A Hungarian pioneer in North America

The Hungarian presence in America goes back a long way.

The first Hungarian ever to set foot on the soil of the New World was a sixteenth century humanist and Protestant scholar, Stephanus Parmenius Budaeus. There are only a few facts that we know for certain about his life, we don’t even know his original Hungarian name.

He was born in Buda at the beginning of the Turkish occupation. Like many other young Hungarian at that time, he went abroad for seeking education. He visited a great deal of cities and universities in Western Europe for this reason. The last stations of his tour was London where he met Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the famous adventurer and explorer.

Parmenius accompanied him to Newfoundland in 1583 to acquire any remote, barbarous and heathen lands by the command of Queen Elizabeth of England. Stephanus wished to report to the European nations an unknown, new world, about which contemporary Hungarians knew hardly more than that It had been discovered “for the great glory of Christianity.

Unfortunately, he was shipwrecked on the return voyage to Europe. The expedition had five ships: four of them were lost including the one named Delight with Parmenius on it.

(Source: Dominic G. Kosáry, A History of Hungary)