20th August is also called St. Stephen’s Day and it is a public holiday in Hungary. Hungarians celebrate the foundation of the Hungarian state with various programmes and spectacular fireworks. Read our article to find out more about the history of Hungary!
St. Stephen, the Hungarian state founder
St. Stephen’s name is associated with the organization of the Hungarian church and state. After defeating the resistant tribal leaders, he laid the foundations of the Hungarian state. With the transformation of the semi-nomadic social order, the adoption of Christianity, and the rise of Latin-speaking European culture, Hungary became an integral part of Europe, writes Arcanum. In addition, he divided Hungary into counties. There were significant royal estates in each county, with a castle at their centre. In the castles and in the villages around them, there were craftsmen who performed various services. The king regularly visited these castles, legislated there, and took over the taxes collected from the area of the given county. The Pope also appreciated St. Stephen’s actions as a state founder and crowned him on 25 December, 1000.
Hungarians had to face many hardships
Although Hungary began to rise during the reign of St. Stephen, the small country had to face many hardships later. In 1242, the Mongol invaders, referred to only as Tatars in Europe, ravaged and plundered Hungary, writes finnugor.elte.hu. The king’s life was also in immediate danger, and the conquerors chased Béla IV all the way to Trau Castle in Dalmatia. Not long after this, the Turks threatened the whole of Europe, including Hungary. In 1456, the Turks besieged Nándorfehérvár (Belgrade). However, the armed men of János Hunyadi and the crusaders led by János Kapisztrán defeated the Turkish army. In 1526, Sülejmán II’s armies defeated the Hungarians at Mohács and besieged Buda in 1541. A sad day in Hungarian history: Hungary was divided into three parts.
Read alsoBrowse the best festive programmes in Budapest for 20 August!
Habsburg-times in Hungary
After almost 150 years under Turkish reign, the Hungarian orders recognised the hereditary rights of the Habsburgs to the Hungarian throne. However, the Hungarian aristocracy was not satisfied and they organised an uprising led by Ferenc Rákóczi II. After having recognised the rights of the aristocracy, a peaceful time arrived.
In 1848, a revolution broke out which was defeated by the Habsburgs with Russian help. 13 Hungarian generals were executed on 6 October, 1849. Only in the spring of 1867 did Hungarians and Habsburgs reach an agreement. Now there were two – in their internal affairs – independent states: Hungary and Austria.
Read alsoThe history of fireworks in Hungary
World War II and Soviet times
In the first years of World War II, Hungary became Hitler’s unconditional ally, hoping to regain its lost territories. In addition, Hungary took part in the occupation of Yugoslavia and the attack on the Soviet Union. Seeing the expected defeat of the Germans in 1943-44, Miklós Horthy tried to withdraw from the war. Once again, Hungary had to face the consequences of a lost war. According to the Yalta Agreement, Hungary entered the Soviet sphere of interest. As rubicon.hu writes, the country could only defeat the soviet regime after the revolution in 1956.
Since Hungary has been going through a very difficult period, it is time to celebrate. For at least one day, Hungarians forget about the hardships and focus on the most important day in their country’s history.
Read alsoThe fascinating story of the Hungarians’ homeland conquest
Source: Arcanum, finnugor.elte.hu., rubicon.hu
please make a donation here