Important Events in Hungary’s History
Hungary’s history dates back to the early Middle Ages, and many significant events have taken place since that time to shape the country and its people into the vibrant, energetic and proud country that it is today.
896 A.D. The Hungarian tribes, under the leadership of Árpád, settled the Carpathian Basin after driving out some of the inhabitants.
1000 A.D. King Stephen of the Árpád dynasty converted to Christianity. After his death, he was canonized.
1241 The Mongolian Tatars invaded and devastated the country.
1458-1490 During the reign of King Matthias, Hungary enjoyed a Western European standard of living, and culture flourished at the royal palaces at Buda and Visegrád.
1526 The Turks defeated the Hungarian army at Mohács, which began 150 years of Turkish occupation.
1541 The Turks split the country into three parts. The Habsburg governed the western part of the country, the Turks ruled the central area, and the south-east Transylvanian principality was the heart of Hungarian culture.
1686 Buda was recaptured from the Turks.
1703-1711 Ferenc Rákóczi II, Prince of Transylvania, led a war of freedom against the Habsburgs. The rebels defeated the Imperial army in several battles, but were defeated when the support promised by France did not materialize.
Early 19th Century A national reform movement was formed for the political and economic transformation of the country, and to restore Hungarian language and culture. The National Anthem was created, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was established. Building began on the Chain Bridge. Count István Széchenyi was a principal figure in the Reform Age movement.
1848 Revolution broke out in Pest, and the Habsburg Emperor was dethroned. Lajos Kossuth was elected Governor. In 1849 the Habsburgs, with the help of the Russian army, was able to stifle the revolution.
1867 After a compromise was reached between the Hungarian nationals and the Habsburgs, a double-centred monarchy was set up with seats in Vienna and Pest-Buda.
1873 Pest, Buda and Obuda were unified, and the city of Budapest was born. The buildings of that time – the Opera House, the National Gallery and Parliament – still attract thousands of visitors to the city every year.
1918 Germany and its allies, including the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, lost World War I, marking the end of the monarchy.
1920 The Trianon Treaty reduced Hungary’s geographical area by two-thirds and the population by a third, leaving many Hungarian nationals as minorities in neighboring countries.
1938-1940 Germany concluded treaties in Munich and Vienna, according to which Southern Slovakia and Northern Transylvania were returned to Hungary.
1944 The Nazi occupation of Hungary began. At the end of World War II, Fascists took over governing the country.
1945 The Soviet Army liberated, then occupied Hungary.
1947 The last so-called free election was followed by years of Communist government. Hungarian citizens were resettled by force, imprisoned, even executed.
1956 A people’s revolt against Stalinism was defeated by Soviet troops. János Kádár, who acquired power with their assistance, promised democratic socialism, but retaliation and executions followed.
1965 The new system became consolidated, and cautious economic reforms were launched. Living standards were rising and the iron curtain began to disintegrate.
1988 The Hungarian transition period began.
1990 The Communist party voluntarily gave up its autocracy. A multi-party parliamentary democracy came into being in the country. The Soviet army left Hungary.
1999 Hungary became a full member of NATO.