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The last of several Magyar migratory waves took place in the late ninth century, when under the leadership of Prince Árpád, they conquered this region, gradually extending their rule over the entire Carpathian Basin. 1000, one of Árpád's successors, Stephen I (king of Hungary 997-1038; canonized 1083) Christianized his people and made Hungary part of the Western Christian world.

During the next four centuries, the Hungarians continued to expand beyond the Carpathian Basin, especially into the northern Balkans.

These efforts did result in temporary territorial gains in 1938-1941, but as these gains were achieved with German and Italian help, they landed Hungary in the unfortunate German alliance during World War II.

After the war Hungary again was reduced in size and became one of the communist-dominated Soviet satellite states under the leadership of the Stalinist dictator, Mátyás Rákosi (who ruled from 1945 to 1956).

Communist excesses and the relaxation that followed Stalin's death in 1953 led to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the most significant anti-Soviet uprising of the postwar period.

Put down by Soviet military intervention, it was followed by a brief period of retribution and then by a new communist regime under János Kádár (who ruled from 1956 to 1988), who initiated a policy of political liberalization (1962) and economic reform (known as the New Economic Mechanism of 1968).


Moreover, in the fourteenth century, under the Angevin rulers Charles Robert (who ruled from 1308 until 1342) and Louis the Great (who ruled from 1342 to 1382), they expanded their control over the newly formed Vlach (Romanian) principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia and for a brief period (1370-1382) even over Poland.The majority of them live in parts of former Greater Hungary in such newly created or enlarged neighboring states as Romania (more than two million), Slovakia (700,000), the former Yugoslavia (500,000), Ukraine (200,000), and Austria (50,000).Another two million reside in Western Europe, the Americas, and Australia—the majority of them in the United States.According to statistics compiled in 1992, 67.8 percent of Hungarians are Catholic, 20.9 percent Calvinist (Reformed), and 4.2 percent Lutheran (Evangelical).

The three religious groups together make up 92.9 percent of the population.

This compromise—engineered by Francis Deák (1803-1876) and Emperor Franz Joseph (who ruled from 1848 to 1916)—resulted in the dual state of Austria-Hungary, which played a significant role in European power-politics until nationality problems and involvement in World War I on the German side resulted in its dissolution in 1918-1919.


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