Arad County (former)

Arad County was an administrative unit in the Kingdom of Hungary, the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom and the Principality of Transylvania. The county was established along the Maros (Mureș) river in the 11th or the 12th century, but its first head, or ispán, was only mentioned in 1214. Its territory is now part of Romania, except a small area (the town of Elek and the surrounding villages) which is part of Hungary. The capital of the county was Arad.

Arad County
Comitatus Aradiensis  (Latin)
Arad vármegye  (Hungarian)
Komitat Arad  (German)
Comitatul Arad  (Romanian)
County of the Kingdom of Hungary
County of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom
County of the Kingdom of Hungary
Elek (1920-1923)
 • Coordinates46°11′N 21°19′E / 46.183°N 21.317°E / 46.183; 21.317Coordinates: 46°11′N 21°19′E / 46.183°N 21.317°E / 46.183; 21.317
• 1910
6,048 km2 (2,335 sq mi)
• 1920
270 km2 (100 sq mi)
• 1910
• 1920
• Established
11th century
• Ottoman conquest
• County recreated
4 June 1920
• Merged into Csanád-Arad-Torontál County
Today part of Romania
(5,778 km2)
(270 km2)


The medieval Arad County was situated in the lands along both banks of the Maros (Mureș) River.[1][2] The existence of arable lands, pastures, vineyards and orchards in the western lowlands in the Middle Ages is well-documented.[1] The hilly eastern regions were sparsely populated.[1] The total territory of the medieval county was around 3,800 km2 (1,500 sq mi).[3]

Arad county shared borders with the Hungarian counties Csanád, Békés, Bihar, Torda-Aranyos, Hunyad, Krassó-Szörény, Temes and Torontál. The river Maros formed its southern border. The Fehér-Körös (Crişul Alb) river flowed through the county. Its area was 6,078 km2 (2,347 sq mi) around 1910.



The Hungarians dominated the region of the Maros in the middle of the 10th century, according to the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus.[4][5] Archaeological finds also shows that Hungarians settled in the plains along the river after their arrival in the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century.[6][7] Place names of Slavic origin (including Lipova (Lippa) and Zăbrani (Temeshidegkút)) evidence the presence of Slavic speaking communities, especially in the region where the river, coming from the mountains, reached the lowlands.[8]

A powerful chieftain, Ajtony, ruled the territory along the rivers Danube, Maros, and Tisza in the early 11th century.[9][10] The Maros formed the northern border of Ajtony's realm, according to the Gesta Hungarorum, but the longer version of the Legend of Saint Gerard wrote that he controlled the lands as far as the Körös River.[11] Ajtony was killed in a battle against the army of Stephen I of Hungary, which was under the command of one Csanád.[12] According to a scholarly theory, first proposed by historian György Györffy, Stephen I established Arad County after Ajtony's fall.[7] On the other hand, historian Gyula Kristó writes that Ajtony's whole realm was transformed into the large Csanád County during Stephen I's reign; Arad County only developed into a separate administrative unit in the second half of the 11th century or in the 12th century.[7][2]

Middle AgesEdit

Arad County in the 14th century

The remains of an 11th-century stronghold, made of earth and timber, were found at Arad.[13] At an assembly held in Arad in 1131, the wife of King Béla the Blind, Helena of Rascia, ordered the massacre of 68 Hungarian lords.[14] Arad Castle and the estates attached to it were first documented in a royal charter, issued in 1177.[2][7] The first known ispán, or head, of Arad County, Paul Csanád, was mentioned in a royal diploma, dated to 1214, but its authenticity is suspect.[2] The earliest authentic document that referred to an ispán of Arad was issued in 1240.[2] The western regions of the county were included in the Deanery of Arad of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Csanád; the Archdean of Arad was first mentioned in 1288.[15]

The earliest documents suggest that the kings owned most lands in the plains along the Maros.[16] However, the distribution of royal domains started at the end of the 11th century.[16] For instance, Ladislaus I of Hungary and his brother, Lampert, granted five villages to the Titel Chapter before 1095 and Béla the Blind established the Arad Chapter in the 1130s.[16] The Hodos clan was the only local noble kindred in the county; they were the patrons of the Hodoș-Bodrog Monastery.[16] Members of the Csanád, Csák and Dorozsma clans received estates in Arad County in the early 13th century.[16]

The effects of the Mongol invasion of Hungary cannot exactly be determined, but at least four monasteries disappeared.[16] Solymos Castle (in present-day Șoimoș in Lipova), the first fortress built by a nobleman in the county, was erected after the withdrawal of the Mongols.[16] Ecclesiastic institutions, prelates and lay lords – including the bishop of Csanád, the Arad Chapter and the Garais, Lackfis and Telegdis – held most former royal estates in the first half of the 14th century.[17] The existence of four elected "judges of the nobles" was first documented in 1311, proving that Arad County had transformed into a "noble county", an institution of the local noblemen's self-government.[3][15]

Lippa (present-day Lipova) became the most prosperous settlement in the early 14th century: the tax payable by the local priest to the Holy See between 1333 and 1335 (266 dinars) was almost ten times higher than the average tax collected in other parishes.[18] The Slavs of the district of Lipova were converted into Catholicism in the middle of the century, according to John of Küküllő's contemporaneous chronicle.[18] The earliest Romanian place name in the county – Caprewar (now Căprioara) – was recorded in a list of the estates of the Telegdis which was completed in 1337.[18]

Modern TimesEdit

In 1920 the Treaty of Trianon assigned most of the territory of Arad county to Romania, except a small area south of Békéscsaba, which became part of the newly formed Hungarian county of Csanád-Arad-Torontál in 1923. Since the end of World War II the Hungarian part of Arad county was merged to the recreated Csanád county, but in 1950 it was eventually split and its territory became part of Békés County.

Csanád, Arad and Torontál counties after the Treaty of Trianon. In 1923, the three counties were merged to form Csanád-Arad-Torontál County.

The rest of the county is now part of the Arad County in Romania. This county also contains parts of the former counties Temes and Krassó-Szörény.

List of ispánsEdit

Middle AgesEdit

Term Incumbent Monarch Notes Source
1214 Clement Andrew II son of Benedict from the kindred Csanád [19]
1238 Paul Béla IV [19]
1240 Saul Béla IV [19]
c. 1310 Alexander Charles I for voivode Ladislaus Kán; castellan of Solymos [20]
1311 Dominic Charles I for voivode Ladislaus Kán; castellan of Solymos [20]
1319–1321 Thomas Széchényi Charles I also master of the treasury for the Queen (1320–1321), voivode (1321–1342), castellan of Solymos [20]
1321–1372 Arad County was administered by voivodes of Transylvania, who appointed deputies. [20]
1351 Blaise Pósafi de Szer Louis I for duke Stephen, castellan of Hátszeg [20]
1391 George Báthory Sigismund from the Somlyó branch [21]
1393–1401 Arad County was administered by voivodes of Transylvania, who appointed deputies. [21]
1404–1426 Pipo of Ozora Sigismund also ispán of Temes County [21]
c. 1427 Emeric Pálóci Sigismund [21]
c. 1437 John Országh de Guth Sigismund also castellan of Világosvár; ispán of Zaránd and Csongrád Counties [21]
1441–1444 Ladislaus Maróti Vladislaus I
Ladislaus V
together with John Hunyadi (1443–1444); also ban of Macsó (1441–1443); ispán of Zaránd and Békés Counties [21][22]
1443–1456 John Hunyadi Vladislaus I
Ladislaus V
together with Ladislaus Maróti (1443–1444), with Nicholas Újlaki (1444–1446); also voivode (1443–1446); regent-governor of the Kingdom of Hungary (1446–1452) [21]
1444–1446 Nicholas Újlaki Ladislaus V together with John Hunyadi; also voivode; ban of Severin (1445–1446) [21]

Habsburg ruleEdit

Term Incumbent Monarch Notes Source
1526–1527 Gáspár Paksy Ferdinand I
John I
for John I, later Ferdinand I
1527–1614 Unknown office-holders [23]
1614 András Dóczy Matthias II also ispán of Szatmár County [23]
1614–1702 Unknown office-holders [23]
1702–1713 Ferenc Klobusiczky Leopold I
Joseph I

Charles III

also chief justice (1702–1707); later Kuruc senator and ispán for Francis II Rákóczi [23]
1713–1736 Pál Consbruch Charles III died in office [23]
1737–1743 Unknown office-holder(s) [23]
1743–1744 Zsigmond Andrássy Maria Theresa administrator [23]
1744–1751 Antal Grassalkovich Maria Theresa also chief justice (1744–1748) [23]
1751–1788 György Fekete Maria Theresa
Joseph II
also chief justice (1751–1762); vice-chancellor (1762–1773); master of the stewards (1766–1773); judge royal (1773–1783); director of the royal treasury (1782); died in office [23]
1788–1790 Vacant Joseph II [23]
1790–1821 Pál Almásy Leopold II
also master of the horse (1812–1821); poisoned [23]
1822–1830 József Wenckheim Francis died in office [23]
1830–1837 Lőrinc Orczy Francis
Ferdinand V
1837–1845 István Szerencsy Ferdinand V [23]
1845–1848 József Fascho de Lucsivna Ferdinand V [23]
1848–1849 János Bohus de Világos Ferdinand V first term [23]
1849 József Tomcsányi Francis Joseph I [23]
1849–1860 Military District of Großwardein
1860–1861 János Bohus de Világos Francis Joseph I second term
1861–1867 Vacant Francis Joseph I
1867–1869 Béla Szende Francis Joseph I
1869–1871 Vacant Francis Joseph I
1871–1878 Péter Atzél Francis Joseph I resigned
1879–1886 Károly Tabajdi Francis Joseph I died in office
1886– László Fábián Francis Joseph I
1899–1905 Iván Urbán Francis Joseph I first term; resigned
1906–1910 Gyula Károlyi Francis Joseph I later prime minister (1931–1932)
1910–1915 Iván Urbán Francis Joseph I second term; died in office
1915–1917 Ferenc Baross Francis Joseph I
Charles IV
died in office
1917 Béla Barabás Charles IV
1918– Lajos Varjassy



In 1900, the county had a population of 386,100 people and was composed of the following linguistic communities:[24]


According to the census of 1900, the county was composed of the following religious communities:[25]



Ethnic map of the county with data of the 1910 census (see the key in the description).

In 1910, the county had a population of 414,388 people and was composed of the following linguistic communities:[26]


According to the census of 1910, the county was composed of the following religious communities:[27]



In the early 20th century, the subdivisions of Arad county were:

Districts (járás)
District Capital
  Arad Arad
  Borosjenő Borosjenő, (Romanian: Ineu)
  Borossebes Borossebes, (Romanian: Sebiş)
  Elek Elek
  Kisjenő Kisjenő, (Romanian: Chişineu Criş)
  Magyarpécska Magyarpécska, (Romanian: Pecica)
  Máriaradna Máriaradna, (Romanian: Radna)
  Nagyhalmágy Nagyhalmágy, (Romanian: Hălmagiu)
  Tornova Tornova, (Romanian: Târnova)
  Világos Világos, (Romanian: Șiria)
Urban counties (törvényhatósági jogú város)

Elek is now in Hungary; the other towns mentioned are in Romania.

Clickable map of the Arad County, 1782–85Edit

Clickable map of the Grand Duchy of TransylvaniaKingdom of Hungary counties(clickable map)RomâniaClickable map of the Banat CountyPage 21-27: OrosházaPage 21-29: PalotaPage 21-30: Nădlac, PalotaPage 21-31: ŞeitinPage 22-28: EmptyPage 22-29: EmptyPage 22-30: Battonya, PecicaPage 22-31: PecicaPage 22-32: SemlacPage 23-27: Gyula, 	Pilu, VărşandPage 23-28: Aletea, Grăniceri, Kétegyháza, ŞiclăuPage 23-29: MaceaPage 23-30: CurticiPage 23-31: AradPage 23-32: BodorokPage 24-27: Avram Iancu, Mişca, ZerindPage 24-28: Chişineu-Criş, Olari, Sintea Mare, SocodorPage 24-29: Olari, Sântana, Şimand, ZărandPage 24-30: Sântana, ŞiriaPage 24-31: Covăsânţ, Ghioroc, Păuliş, VladimirescuPage 24-32: Păuliş, VladimirescuPage 25-25: BatărPage 25-26: Apateu, Mişca, ŞepreuşPage 25-27: Cermei, ŞiculaPage 25-28: Ineu, Pâncota, Seleuş, Şicula, Târnova, ZărandPage 25-29: Almaş, Pâncota, Şiria, TârnovaPage 25-30: PăulişPage 25-31: Conop, LipovaPage 26-25: Căpâlna, Cociuba Mare, Olcea, Pocola, Şoimi, TincaPage 26-26: Craiva, Hăşmaş, Lunca, Olcea, ŞoimiPage 26-27: Archiş, Cărand, Beliu, Hăşmaş, TârnovaPage 26-28: Bârsa, Bocsig, Seleuş, ŞilindiaPage 26-29: Chisindia, Şilindia, Târnova, TauţPage 26-30: BârzavaPage 26-31: Conop, BârzavaPage 27-25: Archiş, Dezna, Igneşti, Moneasa, SebişPage 27-26: Bârzava, Buteni, Craiva, Dezna, Dieci, Igneşti,Moneasa,  SebişPage 27-27: Almaş, Bârsa, Bârzava, Brazii, Chisindia, Dieci, Gurahonţ, SârbiPage 27-28: Bârzava, Vărădia de MureşPage 27-29: Bârzava, Lupeşti, Săvârşin, Vărădia de MureşPage 27-30: Vărădia de MureşPage 28-25: Cărpinet, Câmpani, Criştioru de Jos, Lunca, Ştei, VaşcăuPage 28-26: Cărpinet, Dezna, Dieci, Gurahonţ,Page 28-27: Brazii, GurahonţPage 28-28: Petriş, SăvârşinPage 28-29: Petriş, SăvârşinPage 28-30: SăvârşinRO/HU/DE/LegendClickable map of the Bihor ContyOriginal map of the Kingdom of Hungary 
Josephinische Landesaufnahme. Senzitive map of the Arad county, 1782-1785. (Click on the desired quadrant)


  1. ^ a b c Györffy 1987, p. 163.
  2. ^ a b c d e Kristó 1988, p. 462.
  3. ^ a b Györffy 1987, p. 167.
  4. ^ Bóna 1994, pp. 115-116.
  5. ^ Benkő 1994, pp. 53-54.
  6. ^ Bóna 1994, p. 116.
  7. ^ a b c d Benkő 1994, p. 54.
  8. ^ Györffy 1987, pp. 163-164.
  9. ^ Curta 2006, p. 248.
  10. ^ Györffy 1987, p. 164.
  11. ^ Kristó 1988, p. 459.
  12. ^ Curta 2006, p. 250.
  13. ^ Curta 2006, p. 251.
  14. ^ Bóna 1994, p. 143.
  15. ^ a b Kristó 1988, p. 463.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Györffy 1987, p. 166.
  17. ^ Györffy 1987, pp. 166-167.
  18. ^ a b c Györffy 1987, p. 169.
  19. ^ a b c Zsoldos 2011, p. 125.
  20. ^ a b c d e Engel 1996, p. 97.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h Engel 1996, p. 98.
  22. ^ Engel 1996, p. 30.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Fallenbüchl 1994, p. 60.
  24. ^ "KlimoTheca :: Könyvtár". Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  25. ^ "KlimoTheca :: Könyvtár". Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  26. ^ "KlimoTheca :: Könyvtár". Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  27. ^ "KlimoTheca :: Könyvtár". Retrieved 19 June 2012.


  • Benkő, Elek (1994). "Arad 2.". In Kristó, Gyula; Engel, Pál; Makk, Ferenc (eds.). Korai magyar történeti lexikon (9–14. század) [Encyclopedia of the Early Hungarian History (9th–14th centuries)] (in Hungarian). Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 53–54. ISBN 963-05-6722-9.
  • Bóna, István (1994). "The Hungarian–Slav Period (895–1172)". In Köpeczi, Béla; Barta, Gábor; Bóna, István; Makkai, László; Szász, Zoltán; Borus, Judit (eds.). History of Transylvania. Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. 109–177. ISBN 963-05-6703-2.
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  • Fallenbüchl, Zoltán (1994). Magyarország főispánjai, 1526–1848 [Lord-Lieutenants of Counties in Hungary, 1526–1848] (in Hungarian). Argumentum Kiadó. ISBN 963-7719-81-4.
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  • Kristó, Gyula (1988). A vármegyék kialakulása Magyarországon [The Development of the Counties in Hungary] (in Hungarian). Magvető Kiadó. ISBN 963-14-1189-3.
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