History of settlement

Szilágynagyfalu - Nuşfalău in Rumanian - lies at an altitude of 215 meters over the sea level, in the junction of important roads, on the Berettyó highland, along the upper stream of the river Berettyó, which belongs to the water system of the Tisza, in the Western part of Szilágy county. Its area is 3670 hectars, and the number of its population is 3365 according to the last census in 1992. It is the third largest communities in the county. It is inhabited by Reformed Hungarians. It has been the administrative centre of four settlements - Szilágynagyfalu, Szilágybagos, Szilágyborzás and Bürgezd - since 1968. Before the Hungarian Settlement, its area used to be populated by the Avars, and the Slavs. Their presence is proven by the burial hills, the tumuli, around the village, as well as the names of several rivers and settlements - Kraszna, Bisztra, Kaznacs and so on.

The Hungarians occupied this region right after their Settlement in their new homeland. In the XI century, it belonged to the summer pasture area of the Napkor-Meszte and the Csolt-Vata dynasties. It belongs to the earliest villages established in the Arpadian age. It was first mentioned in the charter of the Váradi Regestrum in 1213, under the name of Villa Nog. In 1249, Béla IV. donated it as a royal estate to Pál Geregye, Lord Chief Justice as a reward for his merits. After the destruction of Krasznavár in 1241, our settlement became an integral part of the estate established around Valkóvár straight until the middle of the XIV century. At that time, most of this dominium together with Valkóvár and Zovány fell into the hands of master Dancs, the Lord Lieutenant of Kraszna county. Later, around 1372, it was owned by János Gönyüi, the royal doorman, and finally, through his daughter Anna, the wife of Dénes Losonci, it was acquired by the Losonci Bánffy family. Thus, Szilágyfalu became the domanial centre of the huge Bánffy estate also comprising the area surrounded by the Réz- and the Meszes-mountains for several centuries.

During the middle ages, Szilágynagyfalu was the capital town of the county on several occasions, and the county of Kraszna often held their general assembly meetings here. It was also owned by the Széchy, the Marton, the Nagyfalusi and the Komjátszegi families. The foundation of the Pauline monastery in 1413, and the construction of the parish-church were associated with the name of the Bánffy family. Around 1470, Nagyfalu obtained a right to hold national gatherings, and then it developed into an oppidum with animal fairs of a national fame. After this time, the number of its population started to grow rapidly, and according to a census in 1553, they paid taxes on 41 and a half gates. Next to Kémer and Kraszna, it was the most populous economic-market centre of the county. After the fall of Nagyvárad (Oradea) in 1660, it belonged to the peripheral areas of the territory under Turkish rule. Its economic development halted, and its population dropped. Due to the continuous ravaging of wars - clashes between the Kuruts (anti-Hapsburg) and "Labanc" (pro-Austrian) soldiers, raids by the Tatars, devastation by the Serbs, the pest - as well as the severe imperial tax burdens, the village became depopulated, and half of its land allotments became uninhabited. In the first decades of the XVIII century, the whole ethnic picture of Szilágynagyfalu changed. Part of the abandoned land was occupied by foreign ethnic groups - the Rumanians.

The more peaceful period of the second half of the century slightly boosted the economic life of our settlement. Apart from animal husbandry, corn production became more and more significant. Maize and potato appeared and gained ground. In this period, some of the earlier obtained rights of the village - inn-keeping, slaughter-house, masting, forestry - were encroached upon by the Bánffy family. This cast back strongly the economic development of the community, and even its existence as an oppidum was questioned. That was the reason for the frequent clashes between the population and this family.

The members of the peasant society of the village were serfs, cotters and the small gentry, which structure was maintained until the revolution in 1848. After the abolishment of serfdom, the only change in this situation was that the serfs were replaced by the small- and medium-owners, and the cotters were replaced by the peasants without land ownership, the servants and day-labourers, who worked on the fields of the landowners.

In the second half of the XIX century, the signs of the development of a bourgeois civilisation could already be traced. In Szilágynagyfalu, the real economic boost came with the construction of the railway. Its basic sector, however, was still agriculture, corn and fruit production, together with some intensive animal husbandry - cattle, sheep and swine production. There were some other signs of the bourgeois development, like the organisation of various societies, the broadening of public education, and the changes in the life of the peasantry - house building, interior decorating. Its markets revived - the village already had six national farms at the time - however, it lost finally its privileges as an oppidum during the administrative reform in 1876. It was degraded into the state of a village. The number of its population came close to two-thousand by this time.

The important elements of industrial development appeared in Szilágynagyfalu in the first decades of the XX century, when some factories - wood-processing, brick- and tie-factory, distillery - were established. The development of agriculture stopped later, during the organisation of co-operatives, and it continued to decline further. A significant number of the population left the village, and moved to the adjacent industrial towns. Although the total number of the inhabitants did not change, its population was ageing to a large extent. Due to the extremely low natural increase of the population in our days, its number may decrease within the foreseeable future. The village today is struggling with severe economic and social difficulties.

The economic position of Szilágynagyfalu further deteriorated after the political changes in 1989. It is typical, that apart from a few apartments - block houses - no major development has been made in the village for the last decades. There is no system of public roads in the village. There are no water and sewage systems, or gas pipelines. Telecommunication is outdated, and it only has services that are elementary in many respects................