Arrival of the Hungarians | ©Árpád Feszty


894 Jan 1
, Dnipro

Hungarian prehistory spans the period of history of the Hungarian people, or Magyars, which started with the separation of the Hungarian language from other Finno-Ugric or Ugric languages around 800 BC, and ended with the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin around 895 AD. Based on the earliest records of the Magyars in Byzantine, Western European, and Hungarian chronicles, scholars considered them for centuries to have been the descendants of the ancient Scythians and Huns. 

On the eve of the arrival of the Hungarians (Magyars), around 895, East Francia, the First Bulgarian Empire and Great Moravia (a vassal state of East Francia) ruled the territory of the Carpathian Basin. The Hungarians had much knowledge about this region because they were frequently hired as mercenaries by the surrounding polities and had led their own campaigns in this area for decades. This area had been sparsely populated since Charlemagne's destruction of the Avar state in 803, and the Magyars (Hungarians) were able to move in peacefully and virtually unopposed. The newly unified Hungarians, led by Árpád, settled in the Carpathian Basin starting in 895.

Mihály Munkácsy: Conquest (1893)

Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin

895 Jan 1
, Pannonian Basin

The Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin, was a series of historical events ending with the settlement of the Hungarians in Central Europe at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries. Before the arrival of the Hungarians, three early medieval powers, the First Bulgarian Empire, East Francia and Moravia, had fought each other for control of the Carpathian Basin. They occasionally hired Hungarian horsemen as soldiers. Therefore, the Hungarians who dwelt on the Pontic steppes east of the Carpathians were familiar with their future homeland when their conquest started.

The Hungarian conquest started in the context of a "late or 'small' migration of peoples". Contemporary sources attest that the Hungarians crossed the Carpathian Mountains following a joint attack in 894 or 895 by the Pechenegs and Bulgarians against them. They first took control over the lowlands east of the river Danube and attacked and occupied Pannonia (the region to the west of the river) in 900. They exploited internal conflicts in Moravia and annihilated this state sometime between 902 and 906.

Three main theories attempt to explain the reasons for the "Hungarian land-taking". One argues that it was an intended military operation, prearranged following previous raids, with the express purpose of occupying a new homeland. This view (represented, for instance, by Bakay and Padányi) mainly follows the narration of Anonymous and later Hungarian chronicles. The opposite view maintains that a joint attack by the Pechenegs and the Bulgarians forced the Hungarians' hand. Kristó, Tóth and the theory's other followers refer to the unanimous testimony provided by the Annals of Fulda, Regino of Prüm and Porphyrogenitus on the connection between the Hungarians' conflict with the Bulgar-Pecheneg coalition and their withdrawal from the Pontic steppes. An intermediate theory proposes that the Hungarians had for decades been considering a westward move when the Bulgarian-Pecheneg attack accelerated their decision to leave the Pontic steppes. For instance Róna-Tas argues, " fact that, despite a series of unfortunate events, the Magyars managed to keep their heads above water goes to show that they were indeed ready to move on" when the Pechenegs attacked them.

Holy Roman Emperor prepares defenses

Holy Roman Emperor prepares defenses

896 Jan 1
, Zalavár

Regino of Prüm states that the Hungarians "roamed the wildernesses of the Pannonians and the Avars and sought their daily food by hunting and fishing" following their arrival in the Carpathian Basin. Their advance towards the Danube seems to have stimulated Holy Roman Emperor Arnulf who was crowned emperor to entrust Braslav (the ruler of the region between the rivers Drava and Sava)] with the defense of all Pannonia in 896.

Magyars raid Italy at the suggestion of Arnulf | ©Angus McBride

Magyars raid Italy at the suggestion of Arnulf

899 Sep 24
, Brenta

The next event recorded in connection with the Hungarians is their raid against Italy in 899 and 900. The letter of Archbishop Theotmar of Salzburg and his suffragans suggests that Emperor Arnulf incited them to attack King Berengar I of Italy. They routed the Italian troops on 2 September at the river Brenta on a great battle and plundered the region of Vercelli and Modena in the winter.

After this victory the whole Italian Kingdom lied on the mercy of the Hungarians. With no Italian army to oppose them, the Hungarians decided to spend the mild winter in Italy, continuing to attack monasteries, castles and cities, trying to conquer them, like they did before they had started to be chased by Berengar's army.

They returned from Italy when they learned of the death of Emperor Arnulf. Before the Hungarians left Italy, in the spring of 900, they concluded peace with Berengar, who gave them in exchange for they departure hostages, and money for the peace. As Liuprand writes, the Hungarians became Berengar's friends. It seems that, in time, some of the Hungarian leaders became his personal friends.

Magyar horse archer

Magyars conquer Pannonia

900 Jan 1
, Moravia

The emperor's death released the Hungarians from their alliance with East Francia. On their way back from Italy they expanded their rule over Pannonia. Furthermore, according to Liutprand of Cremona, the Hungarians "claimed for themselves the nation of the Moravians, which King Arnulf had subdued with the aid of their might" at the coronation of Arnulf's son, Louis the Child in 900. The Annals of Grado relates that the Hungarians defeated the Moravians after their withdrawal from Italy. Thereafter the Hungarians and the Moravians made an alliance and jointly invaded Bavaria, according to Aventinus. However, the contemporary Annals of Fulda only refers to Hungarians reaching the river Enns.

Magyar Cavalryman | ©Angus McBride

Fall of Moravia

902 Jan 1
, Moravia

The Hungarians conquer the eastern parts of Great Moravia, ending with this the Hungarian Conquest of the Carpathian Basin, while the Slavs from West and North to this region, start to pay tribute to them.

The date when Moravia ceased to exist is uncertain, because there is no clear evidence either on the "existence of Moravia as a state" after 902 or on its fall. A short note in the Annales Alamannici refers to a "war with the Hungarians in Moravia" in 902, during which the "land succumbed", but this text is ambiguous.

Alternatively, the so-called Raffelstetten Customs Regulations mentions the "markets of the Moravians" around 905. The Life of Saint Naum relates that the Hungarians occupied Moravia, adding that the Moravians who "were not captured by the Hungarians, ran to the Bulgars". Constantine Porphyrogenitus also connects the fall of Moravia to its occupation by the Hungarians. The destruction of the early medieval urban centers and fortresses at Szepestamásfalva, Dévény and other places in modern Slovakia is dated to the period around 900.

Hungarian archer, 10th century

Magyars invade Italy again

904 Jan 1
, Lombardy

The Hungarians invaded Italy using the so-called "Route of the Hungarians" leading from Pannonia to Lombardy in 904. They arrived as King Berengar I's allies against his rival, King Louis of Provance. The Hungarians devastated the territories occupied earlier by King Louis along the river Po, which ensured Berengar's victory. The victorious monarch allowed the Hungarians to pillage all the towns that had earlier accepted his opponent's rule, and agreed to pay a yearly tribute of about 375 kilograms (827 lb) of silver.

The Hungarians' victory hindered any attempts of eastward expansion by East Francia for the following decades and opened the way for the Hungarians to freely plunder vast territories of that kingdom.

Bavarians murder Kurszán

Bavarians murder Kurszán

904 Jun 1
, Fischamend

Kurszán, was a kende of the Magyars in the dual leadership with Árpád serving as a gyula - according to a mainstream theory. He had a crucial role in the Hungarian Conquest. In 892/893 together with Arnulf of Carinthia he attacked Great Moravia to secure the eastern borders of the Frankish Empire. Arnulf gave him all the captured lands in Moravia. Kurszán also occupied the southern part of Hungary that had belonged to the Bulgarian Kingdom. He entered into an alliance with the Byzantine emperor Leo VI after realizing the country's vulnerability from the south. Together they surprisingly defeated the army of Simeon I of Bulgaria.

An important event following the conquest of the Carpathian Basin, the Bavarians' murder of Kurszán, was recorded by the longer version of the Annals of Saint Gall, the Annales Alamannici and the Annals of Einsiedeln.

The three chronicles unanimously state that the Bavarians invited the Hungarian leader to a dinner on the pretext of negotiating a peace treaty and treacherously assassinated him. From this point Árpád became the only ruler and occupied some of the territory of his former partner. 

Magyars devastate the Duchy of Saxony

Magyars devastate the Duchy of Saxony

906 Jan 1
, Meissen

Two Hungarian armies devastate, one after the other, the Duchy of Saxony. The Magyars were asked to come by the Slavic tribe of Dalamancians, which lived near Meissen, threatened by the Saxon attacks.

Battle of Pressburg, | ©Peter Johann Nepomuk Geiger

Battle of Pressburg

907 Jul 4
, Bratislava

The Battle of Pressburg was a three-day-long battle, fought between 4–6 July 907, during which the East Francian army, consisting mainly of Bavarian troops led by Margrave Luitpold, was annihilated by Hungarian forces.

The exact location of the battle is not known. Contemporary sources say it took place at "Brezalauspurc", but where exactly Brezalauspurc was is unclear. Some specialists place it in the vicinity of Zalavár; others in a location close to Bratislava, the traditional assumption.

An important result of the Battle of Pressburg was the Kingdom of East Francia could not regain control over the Carolingian March of Pannonia, including the territory of the later marchia orientalis, lost in 900.

The most significant result of the Battle of Pressburg is that the Hungarians secured the lands they gained during the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin, prevented a German invasion that jeopardized their future, and established the Kingdom of Hungary. This battle is considered one of the most significant battles in the history of Hungary, and marks the conclusion of the Hungarian conquest.

Battle of Eisenach

Battle of Eisenach

908 Aug 1
, Eisenach

 After the Battle of Pressburg ended with a catastrophical defeat of the attacking East Francian armies led by Luitpold prince of Bavaria, the Hungarians following the nomadic warfare philosophy: destroy your enemy completely or force him to submit to you, first forced Arnulf prince of Bavaria to pay them tribute, and let their armies cross the lands of the duchy to attack other German and Christian territories, then started long range campaigns against the other East Francian duchies.

In their campaign of 908, the Hungarians used again the Dalamancian territory to attack Thuringia and Saxonia, coming from Bohemia or Silesia, where Slavic tribes lived, like they did in 906. The Thuringian and Saxonian forces, under the lead of Burchard, Duke of Thuringia met the Hungarians on the battlefield at Eisenach. 

We do not know many details about this battle, but we know that it was a crushing defeat for the Germans, and the leader of the Christian army: Burchard, Duke of Thuringia was killed, along with Egino, Duke of Thuringia and Rudolf I, Bishop of Würzburg, together with the most part of the German soldiers. The Hungarians then plundered Thuringia and Saxonia as far north as Bremen, returning home with many spoils.

First Battle of Lechfeld | ©Angus McBride

First Battle of Lechfeld

910 Jun 9
, Augsburg

In 909 a Hungarian army invaded Bavaria, but it was defeated by Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria in a minor battle near Pocking.

King Louis decided that forces from all the German duchies should come together to fight the Hungarians. He even threatened with execution those who would not gather under his flag. So we can presume that Louis gathered a "huge army," as Liutprand terms it in his Antapodosis. The exact size of the Frankish army is not known, but it can be assumed that it was far more numerous than the Hungarian army. This explains why the Magyars were so cautious during the battle, and waited an unusually long time (more than twelve hours), sapping the strength of the enemy little by little with hit-and-run tactics as well as using psychological methods to confuse them, before taking the decisive tactical step.

The first Battle of Lechfeld was an important victory by a Magyar army over the combined forces of East Francia and Swabia (Alamannia) under the nominal command of Louis the Child. This battle is one of the greatest examples of the success of the feigned retreat tactic used by nomadic warriors, and an example of the effective use of psychological warfare.

Battle of Rednitz | ©Angus McBride

Battle of Rednitz

910 Jun 20
, Rednitz

After that First Battle of Lechfeld, the Hungarian army marched north, to the border of Bavaria and Franconia, and met with the Franco-Bavaro-Lotharingian army led by Gebhard, Duke of Lorraine at Rednitz. 

We do not know many details about the battle, just that the battle was in the border between Bavaria and Franconia, the German army was heavily defeated. The commanders of the army, Gebhard, Duke of Lorraine, Liudger, the count of Ladengau, and most of the soldiers were killed and the remaining soldiers ran away. From the Annales Alamannici we can also presume, that, like in the Battle of Augsburg, the Hungarians managed to fool the enemy troops, this time the Bavarians in such a way, that they thought that they won the battle, and in that moment, when the enemy left its guard down, they attacked by surprise, and defeated them. Its possible, that the Hungarians could have used the same nomadic tactic of feigned retreat, with which they won the Battle of Augsburg ten days before.

After these two battles the Hungarian army plundered and burned the German territories, and nobody tried to fight them again, retreating to the walled towns and castles, and waiting them to turn back in Hungary. On their way back home the Hungarians plundered the surroundings of Regensburg, burned Altaich and Osterhofen. King Louis the Child asks for peace and starts to pay a tribute.

Magyars raids Burgundy

Magyars raids Burgundy

911 Jan 1
, Burgundy

Hungarian troops cross Bavaria and attack Swabia and Franconia. They plunder the territories from Meinfeld to Aargau. After that, they cross the Rhine, and attack Burgundy for the first time.

Battle of the Inn

Battle of the Inn

913 Jan 1
, Aschbach

Aventinus' narrative confirmed that Conrad was obliged to pay tribute to the Hungarians, as well as his predecessor Louis the Child, together with the Swabian, Frankish, Bavarian and Saxonian dukes, after the Battle of Rednitz in June 910. According to the chronicler, paying the regular tax was the "price of peace". After the western border was pacified, the Hungarians used the Eastern provinces of the Kingdom of Germany as puffer zone and transfer area to execute their long-range military campaigns to far West. Bavaria allowed Hungarians into their realm to continue their journey and the Bavarian–Hungarian relations were described as neutral during this time. 

Despite "peace" which was guaranteed by regular tax payments, he was faced with constant raids from the Hungarians, when they entered the border or returned to the Pannonian Basin after a distant campaign. However the energetic and combative Arnulf already defeated a small Hungarian raiding contingent at Pocking near the Rott river on 11 August 909, after they withdrew from a campaign where they burnt the two churches of Freising. In 910, he also beat another minor Hungarian unit at Neuching, which returned from the victorius Battle of Lechfeld and other plundering attacks.

The Battle of the Inn was fought in 913, when a Hungarian raiding army, at their return from plunder attacks against Bavaria, Swabia, and Northern Burgundy, faced the combined army of Arnulf, Duke of Bavaria, Counts Erchanger and Burchard of Swabia, and Lord Udalrich, who defeated them at Aschbach by the River Inn.

Magyars invades France

Magyars invades France

919 Jan 1
, Püchau

After the election of Henry the Fowler as the new king of East Francia, a Hungarian army enters in Germany, and defeats Henry's forces in the Battle of Püchen, then heads towards West. The Hungarian army enters Lotharingia and France. King Charles the Simple cannot gather enough forces to face them in a battle, retreats, and lets them to plunder his realm. Early 920, the same Hungarian army enter from West in Burgundy, then in Lombardy, and defeats the forces of Rudolf II of Burgundy, who attacked Berengar I of Italy, the ally of the Principality of Hungary. After that, the Magyars plunder the surrounding of those Italian cities, which they think that supported Rudolf: Bergamo, Piacenza and Nogara.

Magyar raids deep into Southern Italy

Magyar raids deep into Southern Italy

921 Jan 1
, Apulia

In 921 a Hungarian army led by Dursac and Bogát, enters Northern Italy, then annihilates, between Brescia and Verona ,the forces of the Italian supporters of Rudolf II of Burgundy, killing the palatine Odelrik, and taking as captive Gislebert, the count of Bergamo. This army goes towards southern Italy, where it winters, and in January 922 plunders the regions between Rome and Naples. The Magyar army attacks Apulia in Southern Italy, ruled by the Byzantines.

Campaign in Italy, Southern France, and Saxony

Campaign in Italy, Southern France, and Saxony

924 Jan 1
, Nîmes

Spring – Rudolf II of Burgundy is elected by the Italian insurgents as king of Italy in Pavia. Emperor Berengar I of Italy asks the Hungarians for help, whom then send an army led by Szalárd, who burns Pavia and the war galleys on the shores of the Ticino river.

April 7 – When emperor Berengar is assassinated in Verona, the Hungarians go towards Burgundy. Rudolf II of Burgundy and Hugh of Arles try to encircle them in the passes of the Alps, but the Hungarians escape from the ambush, and attack Gothia and the outskirts of Nîmes. They return home because a plague breaks out among them.

Another Hungarian army plunders Saxony. The German king Henry the Fowler retreats to the castle of Werla. A Hungarian noble falls by accident in the hands of the Germans. King Henry uses this opportunity to negotiate with the Hungarians, asking for peace, and accepting to pay a tribute to the Principality of Hungary.

Germanic Warriors | ©Angus McBride

Germans halt Magyar incursion

933 Mar 15
, Thuringia

Because the German king Henry the Fowler refused to continue to pay tribute to the Principality of Hungary, a Magyar army enters Saxony. They enter from the lands of the Slavic tribe of Dalamancians, who refuse their alliance proposal, then the Hungarians split in two, but soon the army which tries to outflank Saxony from west, is defeated by the combined forces of Saxony and Thuringia near Gotha. The other army besieges Merseburg, but after that, is defeated in the Battle of Riade by the kings army. In Henry's lifetime the Magyars did not dare to make a further raid on East Francia.

War against Pechenegs, Bulgarians, and Byzantine Empire

War against Pechenegs, Bulgarians, and Byzantine Empire

934 Jan 1
, Belgrade

War breaks out between the Hungarians and the Pechenegs, but a peace is concluded after the news of a Bulgarian attack against their territories, coming a town (probably Belgrade). The Hungarians and the Pechenegs decide to attack this town.

The Hungarian-Pecheneg army defeats, in the Battle of Wlndr, the relieving Byzantine-Bulgarian forces then conquer the city, and plunder it for three days. The allies plunder Bulgaria, then head towards Constantinople, where they camp for 40 days, and sack Thrace, taking many captives. The Byzantine Empire concludes a peace treaty with the Hungarians, ransom captives, and accepts to pay tribute to the Principality of Hungary.

Magyars raid the Caliphate of Cordoba

Magyars raid the Caliphate of Cordoba

942 Jan 1
, Catalonia

A Hungarian army enters Italy, where king Hugh, giving them 10 bushels of gold, persuades them to attack the Caliphate of Córdoba. In the middle of June, the Hungarians arrive in Catalonia, plunder the region, then enter the northern territories of the Caliphate of Córdoba. In June 23, the Hungarians besiege Lérida for 8 days, then attack Cerdaña and Huesca. In June 26, the Hungarians capture Yahya ibn Muhammad ibn al Tawil, the ruler of Barbastro, and hold him captive 33 days, until he is ransomed. Finally in July, the Hungarians find themselves on desert territory and run out of food and water. They kill their Italian guide and return home. Five Hungarian soldiers are taken prisoner by the Cordobans and become bodyguards of the caliph.

Battle of Lechfeld 955

End of Magyar attacks on Western Europe

955 Aug 10
, Augsburg

The German army of Otto I defeats the Hungarian army and puts it to flight, in the Battle of Lechfeld. Despite the victory, the German losses were heavy, among them many nobles: Conrad, Duke of Lorraine, Count Dietpald, Ulrich count of Aargau, the Bavarian count Berthold, etc. The Hungarian leaders Bulcsú, Lehel and Súr were taken to Regensburg and hanged with many other Hungarians.

The German victory preserved the Kingdom of Germany and halted nomad incursions into Western Europe for good. Otto I was proclaimed emperor and father of the fatherland by his army after the victory and he went on to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962 largely on the basis of his strengthened position after the Battle of Lechfeld.

The German annihilation of the Hungarian army definitively ended the attacks of Magyar nomads against Latin Europe. The Hungarian historian Gyula Kristó calls it a "catastrophic defeat". After 955, the Hungarians completely ceased all campaigns westwards. In addition, Otto I did not launch any further military campaigns against them; their leader Fajsz was dethroned following their defeat, and was succeeded as Grand Prince of the Hungarians by Taksony.

Reign of Taksony of Hungary

Reign of Taksony of Hungary

956 Jan 1
, Esztergom

A later source, Johannes Aventinus, writes that Taksony fought in the Battle of Lechfeld on August 10, 955. There, future Holy Roman Emperor Otto I routed an 8,000-strong Hungarian army. If this report is reliable, Taksony was one of the few Hungarian leaders to survive the battlefield. Modern historians, including Zoltán Kordé and Gyula Kristó, suggest that Fajsz abdicated in favor of Taksony around that time. After that battle the Hungarians' plundering raids in Western Europe stopped, and they were forced to retreat from the lands between the Enns and Traisen rivers. However, the Hungarians continued their incursions into the Byzantine Empire until the 970s.

According to the Gesta Hungarorum, "a great host of Muslims" arrived in Hungary "from the land of Bular" under Taksony. The contemporaneous Abraham ben Jacob also recorded the presence of Muslim merchants from Hungary in Prague in 965. Anonymus also writes of the arrival of Pechenegs during Taksony's reign; he granted them "a land to dwell in the region of Kemej as far as the Tisza". The only sign of a Hungarian connection with Western Europe under Taksony is a report by Liudprand of Cremona. He writes about Zacheus, whom Pope John XII consecrated bishop and "sent to the Hungarians in order to preach that they should attack" the Germans in 963. However, there is no evidence that Zacheus ever arrived in Hungary.

From Nomads to Agriculturists

From Nomads to Agriculturists

960 Jan 1
, Székesfehérvár

The change from a ranked chiefdom society to a state society was one of the most important developments during this time. Initially, the Magyars retained a semi-nomadic lifestyle, practising transhumance: they would migrate along a river between winter and summer pastures, finding water for their livestock.

Due to changed economic circumstances, insufficient pasturage to support a nomadic society and the impossibility of moving on, the semi-nomadic Hungarian lifestyle began to change and the Magyars adopted a settled life and turned to agriculture, though the start of this change can be dated to the 8th century. The society became more homogeneous: the local Slavic and other populations merged with the Hungarians. The Hungarian tribal leaders and their clans established fortified centers in the country and later their castles became centers of the counties. The whole system of Hungarian villages developed in the 10th century.

Fajsz and Taksony, the Grand Princes of the Hungarians, began to reform the power structure. They invited Christian missionaries for the first time and built forts. Taksony abolished the old center of the Hungarian principality (possibly at Upper Tisza) and sought new ones at Székesfehérvár and Esztergom. Taksony also reintroduced the old style military service, changed the weaponry of the army, and implemented large-scale organized resettlements of the Hungarian population.

The Byzantines persecute the fleeing Rus', miniature from the Madrid Skylitzes.

End of the Hungarian invasions of Europe

970 Mar 1
, Lüleburgaz

Sviatoslav I of Kiev attacks the Byzantine empire with Hungarian and Pechenegs auxiliary troops. The Byzantines defeat Sviatoslav's army in the Battle of Arcadiopolis. End of the Hungarian invasions of Europe.

Depicted in the Illuminated Chronicle

Reign of Géza

972 Jan 1
, Székesfehérvár

Géza succeeded his father around 972. He adopted a centralizing policy, which gave rise to his fame as a merciless ruler. The longer version of his son's Life even states that Géza's hands were "defiled with blood". Pál Engel wrote that Géza carried out a "large-scale purge" against his relatives, which explains the lack of references to other members of the Árpád dynasty from around 972. 

Géza decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire. The nearly contemporaneous Thietmar of Merseburg confirms that the conversion to Christianity of the pagan Hungarians started under Géza, who became the first Christian ruler of Hungary. However, Géza continued to observe pagan cults, which proves that his conversion to Christianity was never complete.

Consolidation of the Hungarian state

Consolidation of the Hungarian state

972 Jan 1
, Bavaria

The consolidation of the Hungarian state began during the reign of Géza. After the battle of Arcadiopolis, the Byzantine Empire was the main enemy of the Hungarians. The Byzantine expansion threatened the Hungarians, since the subjugated First Bulgarian Empire was allied with the Magyars at that time. The situation became more difficult for the principality when the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire made an alliance in 972.

In 973, twelve illustrious Magyar envoys, whom Géza had probably appointed, participated in the Diet held by Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor. Géza established close ties with the Bavarian court, inviting missionaries and marrying his son to Gisela, daughter of Duke Henry II. Géza of the Árpád dynasty, Grand Prince of the Hungarians, who ruled only part of the united territory, the nominal overlord of all seven Magyar tribes, intended to integrate Hungary into Christian Western Europe, rebuilding the state according to the Western political and social model.

Christianization of the Magyars

Christianization of the Magyars

973 Jan 1
, Esztergom

The new Hungarian state was located on the border with Christendom. Since the second half of the 10th century, Christianity was flourished in Hungary as the Catholic missionaries arrived from Germany to there. Between 945 and 963, the main office-holders of the Principality (the Gyula, and the Horka) agreed to convert to Christianity. 

In 973 Géza I and all his household were baptised, and a formal peace concluded with Emperor Otto I; however he remained essentially pagan even after his baptism: Géza had been educated by his father Taksony as a pagan prince. The first Hungarian Benedictine monastery was founded in 996 by Prince Géza. During Géza's reign, the nation conclusively renounced its nomadic way of life and within a few decades of the battle of Lechfeld became a Christian kingdom.

Stephen's forces seize his uncle, Gyula the Younger

Reign of Stephen I of Hungary

997 Jan 1
, Esztergom

Stephen I, also known as King Saint Stephen was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001, and the first King of Hungary from 1000 or 1001, until his death in 1038. He was the only son of Grand Prince Géza and his wife, Sarolt, who was descended from a prominent family of gyulas. Although both of his parents were baptized, Stephen was the first member of his family to become a devout Christian. He married Gisela of Bavaria, a scion of the imperial Ottonian dynasty.

After succeeding his father in 997, Stephen had to fight for the throne against his relative, Koppány, who was supported by large numbers of pagan warriors. He defeated Koppány with the assistance of foreign knights including Vecelin, Hont and Pázmány, and native lords. He was crowned on 25 December 1000 or 1 January 1001 with a crown sent by Pope Sylvester II. In a series of wars against semi-independent tribes and chieftains—including the Black Hungarians and his uncle, Gyula the Younger—he unified the Carpathian Basin. He protected the independence of his kingdom by forcing the invading troops of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, to withdraw from Hungary in 1030.

Stephen established at least one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries, leading the Church in Hungary to develop independently from the archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire. He encouraged the spread of Christianity by meting out severe punishments for ignoring Christian customs. His system of local administration was based on counties organized around fortresses and administered by royal officials. Hungary enjoyed a lasting period of peace during his reign, and became a preferred route for pilgrims and merchants traveling between Western Europe, the Holy Land and Constantinople.

Kingdom of Hungary

Kingdom of Hungary

1000 Dec 25
, Esztergom

Stephen I, a descendant of Arpad, is recognized by Pope as first Christian king of Hungary and crowned the first king of Hungary in Esztergom. He expands Hungarian control over Carpathian basin. He also issues his earliest decrees, ordering the building of churches and prohibiting pagan practices. The establishment of the earliest Benedictine abbey, Pannonhalma and of the first Roman Catholic dioceses


References for Principality of Hungary.

  • Balassa, Iván, ed. (1997). Magyar Néprajz IV [Hungarian ethnography IV.]. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 963-05-7325-3.
  • Berend, Nora; Urbańczyk, Przemysław; Wiszewski, Przemysław (2013). Central Europe in the High Middle Ages: Bohemia, Hungary and Poland, c. 900-c. 1300. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-78156-5.
  • Wolf, Mária; Takács, Miklós (2011). "Sáncok, földvárak" ("Ramparts, earthworks") by Wolf; "A középkori falusias települések feltárása" ("Excavation of the medieval rural settlements") by Takács". In Müller, Róbert (ed.). Régészeti Kézikönyv [Handbook of archaeology]. Magyar Régész Szövetség. pp. 209–248. ISBN 978-963-08-0860-6.
  • Wolf, Mária (2008). A borsodi földvár (PDF). Művelődési Központ, Könyvtár és Múzeum, Edelény. ISBN 978-963-87047-3-3.