Romans, Ottomans, Austrians, Germans, Russians and finally Hungarians

Budapest, the capital of the country of Hungary lies on the river Danube. Hungary is a landlocked country on the eastern edge of central Europe. Hungary’s neighbors, clockwise from the

Budapest, the capital of the country of Hungary lies on the river Danube. Hungary is a landlocked country on the eastern edge of central Europe. Hungary’s neighbors, clockwise from the north, are Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria and with that information, you can understand the parade of other peoples who have made their way through the country since the Romans arrived there in 106AD and called the place Pannonia.

This is no people’s republic

Today the country is an active and vibrantly recovering democracy. In 2012 with the acceptance of a new constitution, the first ever to be written on an iPad, the country changed its name from ‘The Republic of Hungary’ to just Hungary. In 1991, it had been the People’s Republic of Hungary. If nothing else the name changes are a clear indication of the direction and statement of intent.

It is a right to exist as they choose which has been fought for.

Renewal and rebuilding and renewal…

The history of Hungary is fascinating and complex. Like much of Europe, it was a Roman province. The name of the country in Hungarian is Magyarország named after the Magyar tribe who were themselves ousted Bulgaria. In the 9th century, they ousted Bulgarian settlers in the twin cities of Buda and Pest. A century later the Kingdom of Hungary was founded, and from the very beginning was at the crossroads of Europe.

The Ottomans conquered in 1540 and Turkish rule was to last for over 140 years. During which time the Christian population of the country dwindled to a mere 70 people. The western part of the country came under the influence of the Habsburg and became known as Royal Hungary.

It was a combined league of forces that pushed the Ottomans back in the 1680s but even then, it was not until 1718 the entire country came from under Ottoman rule. It was a frying pan to fire sort of change; the Ottomans were replaced by the Habsburgs. The Hungarians fought for independence, but in 1867, the Year of Reconciliation, brought about Austria-Hungary making Budapest one of the capitals of the twin monarchy.

It was to last until the end of the First World War when Austria-Hungary collapsed and Hungary declared itself an independent Republic. Independence was not too last. Hungary sided with the Axis Powers at the beginning of the Second World War and was engaged with German forces in the attack of the Soviet Union.

However, when it dawned on Hungarian leadership which direction the war was inevitably going, they opened negotiations with both the US and Britain. Hitler became aware of the betrayal and in 1944 Hungary was one more time invaded.

It was an occupation that did not last long, the Soviet Union liberated the country from the Germans in 1945, and it was to remain part of the Soviet bloc under communism until 1991. Since then Hungary became Hungary, one of the newest old countries in Europe.