Buletinul ”Ioan Neculce” al Muzeului de Istorie a Moldovei – XIX / 2013


The existence of natural obstacles on the navigation ways within the Iron Gates sector of the Danube caused the elaboration of numerous projects to remove those. Only after the Congress of Berlin in 1878 did such a project went into execution. The project of navigation works was entrusted to the Austro-Hungarian administration by the stipulation of the Berlin Treaty. After the completion of the works the Austro-Hungarian administration was allowed to levy a passage fee in order to recover the costs of the project. In 1879 the responsibility of the works passed to the Hungarian government, which finalized a channel through the course of the Danube, which was opened for navigation in 1898. In 14 of July 1899 the Hungarian government issued a series of five regulations regarding the navigation, water policing and taxation in the Iron Gates and the Danube Rapids. These acts were regarded as abusive by the Romanian policy makers, as the Austro-Hungarian Empire was already granted the right to tax the passage in order to recuperate de costs of the works, but not the right to set the amounts. Moreover, the Hungarian government decreed that, for recovering the expense, the river policing will be carried out by its own employees, who will be empowered to police the Serbian and Romanian shores, without asking from permission from the respective authorities, the pilotage will be carried out exclusively by Hungarian pilots although the navigation would use only the navigable channel and not the rest of the river, etc.

All these issues were raised in the Romanian Parliament in November and December 1899. In spite of the vivid debates in the Parliament, and the efforts of several Romanian cabinets, the Austro-Hungarian administration could not be determined to change the system established in 1899 for the Iron Gates navigation. The system remained in power until 1918, when the fall of the Habsburg monarchy allowed for its change.