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State of Crisana

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Free Republican State of Crisana

Rou: Statul Liber şi Republican a Crişanei Hun: Szabad és Republikánus Körösvidék Állam
Flag of Crisana
Location of Crisana
Capital Oradea
Common languages Romanian
Greek Catholic Church
Romanian Orthodox Church
Demonym(s) Crisan
Government Democratic Presidential Republic
• 1918-1924
Vasile Goldis
Prime Minister  
• 1918-1920
Aurel Lazăr
Legislature Parliament
Chamber of Deputies
27 October 1918
25 December 1918
• National Unity Act
1 January 1938
1920 37,609.81 km2 (14,521.23 sq mi)
• 1920
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Republic of Transylvania

Crisana was a short-lived republic in Central Europe that emerged as a result of the fragmentation of Austria-Hungary in October 1918. Crisana was the first of the Austro-Hungarian successors by declaring its independence in the Oradea Revolution of 1918. On the 26th of October Vasile Goldiş assembled the National Party at Oradea fallowing the great defeats of Austro-Hungary on the Italian Front. This assembly is known as the Oradea Assembly and a total of 78 party members attended to it. They all voted for the independence of Transylvania from Austria-Hungary, vote that was neither recognized by the National Romanian Party of Alexander Vaida-Voievod or by the Banat Assembly that took place 1 month later. On the 27th of October the party members most of the Romanian people living around Oradea and Arad (the city of Goldiş) and began marching on the streets of the two cities. By the end of the day aprox. 250 people were killed in Arad and 11 in Oradea and Vasile Goldiş was named President of the Free State of Transylvania and Aurel Lazăr was named mayor of Oradea. By December it was clear that the rest of Transylvania was not willing to fallow Goldis so he named the new state as "Crisana" in the Christmas Constitution. In 1919 the Militia Forces of Oradea occupied the rest of Crisana, Zarand, and some land up to the river Tisza. This expansion was not recognized at first during the Paris Peace Conference but in the Treaty of Budapest of 1923 Crisana recieved international recognition. Crisana saw no special events until 1937 and when Crisana accepted the proposal of union with Transylvania that happened officially on the 1st of January 1938.






Ethnic map of Crisana according to the 1920 census.

According to the 1920 census 3,127,344 people lived in Crisana. The population in the region decreasing due to The Great War, famine and emigration. According to the census 1,501,125 identified as Hungarians, 48% of the total population; 1,125,843 identified as Romanians, 36% of the total population; 375,281 Identified as German (Swabian, Saxons, Austrians and Other), 12% of the total population; 84,438 identified as Jews, 2.7% of the total population and around 30,000 identified as Ruthenians or Ukrainian, 1% of the total population. Out of these 81.5% identified as Catholic (out of this 53% as Romano-Catholic and 28.5 as Greek Catholic) 8.6% identified as Orthodox, 8.1% identified as Protestant and 2.75% as Jewish. According to the 1937 Census around 4,356,101 people lived in Crisana. 56% of these were Romanian, 32% were Hungarian, 10% were German and 1.2% were Slovaks and 0.3% were Ukrainian.


In 1920 the government of Vasile Goldis executed 150 Hungarians due to "treason", most of them were members of the Brotherhood of Körösvidék, a Hungarian separatist movement, but some were just civilians or families of brotherhood members. In the summer 1920 Vasile Goldis held a nationwide program for ubranization, making many rural Romanian families move to the cities, this sparked ethnic tensions between the Hungarian middle class and the Romanian peasants that settled in, leading to the Bloody August of 1920, a violent series of fights between Hungarians and Romanians on the streets of Oradea, Debrecen, Gyula, Arad and Szatmar. Fallowing these events the international press accused Vasile Goldis of ethnic cleansing tho both Romanian and Hungarian communities were affected. On the 21st of September members of the League of Nations discussed the possibility of splitting Crisana between either Ardeal and Hungary of Transylvania and Hungary, but such an action never occured. The Hungarian nobility emigrated to Hungary between 1920 to 1921 and lots of Hungarian citizens of Crisana, an estimated total of 2,000 to 20,000 people left the country that year. Fallowing those events the prime minister Aurel Lazar resigned and legislative Elections were held and the german Karl Kurt Klein became prime minister of Crisana. Ethnic rivalries almost ended completely in 1924 fallowing the election of Vasile Lucaciu as president, but due to emigration of Germans and Hungarians to their homeland, and of Romanians to Crisana because of its industrial development and booming economy and also other reasons, the Romanian population in 1937 represented 56% of the people in Crisana while the Hungarians only 32%. The antisemite views of most Crisan politicians had led to mass deportations of Jews between 1925 and 1930.

Administrative Division

Counties in Crisana according to the 1920 Constitution
Counties in Crisana according to the 1920 Constitution

Crisana's administration was relatively centralized and administrative subdivisions are therefore somewhat simplified. Crisana was organized administratively into communes, town, urban areas and counties. Crisana had 22 counties and 2 urban areas (Oradea and Debrecen). The counties were created using the Romanian model, every county had a prefect (from the Latin praefectus), a subordinate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who is the representative of the government in the county, and the head of the local administration in the areas not delegated to local authorities. There are more counties near the Tisza and more near the Carpathian Mountains due to the population density.