Hungary Prehistory and Modern History


The Hungary it was the center of settlements since the Paleolithic, to which the finds of the Szeleta civilization (spear points, jasper scrapers, bone ‘command sticks’) belong, found in Bükk caves. In the Neolithic the Tisza and Körös plains were inhabited, where substantial finds date back to the Bronze Age (terracotta, plastic representations of human figures). ● The Hungary it was occupied by Illyrians, Thracians and Scythians until the arrival of the Celts (5th century BC) who settled in the Transdanubian region and imported the most advanced iron and bronze casting techniques of the La Tène civilization. The skill achieved in metalworking is documented by weapons, ornaments and pottery (relief vases by Pécel).

Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Conquered by the Romans (1st century BC-1st AD), fortified by a series of buildings along the Danube limes and intensely Romanized, Pannonia was abandoned (375-406) under the pressure of Attila’s Huns ; invaded by Gepids and Ostrogoths (late 5th century), it became a possession of the Avars who established a kingdom there (567). It suffered repeated Slavic incursions until the Magyars, of Finno-Ugric descent, settled first in the Caucasus area and then (mid-9th century ca.) between the Don and the Dnieper, under pressure from the Peceneghi, they moved towards the West settling in 896 in the Pannonian plain: in the historical formation that has developed continuously up to the modern age, the Hungary it is the creation of the Magyar population. For Hungary history, please check

● With Géza (972-97) of the Árpád dynasty, the conversion of the Magyars to Christianity and their attachment to the earth began; the successor, Stephen the Saint (997-1038), laid the foundations of the Hungarian state, also with the support of the papacy. The oldest Hungarian monarchy was a kind of patrimonial monarchy, whose power was based on the immense possessions of the king; administrative bodies were the committees, governed by comites,increased over time from 45 to 72. To organize the Hungarian Church Stephen instituted archbishops and bishoprics, also inducing religious orders to found their convents.

● On the death of Stefano, the Hungary it found itself involved in the struggles between the empire and the papacy, leaning on this against the former, and after a period of decline, with Ladislao I (1077-95) began an expansionist policy: in 1089-90 there was the conquest of Slavonia ; in 1091 the union of the crown of Croatia (which lasted until 1918), which involved a struggle with Venice, which lasted three centuries, for the dominion of Dalmatia. The union with Croatia and the alternate possession of Dalmatia involved the Hungary in the Balkan problems, resulting in a contrast with Byzantium.

● The exhaustion of the patrimonial state and the start of feudal forms of organization similar to those of the West marked the crisis of the royal power: in 1222 Andrew II (1205-35) recognized the nobiles the right to oppose any activity of the king contrary to the laws. An attempt to reaffirm the royal power was made by Béla IV (1235-70), but the Mongol invasion (1241) threw the Hungary in the chaos and with the successors Stefano V (1270-72) and Ladislao IV the Cumano (1272-90) the noble oligarchy reaffirmed itself. The last of the Árpád, Andrew III (1290-1301), saw the succession disputed by the Habsburgs and by the Anjou, with the upper hand of the latter: on the death of Andrew III, Charles Robert of Anjou, after dynastic struggles, was able to surround the Holy Crown in 1308.

● The royal power reaffirmed, the policy of the new dynasty (guaranteed by Bohemia and Poland against the Empire) turned towards the Balkan and Italian peninsulas, creating in the mid-14th century. a line of territorial possessions or feudal alliances or dependencies as a guarantee of one’s territory. Against the Turkish danger Sigismund of Luxembourg (1387-1437), with the help of Boniface IX, tightened around himself the arms of Christianity, which however were beaten in Nicopolis in 1396, nor did Albert of Habsburg (1437-39) to prevent the Turks from conquering Bosnia. The nobility then called the king of Poland Ladislao III Iagellone (1440-44) to the throne, who was defeated and killed in Varna ; but in 1456 the Ottoman advance was stopped in Belgrade by the voivode Giovanni Hunyadi, whose son Mattia Corvinus (1458-90), called to succeed Ladislao V, made independent from the great lords, tried to make the Hungary the center of a vast Danube empire, fighting against Poland, Bohemia and Austria.

Modern age

On the death of Mattia Corvino the crown returned to the Iagelloni, who with Ladislao II and Luigi II (from 1490 to 1526) reunited it with those of Poland and Bohemia. In 1521, the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent occupied Belgrade and on 29 August 1526 annihilated the Hungarian army at Mohács, where the king himself fell. The fights between the national party, which elected John Szapolyai to the throne (1526-40), and the queen’s party, who elected Ferdinand of Habsburg (1526-64), archduke of Austria and king of Bohemia, brother of Charles V , opened the way for the capture of Buda by the Turks (1541) and for the occupation and dismemberment of the state: in 1547 Ferdinand asked for peace, paying an annual tribute to the Porta, and Transylvania went to Giovanni Sigismondo Szapolyai as an autonomous vassal state of the Turks. The following period was characterized on the one hand by the continuous offensive pressure of the Turks against the Habsburgs, on the other by the ever greater loss of autonomy, and therefore of national individuality, on the part of the Hungary, In particular following the accession to the throne. imperial of Ferdinand (1558). But the conquest of Budapest (1686) by the Holy League promoted by Innocent XI, completed by the victory of Zenta (1697) achieved by Eugenio di Savoia, led to the peace of Carlowitz (1699), for which the Turks renounced almost all of the Hungarian territory, while Transylvania returned to be part of the Kingdom. These successes of the Habsburg central power led to an attempt at an absolutist revival, but the revolt of Francis II Rákóczi (1703-11) led the Habsburgs to recognize the constitutional rights of the Kingdom and its privileges to the Magyar nobility. Maria Teresa (1740-80) and Joseph II (1780-90) resumed the attempt to build a strong unitary and centralized monarchy, which found vigorous opposition to the Magyar Diet of 1790.

● After the Napoleonic period, during which the Magyar nobility he remained faithful to the Habsburgs, a reform movement developed, within which independentist positions emerged. In the wake of the Viennese events of March 1848, a government was formed, led by Count L. Batthyány, but the Austrian army put down the insurrection (August 1849). In 1867 Vienna granted the Hungarians the Ausgleich (➔ # 10132;), a compromise which created two distinct states, the Empire of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary, united by the dynastic bond and by three common ministries (Foreign, Army and Navy, Finance): thus the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was born. The Hungary it later experienced a period of relative economic prosperity.

Hungary Prehistory