In the 18th century, the Habsburg monarchy also recruited Germans from the southern principalities to relocate to the Danube valley. They wanted both to increase the population and to redevelop the river valley for agriculture, which had declined markedly under the Ottomans. To encourage such settlement, the government agreed that the German communities could practice their religion mostly Catholicism and use their original German dialect. It was a cultural and political centre of Serbs see also Serbian Revival , who did not have their own national state at the time. According to data, Novi Sad had 17, inhabitants, of whom 9, were Orthodox Christians , 5, Catholics , 1, Protestants , Jews , and 30 adherents of the Armenian church. The largest ethnic group in the city were Serbs, and the second largest were Germans. In , the Hungarian garrison located on the Petrovaradin Fortress bombarded and devastated the city, which lost much of its population. According to an census, there were only 7, citizens in the city, compared with 17, in Between and , the city was part of a separate Austrian crownland known as the Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar. After the abolishment of this province, the city was included into Batsch-Bodrog County.
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