HomeDeutschContactSite Credits

Living Together in Pressburg / Bratislava / Pozsony

In the 16th century, Pressburg became the capital of 'royal Hungary', since, in contrast to large parts of the country, it was not under Ottoman occupation. Immigrants from German-speaking countries had lived here as craftsmen, merchants, and wine-growers since the 13th century, alongside Magyars, Slavs and Jews. Their influence waned during the 17th century, when the special rights and privileges of the Germans in upper Hungary were gradually rescinded. Yet German remained the language of everyday speech in Pressburg until the late 19th century, and the town council continued to conduct its business in German. The majority of the population was multilingual and had a good command of German, Hungarian and Slovakian.

Until well into the 19th century, nationality and citizenship were not felt to be equivalent. Most of the population saw themselves both as loyal subjects of the King of Hungary and as German, Hungarian, Slovakian or Jewish, depending on their ancestry. From the mid-19th century onward, increasing Hungarian nationalism led many Germans to change their names to a Hungarian form. This was often done to improve their career prospects. In 1840, Hungarian was made the sole official language, although it was still common for state documents to be issued in all three languages until 1867.

 

Trilingual street sign