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Ugocha

Ugocha (Hungarian: Ugocsa) — county in the northeastern part of the Hungarian Kingdom, mostly in Subcarpathian Rus’. It was the smallest county in the kingdom, covering 1,191 square kilometers and surrounded by *Bereg, Szatmar, and *Maramorosh counties; its administrative center was Sevliush (today Vynohradovo). Its population numbered 91,800 (1910), of whom 42,700 were *Magyars, 34,400 Rusyns, 11,800 *Jews, and 9,700 *Romanians.

During the early Middle Ages the territory of the future county was inhabited by Slavic tribes, who during the sixth century drove out or assimilated the Thracian peoples living there. The Chronicle of *Anonymous reports that Magyar tribes entered the region at the end of the ninth century, although it was not until the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries that they established their authority there within the framework of the Hungarian Kingdom. Ugocha’s territory was ravaged by the Mongolo-Tatar invasion (1241), then on several occasions resettled by Rusyn and German (Saxon) colonists invited by Hungary’s kings. Ugocha was formally constituted as a county in 1262; it reached the height of development during the reign of the Anjou and Luxembourg dynasties in Hungary from the fourteenth to the first half of the sixteenth centuries. Thereafter, until the early eighteenth century, the county became a theater of war between the armies of the Ottoman Empire, Habsburg Austria, and Transylvania. The resultant conflict transformed Ugocha into an uninhabited wasteland. Gradually, villages were restored during the second half of the eighteenth century. Sevliush remained Ugocha’s administrative center, although the town effectively ceased to function as a center for artisanship and trade.

According to the *Treaty of Trianon (1920) Ugocha was divided; four-fifths of its territory went to Czechoslovakia and one-fifth to Romania. In Czechoslovakia it became part of Maramorosh county (with an administrative center in Sevliush and later Khust) until the county (zupa) system was abolished in 1927. After 1945, in Soviet Transcarpathia, the Sevliush, later Vynohradovo, district (raion) was formed on what was the territory of former Ugocha county.

Bibliography: Sigmund Perenyi, “Das Ugocsaer Comitat,” in Die osterreichische-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild: Ungarn, Vol. V, Pt. 2 (Vienna, 1900), pp. 463-472; Vasylii Hadzhega, “Dodatky do istorii Rusynov y rus’kykh tserkvei v zhupi Ugocha,” Naukovyi zbornyk Tovarystva ‘Prosvita’, IV (Uzhhorod, 1925), pp. 117-176 and V (1927), pp. 1-62; Istvan Szabo, Ugocsa megye (Budapest, 1937; repr. 1994); Georg Heller, Comitatus Maramarosiensis/Comitatus Ugocsiensis (Munich, 1985).

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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