HISTORICAL AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND
The region of Délvidék is situated in the Carpathian (Middle Danubian) Basin, next to the Northwestern Balkans, and had been a part of Hungary for over 1000 years when it was occupied and annexed by Serbia and Rumania, after the end of the First World War (1918).
The first agricultural (Neolithic - 5000 BC) settlers of this region were the Sumerian-related Turanids from the Near-East (Anatolia, Caucasia, Mesopotamia). The ancient peoples of the Balkans and of the Danubian Basin therefore originated from these first settlers. The Illyrians of the Western Balkans were among these ancient peoples, and the Pannonians of the Western Carpathian Basin were also Illyrians.
Rome conquered Illyria in 168 BC and Pannonia in 10 BC. Roman sources indicate that the language of the Pannonians was related to Hungarian. By the 5th century AD this region was under the rule of the Hun Empire, and by the end of the 6th century, under the rule of the Avar Empire. It was under Avar rule that some Slavic tribes were settled in the Balkans.
The Magyars took over the Carpathian-Danubian region at the end of the 9th c. AD, and established the Hungarian state as the successor to the empires of their Hun-Avar ethno-linguistic relatives. The Medieval Kingdom of Hungary became the major power in the region until the Ottoman invasions of the 15th-16th c. Most of Southern Hungary fell under Ottoman rule, and the Hungarian population of this region was decimated. After the Ottomans were expelled at the end of the 17th c., the Austrian Habsburgs took over Hungary and proceeded to settle large numbers of Slavs and Vlachs ("Rumanians") from the Balkans, along with Swabians (South Germans), into Southern Hungary (Délvidék).
The main objectives of this Habsburg "ethnic re-settlement" policy were the colonial exploitation of Hungary, and the subjugation of the Hungarians by reducing them to a minority in their own land and using the newly settled foreign ethnic groups against the Hungarians, in an application of the divide and rule principle.
This was clearly illustrated during the 1848-49 Hungarian National Uprising and War of Independence. The South Slavs (Croats and Serbs) and the Vlachs ("Rumanians") turned against the Hungarians and sided with the Habsburgs. During the hostilities, Serb and Vlach armed groups committed numerous atrocities against the Hungarian population, slaughtering entire Hungarian villages and towns. The Hungarian national forces were able to defeat the Habsburgs and their allies, but were forced to lay down their arms when the Russians intervened on the side of the Habsburgs.
These events were at the root of the deep ethnic antagonisms which still permeate the region. Russian expansionism saw a great opportunity in this and exploited it by supporting Serbian and Rumanian territorial claims against Hungary. When the First World War broke out as a result of a Russian-Serbian assassination plot, plans had already been made for the territorial partition of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Thus, following the Serbian and Rumanian invasions after the end of WWI, most of Southern Hungary was annexed to the newly created "Yugoslav" state, and the Eastern Délvidék (Temes and Krassó-Szörény counties) was annexed by Rumania. During WWII, Hungary was able to temporarily liberate some parts of the Délvidék from Yugoslav occupation, but by the end of the war, the Serbs invaded again and slaughtered over 40 000 local Hungarian civilians, in one of the worst genocidal crimes against humanity.
During the Yugoslav wars of the 1990's, large numbers of Serbs from Croatia, Bosnia, and Kossova were re-settled in the Hungarian-inhabited regions of Délvidék ("Vojvodina"), and this occurred with the forced expulsion of Hungarians and the expropriation of their property by the Serbs. Today, the Hungarian Délvidék is still under the occupation of the ex-Yugoslav states and Rumania, and the anti-Hungarian policies of ethnic cleansing and forced assimilation are still in force, as anti-Hungarian incidents occur almost on a daily basis.