|JOHN HUNYADI: Hungary in American History Textbooks|
Bethlen, Gabriel, Hung. Bethlen Gábor, 1580-1629, prince of Transylvania (1613-29). He was chief adviser of Stephen BOCSKAY and was elected prince after the assassination of Gabriel BATHORY. A Protestant, though tolerant towards all religions, he allied himself (1619) with FREDERICK THE WINTER KING and overran Hungary, of which he was elected king (1020). After the Bohemian defeat at the White Mt. (1620), he signed with Emperor FERDINAND II the Treaty of Nikolsburg (1621), by which he renounced the royal title but retained control of seven Hungarian counties and received the rank of prince of the empire. He continued his relations with the Protestant powers opposing the emperor in the Thirty Years War and married the Sister of the elector of Brandenburg; however, he kept the interests of Transylvania paramount. He was a wise administrator and encouraged the development of law and learning.
Transylvania, Ger. Siebenbürgen, Hung. Erdély, Rumanian Transilvania or Ardeal, historic province (24,009 sq. mi.; pop. 3,420,829) in central Rumania. CLUY (Ger. Klausenburg, Hung. Kolozsvár) is the chief city. A high plateau, Transylvania is separated in the south from Wallachia by the TRANSYLVANIAN ALPS and in the east from Moldavia and Bukovina by the CARPATHIANS (of which the Transylvanian Alps are a continuation). In the north and west it borders on Crisana-Maramures, in the southwest on the Banat. The Transylvanian plateau, 1,000 ft. to 1,600 ft. high, is drained by the Mures, the Olt, and the Somes, all tributaries of the Danube. Its climate is continental. Economically and culturally the most advanced part of Rumania, Transylvania is rich in natural resources, including lignite, methane, iron, manganese, lead, and sulphur, and it has the chief metallurgical and chemical industries of Rumania. Other industries are textile manufacturing, food processing, and lumbering. Stock raising, agriculture, wine production, and fruitgrowing are important occupations. Next to Cluj, BRASOV and SIBIU are the principal cities. Of the total population, 1,015,947 are Hungarian- speaking and 157,715 are German- speaking. The Rumanian population is largely rural, while the Magyar and German minorities are mostly concentrated in the cities. The area now constituting Transylvania was part of the province of DACIA under the Roman Empire. It was overrun, between the 3d and 10th cent. A.D., by the Visigoths, the Huns, the.Gepidae, and the Avars, and it was contested in the 10th and 11th cent. between the Petchenegs and the Magyars (Hungarians), who finally incorporated it into Hungary. It is not known whether the SZEKELY, a Turkic people who adopted the Magyar language, came into Transylvania with or before the Magyars. The Szekely were the ancestors of most of the Magyar-speaking population of Transylvania. In the 12th and 13th cent. the kings of Hungary settled large numbers of German colonists in Transylvania, where they were active in building fortified towns, The German settlers and their descendants were (and still are) called Saxons, although they came from various parts of Germany. The German influence became more marked when, early in the 13th cent., King Andrew II of Hungary called on the Teutonic Knights to protect Transylvania from the Cumans, who were followed (1241) by the Mongul invaders under Batu Khan. At that period also begun the penetration of Transylvania by the Rumanians, called Vlachs or Wallachians, a penetration which continued for centuries. The Vlachs were, for the most part, semi-nomadic shepherds, but most of them soon settled down to agriculture. The administration of Transylvania was in the hands of a royal governor, called voivode, who by the mid-13th cent. controlled all the seven Transylvanian counties. Society was divided into three priviliged "nations," the Magyars, the Szekely, and the Saxons. These "nations," however, did not correspond to strictly ethnical but rather to social divisions. Although the nonprivileged class of serfs consisted mostly of Vlachs, it also included people of Saxon, Szekely, and Magyar origin, while on the other hand many VIachs assimilated with the Magyars and joined the ranks of the nobility. Thus John Hunyadi, hero of the Turkish wars of the 15th cent. 'and father of King Matthias Corvinus, was of Rumanian origin. After the suppression (1437) of a peasant revolt, the three "nations" solemnly renewed their union; the rebels were cruelly punished and serfdom became more firmly entrenched than ever. When the main Hungarian army and King Louis II were slain (1526) in the battle of MOHACS, the troops of John Zapolya, voivode of Transylvania, were saved from destruction through their tardiness. Zapolya took advantage of his military strength and put himself at the head of the nationalist Hungarian party, which opposed the succession of Ferdinand of Austria (later Emperor Ferdinand I) to the Hungarian throne. As JOHN I, he was elected king of Hungary, while another party recognized Ferdinand. In the ensuing struggle Zapolya received the support of Sultan Suleiman I, who after Zapolya's death (1540) overran all central Hungary on the pretext of protecting Zapolya's son, JOHN II. Hungary was now divided into three sections -Western Hungary, under Austrian rule; central Hungary, under Turkish rule; and semi-independent Transylvania, where Austrian and Turkish influences fought for supremacy for nearly two centuries. The Hungarian magnates of Transylvania resorted to policy of duplicity in order to preserve independence. The BATHORY family, which came to power on the death (1571) of John II, ruled Transylvania as princes under Ottoman, and briefly under Hapsburg, suzerainty until 1602, but their rule was interrupted by the incursion of MICHAEL THE BRAVE of Wallachia and by Austrian military intervention. In l604 Stephen BOCSKAY led a rebellion against Austrian rule, and in 1606 he was recognized by the emperor as prince of Transylvania. He also obtained recognition of religious freedom in Hungary. The Reformation had been widely accepted throughout Transylvania except by the Orthodox Rumanians. The principality was the chief center of Hungarian culture and humanism, and it was the only country in Europe at that period where Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans and Unitarians, lived in mutual tolerance. Under Bocskay's successors - among whom the most notable were Sigismund RAKOCZI, Gabriel Bathory, Gabriel BETHLEN, George I and George RAKOCZI II, Emeric THOKOLY, and Francis RAKOCZI II - Transylvania vainly sought to shake off the growing Austrian influence, and its alliance with Turkey under Thokoly and with France under Francis II Rakoczi proved fatal to its independence. In 1711 Austrian control was definitely established over all Hungary and Transylvania, and the princes of Transylvania were replaced by Austrian governors. The proclamation (1705) of Transylvania as a grand principality was a mere formality. In the revolutionary years 1848-49 the Rumanians rose against the Magyar national state established by the revolutionists; they were aided by Austrian troops, who with the help of Russian intervention put down the Hungarian republic of Louis Kossuth. A period of Austrian military government followed (1849-60); while it was disastrous for the Magyars, it greatly benefited the Rumanian peasants, who were given land and otherwise favored by the Austrian authorities. However, in the compromise (Ausgleich) of 1867 which established the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Transylvania was made an integral part of Hungary, and the Rumanians, after having tasted equality, wore once more plunged into subjection to the Magyar magnates. Transylvania was seized by Rumania after the First World War and was formally ceded by Hungary in the Treaty of Trianon (1920). The expropriation of the estates of the magnates and the distribution of the lands to the Rumanian peasants was a major cause of friction between Hungary and Rumania. It was now the turn of the Magyar and German nationalists to complain of Rumanian oppression. During the Second World War, Hungary annexed (1940) the northern part of Transylvania, which was, however, restored to Rumania after the war. A large number of the Transylvanian "Saxons" fled to Germany as displaced persons before the arrival of the Russian armies. (See Ladislas Makkai, Histoire de Transylvanie, 1946, in French).
Kossuth, Louis, Hung. Kossuth Lajos, 1802-94, Hungarian revolutionary hero. Born of a Protestant family and a lawyer by training, he entered politics as a member of the diet and soon won a large following for his liberal and nationalist program; he did not shrink from the possibility of dissolving the union of the Hungarian and Austrian crowns. He was arrested in 1837, but popular pressure forced the Metternich regime to release him in 1840. Kossuth, a fiery orator, was one of the principal figures of the Hungarian revolution of March, 1848. When, in April, Hungary was granted a separate government, Kossuth became finance minister. Kossuth continued and intensified his anti-Austrian agitation. His extreme nationalism, which was opposed to the fulfillment of the national aspirations of the Slavic, Rumanian, and German minorities in Hungary, was particularly resented in Croatia. When the Austrian government, supported by the ban of Croatia, JELLACICH DE BUZIM, prepared to move against Hungary,. Kossuth became head of the Hungarian government of national defense and virtual dictator. His government withdrew to Debrecen before the advance of the Austrians under WiNDISCHGRAETZ. In April, 1849, it declared Hungary an independent republic and Kossuth became president. The Hungarians won several victories, but in 1849 Russian troops intervened in favor of Austria, and Kossuth was obliged to resign the government to General GORGEY. The Hungarian surrender at Vilagos marked the end of the republic. Kossuth fled to Turkey. After visiting England and the United States, where he received ovations as a champion of liberty, Kossuth lived in exile in England and (after 1885) in Italy. He unsuccessfully tried to stir up risings in Hungary in 1859 and 1866. He was dissatisfied with the Ausgleich of 1807, by which the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was created, and he refused an offer of amnesty in 1890. After his death at Turin, Italy, his body was brought to Budapest and buried in state.
Horthy de Nagybanya, Nicholas, Hung. Nagybányai Horthy Miklós, 1868-  , Hungarian admiral and statesman. He commanded the Austro-Hungarian fleet in the First World War. After Bela Kun seized (1910) power in Hungary, the counterrevolutionist government put Horthy in command of its forces. When the Rumanian force, that had defeated Kun evacuated Budapest (Nov., 1019), Horthy entered it and in 1920 was made regent and head of the state. He checked two attempts (March and Oct., 1021) of Emperor CHARLES I to regain his throne in Hungary, once by persuasion and once by armed force. Charles was then formally barred from the throne, and Horthy found himself regent of a kingless kingdom. A nationalist and distinctly inclined toward the right, he guided Hungary through the years between the two world wars, but left he actual management of government to his premiers, notably Stephen BETHLEN and Julius GOMBOS. his influence diminished after the death (1936) of Gombos. The succeeding premiers, Koloman Daranyi (1936-38), Bela Imredy (1938-39), and Paul TELEKI (1939-41), brought Hungary into the Axis, and after Teleki's suicide Hungary entered the Second World War. Despite Horthy's opposition, German troops occupied Hungary in March, 1944. When Russian troops entered Hungary, Horthy sent an armistice commission to Moscow and announced (Oct., 1944) the surrender of Hungary. The Germans immediately forced Horthy to countermand his order and to resign. He fled to Bavaria, where he was captured (1943) by American troops. Released several months later he retired to a country house near Munich.
In the foregoings two places and eighteen persons (three family names including more than one notable family members) that could be considered important mile-posts in Hungary's history. The first seven are related: they all belong to Hungary's first ruling dynasty, the House of Arpad. The Árpáds were in power for over 300 years. Hungary was established as a major European power in this period. When in 1186 Bela III married the daughter of Louis VII of France (Margaret Capet, widow of crown prince Henry of England) the assessment of the royal income has shown Hungary to be the richest kingdom in Europe.
These selections were made in a somewhat arbitrary manner. Some could have been dropped in favor of a few other equally notable persons. Overall, this list of twenty names can be considered a measure of qualitative rating of a general history book. If all the twenty names could be found, the book would give a superior coverage of Hungarian history. Even ten items mentioned may be called an acceptable coverage. Less than that, and a charge may be made of shabby coverage of Hungary's history. One could argue that this is a matter of personal choice of the respective authors. It can be countered by a question: In contrast, how extensively did the writer discuss the marital difficulties of Henry VIII? Were they really that consequential in their influence on the history of Europe? The arguments could go on.
|JOHN HUNYADI: Hungary in American History Textbooks|