Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through History

Explore the extraordinary past of Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through the pages of the book 'Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through History.' Uncover political events, economic development, and cultural heritage of these Banat towns through richly documented stories. Follow the evolution from the earliest days to the present, delving into the intricate threads of political intrigues, economic transformations, and cultural ascensions. Experience the past through the eyes of the author as the pages of the book unfold before you, providing a unique perspective on the life and legacy of these significant locales.

German Colonization

After the expulsion of the Turks and the Peace of Požarevac, Austria, for strategic-political reasons, wanted to transform Banat into the most advanced economic region. For this reason, it did not annex it to Hungary, but, upon the proposal of Eugene of Savoy, created a separate province called the "Tamiški Banat," directly tied to the court. All land and other material goods became state property. General Count Claudius Mercy was appointed as the governor of Banat.

In reality, Banat never constituted a unified entity, not even ethnically. The eastern, hilly part, predominantly inhabited by Romanians, had always been distinct from the western, flat Banat, mostly populated by Serbs. The hilly eastern part once formed a whole with Transylvania.

Immediately after the expulsion of the Turks, the Court Chamber developed a plan for the political and economic development of Banat. Soon after, in 1717, the so-called Instruction of the Chamber Commission for the organization of Banat was adopted, followed in 1719 by Governor Mercy's project for the organization of Banat.

To facilitate Austria's penetration eastward through the Balkans, it was believed that securing a stable support for the ruling house could only be achieved by colonizing Germans in Hungary. The Commission for the Renewal of Hungary proposed the settlement of Germans, especially in the southern regions of Hungary, as early as 1689.

This was particularly true for Banat, the southernmost devastated region and the last liberated from the Turks. Through the colonization of Germans, Austria aimed primarily to settle these nearly deserted areas and ensure agricultural production as the basis of the economic policy at that time. However, there is no doubt that a significant political aspect played a role as well. The settlement of Germans would ensure political security, as this population, due to its national affiliation, was tied to the Austrian court, providing greater security in military terms for guarding the southern borders of the Empire.

Therefore, Banat needed to be organized in a way that it served as a wedge between Hungarians and Turks, who were often even favorable to each other. Initially, after the liberation of Banat, the settlement of Hungarians and border Serbs from Potisje and Pomorišje was prohibited. The goal was to provide stability and security to these regions through the ethnic composition of the population.

By establishing a strong economy in Banat, tax revenues would be secured to strengthen the country's defense capabilities. Germans from Germany, where there was a surplus population at that time, were the most suitable for both purposes.

This can also explain the delay in disbanding the Potisje-Pomorišje border, which became unnecessary as early as 1716 after the expulsion of the Turks from Banat. The reason for the hesitation in disbanding was not the resistance of Serbs to the annexation of these territories to Hungarian counties, as some publications explain.

The Treaty of Belgrade, concluded in 1739 after Austria's defeat near Grocka, between Turkey and Austria, envisaged, in addition to surrendering all areas south of the Sava and Danube, the demolition of all fortresses on the left bank of the Danube. This particularly required strengthening the border with Turkey not only militarily but also economically.

In the so-called early Theresian colonization (1739-1749), several German families settled in Novi Bečej in 1748. Their surnames can be found in archival material, but they later assimilated, marrying Hungarians and becoming Hungarians.

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