Uprising in Banat

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Map of Serb anti-Ottoman uprising in Banat in 1594.

The Serb uprising in Banat in 1594 was one of the three largest uprisings in Serbian history against the Ottoman Empire, and the largest before the establishment of the autonomous Serbian state in the so-called First Serbian Uprising (1804-1813), led by Karađorđe Petrović.

In the Banat region, which then formed part of the Ottoman Eyalet of Temeşvar, in the area around Vršac, a large uprising began against the Ottoman Empire. The leader of this uprising was Teodor Nestorović, the Bishop of Vršac. Other leaders were Sava Ban and voivode Velja Mironić.

For a short time, the Serb rebels captured several cities in Banat, including Vršac, Bečkerek, and Lipova, as well as Titel and Bečej in Bačka. The size of this uprising is illustrated by the verse from one Serbian national song: "Sva se butum zemlja pobunila, Šest stotina podiglo se sela, Svak na cara pušku podigao!" ("The whole land has rebelled, six hundred villages arose, everybody pointed his gun against the emperor").

The rebellion had the character of a holy war, the Serb rebels carrying flags with the image of Saint Sava. Sinan Pasha, who led the Ottoman army, ordered the green flag containing Islamic calligraphy brought from Damascus to counter the Serbian flag, and burned the mortal remains of Saint Sava in Belgrade.

Eventually, the uprising was crushed, and most of the Serbs from this region, fearing Ottoman retaliation, fled to Transylvania, leaving the Banat region deserted. The Ottoman authorities, who needed population in this fertile land, promised clemency to all who returned. The Serb population did come back, but the authorities' mercy did not apply to the leader of the rebellion, Bishop Teodor Nestorović, who was flayed as a punishment.

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