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Originally this light cavalry was established by Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary in 1458 A.D., to fight against the Turks. The Hussar was the typical Hungarian cavalry soldier and, in the absence of a good light cavalry within the regular armies of Central and Western Europe, the name and character of the Hussars gradually spread into Prussia, France, etc. In France the regiment of Maj. Gen. Bercsényi acquired fame and popularity. In Germany Friedrich the Great sent Maj. H.J. von Zieten to study the work of this type of cavalry in the Austrian service, and von Zieten so far improved on the Austrian model that he defeated his old teacher, the Hungarian Gen. Baranyai in an encounter between the Prussian and Austrian hussars at Rothschloss in 1741.

The typical uniform of the Hungarian hussar (with modifications) was adopted by other European armies. It consisted of a high cylindrical cloth cap, jacket with heavy braiding and a dolman, or pelisse, a loose coat worn hanging from the left shoulder. Tight leggings and boots rounded out their wardrobe. This uniform goes back further in time than the reign of King Matthias Corvinus. It can be found in the earliest Scythian representations and among the Sarmatian military attire. Our ancestors’ refined tastes were always expressed in their clothing. The so-called „hussar” uniforms adopted by western European countries employ the use of braiding rather heavy handedly. One reason for this is that the inheritors of these customs and uniforms were unaware of the meaning of this braiding, which served to convey messages on the Hussar uniforms. The trousers in the attire of modern western men can also claim to Scythian ancestry.

The hussar regiments of the British army were converted from light dragoons in the following years:

The 7th in 1805

The 10th and 15th in 1806

The 18th in 1807, and again after a short pause in 1858

The 8th in 1822

The 11th in 1840

The 20th (the late 2. Bengal European cavalry) in 1861

The lancers of the 21st were formed from the Hussar regiment in 1862-1897


In 1922 the number of the cavalry was reduced: the 13th and 18th, and also the 15th and 19th were united within the 13/18 and the 15/19 Hussar regiments. In 1928 the 11th  company was retrained to become a panzer  division, but they kept their original name. (The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 14th ed. 1929 London, New York.)



The embodiment of a Hungarian Huszár (Hussar) was colonel Michael Kovács (1724-1779). Scarcely had the news of the American independence movement reached Hungary when Michael Kovács, a major of Maria Theresa’s hussars approached Benjamin Franklin, the first Minister of the Union to France, in a letter written in Latin (dated Bordeaux, January 13, 1777), in which he offered his sword in defense of the freedom of the United States, writing prophetically: „Fidelissimus ad mortem”. He was appointed colonel in command of the Pulaski Legion, becoming at the same time the first director of training of the United States Cavalry. He died on May 19th, 1779 at Charleston, fighting at the head of his troops. A life-size relief of Michael Kovács was unveiled in the Hungarian Library of New York in 1840, and a memorial tree was planted in the Washington Park of East Chicago in 1932. A chapel was built by his wife – née Frances Szinyei Merse – in Szinye, Hungary in 1780. (Adopted from The Hungarian Genius, Turán Printing and Bindery U.S.A)





According to the 1929 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica the Kassites were „an Elamite tribe who played a considerable part in the history of Babylonia. They inhabited the North-western mountains of Elam, when Sennacherib attacked them in 702 B.C. They are the Cossacans of Ptolemy, who divides Susiana between them and the Elymaeans; according to Strabo (XI. 13, 3 6) they were neighbors of the Medes. They are the Cissians of the older Greek authors who are identified with the Susians by Aeschylus[1] (Pers. 17, 120) and Herodotos (V.49, 52). About 1780 B.C. they overran Babylonia and founded a dynasty there, which lasted for 576 years. In the course of centuries they were absorbed into the Babylonian population; the Kings adopted Semitic names and married into the royal family of Assyria. Like the other languages of the non-Semitic tribes of Elam, that of the Kassites was agglutinative.[2] A dictionary of it has been handed down in a cuneiform tablet, as well as a list of Kassite names with their Semitic equivalents. It has no connection with Indo-European languages. (See Fr. Delitzoch, Die Sprache der Kossäer, 1884/ The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 14th ed. 1929 London, New York.)


(From the Journal of Hungarian Studies, 1996. issue 1)





[1] His mother was Scythian (Renata Rolle The World of the Scythians.)

[2] Their agglutinative language and several ancient Hungarian place-names which contain the name of the Kassites merits further investigation. (S.T.)