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 The Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is from 1991 and has been deemed by the Serbian Parliament as outdated, a new one is due to be drafted.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 full official names of the province in all official languages of Vojvodina are:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Population by national or ethnic groups:
|Muslims (by nationality)||3,634||0.18|
Population by native language:
Population by religion:
|Eastern Orthodox Christians||1,401,475||68.97|
(Roman Catholic and Eastern Rite)
| Oriental religions|
(Buddhism, Hinduism etc.)
|Without religious affiliation||418||n/a|
Population by gender:
Population by age groups:
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.
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.