A History of Budapest

By Tim Lambert

Early Budapest

In the 1st century AD, the Romans conquered parts of what is now Hungary. About 100 AD they created a town called Aquincum on the site of Budapest. However, in 409 the Huns captured the town. The region was then ruled by different peoples until the Magyars conquered the area in 896. Then in the late 12th century, the towns of Buda and Pest grew up.

The region was devastated by the Mongol invasion of 1241. However, Buda and Pest soon recovered and in 1244 Pest was given a royal charter. However, in the late Middle Ages Buda became the capital of Hungary.

Then in 1541, the Turks captured Buda. They held it until 1686 when the Austrians captured it. Then in 1689 Buda and Pest suffered a severe outbreak of bubonic plague. It returned in 1711. However, the later 18th century was a time of prosperity for Buda and Pest.

Modern Budapest

During the 19th century, Buda and Pest continued to grow and prosper. The Lutheran Church was built in 1808. Then in 1848, a rebellion broke out but it was suppressed in 1849. However the same year, 1849 the Chain Bridge was built. The Great Synagogue was built in 1859 and the Great Market Hall opened in 1864. Then in 1873 Buda and Pest were united as one city. The first metro line opened in 1896.

In 1945 Budapest was captured by the Russians. They imposed a Communist tyranny. In 1956 people in Budapest rebelled but the rebellion was brutally put down. Finally, communism collapsed in 1989. Today Budapest is a thriving city. In 2024 the population of Budapest was 1.7 million.