Hungary History in the 18th Century
Initiator of reforms until the end of the century. XVIII in Hungary was the king. The diffidence towards the Magyar lords also remained under Charles III (1711-40) rule of government, but a certain spirit of compromise and solidarity between the dynasty and the privileged classes did not take long to develop. After a victorious campaign by Eugenio di Savoia, the Turks were expelled from all the Hungarian territory and the nation, as soon as redeemed, mindful of the centuries-old sufferings, to ensure its existence against Mohammedan threats, in the diet of 1722-23 accepted the pragmatic sanction.
In the time of Charles III, Catholic culture spread more in the country, promoting the recolonization and reorganization of the devastated kingdom. The sec. XVIII was an era of gathering forces for the Hungarian people, an era in which the traces of the fatal Turkish domination were gradually erased. The immense work of recolonization of vast territories was carried out by the government and by the large owners. Many thousands of foreigners, mainly Catholic Germans from southern Germany, were called into the country; on the other hand the Magyar element was given an unfavorable position in its own country by the government which, for example, from the territory of the banat of Temesvár (TimiŞoara; corner of the rivers TimiŞ and Tisza), subjected to the Viennese administration, excluding the settlers Magyars, instead to favor the German and Serbian settlers, especially the former, a favorite element also in the grandiose colonization action promoted by Maria Teresa. In any case, the immigration of the Germans, relatively cultured and faithful to the idea of the Hungarian state, constituted a real gain for the country, while the same cannot be said for the Serbs who, strengthened by the immigration of another strong led mass by the patriarch of Ipek, they settled definitively in the southern districts, nor for the Romanians who, in order to avoid the oppression of their phanariotic princes, entered in numerous swarms in Transylvania. The southern part of the reconquered territory was organized into military borders, in direct dependence on the government, while a large part of Banat came under Maria Theresa (1778) incorporated into the
At the beginning of her domination, Maria Teresa (1740-80) proved faithful to the compromise established between the dynasty and the Magyar feudal classes, which supported the young queen. The Hungarian nobility, the first time in centuries favored by their own dynasty, began to show a certain predilection for the life of Vienna, for the court, the hotbed of the centralizing ideas of the Habsburg monarchy.
It was at this time that – mostly with the mediation of Vienna – the ideas of the Enlightenment spread in the kingdom, making their influence felt in the different fields of social life, in the diffusion of the ideas of social assistance, in the reform of ‘teaching (the ratio educationis) and above all in the attempt to raise the conditions of the settler class (Urbarium). The credit for initiating these very important reforms belonged to the queen and her excellent collaborators. On the other hand, the damage caused to the country by the economic-financial regime of Maria Theresa was immense, especially by the customs wall erected between Hungary and the Austrian provinces. The government also promoted the industrialization of the Austrian and Bohemian provinces in the sense of mercantilism, while artificially keeping Hungary on the agricultural level, to make it a kind of colony, supplying raw materials to Austrian industry. At the same time, Austrian trade (especially that of Vienna) was favored to the detriment of Hungarian trade.
According to beautypically, the work of Maria Theresa, aimed at creating a strong unitary and centralized monarchy with her Austrian provinces and the Hungarian kingdom, was continued, resorting to compulsion, by Joseph II (1780-90) imbued with the ideas of enlightened absolutism. Several of Joseph’s reforms proved very useful, such as the edict of tolerance issued in the interest of the Protestants (1781) or the other ordinance aimed at improving the conditions of the settlers, restoring them the right of free migration (1785). With a sense of consternation, other reforms were welcomed, such as the reorganization of the administrative system of the kingdom, the measurement of the lands, considered as a prelude to general taxation (the Hungarian nobility had been able to maintain fiscal immunity), and finally the replacement of the German language for Latin as the official language (1784). During the unfortunate Turkish war, which required great material sacrifices of the country, the exasperation of the nobility broke out in a threatening movement (1789), so that a few weeks before his death (February 1790) Joseph was obliged to withdraw all his ordinances reformers, with the exception of humanitarian ones, on religious tolerance, on settlers and on the material accommodation of parish priests.
The quasi-revolutionary movement, organized with the help of Freemasonry, by the Hungarian nobility, was such as to jeopardize the succession of Leopoldo di Toscana (1790-92), Giuseppe’s brother, indeed the fate of the dynasty in Hungary. The diet of 1790 marks the beginning of a lasting movement, inspired by feudal-tinted nationalism. This new direction of Hungarian politics aimed to introduce modern concepts of European life into the old Hungarian system and under the influence of the French Revolution was intent on limiting the rights of the central power. The discontented had entered into negotiations with the courts of Prussia and Weimar about the person of the future king, but Leopoldo’s clever politics gave another course to events. Concluded an armistice with the Turks, he came to an agreement with Prussia and did not hesitate to profit from the Magyrophobia of the Serbs – welcomed into Hungarian political life with the diet of 1790-91 – to curb the aspirations of the Magyar nobility. The most notable result of this diet was that it clearly specified the autonomy and independent individuality of the Hungarian state, that it had strengthened the guarantees of the constitution and that it had ensured full freedom of worship for the Protestant confession. Once peace had been re-established on these bases between the nation and the dynasty, Hungary did not take long to energetically support King Francis (1792-1835) in the very long campaigns against the French Revolution and Napoleon.
At the Hungarian diet of 1790, at the same time as the first efforts made by the Magyars in the interest of their nationality, the first signs of the Hungarian-Croatian conflict appeared. The Croats were against the idea of the official Magyar language. Other matters of conflict arose over issues of common law, such as the right of citizenship of Protestants in Croatia, the state relations of the so-called Lower Slavonia (eastern part of the territory closed by the Danube, Drava and Sava), an integral part of the kingdom of Hungary. before the Turkish occupation, relations with Fiume. These were questions, the solution of which, which became more and more difficult in the course of evolution, constituted a very dangerous reason for agitation.