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ConIFA World Football Cup 2018: Who are Székely Land?


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As part of The National Student's coverage of the ConIFA World Football Cup, we're giving you the low down on all 16 teams in the tournament. This time we're introducing Székely Land.

Who are they?

Székely Land represent the Hungarian minority in Romania. 

The Székelys get their name from a Hungarian expression translating to "frontier guards". It is believed they were first sent to Hungary's border on the Carpathian Mountains. They have claimed descent from Atila's Huns, with some historical evidence to support this. 

They may have been Huns who remained in Transylvania and aligned themselves with the Hungarian Army or Magyarized Turkic peoples.

Evidence of the existence appears as early as the 5th Century, they were placed under the control of a royal official, a Count in the 1200s and saw less destruction during the Mongol invasion than other regions of Hungary and within two years had forced out the invaders and freed prisoners.

Székelys could not have their land confiscated like other Hungarian subjects. In the 1330s, there were 150 Catholic parishes in the country and no evidence of Orthodox communities. They grew an economy primarily based on agriculture in the 15th Century. 

In 1526, the Hungarian Army was destroyed by Ottoman Empire, it was here when the Habsburg's first claimed the area, Suleiman the Magnificent captured Central Hungary due to a Civil War following the death of Ferdinand of Austria but allowed Székely Land to retain independent east of the Tisza River,

The land was in anarchy for a while afterward with Wallachian lords and the Holy Roman Emperor claiming control. In 1686, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I occupied the territory, it was eventually absorbed into the Habsburg Empire. 

The Treaty of Trianon gave the land to Romania, currently, 1.2 million ethnic Hungarians live in Romania. The Csangos, another Hungarian ethnic sub-group live in the Moldavia region, having settled in the 13th and 15th centuries. 

Bill Clinton highlighted Romania as an example of co-existence in Eastern Europe during the Balkan Wars. Hungarians have the right to be educated in Hungarian and communicate with the authorities in Hungarian in areas they make up 20% or more of the population. Every 10th March, Hungarians march for greater autonomy.

The team and their ConIFA history

This is the side's second World Cup appearance, they finished bottom of their group in 2016, losing 3-0 to Iraqi Kurdistan and 1-0 to United Koreans of Japan.

In the placement rounds to determine standings for knocked out teams, they beat Raetia 7-0 before a 10-3 victory over Somaliland to finish 9th.

Famous Székelys 

Notable Romanians of Hungarian descent include chess master Janos Balogh, violinists Johanna Martzy and Sandor Vegh and two times European fencing Champion Simona Pop. 


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