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Hungary (Hungarian Magyarorszag), landlocked republic in central Europe. Most of Hungary lies in a basin known as the Danube basin or the Hungarian Plain, which extends into neighboring countries. The Danube River flows across the basin. Budapest, Hungary’s capital and largest city, lies on both sides of the Danube. Budapest is a beautiful city and the cultural and commercial center of east central Europe. Hungary’s present borders are virtually the same as those established by the post-World War I Treaty of Trianon (1920).

The people of Hungary call themselves Magyars because they trace their history to the Magyar conquest of Hungary. The Magyars were originally nomadic tribes from Asia. In the late 9th century, led by Arpad, they conquered the plain between the Danube and Tisza rivers, the central part of the Hungarian Plain. By the early 11th century they had been unified politically and converted to Western Christianity. The first king of the Arpad dynasty, Stephen I, was crowned in 1000 or 1001. In 1083 he was declared a saint.

At the start of the 14th century foreign rulers took over. A series of European dynasties ruled Hungary in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 16th and 17th centuries most of Hungary was in the Ottoman Empire. A strip in the west was in the empire ruled by the Habsburg family of Austria. By the end of the 17th century the Habsburgs had conquered almost all of Hungary. In 1848 the Hungarians rebelled against Habsburg rule, but the revolt was crushed. In 1867 a compromise was reached with the Habsburgs that created a dual monarchy, called Austria-Hungary. After World War I (1914-1918) the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved, and Hungary became fully independent. Following World War II (1939-1945) a Communist government took power and Hungary joined the Soviet-bloc countries that were subservient to the USSR. A non-Communist government took office following elections in 1990.


For younger readers

Hill, Raymond. Hungary. Facts on File, 1997. A history for high school to adult readers.

Lundrigan, Nicole. Hungary. Gareth Stevens, 2002. For readers in grades 4 to 6.

Steins, Richard. Hungary: Crossroads of Europe. Marshall Cavendish, 1997. For readers in grades 4 to 6.


Burant, Stephen R., ed. Hungary: A Country Study. 2nd ed. Library of Congress, 1990. History, politics, economics, and society of contemporary Hungary.

Sinor, Denis. History of Hungary. Greenwood, 1976. From Magyar tribes to the end of World War II, with an emphasis on politics.

Sisa, Stephen. The spirit of Hungary: A Panorama of Hungarian History and Culture. 3rd ed. Vista Books, 1995. A broad survey of art, music, science, and literature.

Sugar, Peter F. ed. A History of Hungary. Indiana University Press, 1990. An accessible textbook that carries the story of Hungary into the late 1980s.

Taylor, A.J.P. The Hapsburg Monarchy: 1809-1919. University of Chicago Press, 1976, 1987. Classic history of the decline of Austria's ruling family and its relationship to the Hungarian half of the dual monarchy through World War I; first published in 1941.

Teleky, Richard. Hungarian Rhapsodies: Essays on Ethnicity, Identity, and Culture. University of Washington Press, 1997. The author explores the contributions of Hungarians to North American culture and his own ethnic heritage.


Nelson, Daniel M, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of International Studies, Old Dominion University. President of Global Concepts, Inc. Author of AfterAuthoritan‘anism and other books.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

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dual monarchy, Treaty of Trianon, Magyars, Habsburgs, nomadic tribes, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, USSR, Hungarians, Western Christianity, Danube, revolt, beautiful city, Budapest, neighboring countries, largest city, compromise, office, centuries, capital, elections, king, history, power, Asia, strip, century, start, west, sides, end, Stephen, saint

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