Arpad was the ruling prince of what is basically westernHungary today. He was keen to integrate Hungary into western Europe byadopting Christianity. He died in 997 and his son Stephen Ibecame the ruling prince. Following his fathers wishes of adoptingChristianity Stephen ordered every 10 villages to build a churchand to maintain its priests. On Christmas Day 1000 Stephen was rewardedwith a crown, sent from Pope Sylvestor II and he becamethe first King of Hungary.By the time of Stephens death in 1038 Hungary was a nascent Christiannation, multi ethnic and increasingly westward looking.Unfortunately the next 2 ½ centuries were a time full of struggles for thisyoung nation with rival pretenders to the Throne weakeningthe country’s defence.By the beginning of the 14th century the reign of the Arpád dynasty wascoming to an end.Andrew III was the king from 1270 until 1301. He was still alive and noteven ailing when Charles II of Naples sent his 12 year oldgrandson to take the throne, his only claim being that his grandmotherwas Hungarian. The new King became known as Karoly Robert and with his rule a westerndynasty had extended its rule to the Carpathian basin.Louis the Great, son of Karoly, ruled for four decades and built Hungaryinto a great country with great regional power. This alsoextended his direct power and indirect influence. Later, largely due to hismother, he was elected to be the king of Poland too. Thelands that he was ruling were large and spread across central Europe fromone sea in the north to another in the south. This led to thequestion of who was to direct central Europe and from where?Louis the Great had no son, only 2 daughters, Hedwig and Mary. Hedwigwas left the Polish Throne and Mary the Hungarian.After some significant medieval ups and downs Mary, obliged by mutualdynastic interests and by war waged by her futurebridegroom, married the Son of Charles IV the Holy Roman Emperor. Themarriage to Sigismund of Luxembourg meant that onceagain a well known dynasty from the West had again acquired a dominantpower in Hungary.Sigismund reigned over Hungary from 1387 until 1437, he was the masterof the whole of central Europe and eventually he waselected to be the Holy Roman Emperor in 1433. Much of his time becamedevoted to European Politics, or, in a sense worldpolitics. His 50 year reign brought peace and a great flowering of Gothicart and architecture.