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Military Frontier

MILITARY FRONTIER (Ger. Militiirgrenze, Slav. Granitza), a narrow strip of Austrian-Hungarian territory stretching along the borders of Turkey, which had for centuries a peculiar military organization, and from 1849 to 1873 constituted a crown-land. As a separate division of the monarchy it owed its existence to the necessity of maintaining during the 16th and 17th centuries a strong line of defence against the invasions of the Turks, and may be said to have had its origin with the establishment of the captaincy of Zengg (a coast town about 35 m. south-east of Fiume) by Matthias Corvinus and the introduction of Uskoks (q.v.) into Croatia. By the close of the 17th century there were three frontier " generalates " Carlstadt, Warasdin and Petrinia or Petrinja (the last also called the Banal). After the defeat of the Turkish power by Prince Eugene it was proposed to abolish the military constitution of the frontier, but the change was successfully resisted by the inhabitants of the district; in fact a new Slavonian frontier district was established in 1702, and Maria Theresa extended the organization to the march-lands of Transylvania (the Szekler frontier in 1764, the Wallachian in 1766). 1 As a reward for the service it rendered the government in the suppression of the Hungarian insurrection in 1848, the Military Frontier was erected in 1849 into a crown-land, with a total area of 15,182 sq. m. and a population of 1,220,503. In 1851 the Transylvanian portion (1177 sq. m.) was incorporated with the rest of Transylvania; and in 1871 effect was given to the imperial decree of 1869 by which the districts of the Warasdin regiments (St George and the Cross) and the towns of Zengg, Belovar, IvaniC, etc., were " provincialized " or incorporated with the Croatian-Slavonian crown-land. In 1872 the Banat regiments followed suit; and in 1873 the old military organization was abolished in the rest of the frontier. Not till 1881, however, were the Croatian-Slavonian march-lands completely merged in the kingdoms to which they naturally belonged.

The social aspect of the military frontier regime is interesting. The zadruga system of land tenure was artificially kept in existence (see SEE VIA). Watch-towers with wooden clappers and the beacons which flashed the alarm along the whole frontier in a few hours are still features in the landscape.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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