- June 1, 2016: Vol. 10, Number 06

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Lands of plenty: The countries of central Europe are exerting a powerful influence

by Richard Fleming

Imagine the scene. Visegrád Castle, near the Danube Bend in the Transdanubian Mountains to the north of Hungary, looking down on that mighty river, some time in 1335. In a baronial banqueting hall with roaring fires and hearty food and drink for all, the leaders of the then regional powers of Bohemia, Hungary and Poland gather, with their entourages, to discuss matters of mutual interest. Decisions are made, side deals signed in side rooms (let’s call them offices), agreements kept, dynasties formed, borders controlled, peoples subjugated. Things were different in those days.

On that apparently convivial occasion back in 1335 — it must have been convivial, the congress lasted two months! — King Charles I of Hungary hosted a summit with King Casimir III of Poland and King John of Bohemia to agree peace between the three kingdoms and forge a new commercial relationship, one that bypassed Hapsburg Austria and provided for easier access to other European markets. The recog

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