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The archaeological discoveries prove the continuity of life in the lands of today’s Arad County, starting from the Paleolithic (Iosasel, Macea, Sanpetru German etc.), while traces of settlements dating back to the Bronze and Iron Ages were identified at Pecica, Simand, Socodor, Siclau, Varsand etc.

Photos taken by: (c) Ioan WEISL / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Also important are the material proofs of the existence of settlements belonging to the free Dacians that were discovered near Arad (the 4th century B.C.), in the areas of Pecica, Santana, the great treasure from Silindia (the 3rd century B.C.).

In the 9th-10th centuries, the southern part of the current county was part of the Romanian state formation led by voivode Glad, while the northern area was part of Menumorut voivodate. Under the leadership of these voivodes, the domestic population put fierce opposition to the domination tendencies of the Hungarian feudal state, which also explains the fact a range of smaller cnezate — or principalities — and voivodates in the area of Arad (Cladova, Covasint, Nadab etc.) managed to defend their existence.

Their successor was Ahtum, his voivodate being recorded in the early 9th century by several sources, among which Gesta Hungarorum, the Legend of Saint Gerard and the Chronicle of Mahmud Terdzuman.

The discoveries at Sanpetru German (the 11th-13th centuries), Frumuseni (the 12th century), Pecica (the 12th-13th centuries) and others serve proof of a numerous domestic population in the early Middle Ages.

Amid the domination of the Hungarian feudal kingdom and its concern to strengthen by acts the possessions of the nobles on the land seized from the Romanian population a range of communities are mentioned, among which Arad. Among the first documents there is one from 1131, which speaks of an offering made by the king to St. Martin church in Arad. For the same year, Arad is noted in the Painted Chronicle of Vienna. In a document from 1177, Novak castrum near Arad is recorded, while a document from 1216 speaks of a complaint of the serfs in Arad castrum over their lands being occupied; documents from 1217, 1235, 1238, 1239, 1241 present Arad castrum as a very well fortified and well guarded point.

Also in order to strengthen the domination, the Hungarian feudal kingdom introduces the county as a feudal institution set up around old Romanian fortresses such as Arad county and Zarand county that generally included the territory of today’s Arad county. The two counties emerge as late as in the 13th century.

In the 5th decade of the 15th century, amid the intensified Ottoman pressure, Transylvania then led by Iancu de Hunedoara (1441-1456) played an important role in organising the fight of the Romanian principalities against the Turks. During Iancu de Hunedoara’s reign, a broad anti-Ottoman front was achieved, victories over the Ottoman Porte were gained, thus delaying the Ottoman expansion towards central Europe.

As the peasants’ social situation becomes harsher, many revolts take place, among which the Peasants’ Uprise from 1514 led by Doja and the revolt from 1526 led by Serbian chieftain Ivan the Black that encompassed northern Banat and the area of Arad county.

In 1552, Arad and the surrounding regions were occupied by the Ottoman Turks and included in Timisoara Pashalik, staying under Turkish administration till 1687, when Transylvania (therefore this part too) was occupied by the Austrian troops.

The Ottoman domination will be temporarily ended during the reign of Michael the Brave (1558-1601). In 1595, as the Ottoman troops suffer defeats peaking at Calugareni, the fortresses of Lipova, Ineu, Arad and Dezna are freed from the Turks and in 1599, with the victory at Selimbar, Arad enters under Michael the Brave’s rule.

After Michael the Brave’s death, following fresh battles between Transylvanians, imperials and Turks and as a result of the latter’s win, Arad area is again under Ottoman domination. Such domination will be gradually replaced, as the Habsburgs start entering Transylvania. Thus, the fortress of Arad is conquered in 1687, Soimos and Lipova in 1688, Ineu, Siria and Dezna in 1691; the Peace of Karlowitz in 1699 authorises such changes, once the Habsburg rule is recognised in Transylvania. However, Banat, Lipova included will remain under Ottoman domination for some time, till the Peace of Passarovitz (1718), when it will also go under Habsburg rule.

The main branch of the economy all through the Middle Ages remained agriculture, while the diversification of crafts led to an increase in the number of craftsmen. The guilds emerge in the 18th century, with the tailors setting up the first guild in Arad in 1718, to be followed by the millers in 1770. Shipping salt on the Mures river had special importance in the county of Arad.

A silk manufacture is set up at Santana in 1789; there were in Arad a bell foundry, tanneries and matches manufacture.

The most important uprise against the feudal oppression is the uprise from 1784 led by Horea, Closca and Crisan that spread through Zarand county from its very outbreak, with several settlements being occupied.

The Arad Romanians took part in all the important assemblies that outlined the programme of the Romanian Revolution of 1848 in Transylvania. Such was the Arad Romanians Conference from April 12/24, 1848, the first such assembly of the Transylvanian Romanians.

Arad locals attended in high numbers the assembly in Alba Iulia, where more than 100,000 participants voiced for Transylvania’s unification with Romania on December 1, 1918.

Arad developed at a fast pace in the inter-war years, so that in 1937 it was assessed as the most powerful economic centre in Transylvania and the fourth-most powerful in Romania.

In early September 1940, major protests took place all over Arad county against the Vienna Award from August 30, 1940. On September 22, 1944, the German and Hungarian troops were forced out by the Romanian Army in cooperation with Soviet troops, marking the day of the liberation of Arad.

After the Peace of Trianon (July 4, 1920), following the switch of the largest part of Elek (Aletea) area to the Hungarian state, the area of Arad county dwindled from 6,443.39 square kilometers as it had at the 1910 census to 6,005 sq km.

The High Royal decree no. 4.063 from December 7, 1929 modified the administrative division of Arad county. A new modification of the administrative structure of Arad county took place in 1936, when its 227 rural towns were included in 10 administrative units. The number of the communities was also modified to 234.

After World War Two, Arad county is integrated into Banat region, being divided into several districts. In 1968, when the administrative organisation of Romania took place, the current Arad county is re-established.AGERPRES

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