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A timeline outlining the history of Hungarians in America

Date Event
ca. 1000

According to the Chronicle of the Kings of Norway (Heimskringla), the crew of Leif Ericson's expedition included a man named Tyrker, who may have been Hungarian. The name Tyrker in Icelandic means Turk and in the tenth century Hungarians were referred to as Turks.


Martin Waldseemuller named the new continent "America" after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The name Amerigo is derived from the Hungarian eleventh century saint Imre (Emeric in English and Amerigo in Italian).


Stephen Parmenius, a linguist and historian born in Buda, was employed by Sir Humphrey Gilbert as the chronicler of the expedition of 1583 to America. The expedition of three ships arrived in what is now Newfoundland on August 3rd. He wrote detailed descriptions about the climate, vegetation, animals countered, and type of soil. On the return voyage on August 29th, they encountered a violent storm off of Nova Scotia and the ship that Parmenius was on sank. His writings, however, were given to Richard Hakluyt, an English historian, who published his works in 1589.


John Ratkai, a Hungarian Jesuit, was assigned to Mexico to do missionary work. He died in an Indian assault in 1684 in the territory of what is now New Mexico.


John Kelp, who was born in Transylvania, Hungary. He studied theology, immigrated to America, and founded a religious community near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1694. This historical district is called "The Hermitage" and the street where he lived "Hermit’s Lane."


Ferdinand Konsag joined the Jesuits in 1719. After completing his training, he was assigned a teaching position in Buda. His zeal for missionary work, however, took him to Mexico in 1730. He became superior of the Mission of St. Ignatius and later was appointed visitator to all of the Jesuit missions in California. He wrote extensively about his travels and explorations and drew one of the first maps of California in 1746. He died in California in 1760.


Michael de Kovats was born in 1724 in Karczag, Hungary and by age twenty was fighting in a Hussar regiment in the Austrian Army. He was an officer in the Prussian Army when the Revolutionary War started in 1776. Kovats came to America and joined Pulaski's Legion where he was named Colonel Commandant on April 18, 1778. His task was to organize and train hussar regiments for the American Army. In 1779 the Legion was ordered to march onto Charleston, South Carolina to relieve the city which was being surrounded by the British. They arrived on May 8, 1779 and attacked the British forces who were defeated and retreated from Charleston. Colonel Kovats, however, lost his life in the war for American independence in the battle on May 11, 1779.


Lauzun's Legion of Foreign Volunteers arrived in America on July 13, 1780. The legion was part of the auxiliary forces sent by France under the treaty of alliance with the United States. The legion consisted of infantry and cavalry; the cavalry was further divided into a squadron of lancers and a squadron of hussars. At the time many of the French hussars were from Hungary so that this squadron was mostly Hungarian. Two Hungarian officers are mentioned in records regarding Lauzun's Legion: John Polereczky, a major of the lancer squadron, and Francis Benyowsky, a lieutenant of the hussar squadron.

1790 – 1829

Several early immigrants from Hungary chose New Orleans for their new home. The first settler in 1790 was Benjamin Spitzer, who opened a large shop and sought to establish trade relations between the United States and Hungary. Francis Muller from Pozsony, Hungary and his uncle Stephan Bock came in 1815 and set up a fur trade in New Orleans. A doctor, Charles Luzenberg from Sopron, Hungary, came to New Orleans in 1829 and joined the medical staff of Charity Hospital. Subsequently, he became the founder and the first president of the New Orleans Medical Society.


Alexander Farkas de Boloni traveled to Washington where he was received by President Jackson, along with two other Hungarians; they were the first Hungarians to be received at the White House. Upon his return to Hungary, he published a book titled "Journey in North America." He wrote both perceptively and sympathetically about the political, economic, and cultural conditions in the United States. The book was influential in the Hungarian reform movement during an era of national revival.


Charles Nagy, a well-known Hungarian mathematician and astronomer visited America and established connections between the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, founded by Benjamin Franklin.

Charles Krajtsir immigrated to America and became a teacher of modern languages at the University of Virginia.


A native of Koszeg, Samuel Ludwigh settled in Philadelphia. He was a lawyer by profession, but soon became a writer, lecturer, and editor of a German 1 language newspaper. In 1849, he wrote articles for the New York Tribune entitled "Hungary and Hungarian Sketches." A few years later, he became publisher and editor of an English language periodical called The Torch.


Augustus Haraszthy, Father of California's Viticulture, came to the United States and was received at the White House by President Taylor and became a friend of Daniel Webster. He appeared at social events dressed in the resplendent attire of a Hungarian nobleman and became the sensation of Washington. He had bought huge tracts of land in Wisconsin and settled there with his family. He founded the town of Haraszthyville, which became Sauk City. He tried his hand at different enterprises including a builder, storekeeper, steamboat and ferry owner, and leader of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

He eventually left for warmer climates, moving to San Diego, California in 1850 where he became sheriff, served in the legislature at Sacramento and...

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