DEBRECZEN, a town of Hungary, capital of the county of Hajdu, 138 m. E. of Budapest by rail. Pop. (1900) 72,351. It is the principal Protestant centre in Hungary, and bears the name of "Calvinistic Rome." Debreczen is one of the largest towns of Hungary, and is situated in the midst of a sandy but fertile plain. It consists of the inner old town, and several suburbs, which stretch out irregularly into the plain. The walls of the old town have given place to a broad boulevard and several open commons, beautifully laid out. The most prominent of its public buildings is the principal Protestant church, built at the beginning of the 19th century, which ranks as the largest in the country, but has no great architectural pretensions. In its immediate neighbourhood is the Protestant Collegium, for theology and law, which is one of the most frequented institutions of its kind in Hungary, being attended by over two thousand students. This college was founded in 1531, and possesses a rich library and other scientific collections. The town hall, the Franciscan church, the Piarist monastery and college, and the theatre are also worthy of mention. Amongst its educational establishments it includes an agricultural academy. The industries of the town are various, but none is of importance enough to give it the character of a manufacturing centre. Its tobacco-pipes, sausages and soap are widely known. It carries on an active trade in cattle, horses, corn and honey, while four well-attended fairs are held annually. The municipality of Debreczen owns between three hundred and four hundred square miles of the adjoining country, which possesses all the characteristics of the Hungarian puszta, and on which roam large herds of cattle.
The town is of considerable antiquity, but owes its development to the refugees who flocked from the villages plundered by the Turks in the 15th century. In 1552 it adopted the Protestant faith, and it had to suffer in consequence, especially when it was captured in r686 by the imperial forces. In 1693 it was made a royal free city. In 1848-1849 it formed a refuge for the national government and legislature when Budapest fell into the hands of the Austrians; and it was in the great Calvinist church that, on Kossuth's motion (April 14th, 1849) the resolution was passed declaring the house of Habsburg to have forfeited the crown of St Stephen. On the 3rd of July the town was captured by the Russians.
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