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European Kingdoms

Eastern Europe

 

Kingdom of Hungary (Magyars)
AD 1001 - 1097

The ancient region of Pannonia, along with a slice of Dacia, would become the core of what today is the republic of Hungary. It was generally Roman-occupied between 15 BC and about AD 378, by which time it contained all sorts of fragmented tribal leftovers such as groups of Celts (specifically Taurisci elements).

Prior to that it had provided a transit corridor between the Black Sea steppe in the east and the headwaters of the Danube and the Alpine region in the west. This use as a transit corridor possibly dates as far back as the earliest modern humans of the Aurignacian culture. It was highly travelled during the Chalcolithic (Copper Age), when Europe's population of Neolithic Farmers found itself having to accept a long-lasting stream of Indo-European migrants.

One large part of this migration was formed by the West Indo-European grouping which spread along the entire length of the Danube. Along the way it formed the Vučedol culture in the northern Balkans and on the Pannonian plain to displace elements of the older Baden-Boleraz culture. Indo-Europeans would eventually contribute to much of Western Europe's population, but the later rulers of Hungary would originate from outside this gene pool.

FeatureWith the arrival of the Magyars in the late ninth century AD, Pannonia as a name was already falling out of use, and 'Hungary' eventually came to replace it. The traditional view is that the people of this region simply inherited the new name from the Huns who had previously controlled it. With the Magyars themselves being linked in part to Turkics, this may be seen as a reasonable move, but it ignores complexities which are too extensive to cover here (but see feature link).

The Magyars were defeated by the Pechenegs (Patzinaks) in AD 892, and were forced to migrate for the second time in their recent history. Again they headed westwards, this time to reach the Dacian lands which had most recently been controlled by the Avars. They swept into the Carpathian basin in 895 and founded what would eventually be accepted as a medieval kingdom. Perhaps only the principality of Balaton survived in Central European hands from the original core Avar lands.

Carnuntum - Heidentor in Pannonia and Austria

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from the John De Cleene Archive, from Journal of World History 4(3), 513-540: The Outlines of Hungarian Prehistory, Denis Sinor, from Celts and the Classical World, David Rankin (1996), from The Civilisation of the East, Fritz Hommel (Translated by J H Loewe, Elibron Classic Series, 2005), from Europe Before History, Kristian Kristiansen, from Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History, András Róna-Tas (Central European University Press, 1999), from Keepers of the Keys: A History of the Popes from St Peter to John Paul II, Nicolas Cheetham (New York, 1982), from Hammond Historical Atlas (Maplewood, New Jersey, 1963), from Kingdoms of Europe, Gene Gurney (New York, 1982), from Poland: A Historical Atlas, Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski (New York, 1987), from Times Atlas of World History (Maplewood, 1979), and from External Links: The Outlines of Hungarian Prehistory, and The genocide of the Old Scythian writing, Alex Imreh, 2011, and Hungary (Flags of the World), and Slovakia (Rulers.org).)

1000 - 1038

Vajk / St Stephen I

Son of Geza. First Magyar king of Hungary as 'Stephen'.

1001 - 1002

Vajk has converted to Christianity and has united seven of the Magyar tribes prior to being crowned as the first king of Hungary by Pope Sylvester II. During his early reign he is also responsible for bringing Transylvania into the kingdom as a Hungarian province, but control over Moravia is lost to Poland during the early eleventh century, and probably by 1001-1002.

Magyars on campaign
Once established on the Pannonian plain, the Magyars plagued Europe's established kingdoms for several decades before being forced through defeat in battle at Lechfield in 955 to concentrate on establishing their own medieval kingdom in what would become Hungary

1038 - 1041

Peter Urseolo

Nephew. Driven out for favouring Venetian advisors.

1041 - 1044

Ovo / Samuel Aba

Non-dynastic. Defeated by Peter. Died 1046.

1044

Samuel has been placed on the throne in preference to Peter Urseolo as he will be guided by Hungarian lords, not Venetians. While he has been more than content to be guided by his own people, it is commoners rather than the lords. He also executes many of his opponents. Peter returns with a small army and support from Holy Roman Emperor Henry III to retake his throne.

1044 - 1046

Peter Urseolo

Restored by HRE Henry III. Deposed by pagan uprising.

1046 - 1061

Andrew I 'the White'

Arpads restored. Dethroned by Bela and died of injuries.

1056

Edward 'the Exile', the son of Saxon King Edmund Ironsides, an atheling (a noble of royal descent) with the best claim to the throne after Edward, has been living in Hungary. The childless Edward 'the Confessor' sees him as a possible heir to the throne, so in 1056 he is persuaded to return, along with his two sons, but dies on the way in 1057, in the hall of a Saxon thegn.

Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, contains the coronation throne which has been used for all monarchs since the fourteenth century, while some parts of the structure date back to Edward the Confessor's original abbey (click or tap on image to view more on a separate page)

One of those sons, Edgar, presses his own claim to the English throne in 1066, while some texts claim that Edward 'the Exile' has been enjoying the hospitality of Malesclot, king of the Rugians, based on this Germanic tribe's settlement in Lower Austria in the fifth century.

However, this tribe has long since been absorbed into the Bavarii confederation of the sixth century, making this either an invention, or perhaps confusing a minor Hungarian lord with his regional antecedents.

1061 - 1063

Bela I 'the Boxer'

Brother. Married dau of Mieszko II Lambert of Poland.

1063 - 1074

Solomon / Salomon

Son of Andrew.

1074 - 1077

Geza I (II)

Son of Bela. Defeated Solomon in battle.

1077 - 1095

St Ladislas I

Brother. Conceded the Croatian crown.

1089 - 1095

The Croatian throne effectively becomes vacant, although there are rival claimants between 1089-1091. The throne is offered to St Ladislas I of Hungary, who becomes king of Croatia as Ladislaus I. His death undoes the expansion of Hungarian authority as Croatia returns to native rule.

Hungary's King Bela I
As well as having to claim his throne by battling his predecessor, Bela I also put down the last pagan rebellion in Hungary (External Link: Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 (Generic))

1095 - 1097

Coloman / Kálmán 'the Learned'

Son of Geza. Gained enlargened Hungary & Croatia.

1097

Kalman defeats Croatian opposition at Gvozd Mountain (modern Petrova Gora) and secures the Croatian crown. His title of king of Croatia and Dalmatia is confirmed in 1102 when Kalman is crowned in Biograd, on the Dalmatian coast.

In principle, Croatia is always governed as a separate kingdom, rather than a territory which belongs to Hungary, but it does herald the start of an area which is framed as the 'Kingdom of Hungary & Croatia'.

Kingdom of Hungary & Croatia
AD 1097 - 1564

Ancient Pannonia and part of Dacia were invaded in the late ninth century AD. The Magyars had been defeated by the Pechenegs (Patzinaks) in 892, and had been forced to migrate for the second time in their recent history. Again they headed westwards, this time to reach the Dacian lands which had most recently been controlled by the Avars.

They swept into the Carpathian basin in 895 and founded what would eventually be accepted as a medieval kingdom. Perhaps only the principality of Balaton survived in Central European hands from the original core Avar lands. With their arrival, Pannonia as a name was already falling out of use, and 'Hungary' eventually came to replace it.

FeatureThe traditional view is that the people of this region simply inherited the new name from the Huns who had previously controlled it. With the Magyars themselves being linked in part to Turkics, this may be seen as a reasonable move, but it ignores complexities which are too extensive to cover here (but see feature link).

For half a century the Magyars plagued Europe until defeated by the king of the Germans. Christianity followed soon after, as the Magyars began to feel at home in their new territory. King Stephen I converted around the same time as he managed to unite many of the Magyar tribes, and western recognition was soon forthcoming in the form of a crown.

The Magyar-controlled 'Kingdom of Hungary' quickly evolved into an important feudal state which remained independent until the sixteenth century. Some intermarriage took place with other regional royal houses, with Poland during the reign of Bela I, and politics played a part in Hungary controlling Croatia in the 1090s, as well as Transylvania and Bosnia.

Croatian opposition was weak, however, and Hungary's King Kalman was able to get it back in 1097. His title of 'king of Croatia' was confirmed in 1102 when he was crowned in Biograd, on the Dalmatian coast. In principle, Croatia was governed in personal union, as a separate kingdom rather than a territory which belonged to Hungary. Croatia maintained its autonomy.

Carnuntum - Heidentor in Pannonia and Austria

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from the John De Cleene Archive, from The Annals of Jan Długosz (English abridged version by Maurice Michael, with commentary by Paul Smith, IM Publications, 1997), from A History of Poland from its Foundation, M Ross, from The History of the Baltic Countries, Zigmantas Kiaupa, Ain Mäesalu, Ago Pajur, & Gvido Straube (Eds, Estonia 2008), from Journal of World History 4(3), 513-540: The Outlines of Hungarian Prehistory, Denis Sinor, from Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History, András Róna-Tas (Central European University Press, 1999), from Hammond Historical Atlas (Maplewood, New Jersey, 1963), from Kingdoms of Europe, Gene Gurney (New York, 1982), from Poland: A Historical Atlas, Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski (New York, 1987), from Times Atlas of World History (Maplewood, 1979), and from External Links: The Outlines of Hungarian Prehistory, and The Alans (Marres Education).)

1097 - 1114

Coloman / Kálmán 'the Learned'

King of Hungary with 'Croatia & Dalmatia'.

1097

Kalman has been confirmed as king of Croatia and Dalmatia, with a coronation taking place in Biograd. Croatia is now governed on behalf of the Hungarian king by the continuation of the office of ban (viceroy) and the sabor (parliament, literally, 'a gathering of people'). Anything the Hungarian king wishes to enact in Croatia first has to be passed through the sabor.

1102

The Pacta Conventa ('the conditions agreed upon') is signed by a group of Croatian nobles (who form a 'House of Lords'). This concedes the throne to the person of the Hungarian king in exchange for guaranteed autonomy.

This respects the principle 'Regnum regi non prescribit leges' (literally, 'the kingdom does not prescribe laws to another kingdom'). This is opposed by some Croatian elements, but essentially ensures the two kingdoms are separate while sharing the same ruler. Hungary's control of Dalmatia is confirmed, instead of that of the Eastern Roman empire.

1114 - 1131

Stephen II

Son. Abdicated to become a monk but quickly died.

1118

War against the Hungarians sees the Venetian doge, Ordelaf Falier, killed at the Battle of Zara. This important coastal city on the Dalmatian coast is better known today as Zadar. Stephen is unable to restore his rule of Dalmatia, however, having lost it in the first year of his reign.

1120

The former, and short-lived, duchy of Bosnia voluntarily accepts Hungarian overlordship, with a line of local ban officials governing there from 1168.

1131 - 1141

Bela II 'the Blind'

The blinded grandson of Geza I (II).

1131 - 1141

Helena of Rascia

Queen and co-ruler. Regent for her son.

1141 - 1161

Geza II (III)

Son. Acceded aged 11.

1146

Boris Kalamanos is a pretender to the Hungarian throne. He has already attempted to lay claim to that throne during the reign of Bela 'the Blind'. Now he temporarily holds Pressburg (today's Bratislava in Slovakia) with the assistance of German mercenaries.

King Geza comes of age in the same year, and it is he who clears up the situation by invading Austria to rout Henry Jasomirgott, margrave of Austria, at the Battle of the Fischa.

1161 - 1162

Stephen III 'the Lightning'

Son. Throne usurped.

1161 - 1162

Stephen III has been on the throne for six weeks when the Eastern Roman emperor, Manuel I Komnenos, launches an expedition against Hungary. The lords are forced to accept Stephen's ambitious uncle, Ladislaus, as their ruler.

1162 - 1163

Ladislas II

Uncle. Gained throne through invasion. Died.

1163

Stephen IV

Uncle of Stephen III. Defeated and removed.

1163

Stephen returns from refuge in Austria to seize Pressburg. His uncle, Stephen IV, is unpopular, and is defeated on 19 June 1163. Stephen III will go on to attempt a failed effort to reclaim territory from the Eastern Romans.

1163 - 1172

Stephen III

Restored. Rumoured to have been poisoned.

1170 - 1171

The city of Zara rebels and switches allegiance to the Hungarians, but is re-conquered by Venice the following year. The situation along the Dalmatian coast is somewhat unclear at this time, with Hungary continuing to vie with the Eastern Roman empire for supremacy.

1172 - 1196

Bela III

Son of Geza II (III). Controlled Bosnia (1180).

1176

The Eastern Romans are defeated by the Seljuqs of Rum at the Battle of Myriocephalon (generally held to be near to Çivril in Denizli Province, western Anatolia). The empire enters a period of uncertainty and gradual decline which also affects its allies.

In the same year, the Hungarian king begins the practice of appointing voivodes (governors) to Transylvania. The voivodes and the Transylvanian diet become increasingly autonomous of Hungary during the remainder of the existence of an independent Hungarian kingdom.

1189 - 1210

A year after Hungarian rule is apparently established under Andrew, son of Bela III, the principality of Halychyna is formed (or recognised), although no longer under Hungarian control. It is more likely that it is re-formed under Vladimir II after the succession problems of 1187-1190.

1196 - 1204

Emeric / Henry / Imre

Son. Died entrusting his son's reign to the care of Andrew.

1204 - 1205

Ladislas III

Son. Taken in flight by mother but died unexpectedly.

1205 - 1235

Andrew II 'of Jerusalem'

Brother of Emeric. Reconquered Halychyna.

1205 - 1214

Andrew II defeats Roman Mstislavich 'the Great' of Novgorod, Volodymyr, Halych, and Kyiv, and claims the title king of Galicia and Lodomeria (Halychyna and Volodymyr). He hands command of the region to his son, Kálmán II.

King Andrew II of Hungary
Founded in 1179, the remains of Egres Cistercian Monastery are located just a few kilometres from the modern Hungarian border, in Romania's Temes County, which is where Andrew II and his wife Yolanda were buried

1235 - 1270

Bela IV

Son. Died of illness, as did members of his family.

1241 - 1242

The Mongols of Batu Khan's Golden Horde, aided by Subedei, turn their attention to Poland and Hungary, primarily because, during the Mongol invasion of the Rus lands, Cumans, Kipchaks, and other nomadic groups had fled to Hungary at the western end of the great Pontic-Caspian steppe to seek refuge there.

During the same period, around the mid-thirteenth century, a tribe of nomads who speak a Sarmatian-Alanic language which resembles Ossetian and who call themselves Alani is permitted by King Bela IV to enter Hungary. They have to fight the Mongols and they do that successfully.

Despite the resistance, both Poland and Hungary are conquered by the Mongols, with European defeats at Liegnitz and the River Sajo (the Battle of Mohi). Austria, Dalmatia, and Moravia also fall under Mongol domination, and the tide seems unstoppable. However, the death of Ogedei Khan causes the Mongols to withdraw, with Batu Khan intent on securing his Rus conquests.

As for the Alani, they are referred to as Jasz by the Hungarian locals, probably in memory of the similar Sarmatian Jazygians. These Alani settle in the central part of the Pannonian plain in a region which is now known as Jászság with Jászberény its most important city. Over subsequent centuries they blend into the population, their language disappearing (a dictionary of their language is preserved).

Kipchak mounted warrior
An illustration of a mounted Kipchack warrior, typical of the waves of westward migrants who swept in from the Kazak steppe during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, largely pushed that way by the sudden creation of the Mongol empire

1242 - 1244

Having taken refuge in the fortified stronghold of Trogir during the Mongol attack, Bela IV finds his country in ruins, as much as fifteen percent of its population dead. On the eastern plains beyond the Danube the destruction is especially heavy. Entire villages have been wiped out.

A severe famine follows during 1242-1243, although the call goes out to Europeans from all over to come and colonise the devastated regions, which they do. A programme of fortress-building will protect them. Peace is agreed with Venice in 1244, and Bela releases the city of Zara back to them.

1270 - 1272

Stephen V

Son. Fell ill and died.

1271

Ottokar of Bohemia and King Stephen sign the First Peace of Pressburg (Pozny to the Hungarians, modern Bratislava in Slovakia). This follows another battle between the two over Hungarian claims to areas of Austria and Slovakia (to the east of Moravia, sandwiched between that and Hungary), and Bohemian-captured territory in Hungary itself.

Each claim is dropped so that Bohemia unquestionably rules Austria and Slovakia, and Hungary is fully restored to its rulers.

1272 - 1290

Ladislas IV 'the Cuman'

Son. Unpopular. Assassinated by Cumans.

1290 - 1301

Andrew III 'the Venetian'

Grandson of Andrew II. Raised in Venice. Last Arpad ruler.

1301

Charles Robert of Anjou

Briefly king. Later king of Sicily.

1301 - 1305

Wenceslas

Wenceslas II of Bohemia.

1305 - 1307

Otto

Otto III of Bavaria.

1308 - 1342

Charles I of Anjou

Senator of Rome (1263-1284). King of Sicily (1266-1285).

1342 - 1382

Louis / Ludwik I 'the Great'

King of Poland (1370-1382).

1345

Another war is fought against Venice for the rebel city of Zara on the Dalmatian coast. Ultimately, Hungary will control most of the Dalmatian coastal towns by 1358.

1351

With the Eastern Roman civil war having been concluded, Emperor John Cantacuzenes has realised the threat posed by the Ottoman Turks. His attempts to form a united front alongside the Serbs and Bulgarians are rebuffed, however. This is despite Tsar Ivan Alexander already having lost a son and brother to Ottoman raids.

In fact, Alexander makes things worse by creating two co-ruling principalities within Bulgaria, the second of which - Vidin - becomes fully independent in 1371, weakening the state as a whole.

1353

Stephen Kotromanić's daughter, Elizabeth, marries King Louis 'the Great' of Hungary and, in 1370, becomes regent of Poland, when Louis accedes to that throne as well. This has the effect of removing Bosnia from Hungary's immediate control, but only in the short term.

1365 - 1369

Ivan Stratsimir the Bulgarian ruler of Vidin who has acted as co-ruler in the weakened state, is deposed by Louis 'the Great', but only until 1369, when Louis puts him back in command there.

1370

King Kasimierz of Poland dies leaving only female issue and a grandson in the form of Louis 'the Great'. The transfer of power to Louis is peaceful, with the succession having been agreed upon in advance. Kasimierz' sister is Elizabeth of Poland, mother of Louis, which virtually guarantees his unopposed succession anyway.

1374

Like his late father-in-law, Louis has no sons to succeed him. Instead he issues the 'Privilege of Koszyce' which spells out the liberties of Polish noblemen, as part of his strategy to enforce the recognition of the right of his daughters to succeed him. Even without this, his rule remains unpopular in Poland.

1382

Upon the death of Louis 'the Great', his daughter Jadwiga succeeds him in Poland while Mary does the same in Hungary as Mary of Anjou. She is the wife of, and co-ruler with, soon-to-be Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg, while they are also co-regents of Croatia.

1382 - 1385

Mary / Maria of Anjou

Dau. Married later Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.

1385 - 1386

Charles II of Anjou

Charles III of Naples (1382-1386). Assassinated.

1386 - 1395

Mary / Maria of Anjou

Restored. Ruled jointly with her husband. Died.

1386 - 1395

Sigismund

Holy Roman emperor. King of Bohemia (1419-1437).

1395 - 1437

Sigismund

Sole ruler following death of Mary of Anjou. Died.

1397

King Sigismund of Hungary, Croatia, and Luxembourg calls for the sabor in city of Krizhevci. Croatian law states that no one should enter the sabor with arms so, on 20 February, the Croatian ban, Stjepan Lackovich and his supporters leave their arms in front of the church.

The Hungarians are already in the church, fully armed. Sigismund has arranged for the ban and his followers to be murdered for supporting the opposing candidate for the throne, Ladislaus of Naples. The event is known as 'Bloody Sabor of Krizhevci'.

1415

At least from this time onwards, the Hungarian territory of Transylvania is ruled by local princes who, nevertheless, tend to remain under Hungarian overlordship.

1437 - 1439

Albert of Austria

Archduke of Austria. King of Bohemia (1437-1439).

1439 - 1440

A period of uncertainty is forced upon Austria and Hungary by the death of Albert in battle at Langendorf against the Ottomans. His titles are claimed by Ladislas of Bohemia, but Hungary is contested by Vladislav of Poland. Elizabeth is quickly imprisoned.

1439 - 1440

Elizabeth

Wife, and daughter of Sigismund. Imprisoned.

1440 - 1444

Vladislav I Jagiello

Wladyslav VI of Poland (1434-1444). Killed.

1444

The Central European states launch a crusade against the Ottomans. John Hunyadi of Hungary initially wins some spectacular victories in the Balkans. But then Ottoman Sultan Murad II destroys the crusade at the Battle of Varna.

1444 - 1457

Ladislas V

Lasislas I Posthumus of Bohemia (1439-1457).

1458 - 1490

Matthais Corvinus

Non-dynastic.

1461 - 1463

Foreseeing an imminent invasion of Bosnia by the ever more forceful Ottoman Turks, one of King Stephen's first acts is to acknowledge the overlordship of Matthais Corvinus. In 1462, the same year in which Matthais Corvinus deposes and imprisons Vlad Tepes of Wallachia, he cancels the tribute payment to the Ottoman sultan and warns the Venetians that when Bosnia falls, Venice's territories in Dalmatia will be next.

King Stephen Tomasevic of Bosnia
King Stephen Tomasevic reigned for just two years over an independent Bosnian kingdom which was living on borrowed time, faced by a near-tidal wave of Ottoman attacks which it was ill-equipped to stave off, and a final attack in 1463 which it had no hope of defeating

In 1463 Sultan Mehmed II leads a huge army against Bosnia. King Stephen is forced to abandon the town of Bobovac, which surrenders on 20 May 1463 without resisting. He falls back to Jajce and then the fortified town of Ključ na Sani where he surrenders.

FeatureDespite a pledge by a local commander that his life will be spared, the sultan declares that pledge invalid. Stephen is executed in his own capital, along with his uncle and many other members of the Bosnian nobility (see feature link). The kingdom is extinguished, becoming the Turkish Bosnian Sandžak until the early years of the twentieth century.

1485 - 1490

At a point within these dates Matthias Corvinus seizes Styria from Habsburg Austria, although the increase in territory is fleeting (it is detached from Hungary by the end of the century). He also acquires Vienna in 1485.

1490

The Lithuanian Jagiello dynasty, which already rules in Poland and Bohemia, expands its influence even further when Ladislas II of Bohemia gains the Hungarian throne. His successor is a member of the same dynasty, his son, Louis.

1490 - 1516

Ladislas VI

Ladislas II Vladimir Jagiello of Bohemia (1471-1516).

1509

The League of Cambrai is formed with France, Castile, Hungary, the Papal States, the Holy Roman empire, and Ferrara against Venice. Venice is defeated at Agnadello.

1516 - 1526

Louis II

Son. Louis of Bohemia (1516-1526). Killed by Ottomans.

1526

Hungary faces a devastating defeat by the Ottomans at the Battle of Mohács. Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia is killed alongside twenty-four thousand of his men, both Hungarian archbishops, and five bishops.

In September, Sultan Suleyman 'the Magnificent' advances cautiously into Buda but, unconvinced that he has faced the entire Hungarian army, withdraws quickly, bringing with him 105,000 captives and immense spoils.

Hungary subsequently loses the principality of Transylvania to the kingdom of John Zápolya. The Habsburgs inherit Hungary itself from the Lithuanian Jagiellos, but are opposed by the Zápolyas (shown in red). It is unclear how much power the latter actually hold, especially as the Ottomans still hold the larger proportion of Hungary's territory until 1684-1687.

1526 - 1564

Ferdinand of Austria

King of Bohemia (1526-1564) & Hungary in personal union.

1526 - 1540

John I Zápolya

Claimed to hold Hungary, in opposition to Habsburgs.

1540 - 1564

John II Zápolya

Claimed to hold Hungary, in opposition to Habsburgs.

1564

Control of Bohemia, Moravia, Hungary, and Croatia is taken fully by the Habsburgs as Holy Roman emperors. The principality of Transylvania retains nominal independence but only as an Ottoman vassal until 1644.

In 1711, Transylvania is added to Hungary. The 'Austro-Hungarian Compromise' of 1867 sets in place a dual structure for what henceforth will be the Austro-Hungarian empire, with Transylvania attached to Hungary. A fully- independent Hungary only re-emerges in 1918.

 
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