Hungarian people: Wikis


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Saint Stephen I Matthias Corvinus Gábor Bethlen Béla Bartók
Hng2 2.jpg
Tivadar Kosztka János Bolyai Loránd Eötvös József Eötvös
Total population
c. 15.0 million
Regions with significant populations
Central Europe c. 10.65 million
 Hungary 9,967,921  (2001) [1]
 Slovakia 520,528  (2001) [2]
 Czech Republic 14,672  (2001) [3]
 Germany 120,000  (2004) [4]
 Austria 40,583  (2001) [5]
 Slovenia 6,243  (2002) [6]
Southeastern Europe c. 1.75 million
 Romania 1,434,377  (2002) [7]
 Serbia 293,299  (2002) [8]
 Croatia 16,595  (2001) [9]
 Macedonia 2,003  (2002) [10]
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 893  (1991) [11]
Eastern Europe 160,000
 Ukraine 156,600  (2001) [12]
 Russia 3,768  (2002) [13]
Western Europe 120,000
 United Kingdom 80,135  (2001)
 Ireland 3,328  (2006) [14]
North America c. 1.9 million
 United States 1,563,081  (2006) [15]
 Canada 315,510  (2006) [16]
South America 1,100,000 [15]
 Brazil 860,000 [17]
 Argentina 170–200,000 [18]
 Chile 40,000[citation needed]
 Philippines 1,114
Australasia  (AUS / NZ) 62,000 [15]
 Australia 55,000[citation needed]
 New Zealand 214


Predominantly Roman Catholic and Protestant (mainly Reformed and Lutheran; also Unitarian), but also including Greek Catholic, Jewish and Unaffiliated.

Hungarians (or Magyars, in Hungarian: magyarok) are an ethnic group primarily associated with Hungary, a Central European state, and its predecessor states (the Kingdom of Hungary and the People's Republic of Hungary). There are around 14 million Hungarians, of whom 10 million live in today's Hungary (as of 2001).[1] About 2.5 million Hungarians live in areas that belonged to (the Kingdom of) Hungary before the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, but are now parts of Hungary's seven neighbour countries, especially Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine. Significant groups of people with Hungarian ancestry live in various other parts of the world (most of them in the United States), but unlike the Hungarians living within the territory of pre-1920 Hungary, only some of these largely preserve the Hungarian language and traditions. The Hungarians can be classified in several sub-groups according to local linguistic and cultural characteristics. Hungarian ethnic subgroups with distinct identity are the Székely, the Csángó, the Palóc and the Jassic people.



The word "Hungarian" is thought to be derived from the Bulgar-Turkic Onogur, possibly because the Magyars were neighbours (or confederates) of the Empire of the Onogurs in the sixth century, whose leading tribal union was called the "Onogurs" (meaning "ten tribes" or "ten arrows" in Old Turkic; see below).[19][20]

The "H-" prefix in many languages (Hungarians, Hongrois, Hungarus etc.) is a later addition. It was taken over from the name of the Huns, a semi-nomadic tribe that briefly lived in the area of present-day Hungary and, according to medieval legends, were the people from which the Magyars arose. The identification of the Hungarians with the Huns has often occurred in historiography and literature. Hun names like Attila and Réka have been popular among Hungarians to this day. The identification began to be disputed in the late nineteenth century and is still a source of major controversy among scholars about the nature of the connection between the two.[citation needed]

"Magyar" is the term Hungarians use, in the Hungarian language, to refer to themselves or to their language. In English they are generally referred to as Hungarians, although the word Magyar is also frequently used when referring to the Hungarian ethnicity, and, in a broader context, when describing the ancient semi-nomadic Hungarian/Magyar tribes.[21] Some sources[22] claim "Magyar" to be the proper name of the ethnic group, although "Hungarian" took root in the English language over the centuries.

Several theories exist on the origin and meaning of the word "Magyar"[23], in comparison, the etymology of the words Hungary and Hungarian is accompanied by less debate.

Ethnic affiliations and genetic origins

Genetic kinships of European nations. Hungarians are in yellow (HU)

The Hungarians are widely believed to be descended from an Asiatic tribe that is thought to be a fusion of the Khazars, Avars, and the Ugrians. However, the origin of the Hungarians is partly disputed. The most widely-accepted Finno-Ugric theory of origin from the late nineteenth century is based primarily on linguistic and ethnographical arguments[24]. Contesting these, the theory is criticized as relying too much on August Schleicher's Stammbaumtheorie of historical linguistics, and some cite that Finno-Ugric-speaking peoples have a wide range of cultural, ethnic and genetic variation.[25] It should also be noted that though old and modern-day Hungarians have a predominantly European genetic makeup, one researcher states that about 13% of the population have retained the other Uralic language speakers' genes, while another sees no genetic continuity.[26][27] There are also other theories stating that the Hungarians are descendants of Scythians, Huns and/or Avars.

The Hungarian language belongs to the Finno-Ugric group of languages. The closest related languages are the Khanty language (or Ostyak) and the Mansi language (or Vogul)[28]. According to a genetic study published in 2000 in the American academic journal Science, the ancestors of Hungarians appeared in Europe around 40,000 years ago and genetically, the most closely related ethnic groups are Poles, Croats, Ukrainians, and other surrounding ethnic groups.[29] However, linguist András Róna-Tas notes that no historic conclusions may be drawn yet based on genetic research.[29] Based on the Kosztolnyik's research [30], not so long ago, historical research concluded the term "magyar" derived from the name of (prince) Muageris (also known as Mugel), by arguing that "Muageris" had to be a personal name taken from the descriptive designation of a people. It presented the hypothesis that the Huns in the Crimea were, really, the Onogurs, and the names of the two princes mentioned by Malalas (Grodas and Muageris – Hunnic rulers ) as living in the region of Maeotian Lake (Sea of Azov) and of the Kuban stream during the earlier half of the sixth century, actually referred to people under the rule of the Magyar (Muageris) tribe.


Pre-fourth century AD

Migration of the Magyars or their language

Sometime during the fourth millennium BC, the Uralic-speaking peoples who were living in the central and southern regions of the Urals split up. The peoples speaking Finno-Ugric languages dispersed primarily towards the west and northwest and came into contact with Iranian speakers who were spreading northwards.[31] From at least 2000 BC onwards, the Ugrian speakers became distinguished from the rest of the Finno-Ugric community. Judging by evidence from burial mounds and settlement sites, they interacted with the Andronovo Culture[32].

Fourth century to c.830 AD

Map showing location of the Magyars in 600 AD.

In the fourth and fifth centuries AD, the Magyars moved to the west of the Ural Mountains to the area between the southern Ural Mountains and the Volga River known as Bashkiria (Bashkortostan) and Perm Krai.

In the early eighth century, some of the Magyars moved to the Don River to an area between the Volga, Don and the Seversky Donets rivers[33]. Meanwhile, the descendants of those Magyars who stayed in Bashkiria remained there as late as 1241. As a consequence, earlier scholarship considered the Magyars and the Bashkirs as two branches of the same nation[citation needed]. The earlier Bashkirs, however, were decimated during the Mongol invasion of Europe (thirteenth century) and assimilated into Turkic peoples[citation needed].

The Magyars around the Don River were subordinates of the Khazar khaganate. Their neighbours were the archaeological Saltov Culture, i.e. Bulgars (Proto-Bulgarians, descendants of the Onogurs) and the Alans, from whom they learned gardening, elements of cattle breeding and of agriculture. The Bulgars and Magyars shared a long-lasting relationship in Khazaria, either by alliance or rivalry[citation needed]. The system of two rulers (later known as kende and gyula) is also thought to be a major inheritance from the Khazars[citation needed]. Tradition holds that the Magyars were organized in a confederacy of tribes called hétmagyar (lit. seven Hungarians). The tribes of the hétmagyar were; Jenő, Kér, Keszi, Kürt-Gyarmat, Megyer, Nyék, and Tarján. The confederacy was formed as a border defending allies of Khazaria mainly during the reign of Khagan Bulan and Ovadyah, with the Magyar tribe as ascendant[citation needed].

c.830 to c.895

Migration of the Magyars, and the conquest of the Carpathian Basin (Hungarian: honfoglalás)

Around 830, a civil war broke out in the Khazar khaganate. As a result, three Kabar tribes out of the Khazars joined the Magyars and they moved to what the Magyars call the Etelköz, i.e. the territory between the Carpathians and the Dnieper River (today's Ukraine)[citation needed]. Around 854, the Magyars had to face a first attack by the Pechenegs[33]. (According to other sources, the reason for the departure of the Magyars to Etelköz was the attack of the Pechenegs (2) Both the Kabars and earlier the Bulgars may have taught the Magyars their Turkic languages; according to the Finno-Ugric theory[citation needed], this is used to account for at least three hundred Turkic words and names still in modern Hungarian. The new neighbours of the Magyars were the Vikings and the eastern Slavs. Archaeological findings suggest that the Magyars entered into intense interaction with both groups[citation needed]. From 862 onwards, the Magyars (already referred to as the Ungri) along with their allies, the Kabars, started a series of looting raids from the Etelköz to the Carpathian Basin–mostly against the Eastern Frankish Empire (Germany) and Great Moravia, but also against the Balaton principality and Bulgaria.[34]

Entering the Carpathian Basin (after 895)

Prince Árpád crossing the Carpathians. A detail from the Arrival of the Hungarians, Árpád Feszty's and his assistants' vast cyclorama (over 1800 ), painted to celebrate the one-thousandth anniversary of the Magyar conquest of Hungary, now displayed at the Ópusztaszer National Memorial Site in Hungary.
Hungarian campaigns in the 10th century. Most European nations were literally praying for mercy, as a notable prayer of the time shows: "Sagittis hungarorum libera nos Domine" – "Lord save us from the arrows of Hungarians"
The entry of the Magyars into the Carpathian basin, from the Chronicon Pictum, 1360.
Eastern Hemisphere, 1100 A.D.
Population growth of the Hungarians (900–1980)
The Treaty of Trianon: Hungary lost 72% of its land and 3.3 million people of Hungarian ethnicity.

In 895/896, under the leadership of Árpád, some Magyars crossed the Carpathians and entered the Carpathian Basin. The tribe called Megyer was the leading tribe of the Magyar alliance that conquered the center of the basin. At the same time (c.895), due to their involvement in the 894–896 Bulgaro-Byzantine war, Magyars in Etelköz were attacked by Bulgaria and then by their old enemies the Pechenegs. It is uncertain whether or not those conflicts were the cause of the Magyar departure from Etelköz.

From the upper Tisza region of the Carpathian Basin, the Magyars intensified their looting raids across continental Europe. In 900, they moved from the upper Tisza river to Transdanubia (Pannonia)[citation needed], which later became the core of the arising Hungarian state. At the time of the Magyar migration, the land was inhabited only by a sparse population of Slavs, numbering about 200,000,[33] who were either assimilated or enslaved by the Magyars.[33] Their allies, the Kabars (probably led by Kurszán), appear to have settled in the region around Bihar[citation needed].

Remnants of the Avars lived in the southwest. After the battle of Augsburg (956), the Magyars stopped their raids against Western Europe.

Many of the Magyars, however, remained to the north of the Carpathians after 895/896, as archaeological findings suggest (e.g. Polish Przemyśl). They seem to have joined the other Magyars in 900. There is also a consistent Hungarian population in Transylvania, the Székelys, comprise 40% of the Hungarians in Romania.[35][36] The Székely people's origin, and in particular the time of their settlement in Transylvania, is a matter of historical controversy.

History after 900

Medieval Hungary controlled more territory than medieval France, and the population of medieval Hungary was the third largest of any country in Europe. The Magyar leader Árpád is believed to have led the Hungarians into the Carpathian Basin in 896. In 907, the Magyars destroyed a Bavarian army in the Battle of Pressburg and laid the territories of present-day Germany, France and Italy open to Magyar raids. These raids were fast and devastating. The Magyars defeated Louis the Child's Imperial Army near Augsburg in 910. From 917 to 925, Magyars raided through Basle, Alsace, Burgundy, Saxony, and Provence.[37] Magyar expansion was checked at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955. Although the battle at Lechfeld stopped the Magyar raids against Western Europe, the raids on the Balkan Peninsula continued until 970.[38] Hungarian settlement in the area was approved by the Pope when their leaders accepted Christianity, and Stephen I the Saint (Szent István) was crowned King of Hungary in 1001. The century between the Magyars' arrival from the eastern European plains and the consolidation of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1001 was dominated by pillaging campaigns across Europe, from Dania (Denmark) to the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal).[39] After the country's acceptance into Christian Europe under Stephen I, Hungary served as a bulwark against further invasions from the east and south, especially against the Turks.

At this time, the Hungarian nation numbered between 25,000[40] and 1,000,000 people[33][41]. The Slavic population in present-day Hungary culturally assimilated to the Magyar culture.

The name "Hungarian" has also a wider meaning, as it once referred to all inhabitants of the Kingdom of Hungary irrespective of their ethnicity.[42]

The first accurate measurements of the population of the Kingdom of Hungary including ethnic composition were carried out in 1850–51. There is a debate among Hungarian and non-Hungarian (especially Slovak and Romanian) historians about the possible changes in the ethnic structure throughout history:

  • Historians, support the theory that the Magyars' percentage in the Carpathian Basin was at an almost constant 80% during the Middle Ages[43][44][45][46][47] -non Magyars numbered hardly more than 20 to 25 percent of the total population-[43] and began to decrease only at the time of the Ottoman conquest,[43][44][47] reaching as low as around 39% in the end of the eighteenth century. The decline of the Magyars was due to the constant wars, Ottoman raids, famines and plagues during the 150 years of Ottoman rule.[43][44][47] The main zones of war were the territories inhabited by the Magyars, so the death toll among them was much higher than among other nationalities.[43][47] In the 18th century their percentage declined further because of the influx of new settlers from Europe, especially Slovaks, Serbs, Croats, and Germans.[43][44][47][48] Droves of Romanians entered Transylvania during the same period.[44][48][49] As a consequence of the Turkish occupation and the Habsburg colonization policies, the country underwent a great change in ethnic composition.[47] Hungary's population more than tripled to 8 million between 1720 and 1787, however, only 39 percent of its people were Magyars, who lived mainly in the center of the country.[43][44][45]
  • Others, particularly Slovak and Romanian historians, tend to emphasise the multi-ethnic nature of the Kingdom[citation needed] even in the Middle Ages and argue that the drastic change in the ethnic structure hypothesized by Hungarian historians in fact did not occur. Therefore, the Magyars are supposed to have accounted only for about 30–40%[citation needed] of the Kingdom's population since its establishment. In particular, there is a fierce debate among Magyar and Romanian historians about the ethnic composition of Transylvania through the times; see Origin of the Romanians.

In the nineteenth century, the percentage of Magyars in the Kingdom of Hungary rose gradually, reaching over 50% by 1900, mostly because of (economic) immigration, and partially because of some magyarization.[citation needed] Spontaneous assimilation was an important factor, especially among the German and Jewish minorities and the citizens of the bigger towns. On the other hand, about 1.5 million people (of whom about two-thirds were non-Hungarian) left the Kingdom of Hungary between 1890–1910 to escape from poverty.[50]

The years 1918 to 1920 were a turning point in the Magyars' history. By the Treaty of Trianon, the Kingdom had been cut into several parts, leaving only a quarter of its original size. One third of the Magyars became minorities in the neighbouring countries[51]. During the remainder of the twentieth century, the Magyar population of Hungary grew from 7.1 million (1920) to around 10.4 million (1980), in spite of losses during the Second World War and the wave of emigration after the attempted revolution in 1956. The number of Hungarians in the neighbouring countries tended to remain the same or slightly decreased, mostly due to assimilation (sometimes forced; see Slovakization and Romanianization)[52][53][54] and emigration to Hungary (in the 1990s, especially from Transylvania and Vojvodina).

After the "baby boom" of the 1950s (Ratkó era), a serious demographic crisis began to develop in Hungary and its neighbours.[55] The Magyar population reached its maximum in 1980, after which it began to decline. This decline is expected to continue at least until 2050, at which time the population will probably be between 8 and 9 million.[55]

Today, the Magyars represent around 35% of the population of the Carpathian Basin. Their number is around 12–13 million. While other ethnic groups increased their numbers two, three or even more times during the twentieth century, the Magyar population stagnated. Between 1950 and 1980, the increase in Hungary's population was the fourth slowest in the world, after East Germany, Bulgaria and St. Kitts and Nevis: 16.4% (from 9,204,799 to 10,709,463).

There was a referendum in Hungary in December 2004 on whether to grant Hungarian citizenship to Magyars living outside Hungary's borders (i.e. without requiring a permanent residence in Hungary). The referendum failed due to insufficient voter turnout.

Later influences

An embossed stone in the Ópusztaszer National Memorial Park showing a worldwide Hungarian population count.

Besides the various peoples mentioned above, the Magyars assimilated or were influenced by subsequent peoples arriving in the Carpathian Basin. Among these are the Cumanians, Pechenegs, Jazones, Germans and other Western European settlers in the Middle Ages. Vlachs (Romanians) and Slavs have lived together and blended with Magyars since early medieval times. Ottomans, who occupied the central part of Hungary from c.1526 until c.1699, inevitably exerted an influence, as did the various nations (Germans, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats and others) that resettled depopulated territories after their departure. Similar to other European countries, both Jewish and Roma (Gypsy) minorities have been living in Hungary since the Middle Ages.

Maps and images

See also


  1. ^ a b 18. Demographic data – Hungarian Central Statistical Office and calculation at Talk:Hungarian people#Number_of_Hungarians_in_Hungary
  2. ^ 2001 Slovakian Census
  3. ^ Národnost ve sčítání lidu v českých zemích
  4. ^ Bund Ungarischer Organisationen in Deutschland
  5. ^ 2001 Austrian census
  6. ^ Slovenia
  7. ^ 2002 Romanian census
  8. ^ 2002 Serbian Census
  9. ^ Položaj Nacionalnih Manjina U Republici Hrvatskoj - Zakonodavstvo I Praska
  10. ^ Republic of Macedonia - State Statistical Office
  11. ^ Pristup Zapošljavanhu Romske Populacije
  12. ^ National composition of population
  13. ^ Russia Report to COE
  14. ^ CSO Ireland - 2006 Census
  15. ^ a b c 2006 community survey
  16. ^ The 2006 census
  17. ^ Revista Época Edição 214 24/06/2002
  18. ^ Hungarian Embassy in Buenos Aires 20/06/2009
  19. ^ OSZK.
  20. ^ Hungary - The Árpáds, Encyclopædia Britannica
  21. ^ Hungary The Medieval Period - Flags, Maps, Economy, History, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System
  22. ^ Hungary - Origins and Language
  23. ^ Mit jelent az a szó, hogy magyar? - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGYARORSZÁG
  24. ^ Emese Saga
  25. ^ uirala theory-BACKGROUND - FinnoUgric Languages
  26. ^ Genetic structure in relation to the history of Hungarian ethnic groups | Human Biology | Find Articles at
  27. ^ Comparison of maternal lineage and biogeographic analyses of ancient and modern Hungarian populations, U.S. National Library of Medicine
  28. ^ Moravcsik, Gyula. Byzantine Christianity and the Magyars in the Period of Their Migration. The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  29. ^ a b Szabó, István Mihály (August 2008). "(Hungarian) Őskőkori európai eredetű-e a magyar nép? Válasz Róna-Tas András kritikájára". História. 
  30. ^ Kosztolnyik, Z. J., Hungary under the early Árpáds, 890s to 1063, page 29, Distributed by Columbia University Press, 2002 ISBN 0-88033-503-3 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0-88033-503-3      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0-88033-503-3      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0-88033-503-3      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0-88033-503-3      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Library of congress control number 2002112276
  31. ^ Róna-Tas, András (1999). Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages. pp. 96. 
  32. ^ Blench, Roger; Matthew Briggs. Archaeology and Language. Routledge. pp. 210. ISBN 0415117615.,M1. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  33. ^ a b c d e A Country Study: Hungary. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  34. ^ Magyars
  35. ^ Piotr Eberhardt. Ethnic Groups and Population Changes in Twentieth-century Central-Eastern Europe. M. E. Sharpe, Armonk, NY and London, England, 2003.,M1. 
  36. ^ "Szekler people". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  37. ^ The Maygars of Hungary
  38. ^ History of Hungary, 895-970
  39. ^ The Magyars (650-997 AD)
  40. ^ Milan Tutorov, Banatska rapsodija, istorika Zrenjanina i Banata, Novi Sad, 2001.
  41. ^ Hungarian historians give the lowest estimates as 70,000 people, while Serbian and Slovak authors suggest much lower numbers; around 25,000.
  42. ^ Specifically, the Latin term natio hungarica referred to all nobles of the Kingdom of Hungary regardless of their ethnicity.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g Hungary. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 11, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
  44. ^ a b c d e f A Country Study: Hungary. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  45. ^ a b "International Boundary Study – No. 47 – April 15, 1965 – Hungary – Romania (Rumania) Boundary". US Bureau of Intelligence and Research. 
  46. ^ Historical World Atlas. With the commendation of the Royal Geographical Society. Carthographia, Budapest, Hungary, 2005. ISBN 963-352-002-9CM
  47. ^ a b c d e f Steven W. Sowards. "Twenty-Five Lectures on Modern Balkan History (The Balkans in the Age of Nationalism), Lecture 4: Hungary and the limits of Habsburg authority". Michigan State University Libraries. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  48. ^ a b C. A. MACARTNEY D. LITT. (1962). HUNGARY A Short History. Edinburgh University Press. 
  49. ^ Robert A. Kann (1980). A history of the Habsburg Empire, 1526-1918. University of California Press. p. 205. ISBN 0520042069, 9780520042063.,M1. 
  50. ^ Peaks/waves of immigration
  51. ^ Kocsis, Károly. "Introduction". Ethnic Geography of the Hungarian Minorities in the Carpathian Basin. Simon Publications LLC. ISBN 193131375X.,M1. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  52. ^ Bugajski, Janusz (1995). Ethnic Politics in Eastern Europe: A Guide to Nationality Policies, Organizations, and Parties. M.E. Sharpe (Washington, D.C.). ISBN 1563242834, 9781563242830. 
  53. ^ Kovrig, Bennett (2000), Partitioned nation: Hungarian minorities in Central Europe, in: Michael Mandelbaum (ed.), The new European Diasporas: National Minorities and Conflict in Eastern Europe, New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, pp. 19–80.
  54. ^ Raffay Ernő: A vajdaságoktól a birodalomig. Az újkori Románia története (From voivodeships to the empire. The modern history of Romania). Publishing house JATE Kiadó, Szeged, 1989, pp. 155–156)
  55. ^ a b "Nyolcmillió lehet a magyar népesség 2050-re". origo. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  56. ^ Sebők László's ethnic map of Central and Southeastern Europe


  • Molnar, Miklos (2001). A Concise History of Hungary. Cambridge Concise Histories (Fifth printing 2008 ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521667364. 

2. Korai Magyar Torleniti Lexicon (9-14 szazad) (Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History -9-14th Centuries) Budapest, Akademiai Klado; 753. ISBN 963 05 6722 9.

External links

Genetic studies


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