Bačka (Serbian: Бачка or Bačka, Hungarian: Bácska, Croatian: Bačka, Slovak: Báčka, Rusyn: Бачка, Bunjevac: Bačka) is an area of the Pannonian plain lying between the rivers Danube and Tisa. It is divided between Serbia and Hungary, with small uninhabited pockets of land on the left bank of Danube which belong to Croatia, but it's under Serbian control from 1991 (see disputes of Croatia and Serbia).
Most of this area currently forms part of the Vojvodina region of Serbia. Novi Sad, the capital city of Vojvodina, stands on the border between Bačka and Syrmia. The smaller northern part of Bačka is now located in Bács-Kiskun County in Hungary.
According to the other idea, the denominator of the landscape may have been the first bailiff of Bács castle, and the name one which can be rendered probable it old Turkish baya derives from a dignity name. Serbs have also adopted this Hungarian-Turkish name for the region.
Through history Bačka has been a part of Dacia, the Hun Empire, the Gepid Kingdom, the Avar Khanate, the First Bulgarian Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro, and since 2006, it is part of an independent Serbia. The smaller northern part of the region is part of the independent Hungary since 1920.
People have inhabited the region of Bačka for over 4,000 years, since Neolithic times. The earliest historical inhabitants of the region were probably Illyrian tribes.
Slavs settled today's Bačka in the 6th and 7th centuries. In the 9th century the territory of Bačka was part of Bulgarian Empire. Salan, a Bulgarian voivod (duke), was a ruler in this territory and his capital city was Titel. In the early 10th century, Hungarians defeated Salan, and his duchy came under Hungarian rule.
In the 11th century, Bacsensis (Bač, Bács) County was formed, with city of Bač as its administrative centre. First known prefect of Bacsensis County was recorded in 1074 and his name was Vid, which is a Slavic name by origin.
In 1526 and 1527, Bačka was the central region of an ephemeral independent Serbian state, which existed in the territory of present-day Vojvodina. The ruler of this state was the so-called "Emperor" Jovan Nenad and his capital city was Subotica. After some months the ruler it was overcome, and Bačka got back to the Kingdom of Hungary.
During the Ottoman rule (16th-17th centuries), Bačka was part of the Sanjak of Segedin (Szeged), and the region was mainly populated with Serbs. In 1699 the Bačka came into the possession of the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria. A Bacsensis County was established in the western parts of the region, while the eastern parts of Bačka were incorporated into Tisa-Mureş section of Habsburg Military Frontier. After this part of the Military Frontier was abolished in 1751, the eastern parts of Bačka were also included into Bacsensis county. The only part of Bačka which remained within the Military Frontier was Šajkaška, but it also came under civil administration in 1873.
According to the Austrian census from 1715, Serbs, Bunjevci (Croats), and Šokci (Croats) comprised most of the region's population. During the 18th century, the Habsburgs carried out an intensive colonisation of the area, which had low population density after the last Ottoman Wars, as much of the Serbian population had been decimated through warfare. The new settlers were primarily Serbs who moved from Serbia into Croatian lands, Hungarians, and Germans. Because many of the Germans came from Swabia, they were known as Donauschwaben, or Danube Swabians. Some Germans also came from Austria, and some from Bavaria and Alsace. Lutheran Slovaks, Rusyns, and others were also colonized but to a much smaller extent.
There was also an emigration of Serbs from the eastern parts of the region, which belonged to Military Frontier until 1751. After the abolishment of the Tisa-Mureş section of Military Frontier, many Serbs emigrated from north-eastern parts of Bačka. They moved either to Russia (notably to New Serbia and Slavo-Serbia) or to Banat, where the Military Frontier was still needed.
In 1848 and 1849, Bačka was part of the Serbian Voivodship, a Serbian autonomous region within Austrian Empire, while between 1849 and 1860 it was part of the Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat, a separate Austrian crown land (the official language was German in this time), the successor of the Serbian Voivodship. After 1860, when Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat was abolished, the Bács-Bodrog County was formed in the territory of Bačka. The county was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, which became one of two autonomous parts of Austria-Hungary in 1867.
The territory of Bačka (as part of Banat, Bačka and Baranja region) united with the Kingdom of Serbia in 1918. By the Treaty of Trianon (4 June 1920), the original territory of Bačka was divided between the newly independent Hungary and the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was later renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The northern part of the region was a separate county of Hungary (Bács-Bodrog) with seat in Baja, which was later incorporated into Bács-Kiskun county. The southern part of the region was a county of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes between 1918 and 1922, then a province (oblast) of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes between 1922 and 1929, and in 1929 it was incorporated into Danube Banovina, which was a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
In 1941 Yugoslav Bačka was occupied by the Axis powers and attached to Horthy's Hungary. During the occupation, Hungarian troops killed 19,573 civilians in Yugoslav Bačka, mostly of Serb, Jewish and Roma ethnicity, while many more civilians were arrested, violated or tortured. The occupation ended in 1944 with the end of the Second World War and Yugoslav Bačka became part of the new Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (later the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). Following the defeat of the Axis troops, most of the German population that lived in the area left from the region together with German army. The smaller part of the German population that did not leave the area (mostly women, children and the elderly) were sent to prison camps, where the majority died of malnutrition and abuses by the new Yugoslav authorities. Members of the Yugoslav partisan army also killed a certain number of inhabitants of Hungarian and German ethnic origin after the war, mainly as a revenge for genocide and ethnic cleansing that Hungarian troops committed against Yugoslav peoples during the war. The Hungarian victims number in Bačka about 30,000 and the German deaths are estimated to have been approximately 100,000, while many more civilians were arrested, violated or tortured.
Together with Syrmia and Banat, Yugoslav Bačka is part of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina since 1945. Since 1992, Yugoslav Bačka has been part of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (renamed to Serbia and Montenegro in 2003), and since 2006 it is part of an independent Serbia.
The districts of Serbia in Bačka are:
Note that municipalities of Sremski Karlovci, Petrovaradin, and Beočin and southern part of municipality of Bačka Palanka that belong to South Bačka District are geographically not located in Bačka, but in Syrmia, while municipalities of Ada, Senta and Kanjiža which are geographically located in Bačka are part of North Banat District.
Cities and towns in the Serbian part of Bačka (with city population numbers):
Note: Senta, Kanjiža, Ada and Mol are geographically located in Bačka, but they are part of the North Banat District.
Also see: List of inhabited places of Vojvodina
Subregions in the Hungarian Bácska include (with population numbers):
Most important towns in Hungarian Bácska (with population numbers):