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Kanjiža (Municipality, Serbia)

Кањижа, Kanisza

Last modified: 2013-11-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: kanjiza | kanisza | magyarkanisza | cross: saltire (blue) |
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[Flag of Kanjiza]

Flag of Kanjiža - Image by István Molnár, 24 September 2002

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Presentation of Kanjiža

Kanjiža (Hungarian, Kanizsa or Magyarkanizsa) is a town and district capital in Vojvodina, close to the Hungarian border. The town has got 11,551 inhabitants, 89% of them being Hungarians (1990 census).
The most important events in the history of Kanjiža are:

  • 1093: First mention of the settlement, although the area had been inhabited since the Bronze Age.
  • 1241-1242: Destruction by the Mongols.
  • 1335: Mentioned as Villa Kanisa.
  • 1526-1686: After the battle of Mohács, destruction by the Ottomans and Ottoman rule.
  • 1699: Reallocated to Hungary by the Treaty of Karlowitz. Resettled with Serbians border-guard soldiers.
  • 1751. Incorporated to Bàcs-Bodrog country.
  • 1848-1849: Conflicts between Hungarians and Serbians.
  • 1850-1861: After the defeat of the Hungarian Independence War (1848-1849), allocated to a new province (Governorate of Temes and Serbian Vojvodina).
  • 1908: Town.

In 1918, the town was under Serbian occupation. From 1920 (Treaty of Trianon) to 1941, it was incorporated to Yugoslavia as Stara Kanjiža. In 1941-1944, the area was occupied and annexed by Hungary. The Treaty of Paris reallocated it to Yugoslavia in 1947.

István Molnár, 11 December 2000

Official description of the flag and arms of Kanjiža

Article 9 of the Municipal Statutes:

The municipality shall have a coat of arms and flag as its own symbols.
The coat of arms of the municipality is: In a white field a border guard - peasant, holding in his right hand a sword, in his left hand a coulter; above the shield a silver crown.
The exact description of the coat of arms shall appear in a new Decree about the symbols.
The flag of the village shall be white with diagonal blue stripes. The ratio of the flag shall be 1:2. In the upper side, which is near the flagstaff, there shall be the coat of arms. Its size shall be 1/5 of the length of the flag.
The state and municipality symbols shall be displayed in the official rooms of the municipality only.
The change of the designs of the symbols of the municipality is subjected to the approvement of the Ministry of State Administration and Local Governments of the Republic of Serbia.

Source: Municipal website (pages no longer online)

István Molnár, 24 September 2002

Flag quarrel in Kanjiža

An article by M. Mitrović in Dnevnik, dated 2 March 2004, reports a flag quarrel in Kanjiža. I translate it with a few minor cuts.

In Kanjiža, according to the regulations of the local government, the Hungarian flag shall be hoisted.
The chairman of the Assembly of the Municipality of Kanjiža, Lajos Bala denied the accusations made by the Serb Radical Party that, on the day of the adoption of the flag of Vojvodina the local assembly has taken down the flags of Serbia and Serbia and Montenegro, while the flag of the Republic of Hungary was hoisted. Bala says that it is true that, already from some time, three flags were hoisted on the municipal hall: the flags of Serbia, the flag of the municipality and the flag of the Hungarian ethnic minority.

The municipality of Kanjiža adopted last year the regulations on the use of the coat of arms and the flag of the municipality, as well as their use together with the symbols of the state and the region of Vojvodina. The flag of the municipality is therefore dayly hoisted on the buildings of the public companies, insitutions and other legal bodies that are established by the municipality. On the days of state and religious holidays of Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia it is regulated that the municipal flag shall be hoisted together with the flag of Serbia and that of the Hungarian ethnic community.

On the buildings of the institutions that are established by the municipality,the regulations were followed for a short time. Lately was hoisted only the tricolour flag of Serbia, and on the building of the assembly of the municipality of Kanjiža were hoisted permanently the flag of the Republic of Serbia, the flag of the municipality, and a third flag claimed to be the flag of the Hungarian ethnic community.

The use of the national symbols is regulated by the Law on protection and liberties of the national minorities, adopted in the federal parliament in the end of 2002. Article 16 of the Law prescribes that the members of the ethnic minorities have the right to choose and use ethnic symbols and emblems, but that these should not be indentical to the symbols and emblems of an other state. The flag that is hoisted on the municipal hall of Kanjiža is identical with the flag of the Republic of Hungary.
It is prescribed that the ethnical symbols, emblems and holidays of the minorities should be proposed by the ethnical councils, and that they should be confirmed by the federal council for the minorities, which is not established yet. The symbols and emblems of the ethnical minorities could be officially hoisted during the public holidays and minority holidays on the buildings of local bodies where the language of the ethnical minority is in official use, always together with the symbols of the federal state and the Republic.
These regulations invalidate the claims by Mr. Bala that the Hungarian flags permanently used in Kanjiža are following the legislation.

Serbia and Montenegro (then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) retained the regulations regarding the ethnical minority flags that were valid during the Socialist Yugoslavia. I am not fully aware of the regulations in force during the Socialist period, but it is a known fact that the ethnical minorities were using their national flags defaced with the "Yugoslav star", thus making them different from the foreign flags, showing the loyality and yet showing the difference. This use was dropped by Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia (and maybe Bosnia and Herzegovina) after the independence, allowing the use of the national flags the minorities choose, even if they are the flag of a foreign (usually neighbouring) country.
However, with the dropping of the Yugoslav star, there is no common emblem that would replace it, and I am quite sure that the ethnic minorities used the "undefaced" flags whenever they had chance.
It may be supposed that the present regulations are more or less word for word repeating the regulations from the Socialist period, and if that is so, it would be intersting to find out if the "council of the minorities", whatever was the title of the body at the time, kept records of the approved designs.

Željko Heimer, 2 March 2004

Former flag of Kanjiža (Kanizsa, Magyarkanizsa)?

[Flag of Kanisza]

Former flag of Kanjiža - Image by Istvan Molnar, 24 September 2002

According to Széll (Városaink neve, címere és lobogója [szs41]), the former flag of Kanjiža is a blue saltire on a white field.
Széll's book shows the flags of several towns formerly held by Hungary. The book is our only source of these flags, but it is not clear as to what period these flags were used as claimed by the book. I doubt very much that they were used during the time of Austria-Hungary. It seems very much more like they were designed in 1941 - but it is not even clear weather the designs shown in Széll's book are just proposals or if they were ever prescribed in any formal way and after all whether they were used. At least for the moment, I believe that the former flag was in use at most in years 1941-1944.

Željko Heimer, 9 October 2005