2. 19th century - Revolutionaries, inventors, architects

In addition to the fighters of the failed Hungarian War of Independence of the year 1848, among Hungarian emigrants of the nineteenth century we find explorers, engineers, composers, scientists and architects, mainly in Mexico, Argentina and Cuba. Some went with the mission of raising arms for the Hungarian fighters, and others arrived with the aim of carrying out investigations of natural and social sciences. Their achievements include the composition of the national anthem of Uruguay, the founding of the first military academy and the Red Cross in Argentina, and the renovation of the building of the Immigrants’ Hotel in Buenos Aires. The names of various towns, streets and railway stations today bear the names of these men.

Francisco José Debali o Ferenc József Debály (1791-1859), composer and orchestra conductor of Hungarian origin. He emigrated to Brazil with his wife in 1838, however, due to the epidemic of yellow fever, they moved to the city of Montevideo. Between 1841 and 1848 Debály was director of the Uruguayan orchestra Sala de Comedias. His most important work is putting to music the national anthem of Uruguay, "Himno a Cagancha". Later he was also invited to compose the national anthem of Paraguay. In Montevideo, a street bears his name. (Uruguay)

János Prágay (1811-1851) revolutionary of 1848. He worked as clerk for the chancery of the Hungarian court in Vienna, and then in the Ministry of Defense in Pest. At the end of the War of Independence he was lieutenant-colonel. Exonerated from the impeachment, he went abroad, tried to get by land to California dominated by the gold rush, there is written evidence that he visited Mexico. Then he went to the United States, where he made friends with the Cuban revolutionary of Venezuelan origin, Narciso Lopez, who was in emigration in New York, and had tried several times to overthrow the Spanish rule in Cuba, without success. Prágay joined Lopez's new expedition, during which he received the rank of general and the position of chief of staff. He died in the battle next to Las Pozas. (Mexico, Cuba)

Sándor Asbóth (1811-1868) revolutionary of 1848. Friend of János Czetz. He emigrated first to North America, however, he arrived to Argentina as a special envoy. He fought in the American Civil War, where he suffered a head injury. He died in Buenos Aires. In the cemetery of Buenos Aires a funerary monument was raised in his honor, and his name is on the Wall of Heroes. (Argentina)

Count Samu Wass (1814-1879) politician. He was sent to the United States by Lajos Kossuth, in order to get as much weapons for Hungary as it was possible. He sent arms to the revolutionaries from Brazil, however, once his life was also put in danger, so he had to escape. (Brazil)

Károly László (1815-1894) artillery captain. He was the secretary of Lajos Kossuth during his exile in Turkey. He was surveyor of state properties in Mexico, he traveled, and he reported about his experiences in the Revista del Domingo (Sunday Magazine). Later he returned to his homeland with his wife, daughter of the English consul in Laguna. His diaries, reports and photographs are important sources in presenting the landscapes, geography and society of this region in the 19th century. (Mexico)

László Magyar (1818-1864): geographical explorer. In 1843 he became a naval cadet and arrived to Brazil on an Austrian courier ship. In 1845 he became a lieutenant of the La Plata State fleet in the war of La Plata and Uruguay. (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay)

Elek Pávai Vajna (1820-1874) paleontologist, geologist, university professor in Cluj-Napoca. As a geologist he participated in the second South American expedition of Wilke, and observed the wildlife and the geological composition of the Brazilian ore basins. He returned to his homeland through India. (Brazil)

Károly Kornis (1822-1863), jurist and historian. He arrived to Brazil after the defeat of the War of Independence in 1849, where he opened a photography workshop. He became the official photographer of the Audit Office. He also worked as a legal advisor for the Brazilian diplomatic representation when he learned Portuguese. He participated as a practicing lawyer in the inheritance lawsuit of the Brazilian millionaire, Visconda da Villa Nova. He became friends even with the Emperor Pedro II of Brazil. He was considered in Brazil as a great professional lawyer.[8] He was a multifaceted person, fought for the rights of the settlers, imported Hungarian wines and published several studies on issues of law, Latin language and civil marriage. (Brazil)

János Czetz or Juan Fernando Czetz (1822-1904) general of 1848, settled in Argentina. Founder (1868) and director for 25 years of the Military College of the Nation, the first military academy in Argentina that still functions today. In addition, he worked in railway constructions in Argentina, he fought in battles against indigenous people, he participated in the construction of the southern defense line and the military telegraph of the country. His memory is kept at the Military Academy. (Argentina)

Gábor Naphegyi (1824-1884) bon vivant, adventurer. He fled to the United States where in the first years he gave lectures and drew. He was a doctor at the military hospital in Veracruz and then worked as an engineer in the construction of the gas-based street lighting. He had shares in a sugar factory and also in Mexican mining. According to the description of the American newspaper, Times-Picayune - based on the narration of Naphegyi's companion, László Újházy - Gábor Naphegyi did not speak Hungarian well and neither arrived to the United States nor to Latin America with the wave of refugees of 1848. (Mexico)

Imre Radnich (1824-1903) engineer and revolutionary. After the defeat of the War of Independence of 1848, he fled to the United States where he joined the organizing army of Narcisco Lopez. After the confrontations in Cuba, the Spaniards captured and imprisoned him in Ceuta. He was liberated from there and returned, through Mexico, to the territory of the United States where he fought in the Civil War. (Cuba)

János Xántus (1825-1894) military, naturalistic scientist. When he was young, he requested his exemption from military services to devote all his time to the study of fauna and flora. As a result of this, he made meteorological and observations of marine currents in the Pacific Ocean, in the framework of the American Coastal Survey, near Mexico, acting as captain of the United States Naval Engineering Faculty. Later he worked as Secretary of the Naval Ministry in Washington, and then the US Foreign Ministry appointed him as consul in the city of Manzanillo in Mexico. He resigned this post before his final return to his country. (Mexico)

Bódog Félix Nemegyei (1826-1904) commander of the War of Independence of 1848, military engineer. After the independence war of 1848, he carried out studies on Mexico, along with Pál Szontágh and Károly László. Their work was mainly concentrated in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, where they made cartographic works in the framwork of the preparations to build a transcontinental railway line. He also participated in the planning prior to the construction of the Panama Canal. (Mexico, Panama)

Lajos Schlesinger (1827-1898) he was with János Prágay in the military service, also fought in the army of Narcisco López, but in one of the decisive battles he was captured by the Spaniards. He escaped from there, married the daughter of a wealthy landowner from El Salvador and became one of the representatives of the American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company in El Salvador. (Cuba, El Salvador)

Pál Rosti (1830-1874) geographer, ethnographer, photographer. After the defeat of the Hungarian War of Independence of 1848, he first escaped to Munich and then to Paris. In 1856 he traveled to the American continent where he spent 2 and a half years studying the Central American people. His adventures and experiences were published in 1861, in the work entitled "Memories of a trip through America." He was the first to take photographs of the New World (Cuba, Mexico). His collection of engravings can be found in the Eötvös Lóránd Memorial Museum in the Hungarian city of Tihany. (Cuba, Mexico)

Elemér Mayer or Eldelmiro Mayer (1834-1897), Hungarian of second-generation, he was born in Buenos Aires. He participated in the American Civil War, and when the fights ended, he retired, translated into Spanish all the poems by Edgar Allan Poe, as well as Poe's biography written by Ingram. In Mexico he entered the army, and later, during the liberation of Cuba, he participated in the revolutionary council. At the end of his life, he settled in Buenos Aires, where he worked as a railroad engineer, and he was appointed governor of Santa Cruz. (Argentina, Cuba, Mexico)

Móricz Mayer or Mauricio Mayer (1842-1917) major. He arrived to Argentina as a companion of János Czetz. He worked at railroad constructions and he founded the Argentine Red Cross. A town and its train station are named after him, in the province of La Pampa. (Argentina)

János Dániel Anisits (1856-1911) pharmacist, biologist, botanist, researcher. He obtained a university degree in pharmaceutics in Budapest, later he emigrated to Paraguay. He was director of the Central Chemical and Bacteriological Laboratory of Asunción, and he was also professor and Head of the Department of Zoology and Botany of the National University of Paraguay (Colegio Nacional). He carried out explorations for two decades along the Paraguay River, in the Mato Grosso area, when he discovered 30 new species of palm and cactus. (Paraguay)

János Kronfuss (1872-1944) Hungarian architect who studied in Vienna and Munich. Participated in the remodeling of the Immigrants’ Hotel. The Immigrants’ Hotel was located in the port of Buenos Aires and served to receive, host and distribute immigrants arriving from Europe and other parts of the world, until 1953. The immigrants, when arriving to the port of Buenos Aires, first entered this institution to register. Currently, the building is a national historical monument and houses a permanent exhibition on the migratory waves that have arrived to Argentina. (Argentina)

Jolán Jósa (1881-1950) writer, teacher, traveler. She moved to Paraguay with her husband, baron Jenő Babarczy. Jolán Jósa, studied taxidermy, for which during her trips she collected samples at the request of the National Museum of Hungary, for the collection of animals of the museum. He also composed music and wrote plays. Her articles and travel stories mainly describe South America and its customs and traditions. Her work of approximately 500 pages about Paraguay has not yet been published. (Paraguay)

András Kálnay (1893-1982) and György Kálnay (1894-1957) respected architects, they studied at the Faculty of Architecture of the Hungarian Polytechnic University József Királyi. They are the designers and builders of several emblematic buildings of Buenos Aires. The best known are the building of the Diario Crítica (originally built to be a newspaper editorial, today it is a police building;) the Gran Cine Florida, the Cervecería Munich, the Cine-Teatro Broadway (cinema and theatre that is still operating), and the Beit Chabad building located in Puerto Madero. We can also include in the list the Palacio de los Deportes / Luna Park, finished in 1932, which is still a very popular location for events. (Argentina)

János Décsy (??-??) One of the officers of the Hungarian War of Independence of 1848, also arrived to 1854 and was a teacher in the city of Petropolis, seat of the king. In 1864 he participated in the recruitments in São Paulo, and 2 years later he joined the military operation of the army against Paraguay. Crowning his military career, he became president of the Itajaí colony. (Brasil)

Imre Verebélyi (??-??) Led port constructions in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. He helped prepare the construction plans for the port of San Juan del Norte. He also prepared a construction plan to cut the isthmus between North and South America. According to the plan, the isthmus should have been cut in the area of Nicaragua to facilitate communication with Asia, but finally the canal was constructed in Panama. (Costa Rica, Nicaragua)


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