The history of Hungary is one of the most impressive that we can find in Europe. A story full of breathtaking moments and historical dates that have helped shape the continent over the centuries. From the pre-Magyar Hungary to this day, from Roman times to the time of the emperors, World War I and II and the post-war period until today, it's almost impossible to summarise the extraordinary history of Hungary.
Hungary was once part of Dacia and Pannonia, two Roman provinces in central Europe, and this situation remained stable until the second century AD, a time in which the territories of these two provinces were invaded by the Germans, and later by the Huns and Avars. In the eighth century Charlemagne annexed what we know as Hungary to their lands, after which arrived the Magyars.
It is widely recognised that the Magyars gave rise to the country we know today as Hungary. The Magyars arrived from the Ural Mountains, on the edge of Asia, with several tribes that united to defend their territory. Hungary in the tenth century under the reign of Stephen I converted to Christianity and was under the leadership of the Pope. At this time, paganism was pursued and punished with death.
In the eleventh century, the country began to prosper, with Matthias Corvinus conquering territories such as Moravia, Bohemia and Silesia, and the rule was extended to Austria, a great ally with which to face the Turks, in an age of great expansion for Hungary. In the sixteenth century came the first major defeat of the Hungarians at the battle of Mohac in 1526 and the Turks invaded and settled in a part of the country, in what is now known as Budapest.
Then came a link from Hungary to Spain through the House of Habsburg, a house with which the Hungarian royalty was related by the following centuries. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with the newly established royal house in Hungary, there was the reconquest of the country and the expulsion of the Turks. Here was born the famous Austro-Hungarian Empire, of major power within Europe during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
But all was not peaceful during this rule, with differences between Hungarians and the followers of the Habsburgs leading to many feuds, and with them many conflicts. On one side there were the Magyars, and on the other hand, the central tendencies of Vienna. In the late nineteenth century, these rebellions failed, and worse, after the defeat to Prussia in 1866 the country became part of the Austro-Hungarian empire once more.
During World War I, the Empire was on the same side as the Germans, which after defeat lead to the empire being weakened, a situation that was exploited by Hungary to declare independence. Communism was established in the country and the Hungarian Socialist Republic was born, ignoring the previous monarchy which had no support. After 1920 and the signing of the peace treaty after World War I, Hungary lost many of its territories, the size of the country was significantly reduced, with many Hungarians forced to live in the surrounding countries.
After World War II, with Hungary again aligned on the losing side, the situation was more serious for the country. Their alliance with Germany, Italy and Japan had seen them gain lost territories, but after fall of the Nazis, Hungary was quickly invaded by the Russians and they re-introduced communism to the country. Hungary quickly became part of the Iron Curtain.
In 1953, with the death of Stalin, came a period of 'destalinasation'. The Warsaw Pact saw Europes borders redrawn once more, Hungary regaining its freedom with an aid pact in Moscow. This situation that lasted until the 1980's, when Warsaw Pact began to be questioned, a situation that was ratified by the fall of the USSR in 1991, at which point many countries that belonged to the Iron Curtain began to look to the West.
Hungary is one of the youngest countries in the European Union and its current constitution was last amended in 1989.
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