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The main purpose of this work is to furnish scholars, diplomats, statesmen, journalists, and other interested persons with factual information concerning the land called TRANSYLVANIA, today a province of the Socialist Republic of Rumania. Besides giving a condensed and authentic survey of the geography, history and culture of Transylvania, we felt the necessity to pay special attention to the problems of national minorities, minority rights and other complex human factors to which we can no longer be indifferent, neither as a society of mankind, nor as a community of nations.
It has become mandatory also to re-evaluate certain outdated concepts, and the very principles upon which these concepts were established.
In our days, the accepted definition of "national minority" refers to a group of people who migrated into the established country of another nation, and failed to assimilate. Therefore, based on this principle, if Germany would occupy Denmark or part of Denmark, or France would occupy Germany or part of Germany, neither the Danes nor the Germans would be regarded as "national minorities" within the occupying nation, but as a nation or part of a nation occupied by another nation as a result of an act of force. The same would be valid in case Mexico should overrun California or Cuba should invade Florida. The Americans, inhabiting these states would not be regarded as "national minorities" residing in Mexico or Cuba, but as Americans subdued by force and separated from the rest of their country.
Exactly the same is true in regard to the Hungarians of Transylvania. They were, and ethnographically still are, part of the majority nation inhabiting for eleven hundred years the Carpathian Basin, where they held established statehood for more than one thousand years, building this complete geographical unit in East-Central Europe into a lasting and functioning economical, political and cultural entirety long before the Vlach immigrants, forefathers of the Rumanians, began to seep into the Eastern part of their country. On the ethnographical map of the Carpathian Basin this Hungarian majority still constitutes an almost uninterrupted unity, dotted with small and large foreign settlements. Therefore, as the original inhabitants of the Carpathian Basin, the Transylvanian Hungarians must still be regarded as part of a majority. Their present-day minority status within the war-imposed frontiers of Rumania was not the result of a peaceful evolution but of global armed conflicts which found them, unfortunately, on the losing side.
From this it follows that the cultural genocide, the forced relocation, the forced Rumanization, and the total discrimination to which the
native Hungarian population of Transylvania, more than 2.8 million strong, is being subjected today by the Government of the Socialist Republic of Rumania, needs very special attention. For it is the moral obligation of all civilized societies on earth to cure the ills caused by hatred, ignorance or chauvinistic bigotry, and to eliminate unnecessary human sufferings as much as possible.
The task of compiling this work was immense, and as our bibliography shows, the material extensive. As compiler, co-ordinator and editor of this unique book, I feel obligated to give due credit and a word of gratitude to all those who took part in this work, either by gathering the research material or by scrupulously evaluating the authenticity of all the documents used in this extremely complex and sensitive material.
Acknowledgement is due to each and every member of the Danubian Research Center, to the Transylvanian World Federation and its member-organizations all over the world for their invaluable contributions. Special recognition must be given to Mr. Istvan Zolcsak, Dr. Petru Popescu, Professor Georghe Bota and Mr. Jonel Margineanu for their honest and conscientious striving to establish scholastic facts by separating unbiased data from myth, national zeal, and political expediency.
Albert Wass de Czege University of Florida, retired.
The territory known today as Transylvania includes Transylvania proper, part of the Banat, part of the Great Hungarian Plain and the former Partium, totalling 24,027 square miles. On the North, East and South it is bordered by the high mountain ranges of the Eastern Carpathians, and the Southern Carpathians, also known as the Transylvanian Alps, which form the natural frontiers of the Carpathian Basin, and in the same time, for more than one-thousand years, the cultural frontiers between Western and Eastern civilizations. To the West and West-Northwest the land lies wide open, forming one undisturbed geographical unit with the Great Hungarian Plain. Both large Transylvanian rivers, the Maros, as well as the Szamos run from the Transylvanian mountains into the Great Hungarian Plain to join the Tisza river.
One single glance at the map will show clearly that geographically Transylvania is but a part of the Carpathian Basin. This very fact determined its role within the European community for more than one-thousand years, economically, culturally and politically alike.
The name ,,Transylvania" comes from the Latin translation of the Hungarian "Erdoelve" or later "Erdely" as used and spelled already in the l0th, llth, and l2th centuries, meaning "Beyond the Forest". The word "Transylvania" appeared for the first time in the l7th century, when under Western pressure the official language of the administration became the Latin.
The Vlach immigrants - today called Rumanians - entering the country first in small bands, later in large masses as refugees, took the Hungarian name, and formed it to suit their tongue from "Erdely" into"Ardeal". The Germans on the other hand, who were brought in as settlers by the Hungarian kings during the l3th century, named it ,,Siebenburgen" (The Seven Towns) due to their seven administrative districts.
The fertile plains and river valleys of Transylvania, as well as the rolling hills of the central basin invited the early Hungarian settlers from the 9th century on, while the salt, coal, iron, gold, silver, and many other rich mineral veins found in the hills made it an economically important part of Hungary, from 890 till l920.
The city of KOLOZSVAR, meaning the "Fort of Kolozs" (today called Cluj-Napoca by the Rumanians) with a population of l67,687, was established in 987 A.D. by Kolozs, commander of the Hungarian armies of the East. The city became for many centuries the administrative capital as well as the cultural center of Transylvania. Its fine Gothic
architecture makes this remarkable city even today, in spite of the new political borders, a part of the West.
TEMESVAR, "Fort on the Temes river", today called Timisoara by the Rumanians, (population l48,564) was established in the l2th century and played an important role in the economy and industrial development of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom.
ARAD, population l09,832, established first as a "free market place" in the l2th century on the edge of the Great Hungarian Plain, played an important role in Hungarian history.
NAGYVARAD, today Oradea, population l0l,256, was the first royal fort and monastery in the Eastern part of Hungary, established in l008 as the residenee of the "Prince of Transylvania", the oldest son of the King (like in England the "Prince of Wales"). The city became famous during the rule of King Laszlo I, the Saint, l077-l095.
MAROSVASARHELY, today Tirgu Mures, population 68,438, was established in the l3th century as a free market place for the Hungarian farmers of the Maros valley (the name means ,,Market Place on the Maros"), and grew into a cultural center during the l7th and l8th centuries.
SZATMARNEMETI, today Satu Mare, population 53,l32, is situated in the flatlands of the Great Hungarian Plain, and served for more than seven centuries as a commercial center for the entire region.
BRASSO, today Brasov, population l25,896, was built in the l3th century by German settlers around an already existing Hungarian royal fort, while NAGYSZEBEN, today Sibiu, population 9l,976, has served since the l3th century as the center of Transylvanian German culture.
Beginning with the l5th century, the educational institutions of the Transylvanian cities, especially those of Kolozsvar, Nagyvarad, Nagyenyed, Zilah and Gyulafehervar became important centers of Hungarian culture, and gained world-wide recognitions.
There are more than two-hundred mineral springs, thermal baths and well known health resorts throughout Transylvania. The richness of its natural resources as well as the beauty of its landscape made it very desirable to immigrants as well as conquerors through all recorded history.
Herodotos described the SCYTHIANS, inhabiting the "lands East and North of the Danube river". "Scythian" is the collective name of a group of TURANIAN people, supposedly descendants of the SUMERIANS, but certainly carriers and preservers of the Sumerian culture. To the family of Scythian nations belonged the "Dacs" of ancient Dacians, the Huns, the Avars, the Bulgarians and the Magyars or Hungarians.
Roman historians mentioned the THRACIANS moving Northward across the flatlands of the lower Danube and across the high mountain ranges, into a land surrounded by mountains.
Greek historians referred to "Upper Thracia" as a beautiful country North of the Danube, and surrounded by mountains "like a natural fortress". These Greek chronicles furnish us with the first geographic description of the CARPATHIAN BASIN.
Roman historians described the same land as "Dacia", homeland of "The Scythians who call themselves Das".
The expanding Roman Empire began the invasion of Dacia. 107 A.D.
The war for Dacia ended under the Emperor Trajanus. According to Roman historians" the fierce Dac people put up an astonishing fight. Not even women and children were wi1ling to surrender to the conquering legions, and had to be exterminated one by one".
Emperor Adrianus ordered most of his troops out of the "completely devastated" Dacia into Asia Minor" leaving only two "legions of the Barbarians" in this North-Eastern outpost of his empire. The term "Legion of the Barbarians" meant army units recruited from the North-Western territories, inhabited by Germanic tribes.
Yielding to the pressure of the invading GOTHS, Emperor Aurelian withdrew the last remaining legions from Dacia, under strict order to destroy buildings, food supplies, and completely evacuate the land before the oncoming "Barbarians". The Goths were a Teutonic people, referred to by Romans as "Barbarians".
The HUNS entered the Carpathian Basin by crossing the North-Eastern Carpathians. According to contemporary historians, during the rule of Attila, Transylvania was still partly inhabited by Goths~ and it was marked as GOTHIA on the maps. Goth warriors of Transylvania participated in the Western adventures of Attila.
After the death of Attila the Hun empire collapsed. 480 A.D.
The Western part of the former province of Dacia was under the rule of the GEPIDS while the Eastern part was still inhabited by a surviving tribe of the Huns, who later joined the new BULGARIAN-TURK tribal federation across the Eastern Carpathians. (Today"s Moldova.)
The AVARS, a nation having the same language as the Huns according to contemporary Greek chronicles, crossed the Carpathians and occupied the entire Carpathian Basin, including Transylvania.
Byzantine chroniclers observed the Avar envoy appearing before the emperor Justinian spoke the same language as the Hun-Bulgarian interpreter of the court.
The Avar empire collapsed. 805 A.D.
Khan Krum "the terrible" created a strong Bulgarian empire on both sides of the Danube, including Transylvania. (Haleczky: Borderlands of Western Civilization. Ronald Press N.Y. 1952, Page 23.)
Vatican, Byzantine and Russian (Kiev) chronicles described in detail the appearance of the Hungarians (Magyars) in the Carpathian Basin and the lower Danube region.
The Hungarians defeated the Bulgarians and took possession of Transylvania .
Byzantine historians gave detailed account of CSANAD and GYULAFEHERVAR (today Alba Julia) as strong Hungarian forts and prosperous cities in Transylvania. The name "Gyulafehervar" was even translated into Greek by one of the authors as "The White Fort of Gyula", explaining that Gyula was the name of the "Eastern Chief" of the Hungarian tribes.
Byzantine documents mentioned for the first time the presence of the SZEKELYS in the Eastern-most tip of Transylvanial describing them as one of the Hungarian tribes settled there as border guards, within well organized military districts called "Szek" - chair or seat, referring to complete administrative and judicial power vested into their own chiefs. These privileges of the Szekelys were recognized later by the Hungarian kings also.
By compiling all available data, Greek historians gave the first account of the migration of the Magyars (Hungarians) into the Carpathian Basin. According to this account, the Hungarians followed the trail of
their brother-nations, the Huns and the Avars, moving first from the Volga-region into Etelkoz, then expanding slowly in a Westerly and south-westerly direction as far as today's Moldova, and finally crossing the Carpathians through three different routes, while a forth unit, in alliance with the Byzantine forces, attacked the Bulgarians at the lower Danube, took possession of the fertile lands between the Danube river and the Southern Carpathians or Transylvanian Alps, and joined the rest of the nation at the Iron Gate: a gorge cut by the Danube through thc mountains, south of the Great Hungarian Plain.
Greek chronicles (Kedrenos II. 435. Ed. Bonn.) mentioned for the first time the name VLACH, describing a people of primitive herdsmen located between Kastoria and Prespa, near today"s Albanian border, who centuries later became the ancestors of the Rumanians. The name RUMANIAN was created only after the unification of Vlachia (or Wallachia) with the principality of Moldova in 1878.
Vatican missionaries establish a church in the fort of "Varad" later called "Nagy-Varad" today Oradea. Reports sent back to Rome by the same missionaries described the small tribe of the JAZIG" who spoke "almost the same language" as the Hungarians, and was supposed to be living in the same region long before the Hungarians arrived. The descendants of the Jazig, called today "Jasz", can still be found on the Great Hungarian Plain, west of Nagyvarad. They are the only recorded inhabitants found by the Hungarian settlers in the Carpathian Basin, including Transylvania, except a few scattered fragments of SLAVS, who became assimilated within a few decades, and completely disappeared, leaving behind nothing more than a very few and widely scattered geographical names.
Byzantine traders reported "rich Hungarian towns" in Transylvania where "good wine, raw gold, hides and various carved tools and art objects" could be purchased in exchange for silk and jewelry. They described the inhabitants as "proud Christians" and the country as "lively towns, cultivated valleys, surrounded by uninhabited mountain ranges and dense forests." Since the wife of chief Gyula, residing in Gyulafehervar was a Byzantine Princess, there was a lively exchange between the Eastern part of Hungary, called ERDOELVE (Transylvania) and the Byzantine empire. Thus, Christianity entered the Carpathian Basin in the same time from the West and from the East.
King Stephen the Saint, first king of Hungary, defeating his father-inlaw, the Gyula of Transylvania, established Western Christianity as official religion, and introduced the Western Feudalistic System by force. In spite of the defeat, Transylvania served for a long time as a refuge to all those Hungarians who either chose the Byzantine Christianity or held on to the ancient Hungarian faith of HADUR, the Lord of
Hosts, a1so called UR, a monotheist religion dating back to UR of SUMER
In a special letter sent by a Frater Anselmus to the Doge of Venice, Transylvania, called "the eastern-most corner of the Hungarian Kingdom" was mentioned as the main source of salt for the Carpathian Basin. The salt mine of Desakna, near the fort of Des, was referred to as "the royal salt mine of Des".
Laszlo of the House of Arpad, son of King Solomon, received from his father the title "Prince of Transylvania". From this date on, during the rule of the House of Arpad (10001301( every crown-prince carried this title, with the obligation to reside in Transylvania, either in Nagyvarad, Kolozsvar or Gyulafehervar, and to take care of certain administrative, judicial and military duties.
Emperor Alexios Komnenos of Byzantium ordered the relocation of the Vlachs from the Chalkidike peninsula to Pelopponesos. With this, the northward migration of the Vlachs, ancestors of the Rumanians, began.
Manuel Comnenus of Byzantium assembled a large number of Vlachs south of the Danube river (today"s Bulgaria) in order to launch an attack against the Hungarian fortifications along the left bank of the river, and to take the rich Hungarian settlement of Hosszumezo, known today as Campulung. (Translated from the Hungarian, meaning "long field".
Though the invading forces were defeated, and the land between the Danube and the Southern Carpathians remained officially until the invasion of the Turks (end of the 15th century) a territory of the Hungarian Kingdom, migrating Vlach herdsmen received permission to cross the Danube in search of pasture-lands. They settled first the Southern slopes of the Transylvanian Alps (Southern Carpathians) under their own tribal rulers, thus slowly establishing their claim to the land which was later called VLACHIA or WALLACHIA, and was declared in 1878 the "Kingdom of Rumania".
The first German settlers from the Moselle region were brought in by King Geza II in order to fortify some "empty lands" in the South-East of Transylvania. These new settlers established themselves near the royal fort of Brasso.
King Andras II invited several other groups of German settlers into Transylvania, settling them in autonomous districts. The royal charter granting these lands to the German settlers stated that they were settled "on the frontier of Transylvania, facing CUMANIA, a land without inhabitants". This Cumania, land without inhabitants, was the same
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