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October 2010

Hungary, 1994

Hungary, 1994

Hungary, slightly smaller than Indiana, is located in Central Europe, northwest of Romania. In addition to Romania, Hungary is bordered by Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. Hungary is landlocked, strategically located astride the main land routes between Western Europe and the Balkan Peninsula as well as between Ukraine and Mediterranean basin. The north-south flowing Duna (Danube) and Tisza Rivers divide the country into three large regions. Budapest is the capital city, other cities include Debrecen, Miskolc, Szeged, and Pecs.

The climate is temperate with cold, cloudy, humid winters and warm summers. The terrain consists of mostly flat to rolling plains, with hills and low mountains on the Slovakian border.

Hungary’s population is 9,905,596 (July 2010 est.). Ethnic groups in Hungary include Magyar (nearly 90%), Romany, German, Serb, Slovak, and others. The majority of Hungary's people are Roman Catholic; other religions represented are Calvinist, Lutheran, Jewish, Baptist, Adventist, Pentecostal, and Unitarian. Magyar is the predominant language. Hungary has long been an integral part of Europe. Hungary became a Christian kingdom in A.D. 1000 and for many centuries served as a bulwark against Ottoman Turkish expansion in Europe. The kingdom eventually became part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed during World War I. The country fell under Communist rule following World War II. In 1956, a revolt and an announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met with a massive military intervention by Moscow. Under the leadership of Janos Kadar in 1968, Hungary began liberalizing its economy, introducing so-called "Goulash Communism." Hungary held its first multiparty elections in 1990 and initiated a free market economy. It joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.

Hungary’s government is a parliamentary democracy. Since August 6, 2010, chief of state and president has been Pal Schmitt. Since May 29, 2010, the head of government and prime minister has been Viktor Orban.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes, 09/2010; 07/2010