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History

The place has been inhabited since the Neolithic age and became a market town in 1361. From 1536 the city converted from Catholicism to the ‘new’ religion, Calvinism, and the Reformed College was founded two years later, in 1538. Leopold I gave Debrecen the status of a Free Royal City in 1693. A great fire ravaged through the city in 1802, and as a result, many of the most important buildings had to be reconstructed (the Big Church, the Reformed College, the City Hall, etc.) During the Revolution of 1848-49, Debrecen became capital of the country for a couple of months. The dethronement of the Habsburgs was proclaimed in the Big Church on 14 April, 1849, and Lajos Kossuth was made governor of the country. In World War II almost every other house was destroyed, and the bombings of 1944 killed at least 5000 people. Once again the city served as the capital of Hungary for a short period of time.