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E-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association
In the English-speaking world Ármin Vámbéry is known as a traveller in Central Asia and a student of Turkic cultures and languages. In his native Hungary he is also known for his disagreement with linguists who believed that Hungarian belonged to the Ugric branch of the Finno-Ugric languages - a part of the Uralic linguistic family. Rather than accepting this theory, Vámbéry contended that Hungarian was largely a Turkic language that belonged more to the Altaic family. Few people know that Vámbéry also expressed strong opinions about the genesis of the Hungarian nation. The most important aspect of Vámbéry's theory about Hungarian origins is the thesis that Hungarian ethnogenesis took place beginning with late Roman times or even earlier -in the Carpathian Basin. A corollary of this proposition is that the nomadic tribes that conquered the Carpathian Basin at the end of the ninth century were Turkic peoples who were few in numbers and were assimilated by the region's autochthonous - and by then Hungarian-speaking population. This paper outlines Vámbéry's arguments and describes to what extent research on this subject in the century since Vámbéry's death has confirmed or contradicted his unconventional ideas.
Keywords: Ármin Vámbéry, Hungarian ethnogenesis, Hungarian origins, Hungarian conquest, Hungarian historiography
Dreisziger, Nándor. “Ármin Vámbéry (1832-1913) as a Historian of Hungarian Settlement in the Carpathian Basin.” AHEA: E-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association, Volume 6 (2013): http://ahea.net/e-journal/volume-6-2013/6
From 1970 to 2008 Nándor Dreisziger taught history at the Royal Military College of Canada. He has published widely on North American and East European subjects. Since 1974 he has been editing the Hungarian Studies Review. His most recent field of interest is Hungarian ethnogenesis.