Banat, originally a territory of Hungary, Croatia, or Slavonia ruled by a ban, or governor. The term now refers only to the former Banat of Temesvar, a fertile, low-lying region in the Serbian province of Vojvodina and in western Romania. The Banat is part of the Pannonian Plain and is bounded by the Mureş, River on the north, the Transylvanian Alps on the east, the Danube River on the south, and the Tisza River on the west. It is an important agricultural area of which the chief crops are wheat, corn, and sugar beets.
A charter for the Banat of Temesvar was granted by the king of Hungary to Serbian refugees under János Hunyadi in 1441. The area was held by the Turks from 1552 to 1718. It then became an Austrian military zone settled by Serbs and Germans. It was held by Hungary (1779-1849), Austria (1849-60), and Hungary again (1860-1920). The Treaty of Trianon (1920) made the present division.