Squeezed between the Alps and the Carpathians and crossed by the Danube, the great river that divides it sharply into two parts (the great Alföld plain to the E and the Transdanubian mountainous region to the W), Hungary has a very personal geographical profile, which reflects in a marked individuality of its national characteristics. Although characterized by a rather modest territorial area, which is not overly populated, Hungary is one of the European states most proud of its identity, which it has managed to keep intact over the course of a millennium of often conflicting history. Fallen several times under the dominion of great powers, first of all that of the Habsburg dynasty, the country has managed to remain compact, until the achievement of independence following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1918). Its individuality was strengthened on the one hand by the geographical conformation, on the other by the presence of peculiar ethno-linguistic factors: the ancient residents of Hungary (the Hungarians or Magiari, from which the name of the state originates) in fact descended not from a people of Indo-European descent, but of Turanic origin, with Mongoloid components. However, the millennial history of these people, which had found its harmonious place between the Slavic and Germanic worlds, at the end of the Second World War was affected by the passage of Hungary into the sphere of political and economic influence of the Soviet Union. The socialist model, if on the one hand it has tried to give greater cohesion and a new amalgam to the country, on the other it has imposed a lifestyle and an organization of society that are foreign to tradition, creating social tensions that resulted in the popular uprising of 1956, bloody repressed by Soviet troops. Instead of undermining the national sentiment of the Hungarians, the Stalinist political leadership strengthened it, so much so that even after the country’s inclusion in the economic and cultural relations with “capitalist” Western Europe have been interrupted. Having freed itself of the Soviet burden, the Hungarian state from the end of the 1980s started a decisive process of transition towards full democracy, under the banner of an economic revival favored by the exploitation of discrete mineral resources. The effort undertaken by the government of Budapest, which also involved a general rediscovery of the artistic-cultural heritage of the Hungarian nation and a policy more attentive to environmental issues, was rewarded with the admission of Hungary to the European Union, which took place on 1 May 2004.
HISTORY: FROM THE TURKISH INVASION TO THE REIGN OF FRANCESCO GIUSEPPE
Under György II Rákóczy (1648-60) Transylvania was devastated by the Turks and his successors became puppets in the hands of the sultan. In the part subject to the Habsburgs the emperors tried to establish royal absolutism by provoking a conspiracy of the magnates which, discovered (1671), led to the death and confiscation of the assets of the conspirators and the annihilation of the Protestants. Freed from the Turks by the imperial army, Hungary saw its borders redefined by the Treaties of Carlowitz (1699), Passarowitz (1718) and Belgrade (1739). The hereditary monarchy was then introduced, the areas depopulated by long wars were colonized with Serbian and Romanian populations, the Pragmatic Sanction was acceptedof 1713. In this way the fate of Hungary remained linked to those of the house of Austria. In the period of government of Charles VI (1711-40) and Maria Theresa (1740-80) the centralization of power in Vienna increased more and more to the detriment of that of the local Orders. The high clergy and the great aristocracy, established in Vienna, ended up being denationalized, while the bourgeoisie, developed in Western countries, under the influence of the rising capitalism continued to languish: it worsened even after the purchase by the Habsburgs of Galicia and the inclusion of Transylvania in the Austrian sphere: only the Banat in 1778 it was reunited with Hungary. However, in the same period, Buda was rebuilt and a university was founded there; it improved the lot of the servants for the protection of the monarchy against the nobility, tenaciously attached to the privilege of exemption from taxes. The court of Vienna was inspired by this to fight against the Hungarian element by still favoring foreign elements and, under Joseph II (1780-90), even to attempt the Germanization of Hungary, provoking a nationalistic opposition which led to the revocation of the Josephan provisions from part of Leopoldo II (1791). The outbreak of the French Revolution and the Jacobin conspiracies discovered in Hungary and Vienna led Francis II (1792-1835) to stifle any reform project.
However, according to globalsciencellc, Hungary remained loyal to the Habsburgs. Probably under the I. Széchenyi, in free trade economics, planned social, political and legal reforms to revive the fortunes of the country. These proposals, which revitalized the Magyar language and literature, became the patrimony of the small-owner nobility. The Austrian repression, far from stifling the movement, pushed it to radical positions of which L. Kossuth became the greatest exponent. The revolution of 1848 was at first legalitarian and attempted to implement Széchenyi’s program, but when the Vienna government tried to cancel the concessions made (March 4, 1849), the Kossuth program triumphed: on April 14 in Debrecen the fall of the Habsburgs was proclaimed.. The strategic mistakes of the valiant Hungarian general Görgeyand, above all, the Russian intervention, destroyed the independence of Hungary (13 August); the reaction was very violent, the death sentences also hit moderate patriots, such as L. Batthyány; others, including Kossuth and Andrássy, fled into exile. Hungary was dismembered: Transylvania and Croatia (which became Croatia-Slavonia) with the districts of Muraköz and Rijeka became special lieutenancies, and the Temesvár banat was divided into five districts. The aim was to completely merge Austria and Hungary: the customs union was created between the two countries, taxes were imposed on all landed properties, the German language was introduced into the administration. The whole nation reacted against this program. The Austrian defeat in Sadowa (1866) induced Franz Joseph (1848-1916) to come to a compromise: Hungary was recognized as a kingdom in itself (and Transylvania, Rijeka and Croatia-Slavonia with its own autonomy were added) with its own Parliament and its own government; common organs with Austria were the sovereign and the departments of Foreign Affairs, War and Finance; Joint delegations discussed common affairs. The capital was finally moved to Buda.