Stamps issued: 1871-PRESENT
This area of flat plains and grasslands, bisected by the Danube River, was a favorite route of eastern tribes invading southern and western Europe. From the 4th to the 9th centuries, succeeding immigrations of Germans, Huns, Avars and other peoples passed through the region. Toward the end of the 9th century, Hungary was settled by the Magyars, who established a kingdom that embraced what is now Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, and large parts of Serbia, Bosnia and Romania. For nearly a century the Magyars raided throughout central Europe, but under Stephen I (977-1038), they were converted to Christianity. For the next 500 years, Hungary served as Europe's eastern bulwark against the Asian tribes. In the early 16th century, the Ottoman Turks destroyed Hungarian power. Most of the country was conquered by the Turks, and the remaining northern and western fringe came under the rule of Hapsburg Austria. During 1686-1718, the Austrians expelled the Turks from Hungary. Austria completely dominated Hungary until the mid-19th century. Magyar nationalism forced the creation of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1867, after which Hungary was an equal partner with Austria. Having achieved its own nationalist goals, Hungary denied similar nationalist ambitions among its subject peoples. The Dual Monarchy's defeat in World War I brought the disintegration of the empire and of the Kingdom of Hungary.