Hungarian Slovenes

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Hungarian Slovenes are an autochthonous ethnic and linguistic Slovene minority living in Hungary. The largest groups are the Rába Slovenes (Slovene: porabski Slovenci, dialectically: vogrski Slovenci, bákerski Slovenci, porábski Slovenci) in the Rába Valley in western Hungary between the town of Szentgotthárd and the borders with Slovenia and Austria. They speak the Prekmurje Slovene of Slovene. Outside the Rába Valley, Slovenes mainly live in the Szombathely region and in Budapest.[1]


Monument to the Slovene culture in Hungary, made from a rock from Mount Triglav, in the village of Orfalu (Andovci), Vas county

The ancestors of modern Slovenes have lived in the western part of the Carpathian basin since at least the 6th century AD; their presence thus dates back to before the Magyars came into the region. They formed the Slavic Balaton Principality and were later incorporated in Arnulf's Kingdom of Carantania which extended to most of modern south-eastern Austria, southern Hungary and northern Croatia. After the Hungarian invasion in the late 9th century, most of the local Slavs were magyarized. Between the 11th and 12th century, the current linguistic and ethnic border between the Hungarian and Slovene people was established.

In the 10th century, the western border of the Kingdom of Hungary was fixed on the river Mura, so the region between the Mura and the Rába rivers, known in Slovene as Slovenska krajina and in Hungarian as Vendvidék, inhabited by Slovenes, remained in Hungary. After World War One, there was a failed attempt by a small group of Hungarian Slovenes to acquire independence (see Slovene March and Mura Republic). In 1919, the majority of the region was annexed to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed to Yugoslavia), and became known under the name of Prekmurje. Only a small portion in the Vas County, in the triangle between the northern border of Slovenia, the Raba river and Austria, remained in Hungary.

In 1920, the number of Slovenes that had remained in Hungary was estimated at around 7,000, but in the next decades many of them emigrated to other Hungarian cities, mostly to Budapest. In 2001, there were around 5,000 Slovenes in Hungary, of whom only around 3,000 remained in their original settlement zone in western Vas county, with others living mostly in larger urban areas.

Language and terminology

The Hungarian Slovenes speak a specific dialect of Slovene (the Prekmurje Slovene), which is almost identical with the dialect spoken in the Prekmurje region of Slovenia. The traditional Magyar name for the Slovenes used to be Vendek or Vends; as a result, many Slovenes in Hungary accepted this name as a common denomination, although in their dialect, they always referred to themselves as "Slovenes". In the last decades of the 19th century, and especially during the Horthy regime, the denomination "Wends" was used in order to emphasize the difference between the Hungarian Slovenes and other Slovenes, including attempts in creating a separate identity.


Differently from their counterparts in Prekmurje, where there is a significant Lutheran minority, almost all Rába Slovenes are Roman Catholic, with religion playing an important role in their local traditions and communal life.

Frequent Slovene names in Hungary

Famous Slovenes in Hungary

See also


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