Banat Bánság


A region, formerly in the Kingdom of Hungary and now divided between Romania and Serbia, lying westwards from the Transylvanian Alps and bordered on the south, west and north by the Rivers Danube, Tisza, and Maros (Mureª).

Map of Military Frontier sections in Syrmia, B...

Map of Military Frontier sections in Syrmia, Bačka, and Pomorišje in 1718-1744 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It had remained in the Ottoman Empire in 1699, when most of Hungary was ceded to Austria.   Bordered on three sides by Habsburg lands, it fell to the Austrian armies in 1716 during the next war and was ceded in 1718.   The Habsburgs treated it as a single territory, forming a military province under a military governor, and called it the Banat of Temesvar, or, more simply, the Banat.   A Banat was the territory ruled by a Ban or governor, a term which had been used for several of the border districts of medieval Hungary, though this had not been one of them.   Its capital was Temesvar, now the Romanian city of Timişoara.

The period of Ottoman rule had greatly reduced the Magyar population;  after 1718 Romanians and Serbs as well as Magyars repopulated the region.

In 1742 the Military Frontier in Croatia and Slavonia was extended eastwards into the southern part of the Banat, so that that area came, a few years later, under the direct authority of the War Minister in Vienna.   In 1778 the rest of the Banat was no longer governed as a separate province, but was incorporated in Hungary, which for many of the common people of the Banat frontier meant reduction to serfdom and misery.

After the crushing of the Hungarian revolution in 1849, the Banat was joined to the county of Bács-Bodrog to the west to form a Crownland called Voivodina, which was separated from Hungary, but this arrangement only lasted until 1860.  Most of the Banat formed part of the virtually independent Kingdom of Hungary in 1867;  the Military Frontier was abolished in 1872, whereupon the southern Banat was integrated with Hungary.    In 1876, when the county map in Hungary, was redrawn the lands of the Banat formed three counties:  Torontál, Temes, and Krasso-Szörény.

In 1920 the Banat was divided between Yugoslavia and Romania, though Hungary recovered the Yugoslav share between 1941 and 1945.   When that share returned to Yugoslavia in 1945, it became the east of the autonomous region of Vojvodina within Serbia.  The region’s autonomy was abolished by Serbia in 1990.

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