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Mon, May 25, 2020
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TRIANON – the 100th Anniversary

Top: the Austro-Hungarian Empire; bottom: dismembered Hungary

TRIANON – the 100th Anniversary


2020 marks the centenary of the dictated Treaty of Trianon, the greatest catastrophe that befell Hungary in its one thousand and one hundred year history.  As stated – somewhat inaccurately – in the Introduction to the Treaty, signed on June 4th, 1920,

“... the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy has now ceased to exist, and has been replaced by a national Hungarian Government...”

   (not mentioning the fact that Austria, and the other parts of the Monarchy, also became  separate nations!)

But let us take a glance at what that Hungarian component of the Monarchy had been like. 

Mostly embraced by the Carpathian Mountains in the North, East and South, Hungary formed a natural geographical and economically coherent entity.  Its diverse population (including the Slovaks of Upper Hungary and the Ruthenians of Subcarpathia), lived under the Monarchy’s umbrella, forming a mosaic in which each part was dependent on the whole.  This is best – though incompletely –  illustrated by the great coat of arms, held by two angels (which was part of the protocol for displaying it. Superimposed on it was the small coat of arms with which we all are familiar.)  It was used by government agencies which had jurisdiction over the lands under Hungarian sovereignty.  These were:

- Dalmatia, a strip of land along the Adriatic coast, which had a majority of Croats, with Serb and Italian minorities.  It was represented on the upper left side of the coat of arms by a blue field with 3 lion heads.

- Croatia, with a majority of Croats and a Serb minority.  It was located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic, and stretching eastward inland.  It was represented in the large coat of arms on the upper right side by a shield divided into red and silver squares.

- Slovenia in the southwest had a population of Slovenes, with minorities of Serbs, Croats and Hungarians.  Its position in the coat of arms was on the lower left, represented by a shield divided by two white rivers, with a marten – a weasel-like animal – on the red field between the rivers, and a star on the blue field above the rivers. 

- Transylvania’s three southeastern counties had an overwhelmingly Székely population, Hungarians who traced their origins back to the time of Attila, i.e. preceding the entry of the Hungarian tribes into the Hungarian Plain by some 500 years.  The population of the rest of Transylvania was made up of Hungarians, Germans (popularly called szászok, or Saxons) and Romanians.

Transylvania’s place in the coat of arms was on the lower right side, as a shield showing seven red towers on a golden field, topped by a red line.  Above this were the symbols for the sun and moon, separated by the legendary Hungarian turul bird.  These symbols stood for the three historically privileged populations of Transylvania: the Hungarians (represented by the turul,) the Székelys (by the sun and moon), and the Germans (by the seven towers.)    

- Fiume, the port on the Adriatic had an Italian population, with Croat and Hungarian minorities. It had been transferred to Hungary by the Empress Maria Theresa in 1776, and was given status as a corpus separatum, i.e., legally and politically different from its environment, but short of being independent. It was Hungary’s only port.



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