Vojvodina, officially the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina ( (see Name for other languages)), is an autonomous province of Serbia, located in the northern part of the country, in the Pannonian Plain of Central Europe. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad.
Vojvodina has a population of about 2 million (approximately 27% of Serbia's total). It has a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural identity, with a number of mechanisms for the promotion of minority rights; there are more than 26 ethnic groups in the province, which has six official languages.
The name "Vojvodina" in Serbian language means a type of duchy more specifically, a voivodeship. It derives from the word "vojvoda" (See: voivode) which stems from the Proto-Slavic language word "voevoda". Those words are etymologically connected with modern-day words "vojnik" (soldier) and "voditi" (to lead). Its original name (from 1848) was the "Serbian Voivodeship" (Srpska Vojvodina).
The full official names of the province in all official languages of Vojvodina are:
- , Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina (in Serbian)
- Vajdas g Auton m Tartom ny (in Hungarian) ()
- Auton mna Pokrajina Vojvodina (in Slovak)
- Provincia Autonom Voivodina (in Romanian)
- Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina (in Croatian)
- (in Pannonian Rusyn)
Names in other languages that are not official in the province, but that are spoken by some local inhabitants:
It is located in the northern part of the country, in the Pannonian Plain of Central Europe. It has a population of about 2 million (about 27% of Serbia's total). The region is divided by the Danube and Tisa rivers into: Ba ka in the northwest, Banat in the east and Syrmia (Srem) in the southwest. A small part of the Ma va region is also located in Vojvodina, in the Srem District. Today, the western part of Syrmia is in Croatia, the northern part of Ba ka is in Hungary, the eastern part of Banat is in Romania (with a small piece in Hungary), while Baranja (which is between the Danube and the Drava) is in Hungary and Croatia. Vojvodina has a total surface area of . Vojvodina is also part of the Danube-Kris-Mures-Tisa euroregion.
Main geographical regions in Serbia and Vojvodina
Pre-Roman times and Roman administration
In Neolithic period, two important archaeological cultures flourished in this area: the Star evo culture and the Vin a culture. First Indo-European peoples settled in the territory of present-day Vojvodina in 4200 BC. During the Eneolithic period, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, several Indo-European archaeological cultures were centered in or around Vojvodina: the Vu edol culture, the Vinkovci culture, the Vatin culture, the Belegi culture, the Bosut culture, etc. Before the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC, Indo-European peoples of Illyrian, Thracian and Celtic origin inhabited this area. First states organized in this area were the Celtic State of the Scordisci (3rd century BC-1st century AD) with capital in Singidunum (Belgrade), and Dacian Kingdom of Burebista (1st century BC).
During Roman rule, Sirmium (today's Sremska Mitrovica) was one of the four capital cities of the Roman Empire and six Roman Emperors were born in this city or in its surroundings. The city was also the capital of several Roman administrative units, including the Lower Pannonia, the Pannonia Secunda, the Diocese of Pannonia, and the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum. Roman rule lasted until the 5th century, after which the region came into the possession of various peoples and states. While Banat was a part of the Roman province of Dacia, Syrmia belonged to a Roman province of Pannonia. Ba ka was not part of the Roman Empire and was populated and ruled by Sarmatian Iazyges.
Early Middle Ages and Slavic settlement
After Romans were driven away from this region, various Indo-European and Turkic peoples and states ruled in the area. These peoples included Goths, Sarmatians, Huns, Gepids and Avars. For regional history, the largest importance had a Gepid state, which had its capital in Sirmium. According to the Miracles of Saint Demetrius, Avars gave the region of Syrmia to Bulgar leader named Kuber in the 670s. The Bulgars of Kuber moved south with Maurus to Macedonia where they cooperated with Tervel in the 8th century.
Slavs settled today's Vojvodina in the 6th and 7th centuries, before some of them crossed rivers Sava and Danube and settled in the Balkans. Slavic tribes that lived in the territory of present-day Vojvodina included Abodrites, Severans, Brani evci and Timo ani. In the 9th century, after fall of the Avar state, first forms of Slavic statehood emanated in this area. First Slavic states that ruled over this region included Bulgarian Empire, Great Moravia and Ljudevit's Pannonian Duchy. During Bulgarian administration (9th century), Bulgarian local dukes Salan and Glad ruled over the region. The residence of Salan was Titel and that of Glad was possibly in the rumored rampart of Galad or perhaps in the Kladovo (Gladovo) in Serbia. The descendant of Glad was duke Ahtum, another local ruler from the 11th century who opposed the establishment of Hungarian rule over the region.
In the village of elarevo the archaeologists have also found traces of people who practiced Judaic religion. Bunard i dated Avar-Bulgar graves excavated in elarevo, containing skulls with Mongolian features and Judaic symbols, to the late 8th and 9th centuries. Erdely and Vilkhnovich consider the graves to belong to the Kabars who eventually broke ties with the Khazar Empire between the 830s and 862 (Three other Khazar tribes joined the Magyars and took part of the Magyar conquest of the Carpathian basin including what is now Vojvodina in 895-907).
Following territorial disputes with Byzantine and Bulgarian states, most of Vojvodina became part of the Kingdom of Hungary between 10th and 12th century and remained under Hungarian administration until the 16th century (Following periods of Ottoman and Habsburg administrations, Hungarian political dominance over most of the region was established again in 1867 and over entire region in 1882, after abolishment of Habsburg Military Frontier).
Regional demographic balance started changing in the 11th century when Magyars started to replace local Slavic population. Since the 14th century, the balance started to change again in favour of the Slavs when Serbian refugees fleeing from territories conquered by the Ottoman army settled in the area. Most of the Hungarians left from the region during Ottoman conquest and early period of Ottoman administration and main part of population of Vojvodina in Ottoman times was composed of Serbs (who comprised an absolute majority of population of Vojvodina in this time ) and Muslims.
After the defeat of the Hungarian Kingdom at Moh cs by the Ottoman Empire, the region fell into a period of anarchy and civil wars. In 1526 Jovan Nenad, a leader of the Serb mercenaries, established his rule in Ba ka, northern Banat and a small part of Syrmia. He created an ephemeral independent state, with Subotica as its capital. At the peak of his power, Jovan Nenad proclaimed himself Serbian Emperor in Subotica. Taking advantage of the extremely confused military and political situation, the Hungarian noblemen from the region joined forces against him and defeated the Serbian troops in the summer of 1527. Emperor Jovan Nenad was assassinated and his state collapsed. After the fall of emperor's state, the supreme military commander of Jovan Nenad's army, Radoslav elnik, established his own temporary state in the region of Syrmia, where he ruled as Ottoman vassal.
A few decades later, the whole region was added to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over it until the end of the 17th and the first half of the 18th century, when it was incorporated into the Habsburg Monarchy. The Treaty of Karlowitz of 1699, between Holy League and Ottoman Empire, marked the withdrawal of the Ottoman forces from Central Europe, and the supremacy of the Habsburg Empire in that part of the continent. According to the treaty, western part of Vojvodina passed to Habsburgs. Eastern part of it (eastern Syrmia and Province of Tam var) remained in Ottoman hands until Austrian conquest in 1716. This new border change is ratified by the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718.
During the Great Serb Migration, some Serbs from Ottoman territories settled in the Habsburg Monarchy at the end of the 17th century (in 1690), but most of them went further to the north (in what is now Republic of Hungary) and only small part of them settled in western part of present-day Vojvodina. However, because of this event, all Serbs in Habsburg Monarchy gained a status of a recognized nation with extensive rights, in exchange for providing a border militia that could be mobilized against invaders from the south, as well as in case of civil unrest in Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary.
At the beginning of Habsburg rule, most of the region was integrated into the Habsburg Military Frontier district, while western parts of Ba ka were put under civil administration within Ba county. Later, the civil administration was expanded to other (mostly northern) parts of the region, while southern parts remained under military administration. Eastern part of it was held by the Ottomans between 1787 1788, during the Russo-Turkish War.
In 1716, Vienna temporarily forbade settlement by Hungarians and Jews in the area, while large numbers of German speakers were settled in the region. From 1782, Protestant Hungarians and Germans settled in larger numbers.
During the 1848-49 revolutions, Vojvodina was a site of war between Serbs and Hungarians, due to the opposite national conceptions of these two peoples. At the May Assembly in Sremski Karlovci (13 15 May 1848), Serbs declared the constitution of the Serbian Voivodship (Serbian Duchy), a Serbian autonomous region within the Austrian Empire. The Serbian Voivodship consisted of Syrmia, Ba ka, Banat, and Baranja. The metropolitan of Sremski Karlovci, Josif Raja i , was elected patriarch, while Stevan upljikac was chosen as first voivod (duke). The ethnic war hit this area perhaps the hardest, with terrible atrocities committed against the civilian populations by both sides.
Following the Habsburg and Serb victory over Hungarians in 1849, a new administrative territory was created in the region (in November 1849), in accordance with a decision made by the Austrian emperor. By this decision, Serbian autonomous region created in 1848 was transformed into the new Austrian crown land known as Voivodship of Serbia and Tami Banat. It consisted of Banat, Ba ka and Syrmia, excluding the southern parts of these regions which were part of the Military Frontier. An Austrian governor seated in Temeschwar ruled the area, and the title of voivod belonged to the emperor himself. The full title of the emperor was "Grand Voivod of the Voivodship of Serbia" (German: Gro woiwode der Woiwodschaft Serbien). German and Illyrian (Serbian) were the official languages of the crown land. In 1860, the new province was abolished and most of it (with exception of Syrmia) was again included into Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary. Since 1867, Kingdom of Hungary is one of two self-governing parts of Austria-Hungary. The era following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was a period of economic flourishing, since Kingdom of Hungary had the second fastest growing economy in Europe between 1867 1913, but ethnic relations were strained. According to the 1910 census, the last census conducted in Austria-Hungary, population of Vojvodina included 510,754 (33.8%) Serbs, 425,672 (28.1%) Hungarians and 324,017 (21.4%) Germans.
Serbian and Yugoslav administration
At the end of World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed. On 29 October 1918, Syrmia became a part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. On 31 October 1918, the Banat Republic was proclaimed in Temeschwar. The government of Hungary recognized its independence, but it was short-lived.
On 25 November 1918, the Assembly of Serbs, Bunjevci, and other nations of Vojvodina in Novi Sad proclaimed the unification of Vojvodina (Banat, Ba ka and Baranja) with the Kingdom of Serbia (The assembly numbered 757 deputies, of which 578 were Serbs, 84 Bunjevci, 62 Slovaks, 21 Rusyn, 6 Germans, 3 okci, 2 Croats and 1 Hungarian). One day before this, on 24 November, the Assembly of Syrmia also proclaimed the unification of Syrmia with Serbia. On 1 December 1918, Vojvodina (as part of the Kingdom of Serbia) officially became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Between 1929 and 1941, the region was known as the Danube Banovina, a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Its capital city was Novi Sad. The Banovina consisted of the Syrmia, Ba ka, Banat, Baranja, umadija, and Brani evo regions.
, historical capital of Vojvodina, in the 1920s.
Between 1941 and 1944, during World War II, the Axis Powers (Nazi Germany and its allies, Independent State of Croatia and Hungary) divided and occupied Vojvodina. Ba ka and Baranja were annexed by Horthy's Hungary and Syrmia was included into the Independent State of Croatia. A smaller Danube Banovina (including Banat, umadija, and Brani evo) existed as part of what was known as "Nedi 's Serbia". The administrative center of this smaller province was Smederevo. However, Banat itself was a separate autonomous region ruled by its German minority. The occupying powers committed numerous crimes against the civilian population, especially against Serbs, Jews and Roma; the Jewish population of Vojvodina was almost completely killed or deported. In total, Axis (German, Croatian and Hungarian) occupational authorities killed about 50,000 citizens of Vojvodina (mostly Serbs, Jews and Roma) while more than 280,000 people were interned, arrested, violated or tortured.
Axis occupation ended in 1944 and the region was temporarily placed under military administration (1944 1945) run by the new communist authorities. During and after the military administration, several thousands of citizens were killed - this affected mostly ethnic Germans, but also one part of Hungarian and Serb populations. Both the war-time Axis occupational authorities and the post-war communist authorities ran concentration/prison camps in the territory of Vojvodina (See the List of concentration and internment camps). While war-time prisoners in these camps were mostly Jews, Serbs and communists, post-war camps were formed for ethnic Germans (Danube Swabians). Most Vojvodina Germans (about 200,000) left from the region in 1944, together with the defeated German army. Most of those who remained in the region (about 150,000) were sent to some of the villages cordoned off as prisons. It is estimated that some 48,447 Germans died in the camps from disease, hunger, malnutrition, mistreatment, and coldness. Some 8,049 Germans were killed by partisans during military administration in Vojvodina after October 1944. It is also estimated that post-war communist authorities killed some 20,000 Hungarians and some 23,000-24,000 Serbs. According to professor Dragoljub ivkovi , 47,000 ethnic Serbs were killed in Vojvodina during entire 1941-1948 period. About half of that number were killed by occupational forces and another half were killed by post-war communist authorities.
The region was politically restored in 1944 (incorporating Syrmia, Banat, Ba ka, and Baranja) and became an autonomous province of Serbia in 1945. Instead of the previous name (Danube Banovina), the region regained its historical name of Vojvodina, while its capital city remained Novi Sad. When final borders of Vojvodina were defined, Baranja was assigned to Croatia, while northern part of Ma va region was assigned to Vojvodina.
Modern political status
Statistical regions of Serbia At first, the province enjoyed only a small level of autonomy within Serbia, but it gained extensive rights of self-rule under the 1974 Yugoslav constitution, which gave both Kosovo and Vojvodina de facto veto power in the Serbian and Yugoslav parliaments, as changes to their status could not be made without the consent of the two Provincial Assemblies. The 1974 Serbian constitution, adopted at the same time, reiterated that "the Socialist Republic of Serbia comprises the Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, which originated in the common struggle of nations and nationalities of Yugoslavia in the National Liberation War (the Second World War) and socialist revolution".
Under the rule of the Serbian president Slobodan Milo evi , Vojvodina and Kosovo lost elements of statehood in September 1990. Vojvodina was still referred to as an autonomous province of Serbia, but most of its autonomous powers - including, crucially, its vote on the Yugoslav collective presidency - were transferred to the control of Belgrade. The province, however, still had its own parliament and government and some other autonomous functions as well.
The fall of Milo evi in 2000 created a new climate for reform in Vojvodina. Following talks between the political parties, the level of the province's autonomy was increased by the omnibus law in 2002. The old statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina dated from 1991 and has been deemed by the Serbian Parliament as outdated. The Vojvodina provincial assembly adopted a new statute on 15 October 2008, 89 of 120 councilors voted in favor of the bill, whilst 21 voted against. The Statute, partly amended, was approved by Parliament of Serbia on 30 November 2009 with 137 MPs in favor and 24 against. The Statute was officially proclaimed on 14 December 2009, in Novi Sad, and came into force on 1 January 2010.
Districts, municipalities and cities
After a constitution of Serbia from 1992, Vojvodina is divided into seven districts, which are called after its main geographical location. Districts are named after the main region which district covers. Minister of Local Government, in the Serbian Government appoints commissioners of the districts, but they have no political power. Local government lies in municipalities and cites. The seven districts are further subdivided into 39 municipalities and the cities of Novi Sad, Subotica, Zrenjanin, Pan evo, Sombor, and Sremska Mitrovica.
Districts, municipalities and cities of Vojvodina
Map showing locations of all urban settlements (cities and towns) of Vojvodina. Largest urban settlements (cities and towns) of Vojvodina (with population figures):
Novi Sad (221,854),
Pan evo (73,992),
Sremska Mitrovica (37,586),
Vr ac (35,701),
Ba ka Palanka (27,924),
In ija (25,988),
Be ej (23,817),
Stara Pazova (18,429),
Nova Pazova (17,106),
Ethnic map of Vojvodina based on the 2002 municipality data Language map of Vojvodina based on the 2002 municipality data Religion in Vojvodina (2002 census) Vojvodina is more diverse than the rest of Serbia with more than 25 ethnic groups and six official languages.
The largest ethnic groups are Serbs (65%) and Hungarians (14%).
Population by national or ethnic groups:
Muslims (by nationality)
Population by native language:
Population by religion:
|Eastern Orthodox Christians
(Roman Catholic and Eastern Rite)
(Buddhism, Hinduism etc.)
|Without religious affiliation
Population by gender:
- 984,942 males
- 1,047,050 females
Population by age groups:
- 0 14 years: 15.85% (165,332 males, 156,873 females)
- 15 64 years: 68.62% (693,646 males, 700,416 females)
- 65 years and over: 15.53% (125,964 males, 189,761 females)
Source: Statistical Office of Serbia
The current ruling coalition in the Vojvodina parliament (after 2008 elections) is composed of the following political parties: Democratic Party, G17 Plus, Hungarian Coalition, League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, and Socialist Party of Serbia.
The current president of Vojvodinian government is Bojan Pajti (Democratic Party), while the president of the Vojvodinian parliament is S ndor Egeresi (Hungarian Coalition).
Petrovaradin fortress and Novi Sad, early 18th century. Serbia]]. Zrenjanin, the main square.
Vojvodina has a regional academy of science and art, Vojvodina Academy of Sciences and Arts. Its main aim is to cherish traditions in sciences and arts of the multicultural and multiethnic circle through cooperation with other academies and institutions and to improve life conditions of the Vojvodina region by using the spiritual and natural resources of Vojvodina. The Government of Vojvodina is the founder of several newspapers and magazines in Vojvodina's official languages: ("Daily news") in Serbian and Magyar Sz ("Hungarian Word") in Hungarian are daily newspapers, and weekly magazines are Hrvatska rije ("Croatian Word") in Croatian, Hlas udu ("The Voice of the People") in Slovak, Libertatea ("Freedom") in Romanian, and ("Rusyn Word") in Rusyn. There is also Bunjeva ke novine ("The Bunjevac newspaper") in Bunjevac. Hidden Europe article praises the cosmopolitism in the province.
Tourist destinations in Vojvodina include well known Orthodox monasteries on Fru ka Gora mountain, numerous hunting grounds, cultural-historical monuments, different folklores, interesting galleries and museums, plain landscapes with a lot of greenery, big rivers, canals and lakes, sandy terrain Deliblatska Pe ara ("the European Sahara"), etc. In the last few years, Exit has been very popular among the European summer music festivals.
The economy of Vojvodina is largely based on developed food industry and fertile agricultural soil that make up 84% of its territory. About 70% of agricultural products is corn, 20% industrial herbs, and 10% other agricultural cultures. Other branches of industry are also developed such as the metal industry, chemical industry, electrical industry, oil industry and construction industry. In the past decade, ICT sector has been growing rapidly and has taken significant role in Vojvodina's economic development.
Vojvodina promotes its investment potentials through the Vojvodina Investment Promotion (VIP) agency, which was founded by the Parliament of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.
In 2005, several international organizations including the European Parliament and Human Rights Watch have expressed concern about rising levels of ethnic tension and related violent incidents in Vojvodina. Of particular concern, according to the reports, is a frequently lax response on the part of the police.
Image:Donau bei Novi Sad.jpg|Novi Sad Image:Citadel Petrovaradin.jpg|Petrovaradin Fortress Image:Jezero01.jpg|Lake of Ledinci Image:Srbobran_Orthodox_church.jpg|Serbian Orthodox church in Srbobran Image:Saint_Gerhard_the_Bishop_and_Martyr_Roman_Catholic_Church,_Vr ac,_Vojvodina,_Serbia_-_20060827.jpg|Catholic (historically German) Church in Vr ac Image:Kanizsa2.jpg|Catholic (Hungarian) Church in Kanji a Image:Glavni trg u Somboru.jpg|Sombor in 1905 Image:Fruska Gora Smith.jpg|Fru ka Gora Image:Matica.jpg|Matica srpska Image:Serbian National Theatre Sept 2005.jpg|Serbian National Theatre Image:IzbisteIMG 0255.jpg|Serbs in Vojvodina in traditional clothes Image:Voivodina Hungarians national costume and dance 2.png|Hungarians in Vojvodina in traditional clothes in a folk festival Image:Kova ica,_Evangelical_(Slovak)_Church.jpg|The Evangelical (Slovak) church in Kova ica Image:Mesdzid islamske zajednice ns.jpg|Masjid of Islamic Religious Community in Novi Sad Image:Bunjevacke igre.jpg|Bunjevci in traditional clothes Image:Ruski_Krstur,_Uniate_church.jpg|The Uniate (Rusyn) cathedral in Ruski Krstur Image:Sonta,_Catholic_Church.jpg|Catholic (Croat / okac) Church in Sonta Image:Synagogue de Novi Sad.jpg|Novi Sad Synagogue Image:Monast re_de_Kovilj.jpg|Kovilj monastery Image:Biserica Romana.JPG| The Romanian Orthodox church in Vr ac
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