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Ludovit Stur

Ľudovít Štúr (in his era called: Ľudevít Velislav Štúr) was the leader of the Slovak national revival in the 19th century, the author of the present-day Slovak language standard (see 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1851), an organizer of the Slovak volunteer campaigns during the 1848 Revolution in Hungary (see 1848 - 1849), a member of the Hungarian diet (see 1847-1848), politician, poet, journalist, publisher (see e. g. 1845), teacher (see e. g. 1836-1838, 1840-1843), philosopher and linguist.

Table of contents
1 The General Situation in Slovakia at Štúr’s time (1830 – 1860)
2 Štúr´s life and work
3 Links:

The General Situation in Slovakia at Štúr’s time (1830 – 1860)

The situation before Štúr

Slovakia was a part of Hungary since the 11th century. At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, Slovaks were divided concerning the literary language to be used. The Catholic majority used Anton Bernolak’s language codified in the 1780´s based on the West-Slovak dialect, but most Protestants remained true to the Czech language used in Slovakia, together with Latin, since the 14th (foundation of the Prague University) / 15th century (period of Czech Hussites in Slovakia and of king Matthias Corvinus) / 16th century (Czech Protestants move to Slovakia). This situation did not change until the 1840’s, when Ludovit Stur (1815-1856), became the chief figure of the Slovak movement. At the same time, modern nations started to develop in Europe and Hungary. But the Magyars (i. e. ethnic Hungarians) favored the idea of a centralized state, although the Magyar population numbered less than half the total population of the Hungarian kingdom. This was unacceptable to other nations including the Slovaks, and they expressed their disapproval.

Štúr’s group

In the 1830’s a new generation of Slovaks began to make themselves heard. They had grown up under the influence of the national movement at the Evangelic Lutheran Lyceum in Bratislava where the Czech-Slav Society (also called: Society for the Czechoslovak language and literature) had been founded in 1829. Initially, the society operated in accordance with the ideas of Ján Kollar, a Protestant poet and linguist, supporter of Czech-Slovak unity and of the use of the Czech language. In the latter part of the decade, when Ludovit Stur came to the fore (see below), its activities intensified. In the true spirit of European romanticism these young Slovaks burned with the idea of national independence. The most prominent representatives of the new generation were, along with Ludovit Stur, Jozef Miloslav Hurban (1817-1888) and Michal Miloslav Hodža (1811-1870). Ludovit Stur expressed his philosophy in one sentence: “My country is my being, and every hour of my life shall be devoted to it.”. Stur, a Lutheran, was aware of the fact that Czech, the language of educated Lutherans, was not enough to carry out a national campaign, and that Slovaks, if they were ever to become autonomous and be an effective force against Magyarization, needed a language they could call their own. The central Slovak dialect was chosen as the basis of a literary language. Stur’s codification work was disapproved by Ján Kollar and the Czechs who saw it as an act of Slovak withdrawal from the idea of a common Czecho-Slovak nation and a weakening of solidarity. But the majority of Slovak scholars, including the Catholics (using Bernolák’s codification until then), welcomed the notion of codification. The standard language thus became an important political tool.

The 1848/49 Revolution (March 1848 – August 1849) and its effects

Stur’s notions (autonomy of Slovakia in Hungary, a Slovak Diet, schools etc. ) came to fruition simultaneously with the 1848 Revolution in Hungary, which dealt with (1) the liberation of peasants from serfdom and (2) with national and ethnic issues. Hungarian revolutionaries called for Hungary’s separation from Vienna, but at the same time they wanted to see Hungary one nation with one language and one educational system. But the desires of the Magyars for a centralized Hungarian state ran contrary to the wishes of ethnic groups in Hungary, including Slovaks. Slovak and Hungarian revolutionary claims ran contradictory to each other. In the spring of 1848, Slovak leaders spread their ideas throughout Slovakia. Slovak nationalists, mainly in the progressive western and central Slovakia, joined them. In May, 1848, a huge public meeting gathered in Liptovský Mikuláš, where a pan-Slovak program, known as the Requirements of the Slovak Nation was proclaimed and accepted (see below). Ethnic Slovaks sought to back this revolutionary manifesto by force of arms. The provisional (revolutionary) Hungarian revolutionary government was not willing to accept the Requirements of the Slovak Nation and the situation developed into open hostility between Hungarian and Slovak revolutionaries. In September 1848, the Slovak National Council was established in Vienna and it forthwith proclaimed the secession of Slovakian territory from Hungary. The so-called September campaign (6000 volunteers) took place in western Slovakia. Slovak demands remained unfulfilled. Between November 1848 and April 1849 , the armed Slovaks helped the Habsburg king – along with imperial troops in present-day Hungary– to defeat Hungarians and their revolutionary government on Slovak territory (the so-called Winter Campaign or Volunteer Campaigns). In March 1849, Slovaks even temporarily managed to start to administrate Slovakia by Slovak people and they sent a petition (the March Petition) to the emperor. In the summer 1849, however, the Russians helped the Habsburg king to defeat the revolutionary Hungarians and in November, when the Slovaks were not needed anymore, the Slovak corps were dissolved in Bratislava. Then in December 1851, king Francis Joseph abolished the last vestiges of constitutionalism and began to rule as absolute master. Francis Joseph continued his centralistic policies. This came to be known as the period of neo-absolutism. Certain Slovak demands were met, however. In the Slovak counties of Hungary, Slovak was allowed for official communication and introduced in lower schools. Ján Kollar, who became a professor at Vienna University, obtained permission to print Slovak newspapers and was appointed a court adviser

Štúr´s life and work

1831: He writes his first poems
1834 (January-September): He interrupts his studies temporarily because of serious lack of money and returns to Uhrovec, where he works as scribe with count Karol Zay
1834 (after September): He continues his studies, is active in the historical and literary circle of the Czech-Slav Society, is responsible for the correspondence with members of the Society, gives private lessons in the house of a merchant in Bratislava, teaches younger students at the Lyceum and establishes contact with important foreign and Czech scholars
1834 (December 17): He is elected secretary of the Czech-Slav Society at the Lyceum
1835 (May): He persuades Jozef Hurban to become involved in the Slovak national movement
1835: He is co-editor of the „Plody” (Fruits) almanac (a compilation of the best works of the members of the Czech-Slav Society, including poems of Štúr), becomes vice-president of the Czech-Slav Society and teaches older students at the Lyceum history of the Slavs and their literatures
1836: He writes a letter to the important Czech historian František Palacký, where he states that the Czech language used by the Protestants in Slovakia has become incomprehensible for the ordinary Slovaks and proposes the creation of a unified Czechoslovak language provided that the Czechs would be willing to use some Slovak words – just like Slovaks would officially accept some Czech words. But the Czech were absolutely not ready to accept this, so that Štúr and his friends decided to introduce a completely new Slovak language standard instead (see 1843, 1844, 1851)
1836 (April 24): The famous trip to the Devín castle (today a city part of Bratislava) of the members of the Slovak national movement takes place and is led by Štúr as the vice-president of Czech-Slav Society. The beginning of the Štúr group’s extensive efforts on behalf of national awareness are linked to this visit to the ruins of Devin castle woven about with legends of the past with reminders of Great Moravia. They swear here to be true to the national cause and decid to travel around Slovakia to drum up support for their ideas. At the castle, they also adopt additional Slavic names (e.g. Jozef Hurban became Jozef Miloslav Hurban and so on)
1837 (April): The Czech-Slav Society is prohibited due to student commotion having occurred at the Lyceum, so that one week later Štúr founds the (official) Institute of the Czechoslovak language and literature, within which the activities of the Czech-Slav Society continue
1837: He continues to write articles for newspapers and journals (Tatranka, Hronka, Květy (Czech), Časopis českého musea, Danica (Croatian), Tygodnik literacki (Polish) etc.)
1838 - 1840: His poetic cycle “Dumky večerní” (Evening thoughts, written in Czech) is being published in the Czech journal Květy

1839 (spring): He makes a long journey to the Upper and Lower Lausatia (in Germany, inhabited by Slavs), gets in touch with the Slavs there and writes the short travelogue “Cesta do Lužic vykonaná na jar 1839” (A journey to Lausatia made in the spring of 1839, written in Czech, published in the Czech journal Časopis českého musea) about the journey

1841 – 1844: He is co-editor of Palkovič’s literary magazine Tatranka
1841: He starts activities aiming at publishing a Slovak political newspaper (see 1845), writes defensive and polemic texts and writes his “Starý a nový věk Slovákov” (The old and the new age of the Slovaks, written in Old-Czech, published in 1935, in Slovak only in 1994)
1841 (August 16): He mounts the Kriváň mountain (a traditional mountain of the Slovaks) along with students and friends
1842: He initiates the first Slovenský prestolný prosbopis, a Slovak petition to the royal Court in Vienna requiring that the government stops national persecutions by the Hungarians in Slovakia
1842 (May): His application for a license for the publishing of a newspaper fails
1843 (February 2): In Bratislava, Štúr and his friends decide to codify the present-day Slovak language standard (based on central Slovak dialects) – a common language that would unify all Slovaks speaking many different dialects
1843 (June 26 - 29): A special committee meets to investigate against the Institute of Czechoslovak language at the Lyceum and also interrogates Ľ. Štúr. The main accusation is “treason (betrayal) of the Hungarian homeland̶.
1843 (July): His defensive work “Die Beschwerden und Klagen der Slaven in Ungarn über die gesetzwidrigen Übergriffe der Magyaren” (Complaints and grievances of the Slavs in Hungary regarding illegal misfeasances of the Hungarians), which editorial offices in Hungary have refused to publish, is published in Leipzig in Germany
1843 (July 11-16): At the parish house of J. M. Hurban in Hlboká, the leaders of the Slovak national movement Štúr, J. M. Hurban and M.M. Hodža agree how to codify the new Slovak language standard (see February 2) and how to introduce it to the public. On July 17, they visit Ján Hollý (an important writer and representative of the older Bernolák Slovak language standard) in Dobrá Voda and inform him about their plans
1843 (October 11): Although the committee (see June) did not find anything illegal about Stur’s activities, Štúr is ordered to stop lecturing and is removed from the function of deputy of prof. Palkovič. However, Štúr continues to give lectures.
1843 (December 31): He is definitively deprived of the function of deputy of prof. Palkovič. As a result, 22 students will leave Bratislava in protest in March 1844 (13 of them start to study at the lyceum in the town of Levoča)

1844 : He writes his “Nárečja slovenskuo alebo potreba písaňja v tomto nárečí” (The Slovak dialect or the necessity to write in this dialect) (see 1846)
1844 (May 19): A second Slovenský prestolný prosbopis (see 1842) is sent to Vienna without any important effect
1844: other Slovak authors (often Štúr’s students) start to use the new Slovak language standard
1844 (August 27): He participates in the founding convention of the Slovak association Tatrín, the first nation-wide association (club)
1845 (August 1): The first issue of his “Slovenské národné noviny” (Slovak National Newspaper, published till June 9 1848) is published. One week later, its literary addendum “Orol Tatranský” (The Tatra Eagle, published till June 6 1848) is published. In this newspaper, written in the new Slovak language, he gradually shapes a Slovak political program. He bases this on the precept that the Slovaks are one nation and that they have therefore a right to their own language, culture, schools, and particularly political autonomy within Hungary. The projected expression of this autonomy is to be a Slovak Diet.
1845: His brochure “Das neunzehnte Jahrhundert und der Magyarismus” (The 19th century and the magyarism, written in German) is published in Vienna
1846: In Zemianske Podhradie, Štúr gets to know the yeomen family Ostrolúcky, which will later help him to become a deputy in the Hungarian Diet (parliament) in Bratislava (see Bratislava – History). He will fall in love with Adela Ostrolúcka. In addition, his books “Nárečja slovenskuo alebo potreba písaňja v tomto nárečí” (see 1844) and “Náuka reči slovenskej” (The Theory of the Slovak language) are published in Bratislava. In Nárečia slovenskuo . . . he refuses Kollar’s concept of only 4 Slavic tribes (Russians, Poles, Czechs and Southern Slavs) and lists reasons for the introduction of the new language, which is based on central Slovak dialects and uses phonetic spelling. In Náuka reči slovenskej he explains the grammar of the new language standard. In the same year, the upset Kollár and his followers publish the compilation work „Hlasové o potřebě jednoty spisovného jazyka pro Čechy, Moravany a Slováky“ (Voices in favor of the necessity of a unified literary language of the Czechs, Moravians and Slovaks; written in Czech)

1847 (October 30): He becomes a deputy (for the town of Zvolen) in the Hungarian Diet in Bratislava (the Diet will meet only till April 11 1848 due to the 1848 Revolution)
1847 (November 17 – March 13) : He holds 5 (important) speeches at the Diet, in which he requires the abolishment of serfdom in Hungary, introduction of civil rights and the use of the Slovak language for teaching in elementary schools

1848 (April 1): In Vienna, he and his colleagues prepare the Slavic Congress of Prague
1848 (April 20): He arrives in Prague on an invitation of the Czech J. V. Frič, where he wins the support of Czech students that are members of the association Slávie regarding his attempts to enforce the Slovak language in Slovakia
1848 (April 30): He initiates the establishment of Slovanská lipa (Slavic lime) in Prague - an association aiming at promoting the mutual cooperation of the Slavs
1848 (May): He is one of the authors of the official petition “Žiadosti slovenského národa” (Requirements of the Slovak Nation). The “Žiadosti slovenského národa” are publicly declared in today’s Liptovský Mikuláš. The reader is Janko Francisci. The Slovaks demand in it autonomy within Hungary, a proportional representation in the Hungarian Assembly, the creation of a Slovak Diet to administer their own region, where Slovak would become the official language and educational institutes from elementary schools to universities would use Slovak. They also call for universal suffrage and democratic rights, e.g. freedom of the press and public assembly. They requested that peasants be released from serfdom and that their lands be returned to them.
1848 (May 12): The Hungarian government issues a warrant on the leaders of the Slovak movement Štúr, Hurban a Hodža.
1848 (May 31): The persecuted Štúr comes to Prague
1848 (June 2): He participates in the Slavic Congress in Prague
1848 (June 19): He goes to Zagreb in Croatia (because the Slavic Congress is interrupted by fightings in Prague) and becomes there an editor of the Croatian magazine Slavenski Jug. With the financial support from some Serbs, he and J. M. Hurban start to prepare an uprising against the Hungarian government (see below)

1848(September) – 1849 (November): The Slovak Uprising of 1848-1849:
1848 (September): He comes to Vienna and participates in the preparations for an Slovak armed uprising
1848 (September 15-16): The Slovak National Council, the supreme Slovak political and military organisation consisting of Štúr, Hurban a Hodža (as politicians) and the Czecha B. Bloudek, F. Zach a B. Janeček (as military experts), is created in Vienna
1848 (September 19): In Myjava, the Slovak National Council declares independence on the Hungarian government and calls on the Slovak nation to start an armed uprising. The Council only manages to control the surrounding Slovak region.
1848 (October 7): Štúr, Hurban and others meet in Prague to discuss further proceeding concerning the uprising
1848 (November): He returns to Vienna
1848 (November) – 1849 (March): Štúr and Slovak volunteers – on one of the so-called Volunteer Campaigns – traverse northern Slovakia from Čadca up to Prešov
1849 (March 20): He participates in a deputation that visits the Austrian king (in the Czech town of Olomouc) and presents him requirements concerning the Slovak nation
1849 (March – June): He - along with Hurban, Hodža, Bórik, Chalúpka and others – negotiates in Vienna about a solution to the Slovak requirements
1849 (November 21): The Slovak volunteer corps is officially demobilized (dissolved) in Bratislava and the disappointed Štúr retreats to his parents in Uhrovec

1850 (autumn): He fails to receive a license to publish a Slovak national newspaper
1850 (December): He participates in a deputation to Vienna concerning Slovak schools and the Tatrín association
1851 (January 13): His brother Karol dies. Ľudovít moves into the house of Karol’s family in Modra (near Bratislava) to care for his 7 children. He will live there under police supervision.
1851 (July 27): His father dies, his mother moves to Trenčín
1851 (October): In Bratislava, he participates in meetings concerning a reform of the codified Slovak language standard. The reform, involving mainly a transition from the phonetic spelling to an etymological one, will be introduced by M. M. Hodža a Martin Hattala in 1851/52, but Štúr –among others - also participates in the preparations. The result of this reform is the Slovak language standard used till today with minor changes.
1852: In Modra, he finishes his essay “O národních písních a pověstech plemen slovanských” (On national songs and myths of Slavic kins, written in Czech, published in Bohemia next year). In addition he writes his important philosophic book “Das Slawenthum und die Welt der Zukunft” (The Slavdom and the world of the future, written in German, published in Russian in 1867 and 1909, in German only in 1931, in Slovak in 1993). Among other things, he recapitulates there the events that brought Slovaks in their disconsolate situation at that time and suggests as a solution to cooperate with Russia (thus basically passing from his Slovak national idea to pan-Slavism)
1853 (March 18): Adela Ostrolúcka, his platonic girlfriend, dies in Vienna
1853: He has to care for his ill mother in Trenčín
1853 (August 28) : His mother dies
1853: The only compilation of his poetry “Spevy a piesne” (Singings and songs) is published in Bratislava
1854 (May 11): He holds a speech at the unveiling of the Ján Hollý monument (Ján Hollý died in 1849, see 1843) in Dobrá Voda and he has written a poem in honor of that man
1855 (December 22): He inadvertently shoots and wounds himself during a hunt near Modra. In the last days of his life he is mainly supported by his friend Ján Kalinčiak
1856 (January): He dies in Modra on January 12 and a national funeral takes place in Modra