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Magyarization (also Magyarisation, Hungarization, Hungarisation, Hungarianization, Hungarianisation) is a kind of assimilation or acculturation, a process by which non-Hungarian elements came to adopt Hungarian (also called "Magyar") culture and language due to social pressure (often, though not exclusively, in the form of a coercive policy).
The Hungarian Nationalities Law (1868) guaranteed that all citizens of Hungary, whatever their nationality, constituted politically "a single nation, the indivisible, unitary Hungarian nation", and there could be no differentiation between them except in respect of the official usage of the current languages and then only insofar as necessitated by practical considerations. In spite of the law, the use of minority languages was banished almost entirely from administration and even justice. Defiance or appeals to the Nationalities Law, met with derision or abuse. The Hungarian language was overrepresented in the primary schools and almost all secondary education was in Hungarian.
By the end of the 19th century, the state apparatus was entirely Hungarian in language, as were business and social life above the lowest levels. The percentage of the population with Hungarian as its mother tongue grew from 46.6 % in 1880 to 54.5 % in 1910. Note that the 1910 census (and the earlier censuses) did not register ethnicity, but mother tongue (and religion) instead, based on which it is sometimes subject to criticism.
The Magyarization of the towns had proceeded at an astounding rate. Nearly all middle-class Jews and Germans and many middle-class Slovaks and Ruthenes had been Magyarized. In 1837 the number of Hungarians in the kingdom of Hungary have risen from 37% to 48% of the total population in 1910.
However, most of the Magyarization happened in the centre of Hungary and among the middle classes, who had access to education; and much of it was the direct result of urbanization and industrialization. It had hardly touched the rural populations of the periphery, and linguistic frontiers had not shifted significantly from the line on which they had stabilized a century earlier.
The process continued also in post-Trianon era. The political and cultural rights offered to interwar Hungary's ethnic minorities were stingier than their equivalents in any other country of East-Central Europe. While anyone who resisted Magyarization was, indeed, subject to political and cultural handicaps, he was not subject to the kinds of civic and fiscal chicaneries (prejudical court proceedings, overtaxation, biased application of social and economic legislation) that some of Hungary's neighbors often inflicted on their ethnic minorities.
The term generally applies to the policies that were enforced in the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary in the 19th century and early 20th century, especially after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, and in particular after the rise in 1871 of the Count Menyhért Lónyay as head of the Hungarian government.
When referring to personal and geographic names, Magyarization stands for the replacement of an originally non-Hungarian name with a Hungarian one. For instance, the Romanian name "Ion Negru" would become "János Fekete", or the Slavic name "Novo Selo" would become "Újfalu".
As is often the case with policies intended to forge or bolster national identity in a state, Magyarization was perceived by other ethnic groups such as the Romanians, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, etc., as aggression or active discrimination, especially where they formed the majority of the population.
Joseph II (1780–90), a leader influenced by the Enlightenment sought to centralize control of the empire and to rule it as an enlightened despot. He decreed that German replace Latin as the empire's official language.
This centralization/homogenization struggle was not unique to Joseph II, it was a trend that one could observe all around Europe with the birth of the enlightened idea of Nation State.
Hungarians perceived Joseph's language reform as German cultural hegemony, and they reacted by insisting on the right to use their own tongue. As a result, Hungarian lesser nobles sparked a renaissance of the Hungarian language and culture. The lesser nobles questioned the loyalty of the magnates, of whom less than half were ethnic Magyars, and even those had become French- and German-speaking courtiers.
The magyarization policy actually took shape as early as the 1830s, when Hungarian started replacing Latin and German in education
In July 1849, Hungarian Revolutionary Parliament acknowledged and enacted foremost the ethnic and minority rights in the world, but it was too late: To counter the successes of the Hungarian revolutionary army, the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph asked for help from the "Gendarme of Europe", Czar Nicholas I, whose Russian armies invaded Hungary. The army of the Russian Empire and the Austrian forces proved too powerful for the Hungarian army, and General Artúr Görgey surrendered in August 1849.
The Magyar national reawakening therefore triggered national revivals among the Slovak, Romanian, Serbian, and Croatian minorities within Hungary and Transylvania, who felt threatened by both German and Magyar cultural hegemony. These national revivals later blossomed into the nationalist movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that contributed to the empire's ultimate collapse.
|Time||Total population of the K. of Hungary (without Croatia)||Percentage rate of Hungarians|
|1910||18,264,533||54.5% (5% Jews)|
The term Magyarization is used in regards to the national policies put into use by the government of the Kingdom of Hungary, which was part of the Habsburg Empire. The beginning of this process dates to the late 18th century and was intensified after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which increased the power of the Hungarian government within the newly formed Austria-Hungary. some of them had little desire to be declared a national minority like in other cultures. However, Jews in Hungary appreciated the emancipation in Hungary at a time when anti-semitic laws were still applied in Russia and Romania. Large minorities were concentrated in various regions of the kingdom, where they formed significant majorities. In Transylvania proper (1867 borders), the 1910 census finds 55.08% Romanian-speakers, 34.2% Hungarian-speakers, and 8.71% German-speakers. In the north of the Kingdom, Slovaks and Ruthenians formed an ethnic majority also, in the southern regions the majority were South Slavic Croats, Serbs and Slovenes and in the western regions the majority were Germans. The process of Magyarization did not succeed in imposing the Hungarian language as the most used language in all territories in the Kingdom of Hungary. In fact the profoundly multinational character of historic Transylvania was reflected in the fact that during the fifty years of the dual monarchy, the spread of Hungarian as the second language remained limited. In 1880, 5.7 % of the non-Hungarian population, or 109,190 people, claimed to have a knowledge of the Hungarian language; the proportion rose to 11 % (183,508) in 1900, and to 15.2 % (266,863) in 1910. These figures reveal the reality of a bygone era, one in which millions of people could conduct their lives without speaking the state's official language. The policies of Magyarization aimed to have a Hungarian language name as a requirement for access to basic government services such as local administration, education, and justice.
Between 1850 and 1910 the ethnic Hungarian population increased by 106.7%, while the increase of other ethnic groups was far slower: Serbians and Croatians 38.2%, Romanians 31.4% and Slovaks 10.7%.
According to census data, the Hungarian population of Transylvania increased from 24.9% in 1869 to 31.6% in 1910. In the same time, the percentage of Romanian population decreased from 59.0% to 53.8% and the percentage of German population decreased from 11.9% to 10.7%. Changes were more significant in cities with predominantly German and Romanian population. For example, the percentage of Hungarian population increased in Braşov from 13.4% in 1850 to 43.43% in 1910, meanwhile the Romanian population decreased from 40% to 28.71% and the German population from 40.8% to 26.41%.
The first Hungarian government after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the 1867–1871 liberal government led by Count Gyula Andrássy and sustained by Ferenc Deák and his followers, passed the 1868 Nationality Act, that declared "all citizens of Hungary form, politically, one nation, the indivisible unitary Hungarian nation (nemzet), of which every citizen of the country, whatever his personal nationality (nemzetiség), is a member equal in rights." The Education Act, passed the same year, shared this view as the Magyars simply being primus inter pares ("first among equals"). At this time ethnic minorities "de jure" had a great deal of cultural and linguistic autonomy, including in education, religion, and local government.
However, after education minister Baron József Eötvös died in 1871, and in Andrássy became imperial foreign minister, Deák withdrew from active politics and Menyhért Lónyay became the Hungarian prime minister. He became steadily more allied with the Magyar gentry, and the notion of a Hungarian political nation increasingly became one of a Magyar nation. "[A]ny political or social movement which challenged the hegemonic position of the Magyar ruling classes was liable to be repressed or charged with 'treason'…, 'libel' or 'incitement of national hatred'. This was to be the fate of various Slovak, South Slav [e.g. Serb], Romanian and Ruthene cultural societies and nationalist parties from 1876 onward…" All of this only intensified after 1875, with the rise of Kálmán Tisza, who as minister of the Interior had ordered the closing of Matica slovenská on 6 April 1875. Until 1890, Kálmán Tisza brought the Slovaks many other measures which prevented them from keeping pace with the progres of other European nations.
For a long time, number of non-Hungarians that lived in the Kingdom of Hungary was much larger than a number of ethnic Hungarians. According to the 1787 data, the population of the Kingdom of Hungary numbered 2,322,000 Hungarians (29%) and 5,681,000 non-Hungarians (71%). In 1809, the population numbered 3,000,000 Hungarians (30%) and 7,000,000 non-Hungarians (70%). As an increasingly intense Magyarization policy was implemented after 1867.
Although in Slovak, Romanian and Serbian history writing administrative and often repressive Magyarization is usually singled out as the main factor accountable for the dramatic change in the ethnic composition of the Kingdom of Hungary in the 19th century, it should be noted that spontaneous assimilation was also an important factor. In this regard, it must be pointed out that large territories of central and southern Kingdom of Hungary lost their previous, predominantly Magyar population during the numerous wars fought by the Habsburg and Ottoman empires in the 16th and 17th centuries. These empty lands were repopulated, by administrative measures adopted by the Vienna Court especially during the 18th century, by Hungarians and Slovaks from the northern part of the Kingdom that avoided the devastation (see also Royal Hungary), Swabians, Serbs (Serbs were majority in most southern parts of the Pannonian Plain during Ottoman rule, i.e. before those Habsburg administrative measures), Croats and Romanians. Various ethnic groups lived side by side (this ethnic heterogeneity is preserved until today in certain parts of Vojvodina, Bačka and Banat). After 1867, Hungarian became the lingua franca on this territory in the interaction between ethnic communities, and individuals who were born in mixed marriages between two non-Magyars often grew a full-fledged allegiance to the Hungarian nation. Of course since Latin was the official language until 1842 and the country was directly governed from Vienna (which excluded any large-scale governmental assimilation policy from the Hungarian side before the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the factor of spontaneous assimilation should be given due weight in any analysis relating to the demographic tendencies of the Kingdom of Hungary in the 19th century.
The other key factor in mass ethnic changes is that between 1880 and 1910 about 3 million  of Austro-Hungarians migrated to the United States alone. More than half of them were from Hungary (1.5 million+ or about 10% of the total population) alone The term "másfélmillió koldus országa" ("land of the one and half million beggars") was coined that time to describe the situation. Besides the 1.5 million that fled to the US (2/3 of them or about a million were ethnically non Hungarians) mainly Romanians and Serbs had migrated to their newly established mother states in large numbers, like the Principality of Serbia or the Kingdom of Romania, who proclaimed their independence in 1878. Amongst them were such noted people, like the early aviator Aurel Vlaicu (his face is on the 50 Romanian lei) or famous writer Liviu Rebreanu (first illegally in 1909, then legally in 1911) or Ion Ivanovici. Also many fled to Western Europe or other parts of the Americas.
Many Slovak intellectuals and activists (such as Janko Kráľ) were imprisoned or even sentenced to death during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. One of the incidents that shocked European public opinion was the Černová massacre when 15 people were killed and 52 injured in 1907. Massacre caused Kingdom of Hungary to lose much prestige in the eyes of the world when English historian R. W. Seton-Watson, Norwegian writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Russian writer Leo Tolstoy championed this cause. The case being a proof for the violence of Magyarization is disputed, partly because the sergeant who ordered the shooting and all the shooters were ethnic Slovak and partly because of the controversial figure of Andrej Hlinka.
Schools funded by churches and communes had the right to provide education in minority languages. These church-funded schools, however, were mostly founded before 1867, that is, in different socio-political circumstances. In practice, the majority of students in commune-funded schools who were native speakers of minority languages were instructed exclusively in Hungarian. Moreover, the number of minority-language schools was steadily decreasing: in the period between 1880 and 1913, when the number of Hungarian-only schools almost doubled, the number of minority language-schools almost halved. Nonetheless, Transylvanian Romanians had more Romanian-language schools under the Austro-Hungarian Empire rule than there were in the Romanian Kingdom itself. Thus, for example, in 1880, in Austro-Hungarian Empire there were 2,756 schools teaching exclusively in the Romanian language, while in the Kingdom of Romania there were only 2,505 (The Romanian Kingdom gained his independency from the Ottoman Empire only two years before, in 1878) (. The process of magyarization culminated in 1907 with the Apponyi laws which forced all primary school children to read, write and count in Magyar for the first four years of their education. From 1909 religion also had to be taught in Magyar.
The effect of Magyarization on the education system in Hungary was very significant, as can be seen from the official statistics submitted by the Hungarian government to the Paris Peace Conference: (Formally, all the Jewish people of the kingdom were considered as Hungarians, who had higher rato in tertiary education than Christians)
|% of total population||54.5%||16.1%||10.7%||10.4%||2.5%||2.5%|
|Junior high schools||652||4||-||6||3||-|
|Science high schools||33||1||-||2||-||-|
|Gymnasiums for boys||172||5||-||7||1||-|
|High schools for girls||50||-||-||1||-||-|
The census system of the post-1867 Kingdom of Hungary was unfavourable to those of non-Hungarian nationality. According to the 1874 election law, which remained unchanged until 1918, only the upper 5.9% of whole population had voting rights. That effectively excluded almost the whole of the peasantry and the working class from Hungarian political life. The percentage of those on low incomes was higher among other nationalities than among the Magyars, with the exception of Germans who were generally richer. From a Hungarian point of view, the structure of settlement system was based on differences in earning potential and wages. The Hungarians and Germans were much more urbanised than Slovaks, Romanians and Serbs in Kingdom of Hungary.
In 1900, nearly a third of the deputies were elected by fewer than 100 votes and close to two-thirds were elected by fewer than 1000 votes. Transylvania had an even worse representation: the more Romanian a county was, the fewer voters it had. Out of the Transylvanian deputies sent to Budapest, 35 represented the 4 mostly Hungarian counties and the major towns (which together forming 20% of the population), whereas only 30 deputies represented the other 72% of the population, which was predominantly Romanian.
In 1913, even the electorate that elected only one-third of the deputies had a non proportional ethnic composition. The Magyars who made up 54.5% of the population of the Kingdom of Hungary represented a 60.2% majority in the electorate. Ethnic Germans made up 10.4% of the population and 13.0% of the electorate. The participation of other ethnic groups was as follows: Slovaks (10.7% in population, 10.4% in the electorate), Romanians (16.1% in population, 9.9% in the electorate), Rusyns (2.5% in population, 1.7% in the electorate), Croats (1.1% in population, 1.0% in the electorate), Serbs (2.2% in population, 1.4% in the electorate), and others (2.2% in population, 1.4% in the electorate).
Officially, Hungarian electoral laws never contained any legal discrimination based on nationality or language. The high census was not uncommon in other European countries in the 1860s but later the countries of Western-Europe gradually lowered and at last abolished their censi. That never happened in the Kingdom of Hungary, although electoral reform was one of the main topic of political debates in the last decades before World War I.
The law about registry books prescribed that all names in these books should be in Hungarian. The native names of non-Hungarians were, thus, replaced with Hungarian ones, for example Serbian name Stevan was replaced with Istvan or Jelena with Ilona. The policy included not only Magyarization of personal names, but of surnames, as well.
Hungarian authorities put constant pressure upon all non-Hungarians to Magyarize their names and the ease with which this could be done gave rise to the nickname of Crown Magyars (the price of the registration being one krone). In 1881 the "Central Society for Name Magyarization" (Központi Névmagyarositó Társaság) was founded in 1881 in Budapest. The aim of this private society was to provide advice and guidelines for those who wanted to Magyarize their surnames. Telkes Simon became the chairman of the society, who professed that "one can achieve being accepted as a true son of the nation by adopting a national name". The society began an advertising campaign in the newspapers and sent out circular letters. They also made a proposal to lower the fees of the name changing. The proposal was accepted by the Parliament and the fee was lowered from 5 Forints to 50 Krajcárs. After this the name changings peaked in 1881 and 1882 (with 1261 and 1065 registered name changes), and continued in the following years on the average of 750-850 per year. During the Bánffy-administration there was another boost with the highest 6700 application forms in 1897, mostly due to the pressure from authorities and employers of the government sector. Statistics show that only between 1881 and 1905 42,437 surnames were Magyarized.(It is less than 0.5% of the total non-Hungarian population of Hungarian Kingdom) Voluntary Magyarization of German or Slavic-sounding surnames remained a typical phenomenon in Hungary during the course of the whole 20th century.
Together with Magyarization of personal names and surnames, the exclusive use of the Hungarian names of geographical places, instead of multilingual usage, was also common. For the places that were not known under Hungarian names in the past, new Hungarian names were invented and used in administration instead of the former original non-Hungarian names. Examples of places where original non-Hungarian names were replaced with newly invented Hungarian names: Szvidnik - Felsővízköz (in Slovak Svidník, now Slovakia), Najdás - Néranádas (in Romanian Naidăş, now Romania), Sztarcsova - Tárcsó (in Serbian Starčevo, now Serbia), Lyutta - Havasköz (in Ruthenian Lyuta, now Ukraine), Bruck - Királyhida (now Bruck an der Leitha, Austria).
According to Hungarian statistics and considering the huge number of assimilated persons between 1700-1944 (~3 million) only 340,000-350,000 names were magyarised between 1815–1944; this happened mainly inside the Hungarian-speaking area. One Jewish name out of 17 was Magyarised, in comparation with other nationalities: one out of 139 (Catholic) -427 (Lutheran) for Germans and 170 (Catholic) -330 (Lutheran) for Slovaks.
A list of geographical names in the former Kingdom of Hungary, which includes place names of Slavic, Romanian or German origin that were replaced with newly invented Hungarian names between 1880 and 1918. On the first place the former official name used in Hungarian is given, on the second the new name and on the third place the name as it was restored after 1918 with the proper orthography of the given language.
Serbian and Croatian names
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2012)|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2012)|
List of the Magyarized names of Romanian origin :
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2012)|
List of the Magyarized place names of German origin in the Banat region:
Part of the Magyarization was a result of internal migration of segments of the ethnically non-Hungarian population to the Kingdom of Hungary's central predominantly Hungarian counties and to Budapest where they assimilated. The ratio of ethnically non-Hungarian population in the Kingdom was also dropping due to their overrepresentation among the migrants to foreign countries, mainly to the United States. Hungarians, the largest ethnic group in the Kingdom representing 45.5% of the population in 1900, accounted for only 26.2% of the emigrants, while non-Hungarians (54.5%) accounted for 72% from 1901 to 1913. The areas with the highest emigration were the northern mostly Slovak inhabited counties of Sáros, Szepes, Zemlén, and from Ung county where a substantial Rusyn population lived. In the next tier were some of the southern counties including Bács-Bodrog, Torontál, Temes, and Krassó-Szörény largely inhabited by Serbs, Romanians, and Germans, as well as the northern mostly Slovak counties of Árva and Gömör-Kishont, and the central Hungarian inhabited county of Veszprém. The reasons for emigration were mostly economic. Additionally, some may have wanted to avoid Magyarization or the draft, but direct evidence of other than economic motivation among the emigrants themselves is limited. The Kingdom's administration welcomed the development as yet another instrument of increasing the ratio of ethnic Hungarians at home.
The Hungarian government made a contract with the English-owned Cunard Steamship Company for a direct passenger line from Rijeka to New York. Its purpose was to enable the government to increase the business transacted through their medium. While encouraging emigration, the company did not give passports to ethnic Hungarians.[original research?]
By 1914, a total number of 3 million had emigrated, of whom about 25% returned. This process of returning was halted by World War I and the partition of Austria-Hungary. The majority of the emigrants came from the most indigent social groups, especially from the agrarian sector. Magyarization did not cease after the collapse of Austria-Hungary but has continued within the borders of the post-WW-I Hungary throughout most of the 20th century and resulted in high decrease of numbers of ethnic Non-Hungarians.
According to the 2001-census they are 268,935 Greek-Catholic Christians living in Hungary. Excepting few thousands of Romanians and Rusyns, most of them are today ethnically and linguistically related to Hungarians. Most of the Greek-Catholic Hungarians have Rusyn and Romanian ancestors. The Hungarian Greek-Catholic diocese of Hajdudorog was founded in 1912. On that time, the diocese promoted the replacement of the Rusyn and Romanian liturgic language with Hungarian. Today, the seat of the diocese is in Nyíregyháza.
In the nineteenth century, the Neolog Jews were located mainly in the cities and larger towns. They arose in the environment of the latter period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire generally good period for upwardly mobile Jews, especially those of modernizing inclinations. In the Hungarian portion of the Empire, most Jews (nearly all Neologs and even most of the Orthodox) adopted the Hungarian language as their primary language and viewed themselves as "Magyars of the Jewish persuasion". The Jewish minority which to the extent it is attracted to a secular culture is usually attracted to the secular culture in power, was inclined to gravitate toward the cultural orientation of Budapest. (The same factor prompted Prague Jews to adopt an Austrian cultural orientation, and at least some Vilna Jews to adopt a Russian orientation.)
After the emancipation of Jews in 1867, the Jewish population of the Kingdom of Hungary (as well as the ascending German population) actively embraced Magyarization, because they saw it as an opportunity for assimilation without conceding their religion. (We also have to point out that in case of the Jewish people that process had been preceded by a process of Germanization earlier performed by Habsburg rulers). Stephen Roth writes, "Hungarian Jews were opposed to Zionism because they hoped that somehow they could achieve equality with other Hungarian citizens, not just in law but in fact, and that they could be integrated into the country as Hungarian Israelites. The word 'Israelite' (Hungarian: Izraelita) denoted only religious affiliation and was free from the ethnic or national connotations usually attached to the term 'Jew'. Hungarian Jews attained remarkable achievements in business, culture and less frequently even in politics. But even the most successful Jews were not fully accepted by the majority of the Magyars as one of their kind — as the events following the Nazi German invasion of the country in World War II so tragically demonstrated."  However, in the 1930s and early 1940s Budapest was a safe haven for Slovak, German and Austrian Jewish refugees and a center of Hungarian Jewish cultural life.
In 2006 the Company for Hungarian Jewish Minority could not collect 1000 signatures for a petition to declare Hungarian Jews a minority even though there are at least 100 000 Jews in the country. The official Hungarian Jewish religious organization, Mazsihisz advised not to vote for the new status because they think that Jews identify themselves as a religious group, not as a 'national minority'. There was no real control throughout the process and non-Jewish people could also sign the petition.
Although the share of Slovaks within the electorate (10,4%) largely reflected their weight in the total population of Hungary proper (10,7%) Slovaks had extremely marginal representation in the parliament (1 deputy out of 420 MPs). Although at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 there were more than one thousand Slovak elementary schools, their number was gradually reduced to 322 by 1918.
Considerable number of other nationalities remained within the frontiers of the post-Trianon Hungary:
According to the 1920 census 10.4% of the population spoke one of the minority languages as mother language:
The number of bilingual people was much higher, for example
Hungarian was spoken by 96% of the total population and was the mother language of 89%.
In interwar period, Hungary expanded its university system so the administrators could be produced to carry out the Magyarization of the lost territories for the case they were regained.
The percentage and the absolute number of all non-Hungarian nationalities decreased in the next decades, although the total population of the country increased. Bilingualism was also disappearing. The main reasons of this process were both spontaneous assimilation and the deliberate Magyarization policy of the state. Minorities made up 8% of the total population in 1930 and 7% in 1941 (on the post-Trianon territory).
After World War II about 200,000 Germans were deported to Germany according to the decree of the Potsdam Conference. Under the forced exchange of population between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, approximately 73,000 Slovaks left Hungary. After these population movements Hungary became an ethnically almost homogeneous country except the rapidly growing number of Roma people in the second half of the 20th century.
||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (November 2009)|
||The examples and perspective in this article may not include all significant viewpoints. (May 2009)|
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