Period 1718-1848


As a crown province, Banat belonged directly to the Vienna court. The first governor, appointed by the Emperor, was Count Klaria Mersi Florimunda. By the imperial edict on September 12th 1718, Banat was divided into 13 districts, with the main administration in Temišvar at its head. The District of Banat included a few settlements: Idjoš, Arač, Bečej, Itebej, Elemir, Ečka and Aradac. The first chief of this district was Titus Vespanius Slucki. After the Turkish forces and Turks families had withdrawn, the land was left devastated without labour, which could till the soil and paid taxes. That’s why the Austrian court tried to settle Banat as soon as possible. 
The colonization lasted from 1718 till 1724, when the town was settled mostly by Germans, but the Serbs never stopped arriving. The military frontier in Potisje was displaced. In the following years Italians, Frenchmen, Romanians arrived and then the Spanish from Barcelona and Biskia, who settled in the present “Dolja”. The town was called “New Barcelona”. But the life was difficult in this marsh area with many contagious diseases, so many of them died and still many left. The permanent dangers for the newcomers were the Turkish gangs, who drove very often into the town plundering and killing people. 
In the summer of 1738 there was the great plague. The Count Mersy wanted to turn marshes into fertile soil and he began to regulate the Begej River. In the middle and down course of the river a long canal was built, to make the river traffic possible between Bečkerek and Temišvar. On the first of November 1745 Sebastian Krazeisen began to make beer in the first brewery and that meant the first start of the industrialization. In the same year the first Serb’s school was mentioned. 
On the 6th of June 1769 Maria Theresia granted the Community of Great Bečkerek, the privilege of becoming the trading centre. By this privilege the whole social-economic life of the former Bečkerek was regulated and it got the status of the town. In the year 1969 the first hospital was built. In 1779, by the new organization of Torontal tribal state, Bečkerek became its centre. 
In the 18th century it developed into thriving economic and cultural centre, but the great fire destroyed a large portion of the town in 1807. The town was soon rebuilt. The fire came from the brewery, on 30th August 1807. After the fire a new regulation of streets had been done, houses had been built from stronger materials, roads had been rebuilt. The river traffic was especially intensive. The theatre building with an attractively decorated hall was built in 1839. In 1846 the Grammar School was opened and  in 1847 the first printing shop.