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    The first italian settlers - see their list - were colonized in Banat between 1733-'36 by Colonel Franz Leopold Anton PONZ, Freiherr von ENGELSHOFEN1 mainly in the "Karan pusta", at 20 km N of Timisoara [today Carani, in Timis County, Romania]. Starting 1734 this village will be named Mercydorf [Merczyfálva / Mercifálva / Merzsidorf] in the memory of the first governor of Banat, Claude Florimond, Count Mercy d'Argenteau2. Some of the italians -which constitute this first wave of italian colonization of Banat- were colonized also in the villages Freidorf, Ciacova, Timisoara [and even at Dibicz / Divici, as the Ferari family] and they were originally from the N of Italy [which was under Imperial rule at that time] and were colonized in Banat to introduce the silk industry and to the rice culture.

    According to Francesco Griselini's book3 [letter V], "…Mercy called in Banat experimented farmers and skilful craftsmen's, especially italians, which he supported with generosity. The farmers received farms near Mercydorf, Ghiroda and Giarmata, in Timisoara's region, at Deta, around Werschetz/Vrsac and Weißkirchen/Bela Crkva". At Ghiroda, in 1749, the first rice harvest will be obtained.

    These first settlers came at the beginning of 1733 and were lead by their spiritual leader Clemens Rossi from Mantua, who will be pointed as Banat's general inspector for the silk worm and rice industry [up to 1755] even if he was a priest [he served between 1749-1771 at the Cenad's Cathedral]. In the autumn of '33 another group, lead by Josef d'all Avo from Trento, arrived. In 1734 other groups will follow.

    Then there were the "pensioners" -the second wave- colonized by force between 1735-1739; these where spaniards and italians civilians or military [politic refugees] which where released from the Austrian army after the lost of the Italians possessions during the war to the succession of Poland. These remain loyal to Carol VI and the imperial recompensing was to colonize them, against their will, to Banat. If they refused to come in Banat, they were in danger to lose their pension or the monthly maintenance. For these "pensioners" a village named Carlsberg [at Becicherec] should be build but the first Ruse-Imperial-Turkish war [1735-1739] will stop [in March 1738] the urban equipment. Probably between 1000-2000 people from this category came in Banat but in 1741 only 155 families are still here. A lot of them died and a lot will return to their home or leave [starting May 1738] to Hungary [but not upper than Buda and Pesta without special permission!].

    It is not very known that at the middle of the XIX Century [probably even earlier because the plants were build already in XVIII Century], lot of italians came -the third wave- to work in the industrial area of the Banater Bergland area, in the plants for steel and rolled metal goods at Otelu Rosu/Ferdinandsberg/Nandorhegy/Ferdinand, in today Caras Severin County/Romania, at 20 km E of Caransebes, or in the steel factories in Resita and Anina.



[1] B 26.12.1692, Wien, Sankt-Stephan; D 2.02.1761, Wien.

[2] Claude Florimond [Claudius Florimund in Latin], Count Mercy d'Argenteau, B~1666, Martin-Fontaine, near Longwy / Loraine, France, D 29.06.1734, Crocetta, near Parma, Italy, killed in action, buried in Reggio Emilia cathedral, Field Marshal. From 1682 in Austrian service, distinguished himself in the War of the Spanish Succession, in the War of the Polish Succession and in the Turkish war. The first military and civil governor of Banat [between 1716-1733].

[3] The book's first edition was in italian language: "Saggio di Storia Civile e Naturale del Bannato di Temeswar", Milano, ed. 1770. Almost simultaneously will be published the german version of the book: "Versuch einer politischen und natürlichen Geschichte des temeswarer Banats in Briefen an Standespersonen und Gelehrte", Franz Griselini, vol. I-II, Vienna, ed. 1779, ed. 1780. Between these two versions are some differences in content; in the german version the description of the trip from Venetia to Banat and the description of Timisoara's town and fortress are missing.