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Banat Colonizer & Governor

Florimund Claudius Graf Mercy

Count Mercy
Colonizer and Governor

Born in 1666 in Lothringen

by Wilhelm Reiter

Contributed Jody McKim Pharr
Translated by N. Tullius 20 Sep 2008
at DVHH.org 08 Oct 2008
by Jody McKim Pharr

The Austrian field marshal, who became the military governor of the Banat of Temesvár, one of the ablest commanders during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) & the Turkish wars (1716-18).

The Österreichischer Field Marshall died 29 June 1734 at the Battle of Parma in Italy.

He was the foster father of Florimund Count de Mercy d'Argenteau, and his great-uncle was Franz Freiherr von Mercy.

     When we Danube Swabians remember this important man, we do it because we are honoring his work and the work of our ancestors, the German settlers of the Banat. Both achievements indeed belong together.

     Klaudius Florimund Count Mercy, as the first governor of the new province, carried on his shoulders from the beginning, the heavy responsibility of its development. In this work, together with the German settlers, he succeeded to the extent that the Banat became, within a few decades, the granary of the Empire. His foresight and planning, coupled with the diligence of our ancestors, ensured that they finally triumphed over all the difficulties.

     Count Mercy was certainly an excellent soldier, whose life was ended by a fatal bullet, while he was fighting against the enemy. In the hearts of the Banat colonists he created his own memorial, through the fatherly love with which he accompanied their creative efforts.

     When the settlers arrived in the Banat, 230 years earlier, it was a country covered by swamps, shrubbery and forests. Even the few protruding islands of arable land had not seen a plow in many years. From the swamps crept death; in the woods lurked robbers. Count Mercy, who knew the country like no other, and on many trips discovered it anew, promoted everything that could serve work and life. Everything he did and planned showed his love for the Banat, and his closeness to the fate of its new inhabitants. He promoted the mining industry, settled Serbs and Romanians in permanent locations, and thus improved security in the country; and he brought in new colonists. Under his government, both the cultivation of rice crops and the breeding of silkworms were initiated. The many mulberry trees in the villages still testify to the latter. Between 1723 and 1725 the first land survey of the Banat was conducted on his initiative. His greatest accomplishment, however, was the drainage of the country through a system of canals. Only when the Bega was canalized, could new arable land be created, and the diseases that emanated from the stinking water, started to decline.

     In his travels through the country, he often resolved emerging problems on the spot. Therefore, the colonists felt that his actions coincided with their own, and they felt his love, as only a child can feel the love of his parents. And this feeling was transmitted from one generation to the next. Today, when a cruel fate scattered us across the world, and like our ancestors 230 years ago, we are striving for a new homeland. Whether in the ancestral homelands in southwest Germany, or in Austria, in whose service Mercy labored, or God knows, somewhere in America, or even in the steppes of the Baragan, we are able today to utilize a proper relationship to the colonizing work of Count Mercy. The work accomplished by him and our ancestors in the Banat may have been destroyed, but their spirits may give us a new will to live.

Translated article from "Donauschwäbischer Heimat Kalender 1954"
Bearbeitet von Franz Schuttack (Lovin-Bukarest)
Mit über 275 Bildern aus der Heimat
Verlag L. Rohrbacher, Karlsruhe, Alderstrasse 31


Village named after Count Mercy: Mercydorf

More on Count Mercy:

Colonization of the Banat Following its Turkish Occupation,
- With particular emphasis on emigration from Lorraine and Luxemburg (Southern Belgian province of Luxemburg), Author Unknown. Translated by Gabi Bugaisky, Lucia Stemper & Nick Tullius. Explanatory notes provided by Gabi Bugaisky



Last Updated: 04 Feb 2020

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