What do you think of when someone mentions Transylvania? Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula’ has meant that we often associate the region with vampires and the supernatural, whereas it is simply a region bordering Hungary and is (as of now and in the foreseeable future) a part of Romania, with both countries being along the banks of the Danube. Transylvania has a fascinating history in which it has been a part of many countries and empires throughout the ages, as they rose and fell. This blogpost will give quick overview of how often the region has changed hands from the time of the Romans all the way to the present day.
Initially, Transylvania was a part of the kingdom of Dacia, and was the political centre there. It bordered the Roman empire to the south through the Danube river; it was not until 106 AD, that, under Emperor Trajan, that Dacia was finally conquered became a Roman province called Pannonia. There were skirmishes and another war before this but the Dacians were always able to repel the Romans back. It was not until 271 AD that the Romans withdrew from Dacia due to pressure from Free Dacians and Visigoths – even then, the Goths acknowledged that Dacia was Roman territory, but they were allowed to rule themselves.
The Huns then reached Transylvania in 376 AD. The Gothic War of 376-382 AD was also raging between the Goths and the Romans at this point, and in the midst of all this violence and war, the Huns forced the previous settlers of Dacia towards the Roman Empire. They then took over, and under Attila the Hun Pannonia was part of the region that became the centre of the Hunnic empire. After the disintegration of this empire, Pannonia was ruled by the Gepids, the Avars, the Bulgars, and then finally the Magyars, the descendants of whom now live in modern Hungary. This occurred in approximately 896, when Magyar tribes crossed into the Carpathian basin with little resistance.
It was in the year 1000 that Stephen I of Hungary became the king of all the Hungarian tribes, and this included the Transylvanian region. Transylvania itself was ruled by a voivode (a sort of lord) appointed by the king. The Szekelys (one of the many Hungarian tribes) settled here after being initially used as border guards. The next major incursion was that of the Mongolians, under Guyuk Khan, in 1241. The area was ravaged by the Mongols until they were finally defeated by Ladislaus IV of Hungary at Pest.
After this, Transylvania remained a voivodeship (a sort of duchy) in the Kingdom of Hungary, led by a voivode appointed by the Hungarian king. The next major conflict that would occur would be the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, between the Ottoman Empire and the forces of Hungary; the outcome was an Ottoman victory and consequently meant that Hungary was partitioned between the Ottoman Empire, the Hapsburg Monarchy and the principality of Transylvania, which was ruled by Calvinist Hungarian princes. For most of this period, Transylvania was a suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, a situation in which Transylvania was a tributary of the Empire. The Habsburg Empire took charge of the Transylvania region after the fight which occurred in 1683 in Vienna.
The Habsburg Empire is an unofficial term used to refer to the countries and provinces that were under by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1521 and 1780 and then by the House of Habsburg-Lorraine until the end of World War 1 . The capitals of the empire were : Vienna ( 1521-1582 , 1612-1918 ) and Prague ( 1583 – 1611 ) . The empire consisted of regions within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, being reunited as a single monarchy. The empire was also known as the Austrian Empire (1804-1867) as well as the Austro-Hungarian Empire ( 1867 -1918 ) .The name of the Empire comes from the Habsburg family, which came to rule Austria in 1279.The Empire collapsed after the first World War .
During the first World War Austria-Hungary was one of the Central Powers. The process of disintegration began on 3rd November 1918, when the military authorities signed the armistice of Villa Giusti. The Austro-Hungarian Empire army consisted of 7.8 million people. In charge of the army there was Archduke Friedrich von Österreich-Teschen until the Emperor Karl I took the charge. Simultaneously, the economy of the country deteriorated. This happened because the economy was mostly based on agriculture and the men working in agriculture were to fight in the army. Some of the consequences of the failure of the economy were the following:
1)Food production dropped.
2)The transportation became overcrowded.
3)Munition supplies could not be provided according to the request.
Among the causes which are considered to have led to the disappearance of the Empire were :
1)Becoming a back-up for Germany army.
2)Invasion on Serbia, which resulted in a greater than expected loss of men.
3)The army was affected by low morale and its consistence of multiple ethnicities with different habits and languages.
On the 11th November of 1918, the emperor Karl proclaimed the Austria’s right to determine the form of the state and organization. This followed into Austria-Hungary Empire being divided into 2 parts. It is estimated that the Restored Kingdom of Hungary lost 72% of its pre-war territory.
The union between Transylvania and the rest of Romania occurred on 1st December 1918. As a result, a new border between Romania and Hungary was established, in 1920.The whole Transylvania was integrated into Romania and the Hungarian authorities protested. During the second World War Younger gained 40% of Transylvania by the Second Vienna Award, which was later confirmed in 1947.
Therefore, throughout the history Transylvania and Hungary were strongly related, and the geographical space benefited from multicultural diversity.
– Darius and Tahmid