Carei existed as early as in 1264 and it was the first property centre of the Károlyi family. Its original core of the settlement must have been standing between the Castle today and the Roman Catholic Church. It received a right to organise fairs from the Károlyi's in 1346. The building of the Castle started in 1482 by László Láncz Károlyi. The process was going well; however, it was hindered in other times. Many guilds were established; the organisation of these trades was clan-based. Swabian families were settled in large numbers. From 1780 it has been the capital of Szatmár County. In 1781 the railway system reached it, which fastened its industrious development, and supported its reformation of its educational system. In 1995 it received a town (municipium) rank. It has a population of 21,000.