Békéscsaba (Slovak: Békéšská Čaba) – Town in the southeastern part of the Great Hungarian Plain. The region was inhabited from ancient times by Scythians, Celts and Huns. After the Hungarian (Magyar) settlement in the 9th century, it was known as a town from the early 13th century, but it was completely destroyed during the Liberation Wars against the Ottoman Turkish occupation at the end the 17th century. In the beginning of the 18th century, the repopulation of the town was started by János György (John George) Harrucken, who re-settled it with Slovakian Lutheran serfs (Tótok, today Slovaks). Since that time the town is the center of Slovak minority in Hungary. It developed rapidly, due to the political and strategic situation of the 19th-20th centuries, thus became one of the busiest and most populous towns in Hungary, with a population of 68,000 in 1983; 46,630 in 1920; and 37,547 in 1901, and 93.8 % of its residents was Hungarian. Most of the inhabitants of this oversized village are engaged in agriculture and stockbreeding; the agricultural environs amount to 71,000 acres of rich loess soil. At the end of the 19th century there were great social problems, including high unemployment. András L. Áchim founded the Peasant Party here. After the end of World War I, Békéscsaba was temporarily occupied by Romanians. Between the two World Wars despite the economic crisis the town developed considerably. In September 1944 the town was carpet-bombed and suffered enormous damage. In 1948 there was a population exchange between Slovaks and Hungarians seriously affecting the town. Since 1950 Békéscsaba is the administrative center of County Békés. On the central plaza are the Lutheran church, the town hall, a merry-making hotel, theater, casino and a statue of Lajos (Louis) Kossuth. There are four other churches in the town. There are several high schools and special schools, government offices and an open-air swimming pool. The industry of the town has developed during the socialist era with meat packing industry (”Csaba Sausage” or “Csabai”; poultry packing), machine-works, textile factories, brickworks and grain mills. After 1990, with the new political system came economic difficulties, but by investments the town started to develop again. Its municipal museum (in a palatial building) was established in 1899. In its archeological section valuable findings are held from recent excavations in the area (Tótkomlós, Mezőberény), and in its picture-gallery over 100 paintings and sculpture are held. The women’s hand-woven clothes are known all over Hungary. The town is an important railway junction between Budapest-Arad and Nagyvárad (now Oradea, Romania)-Szeged. The sporting life of the town is particularly active. – B: 1031, 1068, 1582, 7456, T: 7456, 7103.→Scythians, Huns; Hungarian-Slovakian Population Exchange.
Békés, Gáspár (Gasper) (? 1520 - Grodnó, 7 November 1579) – Statesman. He started his career as a page in the service of Peter Petrovics, and later as a servant in the house of Szapolyai. From there the lowborn servant rose to the position of leading statesman of Transylvania (Erdély, now in Romania). During the reign of János Zsigmond (John Sigismund, 1540-1553) he became voivode of Erdély, and an adviser to the young Prince. After the death of the Prince he was a candidate for the succession. He lost his bid for the throne to István (Stephen) Báthory. In alliance with Emperor Maximilian (Miksa) he attacked Báthory but was defeated and Báthory arrested him. They reconciled their differences following Báthory’s election to the throne of Poland. Báthory promoted him to the ranks of Polish nobility and he served him faithfully as Commander of King Báthory’s cavalry contingent. – B: 0883, 1031, T: 3233.→János I, King; Báthory, Prince István.