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Partium [1] (from Latin partium , the genitive of pars "part, portion") or Részek (in Hungarian) was a historical and geographical region in the Kingdom of Hungary during the early modern and modern periods. It consisted of the eastern and northern parts of Hungary proper. [note 1] At times, it included Miskolc, and Kassa (today Košice, Slovakia) (see map).

Hungarian language language spoken in and around Hungary

Hungarian is a Uralic language of the Ugric branch spoken in Hungary and parts of several neighbouring countries. It is the official language of Hungary and one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. Outside Hungary it is also spoken by communities of Hungarians in the countries that today make up Slovakia, western Ukraine (Subcarpathia), central and western Romania (Transylvania), northern Serbia (Vojvodina), northern Croatia and northern Slovenia.

Kingdom of Hungary former Central European monarchy (1000–1946)

The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed from the Middle Ages into the 20th century. The Principality of Hungary emerged as a Christian kingdom upon the coronation of the first king Stephen I at Esztergom around the year 1000; his family led the monarchy for 300 years. By the 12th century, the kingdom became a European middle power within the Western world.

Miskolc City with county rights in Northern Hungary, Hungary

Miskolc is a city in northeastern Hungary, known for its heavy industry. With a population of 161,265 Miskolc is the fourth largest city in Hungary. It is also the county capital of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and the regional centre of Northern Hungary.



Partium, depicted in the darker colour, and the Principality of Transylvania, 1570 Partium1570.PNG
Partium, depicted in the darker colour, and the Principality of Transylvania, 1570

In 1526, after the Battle of Mohács, the Kingdom of Hungary was overrun by the Ottomans, but effectively split into 3 parts in 1541 when the Ottomans captured Buda. The Habsburgs got a foothold in the north and west (Royal Hungary), with the new capital Pressburg (Pozsony, today's Bratislava). King John I of Hungary from the Zápolya house, the former voivode of Transylvania and the wealthiest and the most powerful landlord after Mohács, secured the eastern part of the Kingdom (referred as Eastern Hungarian Kingdom by Hungarian scholars) with the help of the Ottomans. On 29 February 1528, the sultan assented to an alliance with Zápolya and gave written assurance of his support.

Battle of Mohács forces of the Ottoman Empire led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent defeated forces of the Kingdom of Hungary led by King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia 1526

The Battle of Mohács was one of the most consequential battles in Central European history. It was fought on 29 August 1526 near Mohács, Kingdom of Hungary, between the forces of the Kingdom of Hungary, led by Louis II, and those of the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent. The Ottoman victory led to the partition of Hungary for several centuries between the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, and the Principality of Transylvania. Further, the death of Louis II as he fled the battle marked the end of the Jagiellonian dynasty in Hungary and Bohemia, whose dynastic claims passed to the House of Habsburg. The Battle of Mohács marked the end of the Middle Ages in Hungary.

Budapest Capital of Hungary

Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, and the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city has an estimated population of 1,752,286 over a land area of about 525 square kilometres. Budapest is both a city and county, and forms the centre of the Budapest metropolitan area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres and a population of 3,303,786, comprising 33% of the population of Hungary.

Bratislava Capital city in Slovakia

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. With a population of about 430,000, it is one of the smaller capitals of Europe but still the country's largest city. The greater metropolitan area is home to more than 650,000 people. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia, occupying both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two sovereign states.

From 1541 or 1542, the house of Zápolya also controlled the region that after 1571 became known as Partium.

In 1570, John II Sigismund Zápolya, son of John I Zápolya renounced his claim as King of Hungary (1540-1570) in favour of Maximilian II of Habsburg, who also claimed the title since 1563. Instead John II Sigismund Zápolya remained Prince of Transylvania between 1570 and 1571.

Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor King of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia

Maximilian II, a member of the Austrian House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor from 1564 until his death. He was crowned King of Bohemia in Prague on 14 May 1562 and elected King of Germany on 24 November 1562. On 8 September 1563 he was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia in the Hungarian capital Pressburg. On 25 July 1564 he succeeded his father Ferdinand I as ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.

In 1570, by the Treaty of Speyer (Spires), John II Sigismund, John I's son, abdicated as king of Hungary, and a new dukedom was invented for him: "Joannes, serenissimi olim Joannis regis Hungariae, Dalmatiae, Croatiae etc. filius, Dei gratia princeps Transsylvaniae ac partium regni Hungariae" (imperial prince), from which derives the name Partium.

Treaty of Speyer (1570)

The Treaty of Speyer, signed at the Diet of Speyer in 1570, was a peace agreement between the two Hungarian Kingdoms, Royal Hungary led by Maximiliam II, and the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, ruled by John Sigismund Zápolya. John Sigismund abdicated as King of Hungary, however Maximiliam II recognized John Sigismund's authority as "Prince of Transylvania" and in return John Sigismund accepted Maximiliam II as King of Hungary with suzerainty over his principality.

This treaty, like the earlier Nagyvárad accord, endorsed the principle of a united Hungary. Partium and Transylvania were entrusted to John II Sigismund, but under the title of imperial prince. As mentioned above, the Zápolya held Partium before, but the treaty allowed them to do this without fear that the Habsburgs would contest the house of Zápolya's lordship. In a sense, Zápolya traded title for territory.

The Eastern Hungarian Kingdom ceased to exist, and became simply the Principality of Transylvania. All rulings after 1570 as King of Hungary refer to the territory known as "Royal Hungary", and as Prince refer to the Principality of Transylvania which included Partium.

Principality of Transylvania under Gabriel Bethlen, including the seven Partium counties ceded to him at the Peace of Nikolsburg in 1621: Ugocsa, Bereg, Zemplen, Borsod, Szabolcs, Szatmar and Abauj. Bethlen Gabor fejedelemsege.png
Principality of Transylvania under Gabriel Bethlen, including the seven Partium counties ceded to him at the Peace of Nikolsburg in 1621: Ugocsa, Bereg, Zemplén, Borsod, Szabolcs, Szatmár and Abaúj.

For some decades during the 17th century Partium was part of the Principality of Transylvania, and consequently a part of the Ottoman Empire. [2] On 5 September 1619, the prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Bethlen captured Kassa (now Košice) in Partium Abaúj County with the assistance of the future George I Rákóczi in another anti-Habsburg insurrection. By the Peace of Nikolsburg in 1621, the Habsburgs restored the religious toleration agreement of 1606 and recognized Transylvanian rule over seven stated Partium counties: Ugocsa, Bereg, Zemplén, Borsod, Szabolcs, Szatmár and Abaúj. [3]

These were returned to Habsburg Royal Hungary at Bethlen's death in 1629, but were once again seized by Transylvanian prince George I Rákóczi in 1644 and formally ceded by Habsburg Royal Hungary to Transylvania at the Treaty of Linz (1645). [4]

Geographic extent

Initially, Partium consisted of the counties of Máramaros, Közép-Szolnok, Kraszna, and Bihar, as well as the Kővárvidék. The Banate of Severin and eastern Zaránd, that was already part of John II Sigismund’s realm, were also included in what was named Partium. These territories were ruled by Transylvania, but were not formally part of the Principality (later Grand Principality) of Transylvania, and so the name Partium was coined.

All of Transylvania was at the time under permanent threat of being overrun by both Habsburgs and Ottomans. Partium was taken by the Ottoman troops in 1660, but was back in Transylvanian possession by the end of the century, when the latter was absorbed in the Habsburgs' domain in 1687 (de facto) / 1699 (by treaty with the Ottomans).

In the 18th century, the name was used to describe a smaller area, consisting of Közép-Szolnok, Kraszna, the Kővárvidék, and a rump Zaránd, but was not itself an official subdivision.

In 1867, at the Ausgleich, the Partium territories were incorporated into the Transleithanian part of Austria-Hungary. (See comitatus system.)

Present-day location

With the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I, Partium was split, under to the terms of the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, among the successor states of the former Kingdom of Hungary: about 60% became part of Romania, about 20% - part of Hungary, and about 20% - part of Czechoslovakia. The latter part, known as Carpathian Ruthenia, was ceded to Soviet Union after World War II and since 1991 belongs to Ukraine.

The flag of Partium voted by the Council for Autonomy in Partium (PAT) in 2015 Flag of Partium.svg
The flag of Partium voted by the Council for Autonomy in Partium (PAT) in 2015

The Romanian part roughly corresponds to the Crişana and partly Banat regions of Romania. The Hungarian part corresponds to the Hajdú-Bihar county, and small parts of the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg and Békés counties of Hungary. The Ukrainian part corresponds to the Northern Maramuresh (geographic region) of the Zakarpattia Oblast, Ukraine.

In present-day Hungarian usage, Partium chiefly refers to the part of the region that lies in Romania.

Autonomy initiatives

With the support of Hungarian People's Party of Transylvania, which advocates territorial autonomy for Partium, [5] [6] the Council for Autonomy in Partium was created in 2013. [7] The Council approved a new flag for Partium in 2015 composed of a Patriarchal cross and Árpád stripes, both traditional symbols of the Hungarian nation featured on the coat of arms of Hungary.


  1. During the early modern period, Hungary was divided and Transylvania, despite being part of the Lands of the Hungarian Crown, was recognized as a distinct polity. The reunification of Transylvania and "Hungary proper" happened in 1868.

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  1. Kees Teszelszky, A Divided Hungary in Europe: Exchanges, Networks and Representations, 1541-1699; Volume 3 – The Making and Uses of the Image of Hungary and Transylvania, Volume 3., Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015, p. IX (Preface)
  2. Papp, Sandor. "Slovakya'nın Tarihi". TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi. 33: 337. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  3. Hötte, Hans H. A. (2014-12-17). Atlas of Southeast Europe: Geopolitics and History. Volume One: 1521-1699. ISBN   9789004288881.
  4. Hötte, Hans H. A. (2014-12-17). Atlas of Southeast Europe: Geopolitics and History. Volume One: 1521-1699. ISBN   9789004288881.
  5. "Megalakult a Partiumi Autonómia Tanács". 22 July 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  6. "Nyílt pályázat a Partium jelképeinek megtervezésére". 21 May 2013. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.