Polabian Slavs

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Polabian Slavs (so. Połobske Słowjany, pol.Słowianie połabscy, cz.Polabští Slované) - is a collective term applied to a number of Lechites tribes who lived along the Elbe, between the Baltic Sea to the north, the Saale and Limes Saxonicus to the west, the Sudetes and Franconia to the south, and Poland to the east. They have also been known as the Elbe Slavs and as Wends. Their name derives from the Slavic po, meaning "by/next to/along", and the Slavic name for Elbe (Labe in Czech and Łaba in Polish).

The Polabian Slavs started settling in the territory of modern Germany in the second half of the first millennium. They were largely conquered by Saxons and Danes during the 12th century and subsequently included within the Holy Roman Empire. The tribes were gradually Germanized and assimilated in the following centuries; the Sorbs are the only descendants of the Polabian Slavs to have retained their identity and culture.

The Polabian language is now extinct. However, both Sorbian languages are spoken by approximately 60,000 inhabitants of the region and the languages are regarded by the government of Germany as official languages of the region.


The Bavarian Geographer anonymous medieval document compiled in Regensburg in 830 contains a list of the tribes in Central-Eastern Europe to the east of the Elbe. Among other tribes...
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