[voi-vuh-din-uh, ‐dee-nuh]
Vojvodina or Voivodina, autonomous province (1991 pop. 2,013,889), 8,301 sq mi (21,500 sq km), N Serbia. Novi Sad is the chief city and administrative center. A part of the Pannonian Plain, it is watered by the Danube, the Tisza, and the Sava rivers and is one of the most densely populated parts of Serbia. About 60% of the land is under cultivation. It is the breadbasket of Serbia; cereals, fruit (notably plums, used for brandy), grapes, and vegetables are extensively cultivated. Cattle raising is also important, and food processing is the most significant industry. Besides Novi Sad, the chief cities are Subotica, Zrenjanin, Sombor, and Pančevo. The region was part of Hungary and Croatia before its conquest by the Turks in the 16th cent., and it was restored to the Hungarian crown by the Treaty of Passarowitz (1699). Parts of the region were included in the military frontier of S Hungary in the 18th cent., and the whole region was settled with Serbian and Croatian fugitives from the Ottoman Empire, as well as by German colonists. The present population is still mixed and includes Serbs, Croats, Magyars, Romanians, and Slovaks. The region was ceded (1920) to Yugoslavia by the Treaty of Trianon, and it received autonomy in 1946. As constituted in 1946, the Vojvodina consists of three sections—the Srem, in the southwest, which was part of Croatia-Slavonia until 1918; the Backa, in the northwest, which was an integral part of Hungary; and the western part of the Banat of Temesvar. Under the Yugoslavian constitution of 1974, Vojvodina and Serbia's other province Kosovo were designated autonomous provinces within Serbia. The autonomy, however, was largely rescinded in the 1990 Serbian constitution, but legislation since has partially restored (2002) and strengthened (2009) Vojvodina's autonomy.

The Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Serbian: Аутономна Покрајина Војводина or Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina, ; Hungarian: Vajdaság Autonóm Tartomány; Slovak: Autonómna Pokrajina Vojvodina; Romanian: Provincia Autonomă Voievodina; Croatian: Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina; Rusyn: Автономна Покраїна Войводина) is an autonomous province in Serbia, containing about 27% of its total population according to the 2002 Census. It is located in the northern part of the country, in the Pannonian plain. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad, at over 300,000 people, while its second largest city is Subotica. Vojvodina has six official languages, and there are more than 26 ethnic groups in the region. The current autonomous status of Vojvodina within Serbia was defined by the Omnibus law from 2002. The Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is from 1991 and has been deemed by the Serbian Parliament as outdated, a new one is due to be drafted.


The name "Vojvodina" in the Serbian language simply means a type of duchy. Its original historical name (from 1848) was the "Serbian Voivodship" (Srpska Vojvodina), but since Vojvodina is now a part of Serbia, there is no need for the prefix "Serbian" anymore.

The full official names of the province in all official languages of Vojvodina are:

  • Аутономна Покрајина Војводина or Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina (in Serbian)
  • Vajdaság Autonóm Tartomány (in Hungarian) ()
  • Autonómna Pokrajina Vojvodina (in Slovak)
  • Provincia Autonomă Voievodina (in Romanian)
  • Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina (in Croatian)
  • Автономна Покраїна Войводина (in Rusyn)


Throughout history, the territory of present day Vojvodina has been a part of Dacia, the Roman Empire, the Hun Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Gepid Kingdom, the Avar Khanate, the Frankish Kingdom, the Pannonian Croatia, the Great Moravia, the Bulgarian Empire, the Serbian Empire of Jovan Nenad, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Independent State of Croatia, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Serbia and Montenegro. Since 2006, Vojvodina is part of an independent Serbia Between 1849 and 1860, this region was referred to as Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat. The region was granted in 1918 by the allied powers to the Kingdom of Serbia, and in 1945 it became part of the People's Republic of Serbia. Together with Kosovo, it enjoyed autonomous status between 1974 and 1988.

Roman rule

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, Syrmium and Backa belonged to a Roman province of Lower Pannonia.

Slavs (including Serbs) settled today's Vojvodina in the 6th and 7th centuries. In the 9th century, Salan and Glad, Bulgarian dukes (voivods), ruled over the region. The residence of Salan was Titel.

Hungarian rule

Most of Vojvodina became part of the Hungarian kingdom in the 10th century. It stayed part of Hungary until 1918, excepting for the period of the Ottoman conquest (see below).

Its demographic balance started changing at the end of the 14th century, as it welcomed Serbian refugees fleeing from territories conquered by the Ottoman army. At the time of the first Turkish census, in 1557-8, the northern parts of the territory still had a Hungarian majority. Large numbers of Serbs were settled as a conscious policy on the part of the Habsburg emperor at the end of the 17th century. They were granted widespread exceptions and communal rights, in exchange for providing a border militia that could be mobilised against invaders from the south, as well as in case of civil unrest in Hungary.

In 1716, Vienna temporarily forbade settlement by Hungarians and Jews in the area, and large numbers of German speakers were settled instead. From 1782, Protestant Hungarians, Germans and Slovakians settled in large numbers again.

During the 1848-49 uprising, Vienna successfully mobilised the Serbian militias against the Hungarian government and the local Hungarians. The civil war hit this area perhaps the hardest, with terrible atrocities committed against the civilian populations. Following victory by the Habsburgs, a new administrative territory was created in the south that was maintained until 1860, with German and Illyrian as official languages.

The era following 1867 was a period of economic flourishing but strained ethnic relations under the surface. The peace treaty of 1918 gave Vojvodina to the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes. Between 1918 and 1940, 80 000 Serbs were settled in the province.

Ottoman rule (1527-1716)

After the defeat of the Hungarian Kingdom at Mohács 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 Bačka, 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. A few decades later, the 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 remained in Ottomans as Tamışvar Eyaleti until Austria conquest in 1716. This statement is ratified by treaty of Passarowitz in 1718.

Periods of Serbian autonomy before 1918

At the beginning of Habsburg rule, most of the region was integrated into the Habsburg Military Frontier district, while western parts of Bačka were put under civil administration within Bač 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 occupied by Ottomans between 1787-1788 during Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792).

At the May Assembly in Sremski Karlovci (May 13-15, 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, Bačka, Banat, and Baranja. The metropolitan of Sremski Karlovci, Josif Rajačić, was elected patriarch, while Stevan Šupljikac was chosen as first voivod (duke).

In November 1849, in accordance with a decision made by the Austrian emperor, this Serbian region was transformed into the new Austrian crown land known as Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat. It consisted of Banat, Bačka 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: Großwoiwode der Woiwodschaft Serbien). The province was abolished in 1860, and from 1867 was located again within the Hungarian Kindom (part of Austria-Hungary).

At the end of World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed. On October 29, 1918, Syrmia became a part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. On October 31, 1918, the Banat Republic was proclaimed in Temeschwar. The government of Hungary recognized its independence, but it was short-lived.

Unification with Serbia

On November 25, 1918, the Assembly of Serbs, Bunjevci, and other nations of Vojvodina in Novi Sad proclaimed the union of Vojvodina (Banat, Bačka and Baranja) with the Kingdom of Serbia (The assembly numbered 757 deputies, of which 578 were Serbs, 84 Bunjevci, 62 Slovaks, 21 Rusyns, 6 Germans, 3 Šokci, 2 Croats, and 1 Hungarian). One day before this, on November 24, the Assembly of Syrmia also proclaimed the union of Syrmia with Serbia. On December 1, 1918, Vojvodina 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, Bačka, Banat, Baranja, Šumadija, and Braničevo regions.

Between 1941 and 1944, during World War II, the Axis Powers divided and occupied Vojvodina. Bačka and Baranja were attached to Horthy's Hungary and Syrmia was attached to the Independent State of Croatia. A smaller Danube Banovina (including Banat, Šumadija, and Braničevo) existed as part of what was known as "Nedic's Serbia." The administrative centre of this smaller province was Smederevo. However, Banat itself was a separate autonomous region ruled by its German minority.

Axis occupation ended in 1944 and the region was politically restored in 1945 as an autonomous province of Serbia (incorporating Syrmia, Banat, and Bačka). Instead of the previous name (Danube Banovina), the region regained its historical name of Vojvodina, while its capital city remained Novi Sad.

Autonomous province

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 Milošević, Vojvodina and Kosovo lost most of their autonomy 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 Milošević 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.


Vojvodina is situated in the northern part of Serbia. The region is divided by the Danube and Tisa rivers into: Bačka in the northwest, Banat in the east and Syrmia (Srem) in the southwest. A small part of the Mačva region is also located in Vojvodina, in the Srem District. Today, the western part of Syrmia is in Croatia, the northern part of Bačka 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 21,500 km² (8,299 mi²). Vojvodina is also part of the Danube-Kris-Mures-Tisa euroregion.

Districts and municipalities

After a constitution of Serbia from 1992, Vojvodina is divided into 7 districts, which are called after its main geographical location. Districts are named after the main region which district covers. Minister of Local Self-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 44 municipalities and the city of Novi Sad.


Largest cities of Vojvodina (with population figures):


Population by national or ethnic groups:

Number %
TOTAL 2,031,992 100
Serbs 1,321,807 65.05
Hungarians 290,207 14.28
Slovaks 56,637 2.79
Yugoslavs 49,881 2.45
Croats 54,546 2.55
Montenegrins 35,513 1.75
Romanians 30,419 1.5
Roma 29,057 1.43
Bunjevci 19,776 1.05
Rusyns 15,626 0.77
Macedonians 11,785 0.58
Ukrainians 4,635 0.23
Muslims (by nationality) 3,634 0.18
Germans 3,154 0.16
Slovenes 2,005 0.1
Sokci 1,864 0.1
Albanians 1,695 0.08
Bulgarians 1,658 0.08
Czechs 1,648 0.08
Russians 940 0.05
Gorani 606 0.03
Bosniaks 417 0.02
Vlachs 101 0
Others 5,311 0.26
Regional identity 10,154 0.5
Undeclared 55,016 2.71
Unknown 23,774 1.17

Population by native language:

Number %
Serbian language 1,557,020 76.63
Hungarian language 284,205 13.99
Slovak language 55,065 2.71
Romanian language 29,512 1.45
Romani language 21,939 1.08
Croatian language 21,053 1.04
Macedonian language 4,152 n/a
Albanian language 2,369 n/a
Bulgarian language 920 n/a

Population by religion:

Number %
Eastern Orthodox Christians 1,401,475 68.97
(Roman Catholic and Eastern Rite)
388,313 19.11
Protestants 72,159 3.55
Atheists 12,583 n/a
Muslims 8,073 n/a
Jews 329 n/a
Oriental religions
(Buddhism, Hinduism etc.)
166 n/a
Others 4,456 n/a
Without religious affiliation 418 n/a
Undeclared 101,144 n/a
Unknown 42,876 n/a

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: Republic 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 Pajtić (Democratic Party), while the president of the Vojvodinian parliament is Sándor Egresi (Hungarian Coalition).


The Executive Council of Vojvodina is the founder of several newspapers and magazines in Vojvodina's official languages: "Дневник" (Daily news) in Serbian and "Magyar Szó" (Hungarian Word) in Hungarian are daily newspapers, and weekly magazines are "Hrvatska riječ" (Croatian Word) in Croatian, "Hlas Ľudu" (The Voice of the People) in Slovak, "Libertatea" (Freedom) in Romanian, and "Руске слово" (Rusyn Word) in Rusyn. There are also "Bunjevačke novine" (Bunjevac newspaper) in Bunjevac. Hidden Europe article praises the cosmopolitism in the province.


Tourist destinations in Vojvodina include well known Orthodox monasteries on Fruška 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 Peščara ("the European Sahara"), etc.


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 herb, and 10% other agricultural cultures. Other branches of industry are also developed such as the metal industry, chemical industry, electrical industry, oil industry, construction industry, etc.

Human rights

See also: Human rights in Serbia

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. As of 2007, the situation in Vojvodina is peaceful.



See also

External links

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