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Budapest, Hungary

The site of Budapest has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. In the 1st century, the Romans founded Aquincum to defend the new province of Pannonia from barbarian incursions. Later abandoned during the Slavonic invasions, the town was occupied by the Hungarians in the 10th century, but did not become royal capital until after the Mongol invasion of 1241. It then comprised three districts: the hill of Buda (on the right bank of the Danube), Obuda (in the north, on the site of Aquincum) and Pest (on the left bank).

Occupied by the Turks between 1526 and 1686, it returned to being the capital of the Hungarian kingdom under the Austrian domination of the Habsburgs. In 1848, patriots tried in vain to restore the country’s independence.

In 1867, following a compromise, the dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy was introduced. The three districts were unified in 1872 under the name of Budapest. Its administrative, commercial and industrial expansion came to an abrupt halt with the First World War. The Treaty of Trianon imposed the break-up of the country, which lost 60% of its territory to Austria, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania and the Soviet Union.

In 1941, wishing to regain its lost territories, it allied itself with the Nazis and entered the war. Budapest, partly destroyed by the bombing, was liberated by the Soviet army.

The people’s Republic was established in 1948. The revolt of 1956 brought Imre Nagy to power. But the Russian tanks entered Budapest. The communist regime remained in place until 1989 with the first breach in the Iron Curtain with Austria and the official rehabilitation of Nagy.

A member of NATO, Hungary accepted, through a referendum with a very strong majority, accession to the European Union in April 2003.

 
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