Budapest History Early Origins & Recent History

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Budapest Early Origins  & History

Budapest is first documented as the Roman town of Aquincum which was founded in AD89 near an an old Celtic settlement. in an area which for the following four centuries was known as Obuda. The word Pest (meaning sentry point) is thought to have Turkish origins and referred to another settlement that dates back to Roman times – but this definition is sometimes disputed. In the 9th century the Slavs settled in the area along with the Maygars from Central Asia. Most historians cite this migration as being the ancestral foundation of the Hungary’s culture and language.

In 1241 Pest was briefly invaded and destroyed by Mongol invaders.The town was quickly rebuilt but it was in Buda, six years later, that the Royal castle was built. In 1361 Buda became the capital of Hungary. Buda and Pest where both invaded by armies of the Ottoman Empire in 1541. During the occupation both towns (especially Pest) saw a decline in population and industry.

The cities were recaptured in 1686 by the Austria’s Habsburg rulers. In the following two centuries Pest grew rapidly. By the 19th century its population was larger than that of Buda and nearby Obuda combined. In the nineteenth century Pests population increased twenty fold four times greater than the other two towns.

In 1849 the three town were for a short time incorporated under a single administration by a new revolutionary.Hungarian Regime. The incorporation was revoked when the Habsburgs regained power, but then reintroduced in 1867 by Hungary’s Government in 1867.


Budapest Recent History

See also Hungarian Uprising & Imre Nagy

At the end of WW1 Budapest remained Hungary’s capital but two thirds of the country’s land had been lost. Budapest though continued to grow and by 1930 greater Budapest had 1.4 million residents. In 1944 some parts of Budapest were destroyed by British and American air raids. Further serious damage occurred during a 50 day siege of the city which began on December 24th as German troops stood their ground against the advancing Red Army. During this battle nearly 40,000 civilians were killed on top of the 100,000 Jews who had been slaughtered by the Nazis in the previous year.

At the end of the WW2 the Red Army installed a communist government. In the following decade Budapest was rebuilt. In 1956 the people of Budapest tried to free themselves from the rule of Communism but the October ‘Hungarian Uprising’ was brutally quashed on Nov 4th. See Hungarian Uprising & Imre Nagy

Since the fall of communism in 1989 Hungary has prospered and in 2004 it became a EU Member State. Perhaps the most striking thing about Budapest is that the people are very proud about being Hungarian but at the same time happy to be Europeans



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