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Any member of the dominant ethnic group in Hungary. Speakers of a Finno-Ugric language, they migrated from their early home in the region of present-day Bashkortostan in eastern European Russia across the southern Russian and Ukrainian steppes into the northern Balkans in the 9th century. After collisions with neighbouring peoples, the Magyars crossed the Carpathians and settled in the middle basin of the Danube River in the late 9th century, subjugating Slavs and other peoples there. Skilled and fierce horsemen, they raided deep into the heart of Europe in the 10th century and were greatly feared until their defeat by Otto I at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955. They adopted Christianity in the 11th century under King Stephen I, the founder of Hungary, who made the kingdom part of the European community.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Magyar, visit Britannica.com.