The College of Hereditary Nobility of Hungary


Burgenland is the easternmost and the least populous state of Austria - a province of corn and castles. The great Neusiedlersee Lake lies partly in this Hungarian wedge, but mostly in northern Burgenland. Rarely more than 6 ft deep and fringed with reeds, Neusiedler See is remarkable for bird - watching, water sports, coarse fishing, and in winter ice-sailing.

East of the lake are salt marshes, noted for varied wildlife and flowers and a plain carrying immense crops of cereals that sweep across the frontier, into Hungary.

Burgenland has a very long border: To the west, it borders the Austrian provinces of Niederosterreich and Steiermark. To the northeast, it borders Slovakia, Hungary to the east and Slovenia to the farthest south.

Between Hungary and Austria

During the Roman Empire, it formed the core of the province of Pannoonia. After the battle at Augsburg (955), Germanic settlers started to inhabit the area. In 1043 a peace treaty between Kaiser Henry III and King Aba Samuel of Hungary fixed the western border of Hungary along the Leitha river. The territory of the present-day Burgenland remained the western border-zone of Hungary until 1920.

The majority of the population was Germanic except the Hungarian border-guards of the frontier (gyepu). Germanic immigration was also continuous in the Middle Ages from the neighbouring Austria. In the 16-17th centuries German Protestant refugees arrived in Western Hungary to take shelter from the religious wars of the Holy Roman Empire.

After 1440, the territory of present-day Burgenland was occupied by the Habsburgs of Austria, and in 1463 the northern part of it (with the town of Koszeg) became a mortgage-territory according to the peace treaty of Wiener Neustadt. In 1477 King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary reoccupied, but in 1491, it was mortgaged again by King Ulaszlo II of Hungary to Kaiser Maximilian I. In 1647 Kaiser Ferdinand II returned it to Hungary. In the 17-18th centuries' wealthy Catholic landowner-families, like the Esterhazys and Batthyanys dominated the region.

After the demise of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918, the German inhabitants of Deutsch-Westungarn (German Western Hungary, Burgenland) intended to join Austria. According to the 1910 census, 291,800 people lived on the territory of present-day Burgenland. Among them 217,072 were German-speaking (74%), 43,633 Croatian (15%) and 26,225 (9%) Hungarian. Roma people were counted according to their mother language.

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