King of the Wends

King Of The Wends

King of the Wends

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The title of King of the Wends denoted sovereignty or claims over once-Slavic lands of southern coasts of the Baltic Sea, those otherwise called Mecklenburg, Holstein and Pomerania, and was used from 12th century to 1972 by Kings of Denmark and from ca 1540 to 1973 by the Kings of Sweden.

The generally accepted interpretation is that the word refers to the Wends, a Slavic people that lived on the south shores of the Baltic Sea, although the situation is further complicated by the existence of the Vends, located between the Finns and the Wends and with somewhat unknown origin. The title's one poetic explanation also was kingship over the antique people of the Vandals (vandalorum rex), but that idea came only in 16th century. A recent interpretation, not much supported in academic research, has been made that the part "Vend" in the later established titles of the Kings of Sweden (three kingdoms: King of the Svear, Götar and Vends; Svears, Göters och Venders konung) means Finland, the form presumably being akin to Vindland. As such, the Österland—the medieval name for the Finnish part of the Swedish kingdom—was the third part of the realm. However, only forty years after the adoption of the title "king of the Wends" began the Swedish kings to style themselves as "Grand Prince of Finland" as well.

Kings of Denmark bore the title for eight centuries, after it was first adopted by King Canute VI (reigned 1182 to 1202), who conquered the lands of...
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