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The border triplex of Hungary, Romania and Serbia – a one-meter-wide stripe of the Yugoslav state and its representation in the border maps

Authors:
  • Lechner Non-profit Ltd, Hungary, Budapest

Abstract and Figures

The triple boundary point of Hungary, Romania, and Serbia was initially placed in the terrain by the Treaties of Trianon and Sèvres, giving the borderline between Hungary, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (SHS State; later called Yugoslavia) and Romania. As the Yugoslavs and Romanian agreed to make some minor modifications on their common frontier, according to the Belgrade Protocol of 24 Nov, 1923, it meant a move of the triple boundary point to some 13 kilometres to SW, as Romania gained two villages at the Hungarian border from Serbia. Romania and the SHS State, to avoid involving Hungary in this agreement, agreed to sign an interesting treaty, lending a one-meter wide stripe of territory to SHS State between the old and new triplexes. The lending agreement was signed for 99 years. This way, in this 13 kilometre-long section, Hungary was legally bordered to Yugoslavia. The cc. 1:5000 scale maps of the Yugoslav-Hungarian borders, the Yugoslav section lasts till Kiszombor as the eastern extreme; however, the real triplex is 13 km SW from this, near Kübekháza. Accordingly, ‘Section A’, the first section of the Romanian-Hungarian border, also drawn in 1:5000 scale maps, starts from Kiszombor. The legal situation was maintained till afterward WWII when the legal situation was resolved Hungary approved the position of the real triplex. With Romania, a new ‘section N’ was set up and mapped in 1950. The triplex confinum was set up near Kübekháza, where it is nowadays. However, when a new agreement was signed by Hungary, Romania, and the successor of former Yugoslavia in Novi Sad 19 Apr 2006, it occurred that the lending agreement is (supposedly) still valid, so it was closed by Serbia and Romania, and this was the real legal end of this unique story.
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International Cartographi c Association, Commission on Cartographic Heritage into the Digital
15
th
!CA Conference Digital Approaches
to
Cartographic Heritage
Map & Geo information Curators Group -MAGIC
22nd MAGIC Conference on Cha llenges
in
Modem Map Librarianship
Gabor Timar1, Norbert Varga2
Online Conference, 6-7 May 2021
Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2459-3893
Editors: A Tsorlini, C. Boutoura
AUTH CartoGeoLab, 2021
The border triplex
of
Hungary, Romania, and Serbia -a one-metre-wide stripe
of
the Yugoslav state and its representation in the border maps
Keywords: border maps, Treaty
of
Trianon, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia
Summary
The triple boundary point
of
Hungary, Romania, and Serbia was initially placed in the terrain by the Treaties
of
Trianon and Sevres, giving the borderline between Hungary, the Kingdom
of
Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
(SHS State; later called Yugoslavia) and Romania. As the Yugoslavs and Romanian agreed to make some
minor modifications on their common frontier, according to the Belgrade Protocol
of
24 Nov, 1923, it meant
a move
of
the triple boundary point to some
13
kilometres to SW,
as
Romania gained two villages at the
Hungarian border from Serbia.
Romania and the SHS State, to avoid involving Hungary in this agreement, agreed to sign an interesting treaty,
lending a one-meter-wide stripe
of
territory to SHS State between the old and new triplexes. The lending
agreement was signed for 99 years. This way, in this 13-kilometre-long section, Hungary was legally bordered
to
Yugoslavia. The
cc.
1 :5000 scale maps
of
the Yugoslav-Hungarian borders, the Yugoslav section lasts till
Kiszombor
as
the eastern extreme; however, the real triplex
is
13
km SW from this, near Ktibekhaza. Accord-
ingly, 'Section A', the first section
of
the Romanian-Hungarian border, also drawn in 1 :5000 scale maps, starts
from Kiszombor.
The legal situation was maintained till afterward WWII when the legal situation was resolved Hungary ap-
proved the position
of
the real triplex. With Romania, a new
'se
ction
N'
was set up and mapped in 1950. The
triplex confinum was set up near Ktibekhaza, where it
is
nowadays. However, when a new agreement was
signed by Hungary, Romania, and the successor
of
former Yugoslavia in Novi Sad
19
Apr 2006, it occurred
that the lending agreement
is
(supposedly) still valid,
so
it was closed by Serbia and Romania, and this was the
real legal end
of
this unique story.
Introduction
The borders
of
Hungary with Serbia and Romania were established
by
the Treaty
of
Trianon which was
signed
on
4 June 1920 and entered into force in July 1921. The treaty described the border only in broad
outlines,
on
a
1:
1000000 scale map appendix. In practice, this delineation left some 1-3 kilometres
of
"play" in the actual delimitation
of
the border
by
boundary marks. This
work
was carried out
by
the
boundary demarcation commissions, specified in the text
of
the peace treaty between
1921and1925.
The
result
of
their work was
not
only the demarcation
of
the boundary itself
but
also its detailed documentation
in the form
of
boundary descriptions
and-
what
we
are really interested in here -large-scale maps (Timar,
2020).
1 Department
of
Geophysics and Space Science, ELTE Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary [timar.gabor@ttk.elte.hu]
2 Department
of
Geodetic Networks and State Borders, Lechner Nonprofit Ltd, Budapest, Hungary
Ar
istotle University
of
Thessaloniki [30] Laboratory
of
Cartography & Geographical Analys
is
International Cartographi c Association, Commission on Cartographic Heritage into the Digital
15
th
!CA Conference Digital Approaches
to
Cartographic Heritage
Map & Geo information Curators Group -MAGIC
22nd MAGIC Conference on Cha llenges
in
Modem Map Librarianship
Online Conference, 6-7 May 2021
Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2459-3893
Editors: A Tsorlini, C. Boutoura
AUTH CartoGeoLab, 2021
Fig 1. The final boundaries had to be delimited on the basis
of
such a rough description. The picture
is
based
on the text
of
the Treaties
of
Trianon and Sevres, with the "point to be delimited on the spot" marked by
black circles and the "line to be delimited on the spot" by green lines, background is the administrative map
of
Hungary from 1914.
The border demarcation commissions operated between countries: there were Hungarian-SHS (Kingdom
of
Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which for the sake
of
simplicity will be referred to here as Yugoslavia, as
it was official from 1929) and Hungarian-Romanian border demarcation commissions. Both commissions
had 6-6 members: in addition
to
the border states concerned, the victorious Entente powers, the French,
the British, the Italians, and the Japanese each delegated one member, whereas the United States withdrew
from the peace process at the end
of
1920. The Hungarian-Yugoslavian Boundary Commission was
chaired by the British delegate and the Romanian-Hungarian one by the French delegate; in case
of
a tie,
their votes were decisive (Suba, no date). The committees, partly in order to avoid too much work and,
partly,
to
disrupt local communities as little
as
possible, made the cadastral boundaries between settle-
ments at the state border, yet sometimes deviated from this basic rule for topological or local economic
reasons.
In practice, the large scale
of
the boundary maps (in the study area: 1 :5000) meant a cadastral map scale,
so cadastral databases were also used for the geodetic preparation
of
the work. For this reason, the map
projections used for the cadastral mapping
of
the area were naturally used: the Hungarian-Romanian bor-
der maps were produced in the Budapest-centred (Gellerthegy) stereographic projection, whereas the
Southern zonal cylindric system was used for the relevant section
of
the Yugoslav-Romanian border. Due
to the sensitive nature
of
the border, the use
of
national map projections had been changed in the last
century, in all the countries concerned, border documents are still available in these obsolete projections.
These large-scale border maps were usual for new boundaries, e.g. the ones
of
the Free State
of
Fiume are
published by Klein (2020).
Ar
istotle University
of
Thessaloniki [31] Laboratory
of
Cartography & Geographical Analysis
International Cartographi c Association, Commission on Cartographic Heritage into the Digital
15
th
!CA Conference Digital Approaches
to
Cartographic Heritage
Map & Geo information Curators Group -MAGIC
22nd MAGIC Conference on Cha llenges
in
Modem Map Librarianship
Online Conference, 6-7 May 2021
Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2459-3893
Editors: A Tsorlini, C. Boutoura
AUTH CartoGeoLab, 2021
The border between Romania and Yugoslavia was first fixed in one
of
the last treaties signed in the Paris
peace system: The Convention
of
Sevres signed on
10
August 1920 (not to be confused neither with the
Turkish peace treaty signed at the same time and place nor with the Greek treaty for the protection
of
minorities). Like Trianon and the other treaties concluded at the time, its spatial precision was within a
few kilometres: it was, in practice, a matter
of
assigning settlements to countries. During the process
of
demarcating the Romanian-Yugoslav border, the two states involved also agreed
to
exchange roughly
identical territories, as described in the agreement signed in Belgrade on 24 November 1923. As a result,
the position
of
the Hungarian-Romanian-Yugoslav border "triplex confinum" would have shifted circa
13
kilometres in a south-westerly direction due to the Romanian territorial gains along the border. However,
this did not happen, resulting in an unprecedented legal situation and leaving us with an interesting carto-
graphic legacy.
The debate about the boundary triplex
The Treaty
of
Trianon and the Treaty
of
Sevres delimited the triple border point in accordance with each
other, approximately 4 kilometres southwest
of
the settlement
of
Kiszombor. This did not coincide with
the cadastral boundary between the municipalities, and a dispute arose as to the actual delimitation. Ini-
tially, it was chaired by the French chairman
of
the Hungarian-Romanian committee, who collected the
committee members' ideas on the location
of
the triple border point. The situation was complicated by the
Hungarian settlement
of
Porgany (Romanian: Pordeanu), which was located not far
to
the East
of
the
principle point and was therefore indirectly in the future territory
of
Romania. The situation was compli-
cated even more by the fact that the delimitation
of
the triple border was not only the responsibility
of
the
Hungarian-Romanian border commission, but also
of
the Hungarian-Yugoslavian border commission
(and in fact it was part
of
the Romanian-Yugoslavian negotiations which were independent
of
the Trianon
Treaty, therefore, independent
of
Hungary). A further complication was that the Sevres Agreement as-
signed Porgany to Romania. At Hungary's request, the committee appealed to the Council
of
Ambassa-
dors
of
the Entente in Paris, which acted as a supervisory body and which eventually gave the committee
a free hand in the Hungarian-Romanian dispute over Porgany (Suba, 2015) .
........
.....
.....
I
1,
J'
....
'.
, .
...
triplex
bl
Trianon
suggested
by
Hungarian delegates
~
suggested
·
by
YU-HU
border
committee
Fig. 2. The location
of
the triplex suggestions and with the 'original' triplex (according
to
Suba, 2015), set up
in
1921
(A) and the real triplex, legally used from 1950 (B). The 'one-metre-wide strip is between them, indi-
cated by the red line.
Ar
istotle University
of
Thessaloniki [32] Laboratory
of
Cartography & Geographical Analysis
International Cartographi c Association, Commission on Cartographic Heritage into the Digital
15
th
!CA Conference Digital Approaches
to
Cartographic Heritage
Map & Geo information Curators Group -MAGIC
22nd MAGIC Conference on Cha llenges
in
Modem Map Librarianship
Online Conference, 6-7 May 2021
Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2459-3893
Editors: A Tsorlini, C. Boutoura
AUTH CartoGeoLab, 2021
At the end
of
a rather bad-tempered and protracted debate, a decision was reached which was unfavourable
to Hungary but also resulted in a slightly eastern (e.g., to Romania) borderline shifted from the originally
delineated boundary point and the cadastral boundaries. It was followed by the Serbian-Romanian land
swap that made the whole dispute somewhat redundant in retrospect. However, the mood on the issue
deteriorated
to
such an extent that the Hungarian delegate vetoed the movement
of
the Hungarian-Roma-
nian-Yugoslav triple border
13
kilometres south-westwards Interestingly, the Hungarian delegate did not
object
to
a similar shift
of
the Hungarian-Romanian-Czechoslovakian border (Alenei, 2006; Suba, 2009),
which
is
now the Hungarian-Romanian-Ukrainian triplex.
A
13
kilometres long, 1-metre-wide part
of
Yugoslavia
There was, however, a topological solution. The Romanian and Yugoslav parties, not wanting to reopen
a potentially even more acrimonious dispute, agreed to lease
to
Yugoslavia for 99 years a 13-kilometre-
long and 1-meter-wide strip
of
land between the border points agreed with the Hungarians and moved by
the Romanians and Yugoslavs.
It
was obviously expected that at the time the wounds would heal and the
situation could be settled normally (which in the end, with the complication
of
another world war, took
only 27 years). Legally, therefore, Hungary was still bordering Yugoslavia along this stretch, but in case
someone had crossed the border here, they would have walked another metre into Romania. It
is
also
worth noting that although most
of
Hungary's borders were temporarily changed during World War II,
there was no change in the region during this period either, 'only' that Yugoslavia was occupied by the
Germans from April
1941
until the arrival
of
the Eastern Front in September-October 1944.
Fig
3.
The map sketches
of
the Hungarian-Yugoslav border, between the old and the real triplexes. Here the
bordering state with Hungary is really Romania in the MAPIRE portal.
Ar
istotle University
of
Thessaloniki [33] Laboratory
of
Cartography & Geographical Analysis
International Cartographi c Association, Commission on Cartographic Heritage into the Digital
15
th
!CA Conference Digital Approaches
to
Cartographic Heritage
Map & Geo information Curators Group -MAGIC
22nd MAGIC Conference on Cha llenges
in
Modem Map Librarianship
')
{tt.ll
:t
14
/
/
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I I
/ l
Online Conference, 6-7 May 2021
Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2459-3893
Editors: A Tsorlini, C. Boutoura
AUTH CartoGeoLab, 2021
Fig 4. Location
of
the old triplex at the 1950 maps
of
the Romanian-Hungarian border (sign
Nl
7/Al) with the
modem topography
of
the World Imagery.
Cartographic consequences
As a result
of
the above, the Hungarian-Yugoslav border maps under the Treaty
of
Trianon were drawn
up to the original triple border point and the 'F-section'
of
the Hungarian-Yugoslav border, as designated
by the Boundary Commission, extended from Roszke
to
this point (Figure 3). Naturally, the map did not
show the other state border on the other side
of
the border, as it only was intended to show the Hungarian-
Yugoslav border; and it would not have been possible to do so to scale anyway. The 'A-section'
of
the
Romanian-Hungarian border 'numbered' from the South, also started from the old triplex (Fig. 4), and the
border maps were drawn accordingly (Figure 5).
Fig. 5. The 'section
N'
of
the Romanian-Hungarian border in maps
of
1950.
Ar
istotle University
of
Thessaloniki [34] Laboratory
of
Cartography & Geographical Analysis
International Cartographi c Association, Commission on Cartographic Heritage into the Digital
15
th
!CA Conference Digital Approaches
to
Cartographic Heritage
Map & Geo information Curators Group -MAGIC
22nd MAGIC Conference on Cha llenges
in
Modem Map Librarianship
Online Conference, 6-7 May 2021
Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2459-3893
Editors: A Tsorlini, C. Boutoura
AUTH CartoGeoLab, 2021
In the frame
of
the post-World War II settlement, although, the borders in this area remained practically
unchanged, the triple border point mark was moved to its actual location in 1950, and is still there today
(Figure 6 & 7). The Hungarian-Yugoslav 'F-section' was shortened by this much, but it was not carto-
graphically drawn until the border was re-surveyed in 1978 when the actual section was drawn. At the
same time, the Hungarian-Romanian border was given a new
'N
-section', which stretches between the
old and the new real triplexes,
as
a kind
of
memento
of
a very unique situation.
Fig 6. The actual triplex in the 1950 Hungarian-Romanian map.
Epilogue
The situation
of
the Romanian-Hungarian-Serbian triplex was last discussed between the states in Novi
Sad in 2006.
It
was then that it was discovered that the 99-year lease was (or had been) still in force! And
even though the triplex has been in its real place since 1950, the end
of
the lease period until 2022 was
"waived" by Romania and Serbia before its expiration date.
The triplex, as well as the majority
of
the Trianon borders
of
Hungary, can be seen in the MAPIRE portal
since 2020, the centenary
of
the peace treaty.
Ar
istotle University
of
Thessaloniki [35] Laboratory
of
Cartography & Geographical Analysis
International Cartographic Association, Commission on Ca
rto
graphic Heritage into the Digital
15th !CA Conference Digital Approaches
to
Cartographic Heritage
Map & Geo information Curators Group -MAGIC
22nd MAGIC Conference on Challenges
in
Modem Map Librarianship
Online Conference, 6-7 May 2021
Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2459-3893
Editors: A Tsorlini, C. Boutoura
AUTH CartoGeoLab, 2021
Fig
7.
The actual column
of
the triplex confinimn
as
seen from Hungary.
References
Alenei,
V.
(2006). Frontiera romano-cehoslovaca la 1920. Revista Academiei Fortelor Terestre, 11(3).
Klein, M. (2020). A Fascist Dystopia with Style on the Adriatic. Library
of
the Congress Blog, electronic
access (6 April, 2021
):
https://blogs.loc.gov/maps/2020/05/a-fascist-dystopia-with-style-on-the-adriatic
Suba,
J.
(2009). A trianoni harmashatarok kijelolese. Jelenkori tarsadalmi es gazdasagi folyamatok, 4(3-
4), 276-281.
Suba,
J.
(2015). A magyar-jugoszlav-roman harmashatarpont kijelolese 1922-1925 -Designation
of
the
Hungarian-Yugoslavian-Romanian tri-border point 1922-1925. Koztes-Eur6pa,
7,
93-107.
Suba,
J.
(no date). Magyarorszag trianoni hatarainak kitiizese. Rubicon online, electronic access (/ April,
2021
):
http://www.rubicon.hu/magyar/oldalak/magyarorszag_ trianoni_ hatarainak _ kituzese/
Timar,
G.
(2020). A szerzodestol a hatarkovekig - a trianoni hatarok vegleges vonalanak kijelolese. Ru-
bicon, 31(6-7), 138.143.
Aristotle University
of
Thessaloniki [36] Laboratory
of
Cartography & Geographical Analysis
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
A trianoni békeszerződésben rögzített, illetve a békeszerződés értelmében meghúzott határok nagyon tagoltak. Akár a terepen, akár nagyobb felbontású térképen nézegetjük, a határ összetettsége, változatos kanyargása mindenütt szem-beötlő. Különösen érdekes ez annak fényében, hogy ezek a határok - a horvát szakasz egy részét leszámítva - soha nem voltak államhatárok, sőt túlnyomó részük megyehatárként sem funkcionált. A hasonlóan mesterségesen meghúzott afrikai vagy amerikai határokra jellemző egyenes szakaszokat hiába keressük; fél kilométernél hosszabb egyenes szakaszok a trianoni határokon csak ott fordulnak elő, ahol ezt egy kiválasztott és követett tereptárgy (pl. a Hanság-főcsatorna) indokolja. Hogy jöhetett létre egy ennyire bonyolult, kifejezetten réginek ható, mégis vadonatúj határ az 1919-es kitalálásától az 1922-1924 közötti véglegesítésig? - Rubicon - Történelmi magazin 31(6-7): 138-153.
Frontiera romano-cehoslovaca la 1920
  • V Alenei
Alenei, V. (2006). Frontiera romano-cehoslovaca la 1920. Revista Academiei Fortelor Terestre, 11(3).
A Fascist Dystopia with Style on the Adriatic. Library of the Congress Blog, electronic access
  • M Klein
Klein, M. (2020). A Fascist Dystopia with Style on the Adriatic. Library of the Congress Blog, electronic access (6 April, 2021 ): https://blogs.loc.gov/maps/2020/05/a-fascist-dystopia-with-style-on-the-adriatic
A trianoni harmashatarok kijelolese. Jelenkori tarsadalmi es gazdasagi folyamatok
  • J Suba
Suba, J. (2009). A trianoni harmashatarok kijelolese. Jelenkori tarsadalmi es gazdasagi folyamatok, 4(3-4), 276-281.
A magyar-jugoszlav-roman harmashatarpont kijelolese 1922-1925 -Designation of the Hungarian-Yugoslavian-Romanian tri-border point 1922-1925
  • J Suba
Suba, J. (2015). A magyar-jugoszlav-roman harmashatarpont kijelolese 1922-1925 -Designation of the Hungarian-Yugoslavian-Romanian tri-border point 1922-1925. Koztes-Eur6pa, 7, 93-107.
Magyarorszag trianoni hatarainak kitiizese. Rubicon online, electronic access
  • J Suba
Suba, J. (no date). Magyarorszag trianoni hatarainak kitiizese. Rubicon online, electronic access (/ April, 2021 ): http://www.rubicon.hu/magyar/oldalak/magyarorszag_ trianoni_ hatarainak _ kituzese/