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.

Explore the historical peasant uprising in Novi Bečej, uncovering social struggles and resistance against exploitation in the 18th and 19th centuries

Rebellion of Peasants in Novi Bečej

The position of peasants (serfs) in Novi Bečej was even more difficult than in Vranjevo, within the District. The cruel behavior and merciless exploitation by the Novi Bečej nobleman Hadžimihajlo-Sisani triggered the peasants to seek a solution to their troubles through rebellion.

In 1788, the nobleman confiscated the land from 155 peasants, replacing it with another on the desolate Berek. The majority of peasants (143) refused to accept and cultivate the land on Berek, forcing the nobleman to return their original land.

Peasant uprisings persisted despite further economic developments. One of the significant revolts occurred in Turski Bečej in the first half of the nineteenth century, where protests against the nobility spread to all social classes in the "marketplace."

In 1830, the Novi Bečej nobleman confiscated 3,340 hectares of arable land, which the municipality had leased at a favorable price since the time of the chamber administration (before the sale of the Bečej estate to the Hadžimihajlo family).

Citing the segregation law, the nobleman confiscated 660 hectares of communal pasture in 1836, offering marshy and submerged land in return. The peasants attempted to negotiate, offering a higher lease than before. During the auction, they bid the same lease as a foreigner participating, but the nobleman did not give the land to the Novi Bečej peasants but to the foreigner. To compensate for the lack of grazing for their livestock, the peasants even renounced the freedom to sell meat and serve drinks, just to regain the confiscated pasture. This offer was accepted by the craftsmen in Turski Bečej, even though giving up the right to sell meat and serve drinks affected them severely. The nobleman rejected this offer as well, leading the marketplace to seek help from the County. The response was that the nobleman could freely dispose of allodial land, and no one could force him to lease it. The peasants decided to appeal to higher authorities but lacked the funds for the appeal process (which required drafting a plan of the land), so once again, the craftsmen came to their aid, covering the expenses from their guild treasury. The third key, from the guild treasury, was held by the nobleman's steward who initially refused to provide the money. However, the craftsmen forcibly took the key and gave the money to the peasants.

The determination of the peasants to fight for their rights was supported by the village head (knez) Lajoš Pavel, a merchant, municipal clerk Mihajlo Krstić, pharmacist Mikša Bunjevac, and parah Jovan Cokrljan. All of this took place just before Easter, and the peasants, armed with pitchforks, shovels, and clubs, attended the vigil and resurrection, claiming that they were protecting Christ's tomb in this way.

As the craftsmen refused to return the money to the guild treasury upon the government's request, at the order of the county chief, the army arrested two guild treasurers on Easter in 1837. As soon as the people learned about these arrests, they stormed out of the church and "invaded" the house of the county chief, smashing everything inside. To pacify the peasants, the County was forced to declare a state of emergency and establish order with two companies of soldiers.

An investigation into this rebellion lasted for two full years, but without success. The suspects denied everything, aided by witnesses, and the authorities had no grounds for punishing the accused.

Related Articles