9th - 13th century

Magyars: 9th - 10th century AD

The lower Danube, before the river enters the Black Sea, has been Europe's doorway to tribal groups arriving from the north and east. Here the Visigoths and ostrogoths and Slavs have first presented themselves to the Roman empire, requesting or demanding admission. And here there arrives, in889, another group.

They differ from their predecessors in that they are not Indo-Europeans. They speak a Finno-ugric language. They call themselves Magyars, but their federation of tribes is known as On-Ogur, meaning 'Ten Arrows'. The pronunciation of On-Ogur by their new Slav neighbours leads, eventually, to the name by which the Magyars are later known - Hungarians.

The Magyars have been living for several centuries near the mouth of the Don, as vassals of the Khazars. From 889 they spend a few years in the Balkans in the service of the Byzantine emperor, but soon they move on to the northwest, through the Carpathian mountains.

Since 890 their leader has been Arpad, elected prince by the chieftains of the seven Magyar tribes. His people number no more than 25,000, but together they subdue (within the space of a few years) the scattered population of the region now known as Hungary. So Arpad becomes the founder of a nation which somehow - in all the upheavals of central Europe - retains its identity and its language down through the centuries.

The arrival of the Hungarians brings a violent end to Moravia, also known as Great Moravia, the first stable kingdom established in eastern Europe. The Moravians are crushed at some time around 900. The Hungarians further demonstrate their power with a decisive victory over a German army near Bratislava in 907.

Thereafter, for several decades, the Hungarians are a profoundly disruptive force in the region, constantly raiding west into Germany and south into Italy. They are eventually subdued when the emperor Otto i defeats them on the Lechfeld, near Augsburg, in 955.

After their defeat on the Lechfeld the pagan Hungarians adopt a more conciliatory approach to their western neighbours in Germany. In 973 the supreme chieftain Géza, great-grandson of Arpad, sends an embassy to the German emperor Otto ii. And two years later Géza and his family are baptized in the Roman catholic church.

Hungary settles down as the eastern bulwark of feudal Europe. In the next generation it has a king rather than a chieftain. Even better, its first king is a saint. Géza's son, Stephen I, succeeds him in 997. He becomes the central symbol of Hungarian nationalism.

Stephen I: AD 997-1038

In his long reign Stephen transforms Hungary from a cattle-breeding, tribal and largely pagan community to an agricultural, feudal and Christian state. He divides his realm into 46 counties and 10 dioceses (both numbers increase when his borders are extended) and he establishes several great Benedictine monasteries to civilize the region.

In doing so he acquires great prestige as a Christian ruler. The story of Sylvester II sending a special crown for his coronation is a later legend. But the crown of St Stephen becomes a powerful symbol of nationhood. And Stephen's canonization in 1083, less than half a century after his death, testifies to his stature among his contemporaries.

The Arpad dynasty: AD 997-1301

For the best part of three centuries the descendants of Arpad maintain Hungary as a powerful Magyar kingdom. There are periods of violent unrest and dynastic struggle, as in any medieval realm. But for most of the time the boundary is secure in the west against pressure from the German empire.

To the east and the south Hungary's borders fluctuate, resulting in friction from time to time with the Byzantine empire and with Venice - the other major powers seeking control of the Balkans.

An important extension to Hungarian territory is the acquisition of Croatia. Kalman, the king of Hungary, invades Croatia in 1097 after being encouraged to do so by the pope. In 1102 he is accepted as the Croatian king. He pledges that the two kingdoms will remain separate, linked only by the Crown of st stephen. It is a union which lasts, in varying forms, until 1918.

Hungarian kings, caught up like their contemporaries elsewhere in the turmoil of feudalism, are frequently held to account by their barons. The nobles of Hungary demand from Andrew II the Golden Bull of 1222 (just seven years after Magna carta) which stands as a charter of liberties. Every subsequent king of Hungary has to swear his acceptance of the Bull.

The mid-13th century brings devastation to Hungary. The Mongols suddenly descend upon the region in 1241. In the following generation Otakar ii, king of Bohemia, constitutes a serious threat on the northern border.

At the same time the country is plagued by a wild and uncontrollable tribe, the Kumans (a branch of the Kipchak turks), who migrate westwards into the region to escape the onslaught of the even fiercer Mongols. In these circumstances the Arpad dynasty dwindles to an end. Andrew III, the last king, dies young and childless in 1301.

14th - 18th century

European monarchs: AD 1301-1526

The first decade of the 14th century sees the demise of two long-established indigenous dynasties in eastern Europe. The Magyar line of the Arpads flickers out in Hungary, after more than three centuries, with the death of Andrew iii. Slav rule by the Premyslid family in Bohemia is brought to a more abrupt end by the bedroom assassination of Wenceslas iii in 1306.

In each case the event ends the ethnic link between the ruling dynasty and the people. Both kingdoms now take their place in the patchwork quilt of medieval European dynasties. Hungarian and Czech nobles insist upon the right to choose their kings. And tempting alliances are on offer.

The Hungarian crown is competed for in 1301 by three candidates - from Bohemia, Bavaria and the Naples branch of the house of Anjou. More than any other great family at this time the Angevins are collectors of European kingdoms, principalities and dukedoms (in England and much of France, in Sicily and Naples). In their dynastic career they have usually had papal support, and once again young Charles Robert of Anjou-Naples (13-years-old in 1301) is the pope's choice.

The struggle for the Hungarian crown lasts eight years, but the Angevin prince - now old enough to rule on his own account - is finally enthroned at Buda in 1309 as Charles I of Hungary.

The Czechs choose wisely, though force proves as important a factor as choice. European power has recently shifted to the house of Luxembourg, whose count is elected Holy Roman emperor in 1308 as Henry VII. One of the Czech factions seizes its chance, offering the hand of princess Elizabeth (sister of the late Wenceslas iii) to Henry's son, John of Luxembourg. It is understood that a German imperial army will escort the bridal couple into Prague.

John and Elizabeth marry in August 1310 and reach Prague in December. Their joint army of Germans and Bohemians captures the city and evicts a rival claimant to the throne.

Charles and his son, Louis I, rule for more than seventy years, providing Hungary with a period of prosperity and expansion. Moldavia and Walachia are brought briefly under Hungarian control. Bosnia and Serbia are enrolled as vassal states.

Hungary is at this time closely linked with Poland. Louis' mother is a sister of Wenceslas iii, king of Poland. In 1370 Louis inherits the Polish crown from his uncle Casimir, who is childless. And Louis is succeeded on the Polish throne by his daughter Casimir iii. Between this period and the disaster of Jadwiga, in 1526, such links are common between the three eastern European kingdoms.

The Luxembourg dynasty rules in Prague for more than a century. Under Charles IV, the son of John and Elizabeth, both city and kingdom enjoy a period of unprecedented splendour - even though the early years of his reign coincide with the horrors of the Mohacs.

Charles is elected German king in 1346, succeeds his father as king of Bohemia later in the same year, and is crowned emperor in Rome in 1355. So the alliance with the Luxembourg dynasty brings imperial power to Bohemia. Even better, Charles makes Prague his imperial city. Already a prosperous centre, at the intersection of important trade routes, it benefits immensely from the emperor's patronage.

Between 1342 and 1526 five Hungarian monarchs also rule another of the eastern European kingdoms. They are Louis I (Hungary from 1342, Poland from 1370); Sigismund (Hungary from 1385, Bohemia from 1419): Wladyslaw III (Poland from 1434, Hungary from 1440): Vladislav (Bohemia from 1471, Hungary from 1490); and Louis II (Hungary and Bohemia from 1516).

These links, variously the result of marriage, election or war, are typical also of the dynastic politics of western Europe at this time. But the rulers of these three kingdoms confront one problem which is unique to them - a growing threat to their eastern borders from the Black death. It is met largely by the efforts of the Hungarians.

Charles founds eastern Europe's first university at Prague in 1348 and builds its central hall (the Carolinum, named after himself). He commissions the famous Charles Bridge, joining the Old Town to the Little Quarter on the other side of the Vltava. And he adds an entirely new quarter to the city, the Nove Mesto or New Town.

The authority which Charles establishes as Holy Roman emperor (it is he who brings order to the empire's proceedings with his Turks of 1356) is sufficient for his son, Wenceslas IV, to succeed him unopposed as German king - a rare event in the recent centuries of German elections.

But Wenceslas proves unworthy of the inheritance his father has prepared for him. During a long reign he loses control in both Germany and Bohemia. On two occasions he is imprisoned for lengthy spells by rebellious nobles.

The death of Wenceslas in 1419 is followed by almost two decades of extreme violence in the Golden bull - resulting from the reforming ideas of John Huss and from the outrage provoked by his death.

Janos Hunyadi: AD 1440-1456

Early in the 1440s the fortress of Belgrade is placed under the command of Janos Hunyadi, a Hungarian warrior who has proved his worth in frequent encounters with the Turks in these frontier regions. Belgrade, previously the Serbian capital, has been in Hungarian hands since 1427. But the kingdom of Serbia is now a vassal state of the Turks. Indeed the Ottoman sultan, Murad ii, has a Serbian princess as a wife.

From Belgrade Hunyadi marches east in 1443 against Murad, leading a Christian army down the Danube in what is effectively a Crusade. At first the crusaders have a great measure of success.

In November 1443 Hunyadi takes Nis and Sofia. Within the next three months he liberates Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania from their Muslim overlords. In June 1444 the Turks accept their loss of these territories and agree to a ten-year truce.

This considerable achievement is immediately undone by Christian zeal and duplicity. A cardinal absolves Hunyadi and the other leaders from their truce with the sultan, encouraging them to renew the Crusade and to press further east. This time they are less successful.

In November 1444 the Hungarians and their allies are confronted by Murad, who has an army perhaps four times the size of theirs, at Varna on the coast of the Black Sea. The crusaders are utterly routed. Wladyslaw III, the young king of both Hungary and Poland, dies on the battlefield.

This victory begins a decade of successes for the Turks, culminating in the capture of Constantinople by Murad's son, Mehmed II, in 1453. By 1456 the Turks are once more threatening Belgrade. Seventeen years after his first appointment to defend the city, Hunyadi is again in charge but with greater responsibilities. Since 1446 he has been regent of Hungary, during the reign of the boy king Laszlo V.

Belgrade: AD 1456

The conclusion of the mid-15th century saga between the Hungarians and the Turks is more in keeping with the spirit of a crusade than anything that has gone before. Turkish pressure westwards along the Danube brings an army in 1456 to the walls of Belgrade.

Leaving his eldest son Laszlo with the garrison, Hunyadi departs to raise a force to relieve the city. He is helped in this task by the preaching of a Franciscan friar, St John of Capistrano. John's persuasive voice inspires a large number of peasants to join Hunyadi's small professional army in an assault on the infidel.

In July 1456 this motley army drives the Turks from the walls of Belgrade, routing them so convincingly that the sultan, Mehmed II, withdraws to his new capital at Istanbul. Bulgaria and Serbia remain under Turkish rule, and Albania succumbs again in 1478. But the victory provides Hungary with a respite of seventy years before the Turks renew their pressure.

Within weeks of this success both Hunyadi and his inspirational preacher die in camp of the plague. But Hunyadi's stature as a national hero is now such that two years later the Hungarian nobles elect his son, Matyas, as king of Hungary. He becomes Matthias I, also known as Matthias Corvinus.

The victory of Janos Hunyadi at Belgrade in 1456 draws a line beyond which, for the next few decades, the Turks will not push westwards. But the confrontation also has the effect of allowing them virtually a free hand east of that line.

Constantinople, as impregnable as ever, is now securely transformed into Istanbul. From this strategic base it is easy for the Turks to settle unfinished business in the region between the Aegean and Hungary. Greece is occupied in 1458-60, Bosnia in 1463-4. The Balkans, for the next century and a half, win respite only when the Turks are occupied on their eastern frontier.

Matthias Corvinus and his successors: AD 1458-1526

Matthias is elected king of Hungary in 1458 after the sudden death, perhaps from poison, of the 17-year-old Laszlo v. Matthias is only one year older than Laszlo. The choice falls upon him purely as the oldest surviving son of his heroic father, Janos Hunyadi (Matthias' elder brother, Laszlo hunyadi, has recently been murdered). But in a long reign of thirty-two years Matthias demonstrates beyond dispute his own fitness for the job.

He develops a fair and efficient administration, unpopular only with the leading nobles whose power is restricted. He forms a professional standing army, the so-called Black army, enabling him to extend greatly the frontiers of his realm.

Moravia and Silesia are brought under Hungarian control, as is most of Austria. But this enlarged realm is the last kingdom of Hungary to be ruled by a native Hungarian (indeed it is the only such kingdom since the end of the Arpad dynasty). It does not survive the death of Matthias in 1490.

The conquered territories immediately break away. The nobles resume their privileges, undo the reforms of Matthias, and elect the weak Bohemian king Vladislav - largely because through him they can control Hungary again. Vladislav is succeeded in 1516 by his 10-year-old son, Louis II. Another ten years pass before Louis leads a Hungarian force against the Turks at Mohacs.

Battle of Mohacs: AD 1526

The weakness of Hungary and Bohemia, under the rule of the 15-year-old Louis II, attracts the interest of an aggressive young sultan of Turkey, newly on the throne as Suleiman i. In 1521 he sends a demand for tribute. When it is rejected he marches west and captures Belgrade.

In 1526 Suleiman pushes further up the Danube. Forced now into action to defend Budapest, Louis II brings an army south to meet him. Devoted until now to a life of pleasure, the young king approaches his enemy with reckless courage but little wisdom. At the centre of 20,000 hastily gathered troops, he rides against some 100,000 Turkish janissaries, well trained and hardened in warfare.

The clash occurs at Mohacs. The Hungarians are annihilated and the king killed, probably by drowning when in flight. Suleiman briefly advances as far as Budapest and then withdraws, taking with him 100,000 Hungarians.

This disaster, devastating in itself, also has significant repercussions. The Habsburg ruler of Austria, Ferdinand i, is married to the sister of Louis II, who has died without an heir. Ferdinand now claims Louis' two thrones. After some initial opposition the Habsburg claim is accepted in Bohemia, but it provokes years of civil war in Hungary.

Bohemia, after Mohacs, enters nearly four centuries as little more than a province of the Austrian empire. The Habsburg rulers, fervently Roman Catholic, find it hard at first to resist demands for religious liberty from a predominantly Protestant population. This is, after all, the land in which the battle for freedom of conscience was first won, by the followers of John Huss. In the turbulent 16th century, Bohemia has its share of unrest.

But in the long run religious dissent proves Bohemia's undoing. Action by the Protestant assembly in Prague in 1618 lights the spark of the Thirty Years' War. At its end, the peace of 1648 enables the Habsburgs to impose a strict uniformity of doctrine which stifles Bohemia's vitality.

Hungary divided: AD 1526-1699

Half the Hungarian nobles accept the claim of Ferdinand I to the vacant throne; the others elect one of their own number, John Zápolya. Warfare between the two factions is interrupted by an occasional truce, such as the secret treaty of Nagyvárad in 1538 which gives Transylvania and central Hungary, including Budapest, to John Zápolya, while acknowledging Ferdinand's rights to western Hungary.

The resulting peace lasts only until John Zápolya's death two years later, when the renewal of turmoil encourages the Turks to intervene once more.

The Turkish sultan, Suleiman i, marches north in 1541 and takes Buda. During the next few years he wins the whole of Hungary except the western strip adjacent to Austria. In 1547 the sultan offers a treaty which is somewhat humiliating for Ferdinand - but by then the Austrian ruler, busy with Reformation struggles on his German flank, is glad of a respite.

By the terms of the treaty Transylvania (under John Sigismund, the young son of John Zápolya) becomes a vassal state of the Turks. Central and southern Hungary, including Buda, are absorbed within the Ottoman empire. And Ferdinand is to pay an annual tribute of 30,000 ducats to Suleiman i for the small western part of the old Hungarian kingdom.

Of these three sections of Hungary, the semi-independent principality of Transylvania fares best during the next century and a half. Southern Hungary withers as an outpost of the Ottoman empire. Western Hungary suffers, like neighbouring Bohemia, from Habsburg efforts to impose the Counter-Reformation on a population which is mainly Protestant. This region bears the added strain of still being Christendom's front line against the Turks, who might at any moment press westwards.

When the Turkish assault finally comes, with the siege of Vienna in 1683, it proves to be a turning point - but to Habsburg rather than Ottoman advantage.

Vienna and Hungary: AD 1683-1718

On 31 March 1683 a huge Turkish army marches west from Edirne. On the same day, in Warsaw, the Polish king John iii sobieski signs a treaty committing him to bring a force to the defence of Vienna. There is panic in the Austrian capital as the Turks approach, with a force estimated to be about 250,000 strong. Early in July the emperor and his court abandon Vienna, slipping away to safety higher up the Danube. A few days later the invading army arrives to blockade the city.

Two months pass before John III arrives with his Polish contingent, reinforced by Catholics from Bavaria and by Protestants from Saxony. The Christian army amounts to about 70,000 men.

The attack on the Turkish force takes place on September 12. After eight hours of fighting the Turks are routed and the city relieved. It is a symbolic moment which also proves a turning point, inspiring the Austrians to transform the retreat of the Turks into a lasting withdrawal.

Further campaigns to the east result in the capture of Buda in 1686, followed by the gradual recovery of other parts of Hungary. By 1699 the Turks are willing to sign the peace of Karlowitz, ceding to the Habsburg emperor, Leopold I, the whole region of Hungary which has been Under turkish control since 1547 - apart from the small area of Banat in the extreme southeast, which remains with the Turks until 1718.

Exhilarated by this gradual process of liberation from their Muslim overlord, the Hungarian diet - meeting at Pressburg in 1687 - grants more of Leopold I's demands than he might normally have expected. They give up their ancient claim to elect the king, allowing instead a hereditary Habsburg right to the Crown of st stephen.

Having recovered a kingdom which he considers his by descent from Ferdinand i, Leopold applies to Hungary the blend of absolute rule and religious intolerance which has reduced Bohemia to a state of abject decline. Hungary proves more resilient. The removal in 1703 of Austrian troops, needed elsewhere in the War of the spanish succession, is followed by a series of uprisings.

Calm is not fully restored until 1710. By then the Austrian emperor is in more conciliatory mood. In a series of agreements, finalized in a diet of 1723 during the reign of Charles VI, it is accepted that Hungary will not be merged with the rest of the Austrian empire. It will continue to be ruled through its own diet, according to its own laws and traditions, as a separate kingdom.

This special status survives almost unbroken until the end of the Austrian empire in 1918, but only just. From the middle of the 19th century there is mounting clamour for reform and independence.

19th century

Austria and ethnic nationalism: AD 1814-1848

The French revolution and Napoleon's reforms inspire suppressed minorities throughout Europe with the dream of self-determination. This is particularly true in those parts of the Austrian empire where people of non-Germanic origin have a long and proud history of their own.

A sense of increasing unrest is felt in Hungary and Bohemia, and also in smaller regions such as Slovakia and Croatia. Even the German middle classes in Austria feel that change is essential in the stultifying society presided over by Francis I and Metternich, where oppressive bureaucracy is preserved by a network of spies reporting to the secret police.

The ethnic tensions which develop in Hungary and Bohemia are of some complexity. The Germans in these regions of the Habsburg empire take it for granted that they are the ruling community and that German should be the language of government. But the Hungarians, in particular, have a different view of the situation. Enjoying the status of a separate kingdom within the empire (since 1723), they are determined that Magyar traditions shall prevail. The Hungarian diet of 1844 declares that Magyar is to be the official language of the state (see Language and nationalism).

This development in turn outrages another minority group, the Croatians, whose territory lies within the Hungarian kingdom.

The Croatians, as Slavs, are part of the third major strand in the nationalistic aspirations of these regions. Slav demands are more complex than those of the Magyars. They are expressed by geograpically separate groups (including the Czechs and Slovaks) which nevertheless feel a strong sense of shared identity. And the Slavs have a variety of political masters on whom to focus their hatred.

The Croatians and Slovakians are within the Hungarian kingdom. They are therefore anti-Magyar and are willing, for the sake of political alliance, to be pro-German. But the Czechs of Bohemia and Moravia are within Austria and are ruled from Vienna. Their nationalists are uncompromisingly anti-German.

In Bohemia, as in Hungary, nationalism expresses itself through the language and history of the ethnic group. A Bohemian museum is founded in Prague in 1818. A history of Bohemia and Moravia, written by Frantisek Palacky and appearing from 1836, offends the Habsburg censors by identifying the Hussite period as the defining moment of Czech identity.

These nationalist aspirations represent a jockeying for position within the Habsburg empire rather than a bid for full independence. But the issues gain a new intensity in the revolutionary year of 1848.

Revolutions: AD 1848-1849

The example of the February revolution in Paris prompts a ripple effect in the discontented cities of the Habsburg empire. Vienna is the first to rise, on March 12, and the long-serving chancellor Metternich is the first victim - he is forced to resign on the 13th.

On March 17 the Hungarian diet adopts a liberal consitution which is tantamount to claiming Hungarian independence, leaving a link with Vienna only through the emperor's personal rule as king of Hungary. In normal circumstances this would be a revolutionary act, but in the atmosphere of 1848 it rapidly acquires legitimacy. The emperor (now Ferdinand I) considers it prudent to grant his royal assent, on April 11.

Meanwhile the Slavs see their chance. In April the Croatians declare independence from Hungary and expel Magyars from all civil service posts. In June a pan-Slav congress assembles in Prague with Palacky, the Czech nationalist historian, as president.

The excitement of the occasion is expressed in a demonstration by radical Czech students. The Austrian commander of Prague takes the opportunity to impose martial rule. It is the first of several occasions over the next twelve months in which imperial troops are able to restore order, often because groups with different revolutionary aims fail to assist each other - and even, on occasion, lend their support to the imperial power.

In Vienna, on May 17, the situation is so tense that the emperor Ferdinand I flees for safety to Innsbruck. In August he is persuaded to return to the capital, but on October 6 another uprising delivers the city into the hands of German radicals. This time the emperor escapes to Olomouc in Moravia.

By the end of the month Vienna has been recovered by an imperial army, with the assistance of Croatian revolutionaries hoping to win official support in their own campaign for Slav self-rule. In January 1849 the same alliance, imperial and Croatian, captures the city of Buda where the Hungarian government has been showing aggressive signs of independence, under the leadership of Lajos Kossuth.

Kossuth has been a radical member of the Hungarian diet since 1847. It is his passion and oratory which has encouraged the Hungarians in each step of their confrontation with Vienna. Since September 1848 he has been president of a committee of national defence. Now, in January 1849, on the fall of Buda, he withdraws to the relative safety of Debrecen. There, in April, his committee deposes the Habsburgs and declares Hungary to be an independent state with Kossuth as governor.

In this crisis the Austrian emperor is saved only by the Russian emperor, Nicholas I, who sends an army. By mid-August Hungary has been overrun by Russian and Austrian forces. Kossuth flees to safety abroad.

By the autumn of 1849 the Habsburg empire is back under control. As in the aftermath of any failed revolutionary period, the reaction is harsh. Executions of radical leaders in Vienna and Buda are followed by a return to the restrictive rule which preceded the revolutions.

There are only two lasting results. The feeble emperor Ferdinand I abdicates in December 1848 in favour of his young nephew, Francis Joseph, whose 68-year reign sees the Austrian empire almost to its end. And the compulsory labour of serfdom, known in these regions as Robot, is at last abolished in the Habsburg empire (the reform by Joseph ii in 1789 having been soon reversed by his younger brother Leopold II).

Repression & compromise in Austria-Hungary: AD 1849-67

In the years after the defeat of Kossuth's independent Hungary in 1849, the kingdom is ruled from Vienna almost as a subject territory. Administration is conducted largely by Germans and in the German language. The Magyars, accustomed to a position of privilege as the ruling majority, are now treated merely on an equal footing with the other ethnic or linguistic groups.

This policy is met by sullen non-cooperation, highly effective in practical matters such as the payment of taxes. By the 1860s the two sides are willing to compromise. In 1865 a committee is appointed to consider the options for a new constitutional framework.

During the negotiations Austria is distracted by the embarrassingly brief Seven Weeks' War of 1866. But the Austrian defeat does not alter the outcome of the talks, the broad outline of which is already evident.

The proposal is for a return to the separation of the Hungarian kingdom from the Austrian empire, similar to the arrangement of 1723 but falling short of the independence achieved in 1848. Foreign affairs and defence are to be conducted jointly on behalf of the two states, with the responsible ministers being alternately Austrian and Hungarian. On all internal matters Hungary is to be independent.

This arrangement becomes known in German as the Ausgleich, meaning literally 'settlement' but usually translated into English as the Compromise. A Hungarian parliament, reestablished in February 1867, accepts the arrangement in May. Francis Joseph, now nearly twenty years into his reign as emperor of Austria, is crowned king of Hungary in June.

His new realm, with its dual entity, is to be known as Austria-Hungary. The arrangement soothes Magyar aspirations, but it severely affronts the Slavs - now more than ever separated as second-class citizens in two states, the Bohemians and Moravians in Austria and the Slovakians and Croatians in Hungary.

Compromise or Independence: AD 1867-1918

Semi-independence by means of the dual monarchy gives Hungary a period of relative calm and increasing prosperity. Even so, the compromise of 1867 remains the central theme of Hungarian politics. Parties become associated with one or other of two years. Those grouped under 1867 believe in cooperation with Austria and in making the settlement of that year work. Those associated with 1848 look back nostalgically to the greater degree of independence achieved in that year (some of them use the name Independence party).

Meanwhile older tensions gradually re-emerge.

A Nationalities Act, passed in 1868, guarantees the right of the linguistic minorities in the kingdom to use their own languages in such areas as secondary education and local administration. But inevitably, in view of the region's history of ethnic nationalism, the Magyar majority tries to impose its own culture in a process which becomes known as 'magyarization'.

Politically many of the Slavs retain their hopes of an independent status within the Habsburg empire. A minority of the more radical Croats dream of joining the Serbs in a nation of southern Slavs (or Yugoslavs). These questions become urgent in the crisis leading up to the annexation by Austria-Hungary in 1908 of Bosnia-hercegovina.

Within Hungary the spirit of the Compromise of 1867 prevails over the wish for Independence.

A new '1867' party, the National Party of Work, wins a majority in the elections of 1910. Its leader, Istvan Tisza, ensures that Hungary stands by Austria in 1914. The nation therefore shares the defeat of Germany and Austria in World War I.

This History is as yet incomplete.

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