Transylvania - from the 10th century

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900 AD

Pre-Hungarian rulers

Magyar (Hungarian) invasion

Following defeats to the west the Magyar tribes looked east, across the Tisa and into Transylvania. There is little documented during this period, but it looks likely the area was inhabited by a mix of mainly Romanians and Slavs ruled under a system of voivodes and knez. The system of regional voivodes continued through into Hungarian Transylvania and the states of Wallachia and Moldavia.

The Romanians believe they are the descendents of Dacians, the Hungarians believe that the region was hardly populated and probably by Slavs, and the only written document is sometimes inaccurate "Gest Hungarorum".

1000 AD

Hungarian settlements


The Szekelers were invited to move to the South East region of Transylvania in C11, to protect the frontiers of the Hungarian Empire, in return for autonomy from the feudal system. The Szekelers consider they are descendants of the Huns, but it is more likely that they are a group of Magyars from the Bihor region. Their area of Transylvania, known as Szekelyfold, remains over 95% Szekely.

1100 AD

Hungarian settlements

The regional ruling Voivode of Transylvania acted for the King of Hungary. Medieval Transylvania was smaller than the area currently known as Transylvania. Areas of Maramureş and Oaş to the north, Crişana to the west and Banat to the south formed part of Greater Hungary.

1200 AD

Hungarian settlements


The Magyars invited Germanic peoples (now known as Saxons) to Transylvania (Siebenberg) to establish trading cities. Saxons also moved into many villages in the area north of Sibiu known as Burzen Land.

1300 AD

The Magyar nobility, Szekelers and Saxons dominated the feudal system. The peasant Magyars and Romanians were suppressed, with the Romanians being prevented from holding public office, residing in the cities, or wearing higher class clothing such as boots and rich jackets.

1400 AD


1500 - 1700 AD

15th-17th century

The Ottoman defeat of Hungary (1541) left Transylvania as the only remaining area of Magyar control, until the Austrian Hapsburg's Empire regained Hungary and Transylvania in 1691.

Many Romanians escape from the hardships of being a peasant serf in Transylvania. The Szekely and Catholic Romanians that moved to Moldavia later became known as the Csango.

1800 AD

Szekely lands 1872

The Dual Monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian empire (1867) led to Transylvania becoming part of Hungary for the first time and a period of rapid Magyarisation was forced on the Romanians.

1900 AD

1910 population stats


Population maps: all minorities, Hungarians, Germans, Romanians


1913 administration regions

current administration regions

After the First World War Transylvania was ceded to the Romanians despite great protest from the Magyars. The border with Hungary was drawn, after debate, along the current line which divided the majority of Romanian to Hungarian population. The northern part was briefly returned to Hungary in 1940 due to pressure from Hitler which resulted in many atrocities being committed against the Romanians by the Magyar forces. Since then Transylvania has had rapid Romanization, but still has a large Magyar minority.


© Eliznik2005, First issue 2002, Last updated Dec-05