The area has been inhabited since ancient times. Before the Hungarian tribes conquered the area, it was inhabited by Slavs and Avars. Stephen I founded an episcopal seat here.
In 1526 the county was occupied by Ottomans and was freed in 1689. Its medieval borders remained unchanged until 1919. According to the peace treaty of Trianon the southern part of the county (1163 km²) reverted to Slavic rule (present-day Croatia). The re-organizing of the counties (1950) brought only minor changes (town of Szigetvár got there).
Baranya has the largest number of minorities in Hungary (more than twice the country average), providing home to 34% of the German minority and 32% of the Southern Slav minorities in Hungary.
The history of the Chambers in Hungary
The European economic development induced the establishment of the first chambers in the biggest commercial centres, with the aim to develop the trade and to further the observance of the market rules. With the expansion of the chamber system in the beginning of the 19th century, the chambers of different European countries one after the other became a Public Body. The first Hungarian chamber was established by the businessmen is Fiume (1811), but the real expansion followed after the first chamber-act, drafted by the Kossuth government, came into force in 1850. In the dualistic era the chamber was an actor with a great importance as organizer and developer of the economy, by launching the exchanges, the free warehouses and the establishment of the National Bank and by supporting the development of the agriculture.
With the development of the chamber system a new chamber-act was needed, which was launched by the Prime Minister Earl Gyula Andrássy on 30th of March 1868. This act raised the autonomy of the chambers, but holds the ruling of 1850 about the compulsory membership. The chamber network was reorganized on the basis of the territorial units, around bigger, central cities of the regions. The chambers working separate decided about their national cooperation and laid down the directions of their development on first universal assembly in December of 1871. In this time the chambers became in all regions the most important partners of the government. A competency of the chambers widened with the statues LXIX. of the year 1898 and III. of the year of 1907, defining the their role in the state industrial development activities (licences on the field of transaction of public transport, communal works, supervision of the fair competition, giving opinion on requests for exemption from duty, defining duty-free contingents, etc.).
In 1945 the economic chambers were reorganized, so the new chamber network leant on seven regional chambers. Following the implementation of the act of the year 1948 on the Hungarian Chambers of Commerce, from 1949 the work of the chambers was frozen, the system got totally destroyed, its property got secularized, and management was forced to go. The chamber was established again nominally in 1968, as the foreign trade manager organization of the big state companies. The chambers had no substantive tasks or work until the 1980’s, when the process of the reforms accelerated and the chamber’s possibilities widened. The Hungarian Chamber of Commerce grasped this opportunity and started to develop very rash. The number of the member-companies grew rapidly; the chamber became independent from the government and the chamber media, for example the newspapers Weekly World Economy and Daily World Economy became the carrier of the reform ideas and had a big influence.
The year 1990 was a new milestone in the history of the chambers, when the Hungarian Economic Chamber transformed to a federal chamber with six regional chambers as the base of the network.
The XVI. act of the year 1994 about the economic chambers followed the conventions of the Hungarian public law and modern European law – after more then fourty years – and institutionalized again the economic chambers as public body. The law said that the calling of the economic chambers is to further the development and the organization of the economy, the boost business activities, to guarantee the fairness of the competition, and providing assistance by proving the common interests of the entrepreneur.
According the law the chambers were public bodies, operated on the principle of self government, and the companies and entrepreneurs became automatically members.
The new chamber act of the year 1999 accepted by the parliament cancelled the compulsory membership from November 2000.
The new law about the chambers brought four significant changes. Terminated the compulsory membership of the undertakings, took away the administrative tasks, and announced exceptional elections with special rules. It is allowed the general representation of interests of the economic, as well as the suffrage of the undertakings of the county, irrespectively of their membership. Due to the effects of the globalization new distance factors appeared between the representatives of the policy and economy. From that time the activity of the autonomy of the chamber was weighed in the balance by the acts and the effective results.
So started the establishing of the business function of the chamber.
According to the amendment of this law in 2003 the legitimated supervision of the chambers is the task of the public prosecutions. In the determination of the organisation and function can dominate the autonomy more. Fix the points of the co-operation between the government and the chambers, firm the position of the chamber, allow to founding undertakings. New developmental career was opened for the economical autonomies.