The term Swabian Turkey (German: Schwäbische Türkei, Hungarian: Sváb-Törökország) describes a region in southeastern Transdanubia in Hungary delimited by the Danube (Donau), the Drava (Drau), and Lake Balaton (Plattensee) inhabited by an ethnic German minority. This present-day minority, the largest German-speaking minority in Hungary, primarily lives in the counties of Tolna (Tolnau), Baranya (Branau), and Somogy (Schomodei) and are regarded as Danube Swabians.
After the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Battle of Mohács in 1687, the Habsburg Monarchy forced the Ottoman Turks from most of the Kingdom of Hungary. Because much of the Pannonian Plain had been depopulated through warfare, the Austrian Habsburgs began to resettle the land with various colonists, including Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats and Germans.
German colonization in southeastern Transdanubia began in 1689. While many came from Swabia, the German settlers also came from the Rhenish Palatinate, Hesse, the Westerwald, Fulda, Bavaria, and throughout Franconia. Because of the many Swabian colonists settling on land previously controlled by the Turks, the region of Tolna and Baranya counties became known as Swabian Turkey. The settlers were often induced to immigrate to Hungary with the promise of three years without taxes. The vast majority of German settlement was organized through private ventures run by the nobility or the Church. Most German settlement was in pre-existing Slav- or Magyar-inhabited villages, although some new villages were founded by the Germans. The only two German-founded villages remaining in Swabian Turkey established through state ventures are Dunakömlőd (Kimling) and Németkér (Deutsch-Ker). Germans also settled extensively in the major towns of Pécs (Fünfkirchen) and Mohács (Mohatsch).
Post-World War II
During the Flight and expulsion of Germans (1944–1950) after World War II, many Germans from Swabian Turkey were expelled from their homes and replaced with Hungarians evicted from Czechoslovakia; the remaining Germans were often persecuted by the Communist government. After the fall of communism in 1989, the Transdanubian Germans received minority rights, organisations, schools, and local councils, as well as maintaining their own regional dialect of German. However, the Germans are gradually being assimilated.
- This article incorporates information from the revision as of October 7, 2006 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
- Krallert, Wilfried. Atlas zur Geschichte der deutschen Ostsiedlung. Bielefeld: Velhagen & Klasing, 1958.
- Swabian Turkey at Genealogy.net
- Former German-inhabited villages in Swabian Turkey
- Map of Swabian Turkey (German)
- Danube Swabian Resources (English) (German)