Magyarization is the term that brings together all ethnic assimilation policies implemented by Hungary in different moments of history. These policies have been used to help maintain the domination of language and Hungarian culture in the regions led by Hungary by encouraging and sometimes forcing people from other ethnic groups to adopt Hungarian language and culture and develop their Hungarian identity.
Origin of the term
The term generally refers to policies used in the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary in the nineteenth century by the Austro-Hungarian dualism and early twentieth century, when the Hungarians applied instead of Germanising, previously promoted by the Austrians in mid-Hungarian empire that became the Ausgleich (equalization) in 1867. The idea came as a result of the Enlightenment, after which the nineteenth century saw the emergence of many nation states in Europe, in large European areas the cultural and linguistic homogenisation being required (or at least tried their homogenization) of inhabiting ethnicities. The term is applied to similar policy used by the Hungarian authorities in regions like Northern Transylvania and Bačka during the Second World War.
When referring to personal names and geographical names, the term includes replacing the original non-Hungarian names with the Hungarian names.
Broadly meaning of Magyarization
The term “Magyarization” sometimes is used to define a broader ethnic discrimination, used as argument for the existence of Magyarization. As in most ethnic assimilation policies, Magyarization was perceived by other ethnic Romanians, Slovaks, etc, as an aggression or active discrimination, especially where they form the majority over large areas.
Magyarization can also refer to an exchange of identity of someone to identify with an ethnic Hungarian, although it has non-Hungarian ancestry. For example, Sandor Petofi was Hungarian, with Serbian and Slovak ancestry. In Hungary, ethnic origin was not considered a stigma, especially after 1526 as the country itself was dominated by foreigners, Turks and Austrians (Habsburgs).
Translated from Wikipedia