A Central County Of Hungary, bounded W. in part by the Danube, and E. in part by the Theiss; area, 4,196 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 775,030, chiefly Magyars, Germans, Slovaks, and Jews. It is the most populous county of Hungary, and the largest after Bihar. The surface is mostly level; only the district W. of the Danube is mountainous. The soil is generally sandy. The Danube forms several islands, the largest of which is Csepel, S. of the capital. Cattle and swine are reared in large numbers. The vine culture is especially carried on in the Buda mountains. The principal towns, besides the capital, are Buda, Kecskemet, Koros, and Waitzen.
A City, capital of the county, and in conjunction with Buda of Hungary, on the left bank of the Danube, opposite Buda, 135 m. E. S. E. of Vienna; pop. in 1870, 200,476 (against 132,651 in 1857), including 136,890 Catholics, 22,344 Protestants, 39,386 Jews, and other sects. The approach to the city by the Danube presents a magnificent appearance, though it is built on a sandy plain. It has lately surpassed most other cities of Europe in the ratio of increase. The banks of the river are now provided with a good embankment, and there are several new bridges in addition to the grand Buda-Pesth suspension bridge described under Buda. The inner town is the oldest of the five principal divisions of the city, and contains together with the Leopold town the finest residences and extensive quays, partly lined with magnificent structures. New boulevards and streets with tramways are now rising on the site of squalid dwellings, and a new quarter with palatial mansions has sprung up in the fashionable region round the museum and the diet building; and 24,000,000 florins have lately been appropriated for improvements.
The New square is one of the largest in Europe, and there are several other squares and many capacious thoroughfares, to which the costumes of various nationalities and the general animation impart a picturesque appearance. There are many fine gardens and promenades; the principal of the latter is the "city grove." The largest church is the Roman Catholic in the Leopold town. Altogether there are about 30 places of worship, including several for Protestants, Greeks, and Jews; the new synagogue is one of the finest edifices in the city. The diet occupies an elegant building. Among other noticeable public buildings are excellent theatres, the casino (a brilliant resort), the new city hall, and new post and telegraph offices. An additional reservoir has been lately constructed, and there are also new docks. In 1871, 700,000 florins were appropriated for education, and the city abounds in schools, religious and secular, and for different nationalities, and has a commercial academy, a good military academy (called Ludovica and reopened in 1872), and several gymnasiums, of which the Piarist is the most celebrated.
A new academy of music was established in 187? under the direction of Liszt. The universi ty of Pesth ranks in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy next to that of Vienna. The students increased from 1,312 in 1861 to 2,296 in 1873, more than half devoted to law and political science, and it has about 140 professors. Attached to it are a botanic garden, a museum, and the Buda observatory and printing establishment. The national library has 200,000 volumes, and the university library 105,000. 4- new and beautiful building was opened in 1866 for the Hungarian academy; and there are many other scientific and literary associations. The national museum contains varied collections, and Pesth is generally remarkable for artistic and intellectual enterprise and as a centre of the book trade. Among the numerous charitable institutions are orphan, insane, and blind asylums, and one for destitute public servants. Pesth is a great centre of railway traffic and of navigation, and the granary of the whole empire, the exports of flour averaging annually about 4,000,000 quintals. There are many steam flour mills and brandy distilleries, and cattle, wool, wine, leather, timber, soda, and potash are among the other important articles of trade.
The " First Hungarian Leather Manufacturing Company " works up annually 100,000 hides. A large foundery is in operation, and silk, cloth, hats, oil, tobacco, and agricultural machinery are manufactured, though much of the latter is imported from England. There are four annual fairs. The increasing importance of the city led the English government to establish a consulate general here in 1871, and there are now several other foreign consuls. The principal languages are the Magyar and the German; English is much cultivated by the educated classes, as well as foreign languages generally; while the Slovak, Serb, and other Slavic dialects are spoken by many of the populace. - The origin of Pesth is ancient. The Romans had a colony on its site, called Transacincum. It is mentioned as a town in the 11th century, and was destroyed by the Mongols in 1241, but having been rebuilt became flourishing at a later period, when Buda was made the capital of the kingdom. The diets and elections of kings were then held on the neighboring plain of Rakos, in the open air, nobles, magnates, and priests assembling in arms, and dwelling under tents.
After the battle of Mohacs (1526), Pesth was for 160 years in the hands of the Turks, until the conquest of Buda (1686) ended their sway in Hungary. Early in the 18th century it was made a royal free city, and from that time its growth was continuous down to 1848-'9, interrupted only for a short time by a disastrous inundation in March, 1838. Its great revolutionary day was March 15, 1848. The Hungarian national assembly was opened there July 5. The city was evacuated by the revolutionary government and army at the beginning of 1849, reoccupied by the troops under Aulich in April, and repeatedly bombarded by Hentzi during the siege of Buda in May, on which occasion about 60,000 of the inhabitants found refuge in the " city grove," living there under tents. The Hungarian independent government established itself there and in Buda in June, but abandoned it in July. After the surrender of Comorn it witnessed the execution of Count Louis Batthyanyi (Oct. 6), of Csanyi, Perenyi, Jeszenak, and other patriots. At that time thousands withdrew to the rural districts, and Pesth was for a time comparatively deserted.
After the disasters of the Austrians in Italy, however, it again became the centre of national agitation, culminating in the assemblies of the county board, the commune, and the "national club," in February and March, 1861. In 1867 the emperor of Austria signed at Pesth the Hungarian constitution, and he and the empress were crowned here on June 8.