Hungarians in the Ottoman Empire

Thursday 6 November 2014, 7pm at the HCC

Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were neighbours for almost 500 years, and the relations between the two varied greatly through that time—often obviously hostile but also, on a more everyday level, mutually beneficial. One indication of the extent of Hungarian-Ottoman contact lies in the surprising number of Hungarians who lived in Ottoman lands. Some of the Hungarians who left Habsburg territory for refuge in the Ottoman Empire after 1848, including Lajos Kossuth, are still widely remembered, but most ‘Ottoman’ Hungarians are much less known today. Frederick Anscombe will talk about a few of these less-recognized figures and their contributions to Ottoman life, highlighting in particular İbrahim Müteferrika, a native of Kolozsvár who established the first printing press in the empire in 1728.

Born in the US, Frederick Anscombe holds degrees from Yale University and Princeton University, but he has lived in various countries of Europe and the Middle East for most of the last 30 years. Currently he is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary History at Birkbeck, University of London, and his research interests focus primarily upon the history of Arab and Balkan lands since the late seventeenth century. Among his publications are State, Faith, and Nation in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Lands (2014), The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar (1997), and The Ottoman Balkans 1750-1830 (edited volume, 2006).