Tuesday, April 08, 2008


There are times when I just shake my head at the hodge podge of nationalities and enclaves that make up Europe. It seems that Kosovo's recent independences has inspired the Hungarians who live inside Romania.
The Hungarian region, comprising part of Mures County and all of Harghita and Covasna, where Sfantu Gheorghe is the capital, was once a border area of the Hungarian kingdom defended by the Szeklers. After World War I, the Szeklers found themselves smack in the middle of Romania, a few hours drive north through the Carpathian Mountains from Bucharest.

The conclusion of the war is best remembered for the harsh terms imposed on Germany. But the peace agreement signed by Hungary in 1920, the Treaty of Trianon, was arguably even tougher. Hungary lost roughly two-thirds of its territory and population, including one-third of its Hungarian speakers, in the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a loss that to this day is known as the Trianon trauma. (Hungary regained most of its lost territories temporarily during World War II.)
The Szeklers are looking for an autonomous region inside Romania and not full independence. Still, understandably, the Romanians are not best pleased.