Gabor Szantai
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The history of Subcarpathia / Kárpátalja, Ukraine

May 05, 2022

Subcarpathia or Transcarpathia can be found in Ukraine. It is called Kárpátalja in the Hungarian language, in Ukrainian it is Закарпатська область / Zakarpatska Oblast.

The region covers 12,800 square kilometers, which is bigger than Kosovo (10,887 km2) its size can be compared to the Székely Land (12,900 km²) in Romania. About four-fifths of it is a mountainous area, and it has borders with Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Poland.

This land is extremely scenic because of the Carpathian Mountains. The castles, palaces, and churches just make it look even more romantic.


Before the Magyar (=Hungarian) tribes arrived in the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century, Székely Hungarian people had appeared in this region, coming from the direction of Transylvania.


...the Mongolian Invasion in 1241 caused lots of destruction so German settlers had to be called in to repopulate the area. It was the time when the first Ruthenian communities began to appear, coming from the area of Halics.


Subcarpathia has never been a stand-alone administrative district of the Hungarian kingdom like Transylvania. When the Dual Kingship tore the kingdom into two parts in 1541, the Subcarpathian Region belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary which was ruled by Habsburg Ferdinand. However, part of it was soon occupied by the newborn Principality of Transylvania in 1567.


According to Dr. Popovics Tibor Miklós, a Ruthenian researcher today there are 1.250.000 inhabitants in the Subcarpathian region, 800,000 of them are Ruthenians, and about 130,000 are Hungarians. Unfortunately, Ruthenians are not recognized by the Ukraine state as a distinct ethnic group.


During the one thousand years of co-existence with the Hungarians, the Ruthenians had equally shared in everything that happened in the Kingdom of Hungary and in the Principality of Transylvania.

They fought shoulder to shoulder with the Hungarians in Prince Rákóczi’s War of Independence between 1703 and 1711, and they joined the Hungarian Revolution in 1848 against the oppressing Habsburgs as well. In the Revolution of 1848-1849, about 20,000 Ruthenians served in the Hungarian army against the Austrian and Russian troops.


You can read my full article on my page:

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