Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through History

Explore the extraordinary past of Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through the pages of the book 'Novi Bečej and Vranjevo through History.' Uncover political events, economic development, and cultural heritage of these Banat towns through richly documented stories. Follow the evolution from the earliest days to the present, delving into the intricate threads of political intrigues, economic transformations, and cultural ascensions. Experience the past through the eyes of the author as the pages of the book unfold before you, providing a unique perspective on the life and legacy of these significant locales.

Novi Bečej, a royal free city and the seat of Torontal County

has a rich history. In its early revival, Bečej was annexed to the former Bečej County, possibly named after the later Veliki Bečkerek, also called Beče in the early days. The county borders have changed over time, but the author suggests the former Bečej County is identical to Torontal County. Bečej appeared in 1332 on the list of places paying tribute to the main Torontal County office, already a significant place.

It was recorded as the first civitas in Torontal County, later identified as an opidum in 1440, along with Arača, Bečkerek, and Bašaid. In the early 13th century, Temišvar, Čanad, Bečej, and Kovin emerged as cities - seats of counties in Banat. Bečej, declared the first royal free city in 1331 during King Robert's rule, paved the way for other cities like Temišvar in 1342 and Meze Šomlo, Hodaš, and Lugoš in the following years. The defeat of the Serbs by the Turks in 1371 and especially at Kosovo in 1389 forced them to rely more on the Hungarians in the fight against the Turks.

A pact in 1404 between Despot Stefan Lazarević and Hungarian King Zsigmond significantly altered the Serbs' position in Hungary. Bečej came under the rule of Serbian despots, and with Despot Đurađ Branković's death in 1456, it navigated through conflicts and shifts, including the influence of the Hunyadi family. Despite Turkish threats, Bečej maintained its strategic importance. The conflict for the Hungarian royal crown brought the Hunyadi family to power, leading to the confiscation of Despot Đurađ Branković's properties in Hungary, including Bečej.

Serbs settled by Đurađ Branković remained even after confiscation. Hunyadi, according to some sources, held Bečej in 1450, where a Hungarian state assembly was held under his leadership. The conflict between Despot Đurađ and Hunyadi persisted until August 7, 1451, and by the end of that year, Bečej was again in Đurađ Branković's possession. However, the looming threat from the Turks did not reconcile the conflicts between the despots and their relatives with Hunyadi's faction. Bečej found itself again under Đurađ Branković's rule, where he spent time hunting and engaging in political negotiations.

Shortly after, at the end of 1456, Despot Đurađ Branković passed away at the age of eighty-one. During Hunyadi's glorious days, Bečej thrived, and the rule of Serbian despots, as mentioned by Sentklarai, contributed to its prestige. Details on this can be found in confidential archival documents No. XXVII in Szeged, dating back to 1458 during the reign of King Matthias. King Matthias had to intervene personally, prohibiting fortress commanders and ferry supervisors in the service of the Serbian despot from imposing any burdens on the citizens of Szeged. For quite some time after, there is no information about Bečej. Turkish troops raided Banat, plundering and killing, but they did not attempt an attack on Bečej. Trained under the command of Tamiš Count Pavle Kiniži, troops successfully thwarted 10,000 Turkish horsemen near Bečej in 1482, who were heading from Smederevo towards Temišvar. The increasing Turkish incursions in Banat elevated the strategic importance of Bečej, but there is no record of an expansion or improvement of the fortress during that time. After the victory at Mohács in 1526, when the Turkish army flooded various regions, including Bačka, Bečej remained untouched, indicating its location on the other side of the Tisza in Banat.

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