The Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság listen?) or Hungary (Magyarország listen?) is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. It is known locally as the Country of the Magyars.
Tradition holds that the Country of the Magyars (Hungary) was founded by Árpád, who led the Magyars into the Pannonian plains at the end of the 9th century. The Kingdom of Hungary was established in 1000 by King St. Stephen I. Initially the history of Hungary was developed in a triangle with that of Poland and Bohemia, with the many liaisons with Popes and Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Hungary was partially demolished with a great loss of life in 1241–1242 by Mongol (Tatar) armies of Batu Khan.
Gradually Hungary under the rule of the dynasty of the Árpáds turned into a large, independent kingdom which formed a distinct Central European culture with ties to greater West European civilisation. Matthias Corvinus ruled Hungary from 1458 to 1490. He strengthened Hungary and its government. Under his rule, Hungary (notably the northern parts, some of which are in Slovakia today) became an artistic and cultural center of Europe during the Renaissance. Hungarian culture influenced others, for example the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Together with Polish and Czech lands, Hungary formed the Visegrád group of nations. Today an alliance of the same name exists again with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.
Hungarian independence ended with the Ottoman conquest at the beginning of the 16th century; the parts of Hungary that were not conquered by the Ottomans were annexed by Austria (the rulers of which were Hungarian kings at the same time) in the West, and became the independent Principality of Transylvania in the East, where thus Hungarian statedom was preserved. After 150 years, Austria and her Christian allies retook also the territory of today's Hungary by the end of the 17th century from the Ottoman Empire.
Thanks to the victories against Austria by the French-Italian coalition (the Battle of Solferino, 1859) and Prussia (Battle of Königgratz, 1866), Hungary would eventually, in 1867, manage to become an autonomous part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until the Empire's collapse following World War I. Hungary separated from Austria on October 31, 1918.
In March 1919 the communists joined the government, and in April, Béla Kun proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic. This government proved to be short lived; the Romanian army invaded, the communist forces were defeated and the Soviet Republic was toppled on August 6, 1919. Rightist military forces, led by the former Austro-Hungarian Admiral Miklós Horthy, entered Budapest in the wake of the Romanian army's depature and filled the vacuum of state power. In January 1920, elections were held for a unicameral assembly, and Admiral Horthy was subsequently elected Regent. In June, the Treaty of Trianon was signed, fixing Hungary's borders.
Horthy made an alliance with Nazi Germany in the 1930s, in the hope of revising the territorial losses that had followed World War I. Hungary was rewarded by Germany with historical Hungarian territories belonging to Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania, and took an active part in World War II. However, in October 1944, Hitler replaced Horthy with the Hungarian Nazi collaborator Ferenc Szálasi and his Arrow Cross Party in order to avert Hungary's defection to the Allied side.
Following the fall of Nazi Germany, Hungary became part of the Soviet area of influence and was appropriated into a communist state following a short period of democracy in 1946–1947. After 1948 Communist leader Mátyás Rákosi established a Stalinist rule in the country, which was barely bearable for the war torn country. This led to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution/revolt and announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met with military intervention by the Soviet Union and the deposition and execution of the reform-minded communist prime minister Imre Nagy. From the 1960's on to the late 1980's Hungary enjoyed a distinguished status of "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern Bloc, under the rule of late controversial communist leader János Kádár, who exercised autocratic rule at most of this era. In the late 1980s, Hungary led the movement to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and shifted toward multiparty democracy and a market-oriented economy. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Hungary developed closer ties with Western Europe, joined NATO in 1999 and joined the European Union on May 1, 2004.