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Map of Romania with Romanian Banat highlighted

Banat is a region in Southeastern Europe divided among three countries: the eastern part belongs to Romania (the counties of Timiş and Caraş-Severin), the western part to Serbia-Montenegro (the Serbian Banat, included in the Vojvodina) and a small northern part to Hungary (Csongrád county). It is the part of the Pannonian plain bordered by the Danube in the south, the Theiss (Tisza, Tissa, Tisa) in the west, the Mures (Maros) in the north and the Southern Carpathians in the east.

The term Banat means generally a frontier province governed by a ban. There were several banats in Hungary, which disappeared during the Turkish wars, as the banat of Dalmatia, of Slavonia, of Bosnia and of Croatia. But when the word is used without any other qualification, it indicates the Timişoara banat, which strangely acquired this title after the peace of Passarowitz (1718), though it was never governed by a ban.

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 History


Romanian Banat

It is mountainous in the south and southeast, while in the north, west and south-west it is flat and in some places marshy. The climate, except in the marshy parts, is generally healthy.
Wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, flax, hemp and tobacco are grown in large quantities, and the products of the vineyards are of a good quality. Game is plentiful and the rivers swarm with fish. The mineral wealth is great, including copper, tin, lead, zinc, iron and especially coal. Amongst its numerous mineral springs, the most important are those of Mehadia, with sulphurous waters, which were already known in the Roman period as the Termae Herculis (Băile Herculane). (Note that a region of Romania that is called Banat includes some areas that are mountainous and are not parts of Banat as a whole nor of the Pannonian plain.)


The Banat was inhabited since ancient times by Dacians, it was conquered by Romans in 106. Emperor Aurelian retracted the Empire's border to south of the Danube, leaving behind the local romanized population.

It was conquered by the Turks in 1552, and remained a Turkish sanjak (province) till 1716, when Prince Eugene of Savoy liberated it from the Ottomans. It received the title of Banat after the peace of Passarowitz (1718), and remained under a military administration until 1751, when Maria Theresa introduced a civil administration. During the Turkish occupation the district was nearly depopulated, and allowed to lie almost desolate in marsh and heath and forest. Count Claudius Mercy (1666-1734), who was appointed governor of Temesvár in 1720, took numerous measures for the regeneration of the Banat. The marshes hear the Danube and Theiss were cleared, roads and canals were built at great expense of labour, German artisans and other settlers were attracted to colonize the district, and agriculture and trade encouraged. Maria Theresa also took a great interest in the Banat, colonized the land belonging to the crown with German peasants, founded many villages, encouraged the exploitation of the mineral wealth of the country, and generally developed the measures introduced by Mercy. In 1779 the Banat was again incorporated with Hungary. After the revolution of 1848-1849, the Banat was separated from Hungary and made into a part of distinctive Austrian crown land known as the Vojvodina of Serbia and Tamiš Banat (German Woiwodschaft Serbien und Tamisch Banat), but in 1860 it was again incorporated with Hungary, until 1918 when it was divided in the three present parts.