Social media and Hungarian history in English

“Hungarian History 1366-1699”, the logo of my FB page

Let’s face it: in the 21st century, many people do not read books very often. In fact, most of us read blogs, websites, or posts on Facebook or other social media. In Hungary, only 13% of people read books, according to a 2021 survey. Also, according to my blog’s data, 25% of my readers use their desktop computers or laptops, 7% use tablets, and 69% use their phones.

Yes, many of us still love real books, and yes, there is a demand for paperbacks – but we also get a lot of information from social media and blogs.

It can be said that many academic books in English cover the topic of Hungarian history and the Ottoman wars properly. Indeed, there are excellent books that are easy to find and order. How many ordinary people have ever read these difficult books written by historians?

Where could non-Hungarian speakers find information about Hungarian history?

I was often told how little was said about Hungary in history classes in schools in English-speaking countries. Second or third-generation Hungarians, however, were told fragments about it by their family members. These were mainly about the Mongol invasion of 1241, then King Matthias Corvinus and his Black Army, the Battle of Mohács in 1526, and the Siege of Eger in 1552. Many of them heard about Rákóczi and Kossuth, the Hungarian hussars who fought against the Habsburgs in 1848. The most famous events were the Trianon (the partition of the country after World War I) and the famous freedom fight against the Soviets in 1956. Perhaps family stories from the Don River in 1943, where nearly 150,000 Hungarian soldiers were lost. Period.

As for our Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovakian, and Ukrainian neighbors, the situation may be even worse. On the one hand, they know more historical details from school and family. On the other hand, this information has often served as nationalist propaganda. Talking to them about our history is like walking on eggshells. Even the period of anti-Ottoman struggles contains sensitive topics, although it was the historical period when these nations were still fighting on the same side, at least more or less. Just read the summary of Professor Fodor’s lecture, who listed the national aspects in his lecture. You can find it here:

Hopefully, the Internet and the more open-minded thinking of the 21st century will provide the framework for a better understanding.

Are popular history TV channels helpful?

The answer is a resounding NO. On the contrary, these channels poison us with superficial and misleading information. One of their series prompted me to start my Facebook page “Hungaries 1632” in 2016 because I could not bear their ignorance. (Later I changed the name to “Hungarian History 1366-1699”)

If these “history channels” were simply ignorant, it would be better for us, but they are often manipulated by their creators. When it comes to Hungary or the Ottoman wars, their messages are:

1. The rule of the Ottoman Empire was the best thing that ever happened to the Europeans, who were killing each other because of their evil nationalism;

2. It was the Habsburgs alone who saved Europe from Turkish invasion;

3. No, it was Vlad Tepes, father of Dracula, who outwitted the Sultan…

All in all, these cheap-budget films have only made the world a worse place, just because they wanted to make money and spread their dubious messages. One thing is for sure: if Hungarians are ever mentioned in them, they are either belittled or portrayed negatively

Note: Wikipedia’s English articles are largely written by non-Hungarians, and the YouTube videos are also abysmal. We can also make a long list of historical films that our Romanian, Croatian, Slovakian, and Polish friends have produced on this subject.

Why is Facebook a great place for finding quality information?

One can find groups and pages where valuable information is being shared. Simply, it is relatively easy to find what we want and we have been notified of the new posts or comments. Friendships are made, questions can be settled, and I have acquired not one Slovakian, Romanian, or Austrian friend, not to forget the Turkish and Asian ones.

I have built a FB page to spread Hungarian history in English and I have reached almost 41,000 followers so far. It was done by hard work, without buying any ads from FB. I shared my posts in groups where people appreciated this topic because of their Hungarian roots or just for the love of history. In the meantime, I have also created two FB groups where about 30K members discuss this historical period.

There are not too many social media sites in English that focus on this period between 1366 and 1699. In fact, as far as I know, there are no similar projects. Unfortunately, Meta restricts me severely every day.

What is next, then?

The creation of my self-hosted website was a necessity. Here I can store all the information I have shared on Facebook and not have to worry about Facebook deleting the whole page on a cloudy day. Without any warning or reason.

The followers of my page and the members of the groups help me a lot. They can have their share in spreading Hungarian history on English-speaking social media – nobody will do it instead of us.

On the other hand, it would be nice to have the support of some foundations or institutions whose goals and objectives include the spreading of our heritage. (Update: in 2022 I received small support from NKA and I could buy a laptop.)

Having learned from the mistakes of not spreading Hungarian history effectively enough before 1918, by now, in 2024, we all must know how important it is to spread the country’s cultural heritage among those who do not speak Hungarian.

Thank you for your interest in Hungarian history. You can read my report on my activity between 2016 and 2022 here:


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