Military Border, former security zone against the Ottoman Empire, first established around 1522. On June 5, 1535 Ferdinand I permitted 3,000 Serbian refugees to settle in the border area and invested them with a piece of land as hereditary feudal tenure in return for permanent military service. Later refugees from territories occupied by the Turks (mainly Greek Orthodox) were settled there. Until the end of the 17th century the military border ran from the Adriatic Sea to the River Drau/Drava and was further extended after the end of the Turkish wars (1683-1699, 1716-1717, 1737-1739). At that time the 1,750-km-long border line consisted of the Croatian (from 1578), the Slavonian (from 1702), the Banat or Hungarian (from 1742) and the Transylvanian military border (from 1764). The entire male population (Croatians, Serbians, Romanians) from the age of 20 had to enroll for military service in the border regiments, their land remained military feudal tenure, but was largely exempt from tax; the municipalities were autonomous. In 1807 the border was divided into 4 generalcies, in 1850 the farms were transferred into private property. In times of peace the guarding of the cordon (against the introduction of diseases and smuggling) was its main task.
The border soldiers were among the best soldiers of the Monarchy; during the 1848/49 revolution they were on the imperial government´s side, a third of the troops was killed in the Hungarian battles. From 1849 to 1866 the military border was a separate crownland (area 200,000 km2, pop. 1,010,000, 12 towns, 9 market towns, 1,760 villages), under the command of the Ministry of War, the border soldiers forming 5 line regiments.
At the same time the dissolution of the military border began: in 1851 the Transylvanian military border, in 1873, after the Hungarian Compromise, the Banat, in 1878 the Croatian, and by 1881 the Slavonian military border had all been abolished, the territories being incorporated into Hungary.
Literature: H. Kerchnawe, Die alte k. k. Militärgrenze, 1939; G. E. Rothenberg, Die österreichische Militärgrenze in Kroatien 1522-1881, 1970 (English: The Austrian military Border in Croatia, 1522-1747. 1960 and The military Border in Croatia. 1740-1881. A study of an imperial institution. 1966; J. Amstadt, Die k. k. Militärgrenze, 2 vols., doctoral thesis, Würzburg 1969; N. v. Preradović, Des Kaisers Grenzer, 300 Jahre Türkenabwehr, 1970; Die k. k. Militärgrenze, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums 6, 1973; W. Wagner, Die Militärgrenze, in: Die Habsburgermonarchie 1848-1918, vol. 5 (Die bewaffnete Macht), 1987.