Usual foreign reaction to any question regarding Hungary
Hungary (Hungarian:Magyarország). Nota land with a hunger problem, it's known as Magyarország by those who are from there. Most important things are covered by The Other Wiki, so there is just some basic info here.
Hungarians arrived at the land which became Hungary at the end of the 9th century. They were like your typical nomad people, lots of horses and bowmanship etc.
About 1000, King St. Stephen (Szent István király) founded a proper kingdom to be taken seriously, and because he realised that nomadic warfare was quite ineffective against western styled knights. This kingdom lasted mostly independently until the 16th century without many serious incidents except for the part when the Mongol attacks of 1241-1242 wiped out the country.
One of Hungary's national symbols is a crown with a wonky cross on top. This is thought to be St. Stephen's crown. How the cross got bent is a matter of heated academic debate and various folk tales (such as King Mathias hitting it with a shovel when he was startled by the angels trying to crown him), but it is likely to have been during one of the period when it was hidden from one of Hungary's conquerors.
Since the 14th the country had skirmishes and large scale battles with the Ottoman Empire, that ended with an invasion of part of Hungary in 1541. The country was torn into three parts, one controlled by the Ottoman Empire, one by Habsburg Austria, and Transylvania, a small country which was balancing between the other two, mainly to avoid destruction.
In the 17th century the Ottomans were defeated by the Habsburgs, who reunited the three parts under their rule (to say that the relationship between the Hungarians and the Austrians has had its ups and downs is one way of putting it).
This led to two large revolutions. Let's just say there were major cooperation errors between the Habsburgs and the Hungarian nobility (even though there were factions that sided with them). The one in 1848-49 led to the export of some fine military leaders to Europe and America (ever wondered from where the fire lord Kossuth comes or what is the meaning of the K. in Jerome K. Jerome?)
After some intense peacemaking the Austro-Hungarian Empire was born. This was also thanks to the influence of Austrian Empress/Queen Consort of Hungary, Elisabeth of Wittelsbach aka Sisi, who adored Hungary so much that she spent more time in Hungarian lands than in Vienna itself. This lasted until the end of the First World War, when about three-quarters of the country was divided between the neighboring countries, leaving large ethnic Hungarian minorities there. This is known as the Treaty of Trianon and is the source of intense Flamewars in Hungary even to this day, not the mention some serious conflicts with the neighbors. Thing is, the Entente did the splitting intentionally, with two goals: making Hungary unable to effectively go to war ever again and creating a solution that didn't satisfy anyonein order to make them endlessly feud with each other instead of the West.
As a result, Hungary developed a severe case of Fascism, sided with the losing side again in World War II, and after the war became Commie Land. The era and its more dubious aspects still inspire heated debates and flame wars today, with a degree of Never Live It Down thrown in by both sides.
Most people weren't too happy, which led to The Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Crushed by the Soviets.
After 1956, at least, Hungary went through some more low-key reforms, and became ironically known as "the happiest barracks in the camp", under "Goulash Communism". It was also during this time that they had a really, really good football team; they won three Olympic gold medals, but sadly never won a World Cup (losing the 1954 final to West Germany in a match known in Germany as "The Miracle in Bern").
After The Great Politics Mess-Up Hungary became a democracy and a member of NATO and EU; the most current government is conservative right with an absolute majority who are despite many unpopular (and some obviously cronyst) policies, could still win absolute majority this year (though some gerrymandering may have been involved) and its leader still being the most popular politician in the country. Many of the government's economic policies have sparked debate and controversy both in and outside the country and it's best toleave it at that. All in all, the current local attitude towards politics is that of resigned apathy.
The second most supported party is a far-right nationalist one, (which wasn't even on the map before 2008) which by the latest elections is supported by about 20% percent of the voting population, ahead of the slowly dying very unpopular (even on the left, as new leftist parties have begun to rise in their wake) socialists' 15%. More importantly, the party actually has a seat in the EU parliament, increasing the number of eurosceptics.
The country is also still reeling from an economic crisis: although it didn't reach the sort of severity seen in Greece or Spain, it came too close for comfort. In the latest years the economy shows an annual ~3% GDP growth. Additionally, several companies and even a bank had recently left the country due to an ongoing wave of nationalization in the economy.
Random Notes on Language and Culture
The Hungarian language is a Finno-Ugric one, related only to Finnish, Estonian and the Sami languages in Europe, as well as several minority languages in the European part of Russia (in fact the two languages that are most closely related to Hungarian, Khanty and Mansi, are spoken in the Asian part of Russia). This makes it ideal for Fun with Foreign Languages or As Long as It Sounds Foreign. Check out the homepage in Hungarian. Or if you have Sine Mora, all spoken dialogue is in Hungarian.
And while most linguists agree on that, Hungarian nationalism sometimes prefers alignment with Turkic peoples. Check The Other Wiki for some flamewars.
The word "Hungarian" has nothing to do with the Huns. That's a rather wishful Retcon from the 13th century.
Actually it is a bastardization of the external name, onogur (which in Turkish means ten tribes) and was never used by the Hungarians themselves - magyar being the local version. See German Ungarisch, French hongrois.
Family name first. Yes, there are massive inconsistencies with the ordering of Japanese and Chinese names, since most people are not aware that these cultures share the same naming order.
And that isn't even mentioning the romanization. There seems to be a pretty strong dispute over this, as there are people who insist on following the Hepburn romanization for Japanese, even though it was developed for English and thus is completely unsuited for Hungarian. The opposite group (currently the official standard) insists on using a romanization that follows Hungarian pronounciation, even though barely any people speak Japanese so mispronunciations abound. Also, it looks rather silly.
All pronouns are gender-neutral and there's no grammatical gender, which simplifies things a lot; on the other hand, the language is agglutinative so it uses a metric fuckton of inflections.
The latter makes Hungarian an excellent language for cursing the hell out of someone when used by a verbally creative person. Kinda like French in this regard...
Alien Among Us: Hungarian scientists were jokingly referred as Martians during their stay in the States. Since there were a lot of Jews in Hungary, and Hungary was a Nazi puppet state during World War II, there were understandably quite a lot of Hungarian Jewish scientists (and frequently their Christian colleagues) heading to America. The most famous are the (highly eccentric) mathematicians John von Neumann and Paul Erdõs (Neumann János and Erdõs Pál in Hungarian) and the (batshit insane) nuclear physicist Edward Teller (Teller Ede).
GulaschSuppe: The single most famous Hungarian dish, mostly written exactly like that for foreigners. In Hungarian it is gulyásleves. In English it's called "goulash", though in North America the word refers to a totally different dish.
Puskás Öcsi: The single most famous Hungarian person ever. (Not counting Johnny von Neumann. And Bela Lugosi. And Edward Teller. And Franz Liszt.)
Stephen Colbert: The person who almost had one of the main bridges named after him on the Danube. Hell, everyone in the country voted for him in the online poll. 1.7 times.
Former Hungarian Ambassador to the United States András Simonyi plays a mean guitar.
"Pole and Hungarian are two brothers, they fight and drink together." There's even a Day of Polish-Hungarian friendship in both countries.
To confused non-Magyars/non-Poles: "Poles and Hungarians are brothers, they fight and drink together", or something like it, is a short rhyme in both Polish and Hungarian, and a symbol of the traditional good relations between the two countries. Possibly originated in the middle ages when for a while the two countries were ruled by the same king.
Somewhat more unsettlingly, it was a Hungarian (the aforementioned batshit-crazy Edward Teller) and a Pole (Stanisław Ulam) living in America who came up with the first design for the hydrogen bomb. To be fair, the Russian Andrei Sakharov had the same idea independently almost immediately afterward (which is why the H-bomb is called the "Teller-Ulam Design" in the West but "Sakharov's Third Idea" in the former Soviet bloc). On the other hand, while Ulam and Sakharov later forswore nuclear research (and Sakharov became an anti-nuclear campaigner note And then human-rights campaigner and democracy activist in the Soviet Union, earning him a Nobel Peace Prize and exile to Siberia), Teller started advocating ever more deadly weapons (he was the one who convinced the US Air Force to seriously pursue the H-bomb in the first place), including the notorious "Star Wars" anti-missile system in The Eighties. Like we said, batshit.
Hungary and Austria meanwhile have what can be best described as a Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with all its ups and downs. Despite whatever bad blood spilled over the centuries, such as in the 1848-49 revolts, ties between the two peoples still remain close if quiet.
On the other hand, Hungarians and Romanians don't exactly get along that well. A centuries-long dispute over rightful ownership of Transylvania (with all the attendant Misplaced Nationalism and abusive historical Ret Cons), the fact that it was settled by the Trianon treaty at the small price of having Hungary lose 72% of its territory (but surprisingly only about a third of it's ethnically Hungarian population the majority of the population of Transylvania actually being ethnically Romanian according to all censuses of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), something that Hungarians can be a bit bitter about, and a Curb Stomp War in 1919 with a side helping of Romanian occupation, plundering (in retaliation for the Central Powers doing the same thing during WW1) and harsh armistice terms didn't help.
Important note: don't confuse Budapest (capital of Hungary) with Bucharest (capital of Romania) in earshot of the locals of either place. They tend to get... twitchy.
In 2013, Bucharest—which tends to get the worst of this exchange on account of being lesser-known—launched a Bucharest Not Budapest touristic ad campaign to get people to learn the difference. This included a "Welcome to Not Bucharest" billboard on the main road out of Budapest-Franz Liszt International Airport.
Easy way to remember the difference: Bucharest has an "R" in its name, and it belongs to the country that starts with an R: Romania.
Hungary and Slovakia are also on quite bad terms, for similar reasons as Romania. Long story short, there's a lot of bad blood in the Carpathian Basin.
Additionally, Hungary also has bad historical relations with Serbianote then again, they're like that with all their neighbors, considering the events that happened during the dissolution of Yugoslavia.
Hungarian characters in foreign works rarely have authentic Hungarian names, the writers usually settle for Slavic or German cognates. The reason for this is partly writers not doing the research, but also that foreigners often find Hungarian writing/pronunciation very confusing.
Hungarian cinema, though not so well-known as other countries', has produced its share of internationally acclaimed works. Notable directors include Miklos Jancso (The Red and the White), Istvan Szabo (Colonel Redl) and Bela Tarr (Satantango). Additionally, several giants of British (namely the Korda Brothers and Emeric Pressburger) and American cinema (directors George Cukor and Michael Curtiz, cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Ernest Laszlo, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and composer Miklos Rozsa) were Hungarians, along with Bela Lugosi.
The town of Sopron (Ödenburg in German) along the Austrian border is notable for being the only portion of what is now known as the Austrian state of Burgenland that remained Hungarian following a plebiscite at the end of World War I (and subsequent dissolution of Austria-Hungary). As a result, it's since been called Civitas Fidelissima or "The Most Loyal Town." The area is also the site of the Pan-European Picnic in 1989note one of the events that would lead up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and is known among Austrians for cheap dentistry.
The Hungarian Flag
The red, white and green colors derive from the coat of arms; popular folklore (eventually made official in the 2012 constitution) attaches to the colors the meanings of strength, faithfulness and hope, respectively.