Circular medal in ‘Kriegsmetall’ (zinc alloy) with laterally-pierced loop for ribbon suspension; the face with the head of King Mátyás Corvinus circumscribed ‘ERDÉLYI RÉSZEK FELSZABADULÁSÁNAK EMLÉKÉRE’ (Medal for the Liberation of Part of Transylvania) and dated ‘1940’ at the base; the reverse with the arms of Transylvania circumscribed ‘MÁTYÁS KIRÁLY SZÜLETÉSÉNEK 500 ÉVFORDULÓJÁN’ (King Mátyás 500th Anniversary of his Birthright) and inscribed around the rim ‘VITÉZ NAGYBÁNYAI HORTHY MIKLÓS KORMÁNYZÓ ORSÁGLÁSÁNAK XX ÉVÉBEN’ (In the 22nd Year of the Regency of Valiant Miklós Horthy de Nagybányai); on original trifold ribbon.
The medal was instituted on 1 October 1940 to mark the return of part of Transylvania to Hungary. At the end of World War I, Hungary lost almost three-quarters of its territory, amongst them many areas with large Hungarian populations, including Transylvania. In mid-1940, with Romania under pressure from the Soviet Union and Bulgaria, Hungary lodged a claim to Transylvania. Germany and Italy led arbitration at Vienna and on 30 August Romania ceded approximately 43,500 square kilometres of territory and almost 2,400,000 people in northwest Transylvania to Hungary.
The award was annulled after World War II and the territory returned to Romania.
Mátyás Corvinus (1443-1490) was the son of John Hunyadi and reigned as King of Hungary from 1458 until his death. In 1479 to 1483 he retook Transylvania from the Ottoman Turks and is revered in Hungary as a national hero.
The medal is becoming harder to find.