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Republica Bănăţeană (ro)
Banater Republik (de)
Banatska republika (sr-Latn)
Банатска република (sr-Cyrl)
Bánáti Köztársaság (hu)
Banat Republic
Unrecognized state

1918
 

Flag

Banat Republic, superimposed over current state borders
Capital Timişoara
Government Republic
President Otto Roth
Historical era World War I
 - Proclaimed November 1, 1918
 - Suppressed by Serbia November 15, 1918

The Banat Republic (Romanian: Republica Bănăţeană, German: Banater Republik, Serbian: Banatska republika / Банатска република, Hungarian: Bánáti Köztársaság) was a state, that was proclaimed in Timişoara, on November 1, 1918, as the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed.

The republic was an attempt to preserve the integrity of German and Hungarian political elements in Banat region at the moment of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire decay. According to new reality at the end of the World War I, the old political system was reformed trying to incorporate as first Romanian and Serbian political elements due to insure new made "state" ahead winning states of Romania and Serbia. But, Banatian Romanians and Serbs were not interesting for the project of de facto German-Hungarian politicians when armies of winning states could not be stopped. It was the only period of history when Banat formed an "independent" country recognized only by Hungary.

Contents

History

On October 31, 1918, military councils were established by nationalities living in Banat: Romanian, Hungarian, German, Jewish and Serb. At a meeting, Dr Otto Roth, a member of the Social Democratic Party, proposed the creation of an autonomous Banat People's Council with representatives from each ethnic group, but the Romanian officers distanced themselves from this objective as long as there was no resolution on the matter from the Romanian National Council.

The leading members of the Social Democratic Party decided however to proclaim the republic the day after, and on November 1, 1918, Otto Roth proclaimed the Republic of Banat from the balcony of the Timişoara local council. The civil leader of the Republic was Dr Roth while the military commander was Albert Barta. The Government of Hungary recognized the independence of the Banat Republic.

The same day the founding meeting of the Banat People's Council took place with 20 members from the city council, 60 members from the military national councils, 40 representatives from the workers councils and 70 from the bourgeois parties. Then an Executive committee of 20 members was elected.

The authority of the People's Council was however not respected because the Romanian ethnic plurality didn't want autonomy without the realisation of their national aspiration, unification with Romania.[1]

The Banat National Council organized military squads and a civil guard (on November 4), with a goal to establish control over the entire territory of the Banat. However, the Banat Republic was to be a short-lived state and this goal was not achieved. On November 15, 1918, Serbian troops entered the Banat and put an end to the Republic. The national councils were dismantled by the Serbian forces on February 21, 1919. A few months later, following the Alba-Iulia Resolution and Great People's Assembly in Novi Sad, the Banat region was divided primarily between Romania and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed to Yugoslavia).

On April 16, 1920, ethnic Germans from the Banat sent a request to the Paris Peace Conference asking for the re-establishment of the Republic under the name of the Republic of Banatia. According to the request, this new republic would include not only the Banat, but also the neighbouring region of Bačka. The republic would be divided into cantons, each administered by the plurality or the majority ethnic group. However, the Peace Conference rejected this proposal.

Population

Detailed map of Banat Republic in 1918
Republic of Banatia, proposed by Banatian Germans at a Paris Peace Conference in 1920

The population of the Republic was 1,582,133, of which 592,049 (37.42%) were Romanians, 387,545 (24.50%) Germans, 284,329 (17.97%) Serbs, and 242,152 (15.31%) Hungarians, with smaller numbers of other ethnic groups such as the Slovaks, Croats, Banat Bulgarians and Rusyns. The religious composition was as follows: 855,852 (54.10%) were Orthodox Christians, 591,447 (37.38%) were Roman Catholics, with a scattering of adherents of other religious groups such as Calvinists, Lutherans and Jews.

Origins

The Banat is a natural geographical region in the Pannonian plain. From 1552, it was an Ottoman province, named Eyalet of Temeşvar. After the Treaty of Passarowitz of 1718, the region was a Habsburg province named the Banat of Temeswar. This province was abolished in 1778. Between 1849 and 1860, the Banat region, together with the Bačka and Srem, was part of a new Habsburg province, named Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat. The capital of all these provinces was Timişoara.

Sources

Literature

  • Drago Njegovan, Prisajedinjenje Vojvodine Srbiji, Novi Sad, 2004.
  • Milojko Brusin, Naša razgraničenja sa susedima 1919-1920, Novi Sad, 1998.

See also

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