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Kallay, Benjamin Von

KALLAY, BENJAMIN VON (1830-1903), Austro-Hungarian statesman, was born at Budapest on the 22nd of December 1839. His family derived their name from their estates at Nagy Kallo, in Szabolcs, and claimed descent from the Balogh Semjen tribe, which colonized the counties of Borsod, Szabolcs, and Szatmir, at the close of the 9th century, when the Magyars conquered Hungary. They played a prominent part in Hungarian history as early as the reign of Koloman (1095-1114); and from King Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490) they received their estates at Mezo Tur, near Kecskemet, granted to Michael Kallay for his heroic defence of Jajce in Bosnia, and still held by his descendants. The father of Benjamin von Kallay, a superior official of the Hungarian Government, died in 1845, and his widow, who survived until 1903, devoted herself to the education of her son. At an early age Kallay manifested a deep interest in politics, and especially in the Eastern Question. He travelled in Russia, European Turkey and Asia Minor, gaining a thorough knowledge of Greek, Turkish and several Slavonic languages. He became as proficient in Servian as in his native tongue. In 1867 he entered the Hungarian Diet as Conservative deputy for Muhlbach (Szasy-Szebes) ; in 1869 he was appointed consulgeneral at Belgrade; and in 1872 he visited Bosnia for the first time. His views on Balkan questions strongly influenced Count Andrassy, the Austro-Hungarian minister for foreign affairs. Leaving Belgrade in 1875, he resumed his seat in the Diet, and shortly afterwards founded the journal Kelet Nepe, or Eastern Folk, in which he defended the vigorous policy of Andrassy. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1878 he went to Philippopolis as Austro-Hungarian envoy extraordinary on the International Eastern Rumelian Commission. In 1879 he became second, and soon afterwards first, departmental chief at the foreign office in Vienna. On the 4th of June 1882 he was appointed Imperial minister of finance and administrator of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the distinction with which he filled this office, for a period of 21 years, is his chief title of fame (see BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA). Kallay was an honorary member of the Budapest and Vienna academies of science, and attained some eminence as a writer. He translated J. S. Mill's Liberty into Hungarian, adding an introductory critique; while his version of Galatea, a play by the Greek dramatist S. N. Basiliades (1843-1874), proved successful on the Hungarian stage. His monographs on Servian history (Geschichte der Serben) and on the Oriental ambition of Russia (Die Orienlpoliiik Russlands) were translated into German by J. H. Schwicker, and published at Leipzig in 1878. But, in his own opinion, his masterpiece was an academic oration on the political and geographical position of Hungary as a link between East and West. In 1873 Kallay married the countess Vilma Bethlen, who bore him two daughters and a son. His popularity in Bosnia was partly due to the tact and personal charm of his wife. He died on the 13th of July 1903.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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