives to Pannonia (Hungary)

The Hungarian riders, after terrorizing Western Europe for decades, are defeated at the Battle of Lechfeld. Prince Géza, the Magyar leader, subsequently allies himself to West.

The Árpád Dynasty

St Stephens 
King - History of Hungary
St. Stephen King
István (Stephen) I, the founder of the Árpád dynasty, becomes the first Christian king of Hungary. He centralizes royal authority, establishes Christianity as the official religion and divides the country into counties, whose boundaries remain intact today.History of Hungary

The reign of Béla III is an orderly, prosperous period in Hungary's history. His scribe, known as Anonymous, writes Gesta Ungarorum, the earliest surviving chronicle of Hungary.

Under the rule of András II, favoritism flourishes and the dispossessed nobles rebel. He is forced to sign the "Golden Bull", a charter guaranteeing the rights of nobles and fixing the relationship between aristocracy and king.

Mongols invade and defeat the Hungarians at Muhi. King Béla IV evades capture and the Mongols are built at this time in anticipation of another attack.

András III, the last of the Árpád kings, dies.

The Turkish Threat History of Hungary

The barons elect Charles-Robert of Anjou king of Hungary. A shrewd leader, Charles-Robert (Carobert) restores order and consolidates the realm.

His successor, Lajos, adopts a policy of conquest, acquiring enough territory to form one of the largest realms in Europe. By his death, the Turks are advancing into the Balkans.

János Hunyadi, the national hero of Hungary, defeats the Turks at the siege of Nándorfehérvár (Belgrad), keeping them out of Hungary for 70 years.

Matyas Hunyadi - History of Hungary
Matyas Hunyadi
His son Mátyás (Corvinus) is crowned king, ushering in a Golden Age. His Neapolitan wife, Beatrix, introduces the Italian Renaissance to Hungary, creating the greatest Renaissance palace in Europe. Mátyás conquers Moravia, Bohemia and parts of Austria, transforming Hungary into the strongest kingdom in central Europe.

Peasant revolt is brutally crushed and feudal servitude in perpetuity is written into law.History of Hungary

The Hungarian army under Lajos II is crushed by the Turks at the battle of Mohacs.
Battle of Mohacs - History of Hungary
Battle of Mohacs

Buda is taken by the Turks. Hungary is divided into three: Royal Hungary, Turkish Hungary and Transylvania. For the next 150 years there is almost continual conflict between Turks, Habsburgs and Hungarians.

Suleymans Empire - History of Hungary
Suleyman's Empire in 16th century

István Báthory becomes governor of Transylvania, giving the region the status of European power.

Hungary is freed from the Turks by the Habsburg commander Eugene of Savoy.

Ferenc Rakoczi II - History of Hungary
Ferenc Rákóczi II
Ferenc Rákóczi II leads the Hungarians in an unsuccessful eight-year war against Habsburg domination. Hungary continues to be little more than a province of the Habsburg Empire.

The Domination of HabsburgsHistory of Hungary

Maria Theresa - History of Hungary
Maria Theresa
Maria Theresa ascends the throne, winning the heart of the Hungarians by establishing peace.

Joseph II, a child of the Enlightenment, attempts to modernize Hungary, abolishing selfdom and dissolving all-powerful religious orders. German is made the official language of the Empire.

The French revolution. Despite revolutionary fervor throughout Europe, the majority of Hungarians remain loyal to Austria.

Resurgence of Hungarian nationalism.

Sandor Petofi - History of Hungary
Sándor Petõfi
Sándor Petõfi, Hungary's national poet and revolutionary, is born in Kiskõrös. He was the author of the Nemzeti dal (The National Song), the poem said to have inspired the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, in which he played a key role.

Sándor Petõfi - The National Song (Music by Illés)

Count Széchenyi begins modernizing Hungary's infrastructure, forming the Danube Steamship Company and Merchant (Kereskedelmi) Bank (1841).

The revolution against Austrian supremacy headed by the lawyer Lajos Kossuth ends in failure.

Istvan  Szechenyi - History of Hungary Lajos Kossuth - History of Hungary
István Széchenyi
Lajos Kossuth

6 October 1849
Revolutionary leaders executed. It remains a day of national mourning in Hungary.

The 13 Martyrs of Arad - History of Hungary
The 13 Martyrs of Arad

The Great Compromise with Austria creates the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy.

Pest, Buda and Óbuda are united, and Budapest is declared the capital.

Hungarian Social Democratic Party is created.

History of Hungary

War, Peace, CommunismHistory of Hungary

World War I marks the end of the Dual Monarchy.

March 1919
Count Károlys's Hungarian Democratic Republic fails in the wake of neighboring states' seizure of Hungarian territory. Béla Kun heads the communist Hungarian Soviet.

August 1919
Béla Kun flees to Austria, unable to cope with foreign intervention and peasant unrest.

Hungary's first free elections are held; Admiral Horty is appointed regent.
Admiral Horty - History of Hungary
Admiral Horty

The Treaty of Trianon reduces Hungary's territory by two-thirds.

The Treaty of Trianon - History of Hungary
Hungary after Trianon decision

1938 and 1940
Hitler offers to hand back Slovakia and Transylvania in return for Hungarian cooperation.

The Nazis are given a free hand in Hungary. On 15 October the Hungarian pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party takes power under Ferenc Szálasi. Several hundred thousand Jews are sent to concentration camps.

Want to know more about all periods of Jewish history in Hungary?

Read this book!

The Red Army occupies the country.

The monarchy is abolished and Hungary is declared a republic by the new communist government. The pengõ sets a world record of devaluation.

József Cardinal Mindszenty - History of Hungary
József Cardinal Mindszenty
The head of the Catholic Church in Hungary, József Cardinal Mindszenty, is arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Soviets take power; the Party is purged of Western influence in show trials. Opponents of the communist regime are sent to labor camps.

Revolution against the Soviet Union and communist rule is crushed. Hundreds of Hungarians are executed and thousands more flee the country. János Kádár becomes premier of a new communist state.

1956 Revolution - History of Hungary
1956 Revolution

The New Economic Mechanism allows a limited free market to develop.

Hungary attempts to increase its contact with non-communist countries. Relations with the Catholic Church improve.

Hungary is admitted to the International Monetary Fund, and receives loans from the World Bank.

Hungary opens the Iron Curtain and allows thousands of East European refugees to leave.
the opening of the iron curtain - History of Hungary
The opening of the iron curtain

End of Communism and The New Republic

Free elections are won by the Conservative Democratic Forum.

The transition to a market economy sees inflation soar and unemployment increase sharply.

Government reaches agreement with Jewish groups on the restoration of assets seized during World War II.

The World Fair is held in Budapest.

Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party (Fidesz-MPP), Independent Smallholders' Party (FKGP) and the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) form a coalition government.

Hungary, along with Checz Republic and Poland, joins Natio.

Ferenc Mádl is elected president.

Hungary joins the European Union.
Hungary joins the European Union - History of Hungary
Undersigning cerenomy

The Hungarian Socialist Party outs Péter Medgyesy as prime minister, replacing him with Ferenc Gyurcsány.

László Sólyom becomes president.

2008 - 2009
Economy creases heavily impacted Hungarian economy. New Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai replacing resigned Ferenc Gyurcsány.

FIDESZ (Hungarian Civic Union) won the election and get 2/3 of the votes. Viktor Orban is elected as Prime Minister 2nd time.

Pál Schmitt becomes president.

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