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Hungarian Minorities in the Carpathian Basin

Chapter 4


The greatest number of Hungarians living outside the present-day borders of Hungary are to be found in Transylvania[1] west of the Carpathians in Rumania, where many ethnic groups of Central and Southeastern Europe (Hungarians, Rumanians, Gypsies, Germans, Ukrainians, Slovaks, Serbs, Czechs, Bulgarians etc.) also live in significant numbers. At the time of the latest Rumanian census in 1992, the registred number of the Hungarians in Rumania was 1,624,959 /ethnicity/ or 1,639,135 /mother tongue/. According to our estimates, however, the number of those people who claim Hungarian to be their native language was 2 million in 1986. The latter data indicate that close to 60 percent of the Hungarians living outside the borders of Hungary in the Carpathian Basin and 13.3 percent of the Hungarians in the world inhabit Transylvania (Tab. 1).


According to our calculations, 51% of the Hungarians from Transylvania live in a hilly or submountainous area, 28% inhabit lowlands and 21% live in the mountains. The lowlanders - living adjacent to the Hungarian border - dwell in the eastern part of the Great Hungarian Plain, called the Western or Tisza Plain in Rumania. The highlanders primarily include the inhabitants of the Székely Region, the Barcaság Basin, Hunyad, and Máramaros counties (Fig. 22).

A majority of the Hungarian highlanders live in the Eastern Carpathians and the basins encircled by the mountain chains. The most important mountain ranges of the Carpathians inhabited also by Hungarians include the following: The sandstone range comprising the Nemere Mts. (Mt. Nemere 1649 m, Mt. Nagy Sándor 1640 m), the Háromszék Mts. (Mt. Lakóca 1777 m), the Brassó Mts. (Mt. Nagykõ 1843 m, Mt. Csukás 1954 m), the Persány Mts. (Mt. Várhegy 1104 m), the Barót Mts. (Mt. Görgõ 1017 m), the Bodok Mts. (Mt. Kömöge 1241 m), and the Csík Mts. (Mt. Tarhavas 1664 m, Mt. Sajhavasa 1553 m), the limestone peaks of the Székely Region (Nagy-Hagymás 1792 m, Egyeskõ 1608 m, Öcsémtetõ 1707 m, Nagy-Cohárd 1506 m, etc.), the mainly crystalline schist belt of the Máramaros, Radna, and Gyergyó Mts. (Mt. Siposkõ 1567 m), and the inner volcanic ring of the Avas, Kõhát, Gutin (famous for its non-ferrous metal mining), Lápos, and Cibles Mts., Kelemen Mts. and Görgény Mts. (Fancsaltetõ 1684 m, Mezõhavas 1776 m), and the Hargita (Madarasi-Hargita 1800 m, Mt. Kakukk 1558 m, Nagy-Csomád 1301 m). The most significant basins inhabited also by Hungarians include the Máramaros, Gyergyó, Csík, Kászon, Háromszék and Barcaság basins.

The most noteworthy rivers of the Eastern Carpathians - regarding Hungarians - include the Tisza, Maros, Olt, Békás, Tatros, Feketeügy and Vargyas. Important lakes e.g. the Gyilkos-tó ("Killer"), Szent Anna-tó ("St. Ann"), and Medve-tó ("Bear") in Szováta are also found in this region.

Outside the Eastern Carpathians, a significant number of Hungarian highlanders inhabit the Torockó Mts. (Székelykõ/Székelystone 1128 m, Torda and Túr Gorges), the northern base of the Bél Mts., the Belényes Basin and the Petrozsény Basin bordered by the Retyezát Mts., Vulkán Mts. and Páreng Mts.

A majority of Hungarians occupying the lowlands live on the Western Tisza Plain covered mostly with chernozem, meadow and alluvial soils. The richest agricultural land of Transylvania can be found in the Bánát region and Arad county. The most important subregions of the Western Plain are the Szatmár, Érmellék, Körösmenti, Arad and Temes lowlands. The most important rivers of the region regarding Hungarian settlements include, from north to south, the Szamos, Kraszna, Ér, Berettyó, Sebes/Rapid-Körös, Fekete/Black-Körös, Fehér/White-Körös, Maros, Béga and Temes.

Outside the region of historic Transylvania, west of the limestone range, the Hungarian national minority inhabiting the hilly regions lives mainly in the Szilágy hills whose streams include the tributaries of the Berettyó and Kraszna rivers. A majority, however, lives in settlements located in the hills along the Szamos River between the Gyalu Mts. and the Gutin Mts., the chernozem covered southwestern part of the Mezõség (Plain of Transylvania), the hills along the Küküllõ rivers, and the sub-mountainous slopes of the Székely Region. The following larger rivers (and their tributaries) extend throughout the hilly regions: Szamos (Little and Big Szamos, Almás, Kapus, Nádas, Borsa, Füzes, Sajó), Maros (Kapus, Ludas, Aranyos, Nyárád, Görgény, Little Küküllõ, Big Küküllõ), Olt (Big Homoród, Little Homoród, Hortobágy). The hilly regions of the Transylvanian Basin, shaped by mud flows and landslides and characterized by a mostly marly clay surface, are extremely rich in natural gas (Medgyes, Kiskapus, Nagysármás, Mezõzáh, Nyárádszereda, etc.) and salt deposits (Parajd, Marosújvár).


At the time of the 1880 Hungarian census that first gathered mother tongue statistics, 1,045,098 out of the total 4 million population of Transylvania - 26.1% of the population - declared Hungarian to be their mother tongue (Tab. 14, Fig. 23). Of the then over one million Hungarian population, 38.7% inhabited the Székely region and 34.4% occupied the area called Partium[2] (Tab. 15, Fig. 24). In 1880 and later on, the Hungarians were the most urban nation in the territory of broadly defined Transylvania; 21% of Hungarians were urban dwellers. At the same time, 17.1% of the Germans and only 3.4% of the Rumanians inhabited cities and towns. Hungarians also formed a majority of the total urban population (56.3%), contrary to the rural populations, where they were in minority next to the 61.3 percent Rumanians.

At the turn of the century, the slowly transforming Transylvanian society had not only a significant internal spatial mobility, but also a notable rate of emigration. Mass emigration primarily to America and Rumania from the wealthy Swabian villages of the Bánát as well as from the regions less suitable for agricultural cultivation such as the poor Székely villages of Háromszék and Csík and the Rumanian and Ruthenian villages of Máramaros was motivated by a number of factors. It seems that among these factors, especially in the case of Hungarians and Germans the most important - in addition to overpopulation and lack of well paying non-agricultural jobs - were entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to accumulate start-up capital. At any rate, we can establish the fact that in 1910, 57.7 percent of those United States inhabitants who were born in Transylvania declared themselves to be Hungarian (Wagner, E. 1977).

The large increase in the number and percentage of ethnic Hungarians between 1880 and 1910 (Figs. 25, 26) was the result of the increasingly voluntary linguistical assimilation of the Jewish population, in addition to the high natural birth rate. The rapid growth of the Hungarian population of the Partium region was also due to the voluntary Magyarization of the Jews. It must be noted that while in 1880 only 44.7% of the Jews living in this area declared themselves Hungarians, this percentage rose to 64 % in 1900 (Szász Z. 1986). In addition to the mainly urban Jews, a growing number of non-Hungarians especially Germans, Armenians, and Rumanians inhabiting cities of Temesvár, Arad, Brassó declared in increasing numbers their native language to be the language of the state, Hungarian (Tab. 16).

The rapidly growing heavy industrial centers near the sources of coal and iron ore in Southern Transylvania (Resica, Boksán, Stájerlakanina, Vajdahunyad, Kalán, the Zsil Valley settlements etc.) absorbed large numbers of the mainly Hungarian and German workers. It is mainly due to this phenomena that between 1880 and 1910 the number of Hungarians swelled from 12 thousand to 53 thousand in Hunyad county and 7 thousand to 33 thousand in Krassó-Szörény county. During this period, the approximately 2,000 Székelys that settled from Bukovina to Déva, Piski, Vajdahunyad, Csernakeresztúr, and Sztrigyszentgyörgy between 1888 and 1910 contributed substantially to the growth of Hunyad County's Hungarian population. Following the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1867, the state-conducted resettlement of numerous Hungarians from the Trans-Tisza Region, Szeged environment augmented the population number and the ethnic territory (Szapáryfalva, Újszentes, Nagybodófalva, Igazfalva, etc.) of the Hungarians in the Banat.

Following the invasion of militarily almost defenceless East Hungary (Transylvania) by Royal Rumanian troops at the end of the First World War, the annexation of Eastern Hungary (Transylvania) to Rumania was declared at the Rumanian General Assembly of Gyulafehérvár (December 1, 1918). In answer to this the Hungarian General Assembly of Kolozsvár proclaimed Transylvania's loyalty to Hungary (December 22, 1918). At the Peace Treaty of Trianon (1920) the victorious Entente Powers keeping their promise of Bucharest in 1916 ceded the East Hungarian territory of 103,093 square kilometers to the Kingdom of Rumania (Eördögh I. 1992). According to our calculations based on 1910 census data, of the 5.2 million people of this area that comprised 43.4 percent of the entire territory of Rumania, 31.7% were Hungarian and 54% were Rumanian (Tab. 14). But the change in power significantly altered the previous ethnic stucture. According to the figures of the National Office for Refugees in Budapest, between the fall of 1918 and the summer of 1924, 197,035 Hungarians, especially public servants, military personnel and landowners fled Rumania to the new state territory of Hungary (Rónai A. 1938). The number of Hungarians recorded in Rumanian statistics was further decreased by the classification of - the former mostly Hungarian native speaker - Jews into a separate ethnic category. The so-called method of name analysis, whereby voluntary declarations of ethnicity were ignored, those with family names of non-Hungarian linguistic origin were not recognized as Hungarians, just as in Czechoslovakia and in Yugoslavia. The decline in the number of Hungarians caused by the above-mentioned factors was the most pronounced primarily in the towns of Arad, Nagykároly, Szatmárnémeti and Nagyvárad in the Partium region (Tab. 16). Between 1910 and 1930, the resettlement of tens of thousands of Rumanians, mainly from the historical Rumanian regions of Moldavia and Wallachia, led to the most shocking repression of the percentage of Hungarians in Kolozsvár, Nagybánya, Marosvásárhely, Déva, Sepsiszentgyörgy, Torda, Zilah, Petrozsény, and Dés - in addition to the above-mentioned cities. This exchange of urban population also contributed to the fact that in 1930, only 44.8% of the Transylvanian urban population was Hungarian. On the other hand, between 1910 and 1930 the number of urban dwelling Rumanians rose by 210,000, thus reaching 34.4% of the entire urban population in 1930.

Rumanization of compact Hungarian rural areas outside of cities also took place - under the guise of agrarian reform and land distribution - especially in Szatmár and Bihar, with the establishment of a Rumanian colony chain near the new Hungarian-Rumanian state border (Paulian, Gelu, Baba Novac, Horea, Lucãceni, Scãrisoara Noua, etc.). In this period, the state policy of ethnic discrimination, in addition to economic factors, also contributed to the fact that 95 percent of emigrants belonged to national minorities, 12 percent of these Hungarian (1927). 78 % of the Hungarian emigrées of Transylvania went to Latin-America and Canada (Wagner, E. 1977).

By 1939, the increasingly anti-Rumanian in Hungary and anti-Hungarian in Rumania internal and foreign policies - resulting from Hungary's inability to resign itself to the loss of the large detached territories and Hungarian territorial claims on Transylvania created war-like tensions between Hungary and Rumania. Acting on the principle of "divide and conquer", the German decision makers split Transylvania in two parts at the Vienna Court of Arbitration on August 30, 1940. The northern half with a 52 % population of Hungarian mother tongue (1941 Hungarian census data) was reannexed to Hungary, and the southern territory with a 68.5 % population of Rumanian ethnic origin (1941 Rumanian census data) remained in Rumania. In this extremely tense situation, atrocities were committed against the "hostile minority" in both dissatisfied countries. In Northern Transylvania - after the Rumanian civil servants who had settled there after 1918 had fled - a majority of the Rumanian agrarian colonists were forced to leave. At the same time, in Southern Transylvania Rumanian authorities drove 67,000 Hungarians out of the country. In Southern Transylvania, due to the fleeing of tens of thousands of Hungarians and the extreme anti-Hungarian atmosphere, the Rumanian census of 1941 showed a drastic drop of the Hungarian population mainly in Torda (-30%), Brassó (-24%), Arad, Déva, Petrozsény (-20%), Temesvár, and Nagyenyed (-17%).

In 1941, the territory once again under Hungarian administration regained its 1910 Hungarian population percentage as a result of the forced Hungarian and Rumanian migrations, the self-declaration as Hungarians of a large number of Jews and Germans, and the settlers from the previously Hungarian territory (Tab. 14). The Hungarians regained their pre-1918 population percentage, for example, over 80 percent in Kolozsvár and over 90 percent in Nagyvárad, Szatmárnémeti, and the Székely towns (Tab. 16 and Fig. 27). This Hungarian "ethnic renaissance" in Northern Transylvania and the division of Transylvania, however, lasted only for a few war-years.

The mass fleeing of Hungarians began in September of 1944. The Soviet troops taking Transylvania were followed by the Rumanian "Maniu-gardists", who embarked on a bloody mission of vengeance among the Hungarian population in the Székely Region (e.g. Szárazajta, Csíkszentdomokos), the Kalotaszeg Region (e.g. Egeres, Bánffyhunyad), and Bihar (e.g. Gyanta, Köröstárkány, Magyarremete). Simultaneously they started to deport some thousand Hungarians - e.g. from Maros-Torda county 4,000 persons - to concentration camps of Földvár-Feldioara, Tîrgu Jiu etc. (Vincze G. 1994). As a result, Northern Transylvania was temporarily brought under Soviet administration (between November 12, 1944 and March 13, 1945) until the Communist leader Petru Groza came to power.

As a consequence of the deportation of the majority of the Jews with Hungarian mother tongue, the fleeing and resettlement of ethnic Hungarians to present-day Hungary and to rural areas, the number of the population of Hungarian mother tongue in the ethnically strategic Transylvanian Hungarian cities fell considerably, by 111,000. Between 1941 and 1948, for example, their number decreased by 32,195 in Kolozsvár, 38,287 in Nagyvárad, 17,379 in Szatmárnémeti, and 7,385 in Nagybánya. Thus, in 1948, for the first time in history, Rumanians became a majority of 50.2 % in the total population of Transylvanian urban settlements. The percentage of urban dwellers among the Hungarian population decreased to 29.5%, and that of the Germans to 24.2%. At this time, still only one out of six Transylvanian Rumanians were urban dwellers. Partly in response to this, in the 1950's, during the "heroic age" of Rumanian socialist industrialization when industry was to a large degree concentrated in particular locations and people were indirectly forced to move to these industrial centers Transylvania's urban population was expanded and thus made increasingly Rumanian. Between 1948 and 1956 the urban population of Transylvania was increased by one million - partly by conferring urban status on many settlements.

In addition to fulfilling the general aims of early East European socialist urbanization in Transylvania, the concentration of people into an urban setting served the increasingly clear aim to create more cities and towns with Rumanian ethnic majority. The ethnic structure of the cities undoubtedly would have been modified and altered even under "ideal" urbanization and nationality policies, because the source of their population growth, the population of Transylvanian villages, had been two-thirds Rumanian for almost two centuries. It was only a matter of time where, when and to what degree the Rumanian majority of the urban reservoir would prevail. In the period between the censuses of 1948 and 1956, the structure of the population in cities - as a result of migration from villages - changed more or less according to the ethnic structure of their attraction zones. Artificial "Rumanization" of cities still occurred only spontaneously at this time. The fact that the percentage of Hungarians increased in cities whose hinterland had a majority Hungarian population (e.g. Csíkszereda, Marosvásárhely, Gyergyószentmiklós, Nagykároly, Szatmárnémeti) also lends credence to the above (Tab. 16).

In the period between 1956 to 1992, the year of the last census, the rural population decreased by 0.78 million and the urban population increased by 2.26 million as a result of the party-directed growth of cities, that gained their population from Transylvanian and old Rumanian (mainly Moldavian) villages as well as the local natural population growth. Due primarily to the mass migration from former Transylvanian and Moldavian (mostly Rumanian) villages, the population percentage of Rumanians in Transylvanian cities continued to increase to 75.6 % according to 1992 Rumanian census data. By this time the percentage of urban dwellers in those main ethnic groups that defined the profile of Transylvania had almost reached a balance, 58.6% of the Rumanians, 55.9% of the Hungarians, and 65.1% of the Germans.

According to Rumanian census statistics, during these 36 years there was a population increase of 39.3 % in the case of Rumanians, and a decrease of 0.7 % in the case of the Hungarians (Tab. 14). The decrease of percentage the Hungarian population recorded in census statistics seems inexplicably dramatic next to the 13.3 % natural population growth of the Hungarians. Taking into account their natural population growth we estimated the population of those whose native language was Hungarian in 1977 to be 1,870,000. This figure hardly deviates from other competent estimates (e.g. Joó R.1988 - 1,850,000 Hungarians in 1977). The mostly centrally planned, manipulated county and city ethnic data of the 1966 and 1977 censuses of the Ceausescu regime and partly the 1992 census must be handled with cautions. This is exceptionally relevant in the case of counties and cities where great differences are observed in the demographic development of certain ethnic groups, especially Hungarians and Rumanians, between 1956 and 1992 - differences that cannot be explained by natural population growth or differences in migration. Examples include Szatmár county, Hungarians: -17,963 and Rumanians +61,419; Bihar county: Hungarians -22,951 and Rumanians +66,054, Kolozs county: Hungarians -19,768 and Rumanians +163,874 (Tab. 17). The same applies to cities between 1956 and 1992; Kolozsvár: Hungarians -2,947 and Rumanians +173,949; Temesvár: Hungarians -4,661 and Rumanians +198,338; Nagyvárad: Hungarians +11,424 and Rumanians +109,743; Arad: Hungarians -7,801 and Rumanians +92,388, and so on. Such alterations in the ethnic composition of cities are unlikely due to the ethnic composition of their attraction zones and the natural birth rate of the local populations.

We do not have access to data regarding the natural population growth of the Transylvanian Hungarians in the previous decade. Thus, we accepted Transylvanian church estimates on the size of their population (Joó R. 1988) as our basis. According to these, the number of Hungarians kept track of in church records of 1987 was 2.03 million. We can consider this figure to be a slight exaggeration even if there was a considerable number of Hungarians not recorded by the church - similar to assimilated people who increasingly lose their Hungarian language. Inasmuch as we accept the 2.03 million figure, this would signify an 8.55 percent increase relative to their population in 1977. This increase barely differs from our estimate of an 8.69 percent growth in the Transylvanian Rumanian nation - nourished by the notable reserves from the old Rumanian regions as well as natural assimilation (in 1977: 5.06 million, in 1986: 5.5 million Transylvanian Rumanians). On the basis of natural population growth and other factors such as assimilation, emigration, we estimate the the number Transylvanian Hungarians to be 2 million as of July 1986.

Before introducing the ethnic processes of the latest period and the change in the ratio of the Hungarian and Rumanian ethnic groups, we feel it is necessary to outline the spatial aspect of their objective demographic factors such as natural population growth, migration - on the basis of official Rumanian statistics.

The historical regional differences in the continuously declining natural population growth have not altered significantly in this decade. Among the Hungarian-inhabited territories, the Székely Region (especially Csík), and Brassó and Szatmár counties exceeded with 9.9 % per year the average annual natural population growth of Rumania and Transylvania (6.32 %, and 5.1 % per year). Apart from the villages of the Bánát and Arad environs, the natural population growth or rather decrease of Hungarians was most alarming in Kalotaszeg Region, the southern part of the old Udvarhely county, and the former Kászonszék district.

The artificially increased and directed village-city migration - in accordance with the differences in demographic tensions in certain parts of the country and the regional differences of labor supply and demand - continued to determine the basic features of the internal migrations. In Transylvania the urban populations increased to 316.2 percent of the 1950 level, while this same figure was only 258.7 percent in the old regions of Rumania including the capital, and 176.6 percent in Hungary. In the course of the large scale spatial mobility between 1977 and 1986, Transylvania had a positive migration balance of 62,645 in relation with the regions of Old-Rumania (Moldavia, Oltenia, Muntenia, Dobrudja). Thus, many more people migrated to Transylvania than from Transylvania to Old-Rumania, primarily to Bucharest. The counties of the huge South Transylvanian heavy industrial centers (Brassó, Hunyad, Krassó-Szörény) continued to have the largest migration surplus of 30 %. Because of the resettlement of over 10,000 dissatisfied Rumanian building lot seekers from Brassó to the Hungarian city of Sepsiszentgyörgy only 33 kilometers away, the county of Kovászna also experienced an exceptionally important migration surplus of 74.4 %.

On the basis of the official Rumanian census data, it can be determined that in the period between the censuses 1956 and 1992, the growth in the number of Hungarians was greatest in urban settlements with a considerable Hungarian ethnic-demographical background (the most important Székely-Hungarian towns: Marosvásárhely, Sepsiszentgyörgy, Csíkszereda, Székelyudvarhely and the centers of the Hungarian ethnic block of Szatmár-Bihar: Szatmárnémeti, Nagyvárad). Nevertheless, the even more rapidly increasing Rumanian population extremely suppressed the population percentage of Hungarians in some of these towns: Nagyvárad, Szatmárnémeti, Marosvásárhely (Tab. 16). Decline of the Hungarian population - in absolute number and percentage - was similar in those cities that had a lower Rumanian migration surplus but at the same time a smaller Hungarian ethnic "hinterland" (Kolozsvár, Arad, Temesvár). The Hungarians could maintain, in some places slightly increase, of their 5-28 percent share in the total population of 1956 only in southern and central Transylvanian industrial centers (Nagyszeben, Medgyes, Segesvár, Vajdahunyad, Resica, Torda, Aranyosgyéres etc.) due to the continuously increasing, mainly Székely immigration. As a result of the above-mentioned facts the towns with relative small Hungarian ethnic-demographical reservoire (eg. Arad, Nagybánya, Nagyszalonta, Nagykároly) lost their leading places among the largest Transylvanian Hungarian communities (Tab. 18) primarily because of the greater pace of population growth of the Hungarians of the Székely towns and Szatmárnémeti, Brassó, and Zilah.

In the suburban, agglomeration zones with many formerly Hungarian majority populated settlements lying in "traffic corridors", the percentage of the Rumanian ethnic group significantly increased - due to an increasing immigration and population concentration of the Rumanians - often forcing the Hungarians into minority in Batiz, Szecseleváros, Maroskeresztúr, Marosszentanna, Radnót, Szentmihály, Szentleányfalva, Fakert, etc. Parallel to the selective emigration, aging, and natural population decrease of the decisively Hungarian majority populated tiny and small villages located mostly on the periphery of the settlement network, their local societies continue to become ethnically homogeneous and increasingly Hungarian - due to the emigration of the Rumanian minority (e.g. certain villages in the Székely Region, Kalotaszeg Region, and in the counties of Bihar, Szatmár and Szilágy).

According to the 1992 Rumanian census, of the 1113 Transylvanian municipalities, towns, communes only in 579 do Hungarians live in a considerable number (at least 100 persons) and percentage (at least 5 %). They only comprise an absolute majority in 17 towns and 176 communes (Tab. 19). Of the municipalities and towns outside of the Székely Region only Érmihályfalva, Nagyszalonta and Nagykároly - being in the frontier zone - and the small Szilágycseh could preserve their traditional Hungarian absolute majority.

Due to the mass-migrational processes, and urbanization during the Communist period, today not more than 51.6 % of the Transylvanian Hungarians live in those towns and communes where they comprise an absolute majority (50.0% and more) (Fig. 28). It should be considered as a particular warning and extremely grave situation from the perspective of the language-ethnic assimilation and of the local protection of the Hungarian interests, minority rights, that almost half a million Hungarians or 28.7 % of the Transylvanian Hungarians live in those administrative units where their population share does not reach 25 %. In this - for the Hungarians very unfavourable - percentage category (25% >) can be found six municipalities with 208,000 Hungarians, where they formerly represented the relative or absolute majority of the local population: till 1930 Temesvár, Arad, Brassó; till 1948 Nagybánya; till 1956 Zilah and Kolozsvár.


The Hungarian Ethnic Territory of the Székely Region[3]

More than one third of Hungarians in Transylvania live in the Székely Region (Fig. 29). The survival of this almost compact Hungarian ethnic block is due to its autonomous status between the 13th century and 1876, to the mountainous surroundings that offered protection to its inhabitants during the great catastrophies and invasions of the 17th century.

84,000 Hungarians live in Marosvásárhely, the ever growing capital of Maros county (Fig. 30). The Rumanian population in the city and its suburban communities is growing rapidly due to settlers mainly from Mezõség region and the region of the Küküllõ rivers. As a result, their percentage is over 46 in the county seat. Despite the changes in the ethnic structure in urban areas, the borders of the Hungarian rural ethnic territory next to the Maros and Nyárád rivers extend along the Balavásár-Lukafalva-Mezõbánd-Szabéd-Mezõcsávás-Beresztelke-Magyarpéterlaka-Nyárádremete lines. The most important centers of this Székely area - apart from Marosvásárhely - are Szováta, Erdõszentgyörgy, Nyárádszereda and Szászrégen, the town with a current Hungarian population of one-third. Although the Hungarian majority populated villages located north of Szászrégen in the Maros Valley and among the Rumanians of the Görgény district do not belong strictly to the Székely region, but ethnically and geographically they can be considered part of the compact ethnic Hungarian population of this area (Marosfelfalu, Marosvécs, Holtmaros, Magyaró, Görgényüvegcsûr, Alsóbölkény, etc.).

Travelling along the upper Maros - passing through a few villages with Hungarian minority populations (Palotailva, Gödemesterháza, etc.) - one reaches the Gyergyó Basin at Maroshévíz whose population is one-third Hungarian. In Gyergyó region, the century-old Gyergyóremete-Ditró-Hágótõalja line continues to be the Hungarian-Rumanian ethnic border. The most important Hungarian settlements north of this border include the resort of Borszék with 80% Hungarian majority population, and Galócás, Salamás, Gyergyótölgyes and Gyergyóholló, all with Hungarian minority communities. The economic center of the basin is Gyergyószentmiklós with a population of 18,888 Hungarians and 2,169 Rumanians.

The route into the neighboring Székely Basin of Csík leads through two Rumanian majority populated villages (Vasláb, Marosfõ). Csíkszereda, the seat of the former Csík and the present Hargita county, lies at the intersection of the road from Segesvár to Moldavia and the road along the River Olt. In 1948 the total population of Csíkszereda was only 6,000, whereas today there are already 45,769 inhabitants. Today, over 16% of the city or 7,488 people is Rumanian due to its central location and the immigration of Rumanians from Moldavia. Among the other larger settlements in Csík, it is worth mentioning two other towns, copper-producing Balánbánya with a 30% Hungarian, 70% Rumanian population, and spa Tusnádfürdõ with its two thousand Hungarian inhabitants (the smallest Transylvanian town). A few other villages are also significant (Csíkszentdomokos, Csíkszépvíz, Mádéfalva, Csíkszentkirály, Csíkszenttamás etc.). Kászonaltíz is the most important settlement in the former Kászonszék district located in the basin between Csíkszék and Háromszék.

The former county of Udvarhely, was disbanded as an unit approximately four decades ago, and is now the southwestern part of the current Hargita county. Székelyudvarhely, near the size of Csíkszereda with 39,959 inhabitants and with an 97.6 percent ethnic Hungarians, is the capital of this most homogeneous part of the Székely Region. Outside of Székelyudvarhely, most of the jobs in this less urbanized region characterized by small settlements are provided by the agro-industry in Székelykeresztúr, the iron-ore industry, metallurgy in Szentegyházas, the ceramic industry of Korond and salt mining and refining in Parajd.

The southernmost territory of the Székely Region is Kovászna county, formerly known as the region of Háromszék (`Three Districts') composed of the subregions of Sepsi, Orbai and Kézdi. Sepsiszentgyörgy, with a 67,220, inhabitants is the capital of Kovászna county and the second largest Székely town. Today, Hungarians comprise only three-quarters of this south Székely county seat. There is a significant percentage of ethnic Rumanians in Kovászna, Bereck, Kézdimartonos, Zabola and Zágon as well due to their presence dating back to the middle ages and the period of modern history.

The following Hungarian villages in Olt valley were never under the administration of any Székely district and do not currently belong to Kovászna county, yet they form an integral part of the Hungarian ethnic territory of the Székely Region: Apáca, Örményes, Alsórákos (with its basalt and limestone quarries) and Olthévíz (famous for its construction material industry). Based on the above, the Hungarian-Rumanian ethnic border in the southern Székely Region extends along the Újszékely-Székelyderzs-Homoródjánosfalva-Olthévíz-Apáca-Árapatak-Kökös-Zágon-Kommandó line.

Hungarian Ethnic Enclaves in Historical Transylvania

The regions with the most ancient Hungarian settlements in Transylvania are the Mezõség region and the area surrounding the Szamos rivers. The devastations of the previous centuries hit these territories especially hard. Today, Hungarians inhabit only a few linguistic enclaves and numerous scattered communities with a five to twenty Hungarian percentage. The most ethnic Hungarian settlements in the valley of the Big Szamos are Magyarnemegye, Várkudu, Bethlen, Felõr, Magyardécse, Árpástó, and Retteg, and those near the lower part of the Little Szamos including Dés, Désakna, Szamosújvár, Kérõ, Bonchida, Válaszút and Kendilóna. In the Mezõség Region, located between the Maros and Szamos Rivers, Hungarian settlements include e.g. Mezõbodon, Mezõkeszü, Vajdakamarás, Visa, Szék, Zselyk, Vice, Ördöngõsfüzes, Bálványosváralja, Szentmáté and Cegõtelke.

The largest Hungarian community of Transylvania with 75-120 thousand people live in Kolozsvár with a total population of 328,602, where the Little Szamos, Nádas creek and numerous national and international roads meet. The villages of the region of Kalotaszeg (Kõrösfõ, Kalotaszentkirály, Magyarvalkó, Jákótelke, Bogártelke, Magyar-vista, Méra etc.), one of the most valuable folk relics of Hungarian culture, are located west of Kolozsvár City - considered to be the cultural capital of Hungarians of Transylvania - and near the upper part of the Nádas creek and Sebes Körös. The ethnic Hungarian profile of the Kalotaszeg region's seat, Bánffyhunyad, has changed significantly due to the settlement of Rumanian highlanders from a broader periphery.

Some Hungarian villages of the Erdõfelek Hills (Györgyfalva, Tordaszentlászló, Magyarléta, Magyarfenes, Szászlóna) provide a link between the Hungarians of the Kalotaszeg and Torda regions. In the former Székely district of Aranyosszék[4] and its surroundings, the population percentage of Hungarians declined primarily in Székelyko-csárd, Hadrév, Felvinc, Aranyosegerbegy and Szentmihály as a result of the increased settling of Rumanians and the urbanization of the Torda region and Maros valley. The highland villages, on the other hand, were able to preserve their Hungarian majorities (Torockó, Torockószentgyörgy, Kövend, Bágyon, Kercsed, etc.).

As one of the most important components of the migration's motivation, the highways, railroads and the employment as well as commuting opportunities reshaped or left untouched the ethnic composition of the Maros and Küküllõ regions in a similar fashion. Among the formerly Hungarian majority populated settlements along the nationally and regionally significant roads and in the industrial centers, Rumanians became a majority in, for example, Radnót, Marosludas, Marosugra, Marosújvár, Nagyenyed and Dicsõszentmárton. The former Hungarian character of deserted tiny and small villages whose young populations have outmigrated, however, has remained and even increased in certain places (Magyarbece, Magyarlapád, Nagymedvés, Magyarózd, Istvánháza, Csávás, etc.). A majority of ethnic Hungarians in the territory between the Little Küküllõ and Olt inhabit larger industrial centers (Medgyes, Segesvár, Kiskapus, Nagyszeben) or remote villages (Halmágy, Kóbor, Dombos, Nagymoha, Sárpatak, Bürkös, etc.) and Vízakna.

In Hunyad county, the Hungarians mostly inhabit towns in the Zsil valley (Petrozsény, Lupény, Vulkán, Petrilla), Vajdahunyad, Déva, Kalán and Piski. The few hundred descendants of the medieval Hungarians and the Székely-Hungarians from Bukovina who settled in this region at the turn of the century live mainly in Bácsi, Hosdát, Gyalár, Haró, Nagyrápolt, Lozsád, Csernakeresztúr and Rákosd - in the last three village as the absolute majority of the local population.

Brassó, the largest city in Transylvania with a population of 323,736, is the main traditional urban center of the Székelys - aside from Marosvásárhely. For this reason, growth of the Hungarian population of the city has been uninterrupted since the Second World War (31,574 in 1992). Four Csángó-Hungarian[5] - Rumanian villages of the city's agglomeration belt (Bácsfalu, Türkös, Csernátfalu, Hosszúfalu) were united under the name of Szecseleváros, where the percentage of the Hungarian ethnic group has dropped to 27.2 due to an influx of Rumanians who settled there after the establishment of the electrical industry.

Hungarians in the Partium Region (Arad, Bihar, Szilágy, Szatmár and Máramaros counties)

The majority of the Hungarian national minority of the Partium region, estimated to be approximately 700,000 inhabitants, primarily inhabits cities along the main traffic lines on the periphery of the Great Hungarian Plain, approximately 40 kilometers from the Hungarian-Rumanian border.

More than half of the ethnic Hungarians of the overwhelmingly Rumanian Máramaros county live as 17-31 % minority in Nagybánya, the county seat famous for its non-ferrous metal processing plants. Hungarians also comprise a similar population proportion (20-30%) in the other towns of the county (Felsõbánya, Kapnikbánya, Máramarossziget, Szinérváralja), with the exception of Borsa, Magyarlápos and Felsõvisó. Hungarians that comprise an important community, in some places a majority can be found only in some villages located near the periphery (Rónaszék, Aknasugatag, Hosszúmezõ, Kistécsõ, Domonkos, Erzsébetbánya, Magyarberkesz, Koltó, Katalin, Monó, Szamosardó etc.).

Due to the attraction of Kolozsvár, Nagyvárad, Szatmárnémeti and Nagybánya, as well as to its unfavourable local potentials for economic development, the Szilágyság region was not the target of large waves of immigration. In fact, it became one of Transylvania's largest population discharging counties. This situation only led to a relative stability of the ethnic structure of the villages. The large degree of migration within the Szilágyság region led to a decline in the percentage of the Hungarian population of towns - according to the ethnic composition of their attraction zones - especially the four decades ago Hungarian majority populated Zilah, Szilágysomlyó or Szilágycseh. Hungarians became a minority in the first two of the above-mentioned towns. The largest Hungarian communities of the county live in Zilah (13,638), Szilágysomlyó (4,886), Kraszna (3,936), Sarmaság (3,829), Szilágycseh (3,774), Szilágynagyfalu (2,404) and Szilágyperecsen (2,259).

The Rumanian colonies established between the two world wars (Decebal, Traian, Dacia, Paulian, Lucãceni, Aliza, Gelu, Baba Novac, Criseni, Horea, Scãrisoara Nouã, etc.) following the land reform and the villages of the recently re-Germanized population of Swabian origin (e.g. Béltek, Mezõfény, Mezõterem, Csanálos, Nagymajtény) disrupted the previous homogenity of Szatmár county's Hungarian ethnic territory along the Rumanian-Hungarian border. The 92-95 % majority Hungarian population in the new county seat of Szatmárnémeti and old county seat of Nagykároly in 1941 decreased, according to the Rumanian statistics, to 41-53 % by 1992, despite the significant natural growth in their numbers. In addition to the above-mentioned towns, a significant number of Hungarians can be found in Tasnád, Mezõpetri, Szaniszló, Kaplony, Börvely, Erdõd, Béltek, Bogdánd, Hadad, Szatmárhegy, Lázári, Batiz, Sárköz, Halmi, Kökényesd, Túrterebes and Avasújváros.

The third largest Hungarian community in Transylvania with 74,228 people lives in Nagyvárad, the seat of Bihar county, whose Hungarian population proportion is currently 33.3 %, according to the 1992 Rumanian census. The compact ethnic Hungarian population of Bihar is located north of the county's capital and west of the Fugyivásárhely-Szalárd-Szentjobb-Micske-Margitta line. Among the notable local centers in this area, Margitta, Érmihályfalva, Székelyhíd, Bihardiószeg and Bihar are worth mentioning. Significant medieval language enclaves also preserve Hungarian culture in the upper regions of the Berettyó and Sebes/Rapid Körös rivers (Berettyószéplak, Bályok, Mezõtelegd, Pusztaújlak, Pósalaka, Örvénd, Mezõtelki, Élesd, Rév etc.). In Southern Bihar, for the last three centuries the majority Hungarian populated territories have shrunk to the environs of Nagyszalonta, Tenke and Belényes (Árpád, Erdõgyarak, Mezõbaj, Bélfenyér, Gyanta, Köröstárkány, Kisnyégerfalva, Várasfenes, Körösjánosfalva, Belényessonkolyos, and Belényesújlak). Of the above-listed settlements, Tenke, Körösjánosfalva and Belényessonkolyos have already lost their Hungarian majority - due to the heavy influx of Rumanians as well as natural assimilation.

More than half of the Hungarians of Arad county dwell in the county seat, Arad with 29,832 Hungarians and the rest primarily live in environs of Arad and Kisjenõ. Among these, the relatively largest Hungarian population can be found in Magyarpécska (now united with the mainly Rumanian and Gypsy inhabited Ópécska), Kisjenõ, Kisiratos, Nagyiratos, Borosjenõ, Pankota, Nagyzerénd, Simonyifalva, Ágya, Zimándújfalu and Kispereg.

Hungarian Ethnic Enclaves in the Bánát

The total number of the Hungarians living in the rural ethnic enclaves and urban diaspora of the Bánát is estimated to be approximately 90,000 (1992 census data: 70,772 ethnic Hungarians). This number has stagnated due to the settlement of Hungarians and Székelys from other Transylvanian territories to Temesvár, Resica and other industrial centers - thereby evening out the natural decrease of the population and assimilation. Due to the above mentioned factor as well as to the increasing regional concentration of the Hungarians of the Bánát, 45% of the Hungarians of this region claim to be from Temesvár City. In addition to inhabiting this city of 334,115 people, significant numbers and percentages of ethnic Hungarians live only in around 30 settlements, for example, Pusztakeresztúr, Porgány, Nagyszentmiklós and Majláthfalva in the northwest, Nagybodófalva, Szapáryfalva, Igazfalva, Nõrincse, Vásáros and Kisszécsény in the northeast, and Dézsánfalva, Omor, Detta, Gátalja, Végvár, Ötvösd, Józsefszállás, Torontálkeresztes and Magyarszentmárton in the south. In the Temesvár agglomeration, the percentage of the Hungarian population drastically decreased in the formerly majority Hungarian populated settlements of Gyõröd, Újmosnica, Magyarmedves and Újszentes due to considerable immigration of the Rumanians and the natural decrease of the local Hungarians.

[1]Transylvania (Hungarian: Erdély; Rumanian: Ardeal, Transilvania; German: Siebenbürgen, Slovak, Czech: Sedmohradsko; Serbian, Croatian: Erdelj). Historical region between the Eastern Carpathians, the Transylvanian Alps (Southern Carpathians) and the Bihar Massiv (Rumanian: Apuseni Mts.) between the 9th century and 1920 in East Hungary, since then in Central Rumania. In the Middle Ages Hungary was divided - in the regional attitude of the people of the country - into two parts: west of the Bihar Massiv called in Latin "Ultrasilvania" (territory on this side of the forest, Hungarian: Erdõn inneni, Erdõ elõtti terület) and east of it called in Latin "Transsilvania" (territory beyond the forest, Hungarian: Erdõn túl, Erdõelve = Erdély). The German name "Siebenbürgen" (Land of seven castles) based on the seven bailiff (Hungarian: ispánsági) castles of Transylvania in the 11th century: Dés, Doboka, Kolozsvár, Torda, Küküllõ, Gyulafehérvár and Hunyadvár.

In the text we use the broader sense of the word ("Greater-Transylvania") to label the entire area having belonged to Hungary and ceded to Rumania in 1920. This territory includes not only the historical Transylvania but the regions of Rumanian Banat and Partium (Körös - Crisana region + Máramaros - Maramures).

[2]Partium (Hungarian: "Részek"). As a geographical collective term included in the 16th and 17th century the territories of the Principality of Transylvania outside - mostly west - of the historic Transylvania (Máramaros, Kõvárvidék, Közép-Szolnok, Kraszna, Bihar, Zaránd and Szörény counties). Nowadays it is often in use from Hungarian side to name the former Hungarian territories annexed to Rumania in 1920 - apart from historic Transylvania and Banat: ca. the present-day Rumanian counties Arad, Bihar, Szilágy, Szatmár and Máramaros or the former Rumanian provinces Crisana and Maramures.

[3] Székely Region (Hungarian: Székelyföld; German: Szeklerland; Rumanian: Pamîntul Secuilor; Latin: Terra Siculorum). An area populated - since the 12th century - almost exclusively by Székely-Hungarians in the center of present-day Rumania, bordered by the Eastern Carpathians. The clan division of this privilegized borderland was followed - in the 14-15th century - by the establishment of special territorial administrative units (Hungarian: "szék"), namely Marosszék, Csíkszék, Kászonszék, Udvarhelyszék, Sepsiszék, Kézdiszék and Orbaiszék. Due to the war devastations, the mass immigration of the Rumanians, the shattering of the Hungarian ethnic territory in Northwest and Central Transylvania during the 16th and 17th century, the direct ethnic-territorial connection discontinued between the Hungarian ethnic block of the Great Hungarian Plain and the Székely Region. Since then the Székely ethnic block is completely encircled by Rumanians. The special status of this region came to an end after the administrative reorganization of Hungary in 1876. The entire Székely ethnic block was formally united in the frame of an autonomous province of Rumania ("Hungarian Autonomous Province") only for a short period, between 1952 and 1960.

[4] Aranyosszék ("Golden District"). Small Székely-Hungarian ethnographical - till 1876 administrative - region including 22 settlements in West-Central Transylvania, between the towns of Torda and Nagyenyed. It was founded by the Hungarian king Stephen V with Székelys from Kézdiszék (today north of Covasna county) on the territory of the deserted royal estate of Torda between 1264 and 1271. The historical seat of Aranyosszék district was Felvinc (Rumanian: Unirea).

[5]Csángó (Rumanian: Ceangãu; German: Tschango): general name of the persons separated from the Székely-Hungarians, outmigrated from the Székely Region. The Csángó Hungarian ethnographical group includes first of all the Roman Catholic Hungarians in Moldavia, but the Hungarians in the Upper-Tatros /Trotus Valley around Gyímes /Ghimes and the Hungarians in the Barcaság /Bîrsa /Burzenland region, west of Brassó /Brasov/ City, the last two situated in the Eastern Carpathians. The number of the Csángós of Hungarian ethnic identity in Moldavia is decreasing due to the intensive, forced Rumanization (1930: 20,964, 1992: 6,514). The number of - till the end of the 19th century predominantly Hungarian speaking - Roman Catholics in Moldavia exceeded the 184,000 in 1992. Similarly to the - dominantly English speaking and Roman Catholic - Irish in Ireland, only one part of the Csángós, of the Moldavian Roman Catholics of Hungarian ethnic origin can be estimated as Hungarian native speaker (ca. 50,000, see Diószegi L.-R. Süle A. 1990). They live mostly around the towns Bákó /Bacãu and Roman towns, in the Szeret /Siret river valley.

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