The village lies straight along the Ukrainian border, on the Eastern brink of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county. Its land area is 49.76 square kilo-metres, and with this, it is the largest of the community settlements in the region of Bereg-Tiszahát. In the South, it is bordering on the Tisza and its catchment area, with the river meandering along its borderline at a length of 12.3 km, while it is embraced by the water of the Szipa in the West and in the North. One of the two hills in the county rises along the border of the village, which lies at an elevation of 110-112 metres over the sea-level. This is the Nagy-hegy (Large-hill) (154 metres), a volcanic cone of andesite, covered in loess.
In the X-XIII centuries, this area was covered by gallery forests, where rich reed-grass, moor and marsh vegetation was abounding along the rivers and backwaters. The landscape was transformed after the field- and agri-cultural activities of the inhabitants, and their river regulating and flood-protection activities started in the middle of the XIX century. The gallery forests became scarce, and arable land, grassland as well as the pastures of the flood areas covered bigger and bigger areas of land. In spite of all this, one of the cultures in Hungary can still be found here that basically stayed untouched. The most beautiful stock of ash-elm gallery-forests is the Téb-forest lying South-East from the Large-Hill, and the Old-Oak forest fur-ther to the North. Both of them are ancient forest remains (with 120-130 year old oak-trees) of hornbeam-oak trees where even the Carpathian cro-cus, a rare sub-Alpine plant from the Carpathians can be found.
The stone tools found at the foot of the Large-hill can mean that man settled in this region as early as in the Mesozoic era, and has been living here ever since that time as witnessed by archaeological relics (gold relics from the Bronze Age, tumulus from the Early Iron Age). As a strategic point, it was occupied by the Hungarians, who settled into the country at exactly this point at the end of the IX century. This is proven by the pre-served parts of the female tomb from the age of the Hungarian Settlement, found on the Large-hill.
Tarpa was first mentioned in charters in 1299. At this time, its parish-church erected for Saint Andrew was already complete. It was the estate of the Hungarian queens, and part of the adjacent domain of Munkacevo until 1395. Its owners introduced some Hungarian settlers (hospes) to increase the number of inhabitants in the village. They have come down in history due to their brute force used against the landowners of the neigh-bouring villages. In 1410, King Sigismund donated half of the village to Albert Nagymihályi, his court page, who later became a church baron, a Croatian ban. The other half was inherited by the Báthories through the female line. These latter ones pulled down the Romanesque style church of the village in the first half of the XV century, and built a new one in a Gothic style, decorating it with frescos. At that time, the number of the population might have been around 480, which meant that the village was one of the largest communities in the vicinity.
The village – due to its seclusion – was not affected by the Turkish-Hungarian wars in the XVI-XVII centuries, however the frequent change of its landowners had a major impact on it. After the Báthories died out, the serfs living on this estate of the Transylvanian dukes, dealing with trad-ing and commercial activities, were exempted from customs duties. In 1665, Leopold I. even endowed a right of holding fairs onto Tarpa. Out of its landowners, Zsófia Báthori left a very bad memory behind. She wanted to re-convert the population, converted to the Reformed faith in the middle of the XVI century, back to the Catholic religion forcefully around 1670.
The most victorious years of the community were those of the freedom fight (1703-1711) led by Ferenc Rákócsz II, Transylvanian duke. Tamás Esze, one of the organisers of the armed revolt against the Habsburgs, was born in Tarpa. As a reward for his merits and those of his soldiers from Tar-pa, the Duke vested the village with the right of the Heyducks in 1708, which meant that the people only owed him as their landlord military ser-vice.
Although this privilege faded away after the freedom fight, and was not confirmed by the king, the new landlords, the Károlyies appreciated the situation that had been created earlier until 1850. The people of Tarpa did not have to toil, and pursuant to a contract concluded every third year, they could redeem the services to the landlord, and the tithe to the king for money. The village slotted between the villages of the Bereg, and belong-ing to Szatmár county from the XVI century, was attached to Bereg county in 1836, where it used to belong in the Middle Ages.
The Peace Treaty of Trianon, as a closing act of the First World War brought another significant change in the life of Tarpa. This Treaty drew the Czechoslovakian-Hungarian border on the Eastern edge of the village, cutting it off from its natural market, Beregovo and Munkacevo. The vil-lage, as the largest community with almost four thousand inhabitants, that remained on the Hungarian side, was the capital town of the incomplete Bereg county between 1920 and 1924, hosting several offices. The poverty between the two world wars, and an intention to remedy it encouraged Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky, a highly honoured politician of this era to stand for the parliamentary elections here in 1931. After one cycle, however, violence was used to make the candidate of the government party win again in 1935. The politician executed in 1944 was buried – in line with his will – in the graveyard of his beloved Reformed people in Tarpa.
At the end of the second World War, after the Russian front moved quickly away, on November 21, 1944 all the male population between 18 and 50 of the Bereg part between the border of the country and the Tisza were carried off to the Soviet Union for “malenkij robot”. Around four-hundred and fifty men were taken away from Tarpa, from whom hardly more than a hundred returned from Russia. On August 16, 1945, the Ukrainian militia occupied the village, and the national committee of the intimidated village was forced to sign their annexation by the Ukraine. The militia instructed by the Allied Control Commission to move out after weeks, almost fully plundered the village.
The authors of the book describe the history of the village in detail until 1990 with the history of its Reformed church from 1593 until our days, as well as the foundation of the schools and their teachers. Woodworking, which may be traced back to the XVII century, has a separate chapter assigned to it, and the monuments of folk architecture, preserved in a high number are also presented.