Hungarian Ruthenia


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Hungarian Ruthenia is Number 7 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Hungarian Ruthenia is defined in the book as the counties of Maramaros, Bereg, and Ugocsa, located on the southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains in northeastern Hungary. Maramaros is in present-day Romania, Bereg is in present-day Hungary, and Ugocsa is now split between Romania and Ukraine. In 1910, the total population of the region was 686,071, of which 43 percent was Ruthenian, 30.5 percent Magyar (Hungarian), 13.8 percent Romanian, and 12.2 percent German. The Magyar total included a large number of Hungarian-speaking Jews living in the main towns. Ruthenian was a term applied to people who were essentially Ukrainian, but living under Polish or Austro-Hungarian rule. The study describes an economically backward region in which 90 percent of the people were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and 75 percent of the population was illiterate.

Last updated: November 14, 2017