Hungary History: From The Origins to The Thirty Years War Part II

This healing work was continued by his son Louis I the Great (1342-82) under whose reign Hungary became a great power again. Maneuvering skillfully between Bohemia, Habsburg, Bavaria, Venice and Poland, he was able to retain possession of Dalmatia, encircle the Polish crown (1370) and force Bosnia, Wallachia, Moldavia and the Republic of Ragusa to recognize themselves as vassals of the Magyar crown; it also initiated a maritime policy.

Inside, however, the situation remained unchanged: the Golden Bull was reconfirmed in 1351 and on the death of Louis I the country was again torn apart by the civil war: his daughter Maria was ousted by Charles II of Anjou-Durazzo (Charles III in Naples), assassinated a few weeks after his coronation (1386), had to resign power to her husband Sigismund of Luxembourg (1387), who in order to get help against the claims of Ladislao di Anjou-Durazzo, son of Charles II, was forced to grant privileges also to the small nobility so that the burden of taxes ended up weighing mainly on the Fourth Order, that of the servants. In this period of internal wars, the Dalmatia occupied by the Venetians (1402) was lost and the Turkish danger grew closer after the destruction of the Serbian forces in Kosovo (1389) and the rout suffered by Sigismondo in Nicopoli (1396). The situation worsened further when after the short reign of Albert of Habsburg (1437-39) the crown passed to Ladislao of Poland (1440-44) who was defeated and killed by the Turks in Varna: according to relationshipsplus, the defense of the country remained entrusted to the leader János Hunyadi who with the forces of southern Hungary resisted the Ottomans heroically defending Belgrade (1456).

On the death of the ghost-king Ladislao V Posthumus (1445-57), the son of J. Hunyadi, Mattia Corvino (1458-90) was elected who reorganized the country, but made a mistake by abandoning the fight against the Turks and turning his forces to West; he conquered Styria, Vienna (1478), Moravia and Silesia (1479), but on his death all was lost. The weak successors, Ladislao II Iagellone (1492-1515) and Louis II (1516-26), they had to renounce the sedentary army and, attributing all the powers to the noble and aristocratic class, weakened the state to the point that, after the fall of Belgrade (1521), the army could no longer contain the Ottoman advance and fell apart after the battle of Mohács (1526), ​​a fatal break in Hungarian history. Hungary was divided into three parts: a strip west of Lake Balaton, from the Carpathians to the sea, with the capital Pozsony, in the hands of Ferdinand I of Habsburg; the whole central plain including Buda (1541) to the Turks; Transylvania, under the Turkish protectorate, in the hands of G. Szapolyai, elected king of Hungary by the nobility and crowned in Székesfehérvár.

This division, which lasted a century and a half, impoverished the country due to the destruction of crops caused by continuous wars and excessive taxes. Only Transylvania partially saved the Magyar institutions and culture and, embracing the Calvinist Reformation, was the first to proclaim freedom of conscience in Europe (1560). In the Austrian part, Emperor Rudolf II, starting from 1604, fought against Calvinism, causing a revolt which, led by S. Bocskai, led to a bloody struggle between Hungary, a follower of the Catholic creed, and Transylvania, of which Bocskai had become prince: struggle which, continued by his successors Gábor Bethlen (1613-29) and György I Rákóczy (1630-48), intertwined with the events of the Thirty Years War.


The best known evidence of the most ancient human presence in this area are those of the site of Vertesszöllös, not far from Budapest, excavated by L. Vertes, where important levels of the lower Paleolithic with industries on splinter and human fossil remains attributed initially were found to Homo erectus or to an archaic representative of Homo sapiens. The Middle Paleolithic is well represented, in particular in the open field of Èrd (Budapest), with industries on small quartzite pebbles aged between the end of the Riss-Würm interglacial and the first phase of the Würm, and associated with a predominant bear fauna. The levels found in other open-air deposits such as Tata (Komárom) or in caves (Subalyuk, in the Bükk Mountains) belong to the same period. The Upper Paleolithic is particularly widespread. Its initial phase is known as Szeletian (older dating to C14 around 41,000 years from today) from the Szeleta Cave (Hámor); levels of ‘ Aurignacian oldest are dated in the Cave of Istállós-Kö (Szilvásvárad) between about 44,000 and 39,000 years from now. Particularly frequent are the remains of settlements from different phases of the Gravettiano Eastern Hungarian with ages ranging from around 28,000 (Bodrogkeresztúr in northeastern Hungary), 20,000 (Balla Cave in the Bükk Mountains) and 12,000 years from now (Dunaföldvár on the Danube Meander, etc.). Equally interesting are the testimonies of Neolithic times (stations of Alföld, Bükk, Körös, HerpalyHalom, Lengyel, from which as many cultural complexes have taken their name). For the subsequent Bronze and Iron Ages, the discoveries made in Dunapentele, Egyek and Fuzesabony, often in necropolis composed of hundreds of sepulchers with abundant funeral equipment, should be remembered. Starting from the sec. VII a. C. elements of Scythian culture spread, coming from the Eurasian steppes of which Hungary can be considered the extreme offshoot.

Hungary History 2

About the author