Important dates of Hungarian history
- 5th century
- The Hungarian tribes left the area of the Urals. They passed along the
Volga and the Caspian Sea. After several hundred years of wandering, they
reached the Carpathian Basin.
- Under the leadership of Árpád, the Hungarian tribes settled in the
Carpathian Basin. They drove out part of the residents and absorbed the
- King Stephen of the Árpád dynasty ruled the country.
- Stephen was converted to Christianity. After his death, he was canonized.
- An abbey was set up at Tihany. The foundation charter was drawn up on the
northern shore of Lake Balaton. This is the earliest written record extant
in the Hungarian language.
- The Mongolian Tatars devastated the country. Their presence, which lasted
a year, halted development for at least a century. After the warfare with
the Hungarians, the Tatars did not continue towards the west.
- The rule of King Matthias. Cultural life of a European standard flourished
in his palaces at Buda and Visegrád. For a few decades, Hungary lived on a
West European standard.
- At Mohács, the present southern frontier of the country, the Turks defeated the
Hungarian army. 150 years of Turkish occupation started.
- The Turks occupied Buda. Hungary was split into three parts. The Habsburg
governed the western part of the country, the central area was ruled by the
Turks, and the south-east Transylvanian principality (today part of Roumania)
for a long time was the citadel of Hungarian culture.
- Buda was recaptured from the Turks. (The Turks - similarly to the Tartars -
could only advance in Europe to the territory of Hungary. Here they were
faced by obstacles, after which no strength was left for the siege of Vienna.)
- A freedom war under the leadership of Ferenc Rákóczi II, Prince of
Transylvania, against the Habsburgs. The rebels defeated the Imperial
army in several battles, but did not receive the promised French support
- First half of the 19th century
- A national reform movement was launched for the political and economic
transformation of the country, for Hungarian language and culture. This
was when the National Anthem was born, and the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences was set up. The building of the Chain Bridge started. The initiator
of these was Count István Széchenyi, an eminent figure of the Reform Age.
- A revolution broke out in Pest, which extendedover the entire country.
The Habsburg Emperor was dethroned after the Hungarian army won several
significant battles. Lajos Kossuth was elected Governor. The longest
European national revolution could only be oppressed in the summer of 1849
by the Habsburgs with the help of the Russian army.
- The Hungarians concluded a compromise with the Habsburgs. A double-centred
monarchy was set up with seats in Vienna and Pest-Buda. A spectacular
industrial upswing started.
- Pest, Buda and Obuda were unified: Budapest became a European metropolis.
The buildings of that time - the Opera House, the National Gallery and
Parliament - still determine the skyline of the city. The first
subsurface underground railway on continental Europe was put into
- Germany and its allies, including the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, lost
the world war. The monarchy disintegrated.
- The Trianon Treaty reduced Hungary's area by two thirds
and the population by one third.
Since then, considerable Hungarian minorities lived in the neighbouring
- Germany concluded treaties in Munich and Vienna, according to which
Southern Slovakia and Northern Transylvania were returned to Hungary.
- The Nazis occupied Hungary, as they did not consider it a reliable ally.
During the Second World War, the Hungarians suffered grave losses
on the Soviet front. At the end of the war, Fascists took over the
governing of the country.
- The Soviet Army liberated, then occupied Hungary. At the hastly held
elections, the Communists gained only 17 percent of the votes.
- The last, relatively free election was followed by the years of Communist
control: show trials, executions, forced settlement of hundreds of
thousands, imprisonment, harassment, forced industrial development, a
drop in living standards, and Stalinist dictatorship.
- A revolution against Stalinism. The uprising was defeated by Soviet troops.
János Kádár, who acquired power with their assistance, promised democratic
socialism; in the meantime, retaliation and executions started.
- The new system became consolidated, and cautious economic reforms were
launched. Living standards were rising and the iron curtain became
- The Hungarian transition period began.
- The Communist party voluntarily gave up its autocracy. A multi-party
parliamentary democracy came into being in the country. The Soviet army
- Hungary became full member of NATO.
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