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FIRST STAMPS Austrian stamps 1 June 1850.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED for Austria and Hungary 1 June 1867.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED for Hungary alone 20 June 1868.


1858, 100 krajczar = 1 forint.

1900, 100 filler (heller) = 1 korona (krone).

1919, Romanian and Serbian occupation: 100 filler = 1 korona.

1926, 100 filler = 1 pengo.

1946, 100 filler = 1 forint.

Part of Roman Dacia but settled by the Ungaru, a Scythian tribe, about AD800. For many centuries an independent state, but in 1393 the population invited the assistance of the Turks to overcome one of their kings -Sigismund of Brandenberg. In 1526 Turks again entered the country and overran a large part but, having captured Buda, the Turks were defeated at Mohatz and Hungary became a subject state of Austria.

Although the Hungarians were linked with Austria from then until the end of World War I, the population was constantly striving for independence. The independence of the state was guaranteed in 1790, but this undertaking was not implemented and a popular uprising began in 1848. The intervention of Russia in support of the Austrians led to the suppression of the Hungarian government and the state was assimilated into the Austrian Empire.

In February 1867 a separate constitution for Hungary was announced, and a separate government with limited self-governing rights came into existence. In November 1868 the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria became King of Hungary and the Dual Monarchy was established.

An independent Hungarian postal administration was created in May 1867 and Austrian stamps were withdrawn on 31 May and demonetized on 15 June 1867. A joint issue was used throughout the Dual Monarchy for just over a year and the first stamps for Hungary alone were issued on 20 June 1868. In the meantime the Hungarian postal service had been extended and had taken control of the posts in Croatia-Slovenia on 1 April 1868.


The independence of Hungary within the Dual Monarchy was recognized by the other powers, and when the General Postal Union was formed in 1874 both administrations were included in the 22 signatories.

During the Balkan Wars, 1912-13, Hungary took no part but reinforced the borders to prevent invasion by the Serbian and Romanian forces.


The Dual Monarchy entered World War I on 28 July 1914 when war was declared on Serbia in retaliation for the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand at Sarajevo. Throughout the war, Hungarian forces fought with the Austrians on the eastern and southern fronts. All occupation stamps were overprinted on Austrian military post stamps.

The Austrian Emperor withdrew on 13 November 1918 and on 16 November a People's Republic was formed. Overprinted stamps were issued on 23 November 1918.

The break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the Allies led to the complete independence of Hungary, but the country was reduced to its ancient boundaries and the province of Transylvania was awarded to Romania (for details of stamps issued for the occupation of parts of Hungary see Romania and Serbia).


Unrest continued in Hungary. The People's Republic of November 1918 was replaced by a Bolshevik regime under Bela Kun on 22 March 1919. Stamps for this government were issued on 14 June. At the same time a national government was formed in opposition under Admiral Horthy at Szeged and overprinted stamps for this party were issued on 28 June 1919. This area was under French occupation. The French were also in occupation of the region of Arad and issued overprinted stamps for this area in May 1919. It was awarded to Romania in 1920.

On 1 August 1919 Bela Kun fled to Vienna in the face of Romanian troops who had invaded Hungary in July. Under pressure from the Allies, the Romanians withdrew on 14 November, and a national republic was formed under Admiral Horthy on 16 November 1919. Overprinted stamps were issued the same day.

On 1 March 1920 Admiral Horthy was appointed Regent of Hungary after the National Assembly declared that Hungary was still a kingdom. The link with Austria was finally dissolved.

Disruption of railway communications 1919
Click map for larger view


Admiral Horthy continued as Regent of Hungary until October 1944 but, although he supported Germany's anti-Communist attitude, he favoured few other aspects of German policy. Hungary joined the Axis powers early in 1941 but had to be threatened with invasion before any of its troops were released for action in Russia, though they did assist in the invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941.

After Yugoslavia fell, Hungary was awarded certain portions of that country when it was broken into its constituent parts. These included the territory north of the Drava and west of the Tioja. Transylvania was returned to Hungary by Romania in 1940.

As Russia began the re-occupation of Eastern Europe, Hungary was included in the area under Russian dominance. In October 1944 Admiral Horthy offered an armistice to Russia and sought peace with the Allies. He was deported by the Germans to Austria. On 22 December 1944 a provisional government was formed at Debrecen under Soviet auspices. Overprinted stamps were issued on 1 May 1945.

1945 to date

On 1 February 1946 the kingdom, which lasted without a king since 1918, was replaced by a republic. Stamps for the new constitution were issued on 12 February 1946, Hungary remained a member of the Warsaw Pact and a Communist country until after the 1956 revolt against Russian domination. Under Imre Nagy, Hungary withdrew from the Warsaw Pact in 1956, but this was reversed after the intervention of Russian troops.

From 1968 the Government gradually introduced economic reforms and some political liberalisation. In October 1989 the National Assembly approved an amended constitution that described Hungary as an 'independent, democratic State' Since then, Hungary has left the Warsaw Pact and joined NATO in March 1999.

Hungary after 1914
Click map for larger view

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