Kashubians
Overview
 
Kashubians/Kaszubians also called Kashubs, Kashubes, Kaszubians, Kassubians or Cassubians, are a West Slavic
West Slavs
The West Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking West Slavic languages. They include Poles , Czechs, Slovaks, Lusatian Sorbs and the historical Polabians. The northern or Lechitic group includes, along with Polish, the extinct Polabian and Pomeranian languages...

 ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 in Pomerelia
Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

, north-central Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. Their settlement area is referred to as Kashubia
Kashubia
Kashubia or Cassubia - is a language area in the historic Eastern Pomerania region of northwestern Poland. Located west of Gdańsk and the mouth of the Vistula river, it is inhabited by members of the Kashubian ethnic group....

 .

They speak Kashubian
Kashubian language
Kashubian or Cassubian is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages....

, classified either as a language or a Polish dialect. In analogy to the linguistic classification, Kashubians are considered either an ethnic or a linguistic group.

Slovincians are grouped with the Kashubians as Pomeranians, similarly the Slovincian
Slovincian
Slovincian is the language formerly spoken by the Slovincians , a Slavic people living between lakes Gardno and Łebsko near Słupsk in Pomerania....

 and Kashubian languages are grouped as the Pomeranian
Pomeranian language
The Pomeranian language is a group of dialects from the Lechitic cluster of the West Slavic languages. In medieval contexts, it refers to the dialects spoken by the Slavic Pomeranians...

 language, with Slovincian being either a closely related language or a Kashubian dialect.
Among larger cities, Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

 (Gdiniô) contains the largest proportion of people declaring Kashubian origin.
Encyclopedia
Kashubians/Kaszubians also called Kashubs, Kashubes, Kaszubians, Kassubians or Cassubians, are a West Slavic
West Slavs
The West Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking West Slavic languages. They include Poles , Czechs, Slovaks, Lusatian Sorbs and the historical Polabians. The northern or Lechitic group includes, along with Polish, the extinct Polabian and Pomeranian languages...

 ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 in Pomerelia
Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

, north-central Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. Their settlement area is referred to as Kashubia
Kashubia
Kashubia or Cassubia - is a language area in the historic Eastern Pomerania region of northwestern Poland. Located west of Gdańsk and the mouth of the Vistula river, it is inhabited by members of the Kashubian ethnic group....

 .

They speak Kashubian
Kashubian language
Kashubian or Cassubian is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages....

, classified either as a language or a Polish dialect. In analogy to the linguistic classification, Kashubians are considered either an ethnic or a linguistic group.

Slovincians are grouped with the Kashubians as Pomeranians, similarly the Slovincian
Slovincian
Slovincian is the language formerly spoken by the Slovincians , a Slavic people living between lakes Gardno and Łebsko near Słupsk in Pomerania....

 and Kashubian languages are grouped as the Pomeranian
Pomeranian language
The Pomeranian language is a group of dialects from the Lechitic cluster of the West Slavic languages. In medieval contexts, it refers to the dialects spoken by the Slavic Pomeranians...

 language, with Slovincian being either a closely related language or a Kashubian dialect.

Modern Kashubia

Among larger cities, Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

 (Gdiniô) contains the largest proportion of people declaring Kashubian origin. However, the biggest city of the Kashubia region is Gdańsk
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

 (Gduńsk), the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship
Pomeranian Voivodeship
Pomeranian Voivodeship, or Pomerania Province , is a voivodeship, or province, in north-central Poland. It comprises most of Pomerelia , as well as an area east of the Vistula River...

 and the traditional capital of Kashubia. Between 80.3% and 93.9% people of the people in Linia
Linia, Pomeranian Voivodeship
Linia is a village in Wejherowo County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Linia. It lies approximately south-west of Wejherowo and west of the regional capital Gdańsk....

, Sierakowice
Sierakowice, Pomeranian Voivodeship
Sierakowice is a village in Kartuzy County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, Kashubia in northern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Sierakowice. It lies approximately west of Kartuzy and west of the regional capital Gdańsk. Kashubian is here in official use, as a regional language...

, Szemud
Szemud
For details of the history of the region, see History of PomeraniaSzemud is a village in Wejherowo County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Szemud. It lies approximately south of Wejherowo and north-west of the regional capital Gdańsk.The...

, Kartuzy
Kartuzy
Kartuzy is a town in the historic Eastern Pomerania region of northwestern Poland, located about west of Gdańsk with a population of 15,472...

, Chmielno
Chmielno, Pomeranian Voivodeship
Chmielno is a village in Kartuzy County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, Kashubia in northern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Chmielno...

, Żukowo
Zukowo
Żukowo is a town in Kartuzy County, in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of northern Poland, with 6,236 inhabitants . It is located along the Radunia river in the historic Pomerelia region, about southwest of Gdańsk....

, etc. are of Kashubian descent.

The traditional occupations of Kashubians have been agriculture and fishing. These have been joined by the service and hospitality industries, as well as agrotourism, especially in "Kashubian Switzerland". The main organization that maintains the Kashubian identity is the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association
Kashubian-Pomeranian Association
The Kashubian-Pomeranian Association is a regional non-governmental organization of the Kashubians , Kociewiacy and other people interested in the regional affairs of Kashubia and Pomerania in northern Poland...

. The recently formed "Odroda" is also dedicated to the renewal of Kashubian culture.

Unofficial capital

The traditional capital was Gdańsk (Gduńsk). Today there are many cities which claim to be the capital: Kartuzy
Kartuzy
Kartuzy is a town in the historic Eastern Pomerania region of northwestern Poland, located about west of Gdańsk with a population of 15,472...

 (Kartuzë), Kościerzyna (Kòscérzëna), Bytów
Bytów
Bytów is a town in the Middle Pomerania region of northern Poland in the Bytów Lakeland with 16,888 inhabitants . Previously in Słupsk Voivodeship , it is the capital of Bytów County in Pomeranian Voivodeship .-History:...

 (Bëtowò) and Wejherowo
Wejherowo
Wejherowo is a town in Gdańsk Pomerania, northern Poland, with 47,435 inhabitants . It has been the capital of Wejherowo County in Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999; previously, it was a town in Gdańsk Voivodeship .-History:...

 (Wejrowò).

Population

The total number of Kashubians varies depending on one's definition. A common estimate is that over 300,000 people in Poland are of the Kashubian ethnicity. The most extreme estimates are as low as 50,000 or as high as 500,000. In the Polish census of 2002, only 5,100 people declared Kashubian nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

, although 51,000 declared Kashubian
Kashubian language
Kashubian or Cassubian is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages....

 as their native language. Most Kashubians declare Polish nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

 and Kashubian ethnicity, and are considered both Polish and Kashubian. However, on the 2002 census there was no option to declare one nationality and a different ethnicity, or more than one nationality.

History

Origin

Kashubians descend from the Slavic Pomeranian tribes, who had settled between the Oder and Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 Rivers after the Migration Period
Migration Period
The Migration Period, also called the Barbarian Invasions , was a period of intensified human migration in Europe that occurred from c. 400 to 800 CE. This period marked the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages...

, and were at various times Polish and Danish vassals. While most Slavic Pomeranians were assimilated during the medieval German settlement of Pomerania (Ostsiedlung)
Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung , also called German eastward expansion, was the medieval eastward migration and settlement of Germans from modern day western and central Germany into less-populated regions and countries of eastern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The affected area roughly stretched from Slovenia...

, especially in the Pomerania
Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

n Southeast (Pomerelia
Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

) some kept and developed their customs and became known as Kashubians. The oldest known mention of "Kashubia" dates from 19 March 1238 - Pope Gregor IX wrote about Bogislaw I dux Cassubie - the Duke of Kashubia. The old one dates from 13th century (a seal of Barnim I from the House of Pomerania
House of Pomerania
The House of Griffins or House of Pomerania, , also known as House of Greifen; House of Gryf, was a dynasty of Royal dukes that ruled the Duchy of Pomerania from the 12th century until 1637, after their power was temporarily derivated to Prussian Royal House...

, Duke of Pomerania-Stettin). The Dukes of Pomerania hence used "Duke of (the) Kashubia(ns)" in their titles, passing it to the Swedish Crown
Swedish Crown
The so-called Swedish Crown, also known as the "Purchased Crown", was a part of the Polish Crown Jewels.- History :The crown was made for King Sigismund II Augustus...

 who succeeded in Swedish Pomerania
Swedish Pomerania
Swedish Pomerania was a Dominion under the Swedish Crown from 1630 to 1815, situated on what is now the Baltic coast of Germany and Poland. Following the Polish War and the Thirty Years' War, Sweden held extensive control over the lands on the southern Baltic coast, including Pomerania and parts...

 when the House of Pomerania became extinct
Pomerania during the Early Modern Age
Pomerania during the Early Modern Age covers the History of Pomerania in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.Throughout this time, Pomerelia was within Royal Prussia, a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with considerable autonomy...

.

Administrative history of Kashubia

The westernmost (Slovincian
Slovincian
Slovincian is the language formerly spoken by the Slovincians , a Slavic people living between lakes Gardno and Łebsko near Słupsk in Pomerania....

) parts of Kashubia, located in the medieval Lands of Schlawe and Stolp
Lands of Schlawe and Stolp
The Lands of Schlawe and Stolp are a historical region in Pomerania, centered around the towns of Sławno and Słupsk in Farther Pomerania...

 and Lauenburg and Bütow Land
Lauenburg and Bütow Land
Lauenburg and Bütow Land formed a historical region in eastern in eastern Pomerania. Composed of two districts centered around the towns of Lauenburg and Bütow , it was on the western periphery of Pomerelia...

, were integrated into the Duchy of Pomerania
Duchy of Pomerania
The Duchy of Pomerania was a duchy in Pomerania on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, ruled by dukes of the House of Pomerania ....

 in 1317 and 1455, respectively, and remained with its successors (Brandenburgian Pomerania and Prussian Pomerania) until 1945
Potsdam Agreement
The Potsdam Agreement was the Allied plan of tripartite military occupation and reconstruction of Germany—referring to the German Reich with its pre-war 1937 borders including the former eastern territories—and the entire European Theatre of War territory...

, when the area became Polish
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

. The bulk of Kashubia since the 12th century was within the medieval Pomerelia
Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

n duchies, since 1308 in the Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights
Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights
The State of the Teutonic Order, , also Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights or Ordensstaat , was formed in 1224 during the Northern Crusades, the Teutonic Knights' conquest of the pagan West-Baltic Old Prussians in the 13th century....

, since 1466 within Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia
Royal Prussia was a Region of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth . Polish Prussia included Pomerelia, Chełmno Land , Malbork Voivodeship , Gdańsk , Toruń , and Elbląg . It is distinguished from Ducal Prussia...

, an autonomous territory of the Polish Crown, since 1772
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

 within West Prussia
West Prussia
West Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773–1824 and 1878–1919/20 which was created out of the earlier Polish province of Royal Prussia...

, a Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n province, since 1920 within the Polish Corridor
Polish Corridor
The Polish Corridor , also known as Danzig Corridor, Corridor to the Sea or Gdańsk Corridor, was a territory located in the region of Pomerelia , which provided the Second Republic of Poland with access to the Baltic Sea, thus dividing the bulk of Germany from the province of East...

 of the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

, since 1939
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

 within the Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia
Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia
The Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia was a Nazi German province created on 8 October 1939 from the territory of the annexed Free City of Danzig, the annexed Polish province Greater Pomeranian Voivodship , and the Nazi German Regierungsbezirk West Prussia of Gau East Prussia. Before 2 November 1939,...

 of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, and since 1945
Potsdam Agreement
The Potsdam Agreement was the Allied plan of tripartite military occupation and reconstruction of Germany—referring to the German Reich with its pre-war 1937 borders including the former eastern territories—and the entire European Theatre of War territory...

 within the People's Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

.

German and Polish impact

German Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung
Ostsiedlung , also called German eastward expansion, was the medieval eastward migration and settlement of Germans from modern day western and central Germany into less-populated regions and countries of eastern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The affected area roughly stretched from Slovenia...

 in Kashubia was first initiated by the Pomerelian dukes and focussed on the towns, whereas much of the countryside remained Kashubian. An exception was the German settled Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 delta (Vistula Germans
Vistula Germans
Vistula Germans are ethnic Germans who had settled in what became known after the 1863 Polish rebellion as the Vistula Territory...

), the coastal regions, and the Vistula valley. Following the centuries of interaction between local German and Kashubian population, Aleksander Hilferding
Aleksander Hilferding
Alexander Hilferding was a Russian linguist and folklorist of German descent who collected some 318 bylinas in the Russian North. A native of Warsaw, he assisted Nikolay Milyutin in reforming the administration of Congress Poland...

 (1862) and Alfons Parczewski (1896) confirmed a progressive language shift in the Kashubian population from their Slavonic vernacular to the local German dialect (Low German
Low German
Low German or Low Saxon is an Ingvaeonic West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands...

 Ostpommersch, Low German Low Prussian
Low Prussian
Low Prussian , sometimes known simply as Prussian , is a dialect of East Low German that developed in East Prussia. Low Prussian was spoken in East and West Prussia and Danzig up to 1945. It developed on a Baltic substrate through the influx of Dutch and Low German speaking immigrants...

, or High German).

On the other hand, Pomerelia since the Middle Ages was assigned to the Kuyavia
Kuyavia
Kujawy , is a historical and ethnographic region in the north-central Poland, situated in the basin of the middle Vistula and upper Noteć Rivers, with its capital in Włocławek.-Etymology:The origin of the name Kujawy was seen differently in history...

n Diocese of Leslau and thus retained Polish as the church language. Only the Slovincians in 1534 adopted Lutheranism after the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 had reached the Duchy of Pomerania
Duchy of Pomerania
The Duchy of Pomerania was a duchy in Pomerania on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, ruled by dukes of the House of Pomerania ....

, while the Kashubes in Pomerelia
Pomerelia
Pomerelia is a historical region in northern Poland. Pomerelia lay in eastern Pomerania: on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and west of the Vistula and its delta. The area centered on the city of Gdańsk at the mouth of the Vistula...

 remained Roman Catholic. The Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n parliament (Landtag
Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

) in Königsberg
Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

 changed the official church language from Polish to German in 1843, but this decision was soon repealed.

In the 19th century the Kashubian activist Florian Ceynowa
Florian Ceynowa
Florian Ceynowa was a doctor, political activist, writer, and linguist. He undertook efforts to identitfy Kashubian language, culture and traditions. He awakened Kashubian self-identity, thereby opposing both Germanisation and Prussian authority, and Polish nobility and clergy...

 undertook efforts to identify the Kashubian language, and its culture and traditions. He awakened Kashubian self-identity, thereby opposing both Germanisation and Prussian authority, and Polish nobility and clergy. He believed in a separate Kashubian identity and strove for a Russian-led pan-Slavic federacy
Pan-Slavism
Pan-Slavism was a movement in the mid-19th century aimed at unity of all the Slavic peoples. The main focus was in the Balkans where the South Slavs had been ruled for centuries by other empires, Byzantine Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Venice...

, He considered Poles "born brothers". Ceynowa attempted to take the Prussian garrison in Preußisch Stargard (Starogard Gdański
Starogard Gdanski
Starogard Gdański is a town in Eastern Pomerania in northwestern Poland with 48,328 inhabitants...

) during 1846, but the operation failed when his 100 combatants, armed only with scythes, decided to abandon the site before the attack was carried out. Some later Kashubian activists rejected the idea of a separate Kashub nation and considered themselves a unique branch of the Polish nation, manifested in the words of Kashubian journalist and activist Hieronim Derdowski "There is no Cassubia without Poland, and no Poland without Cassubia" (Nie ma Kaszeb bez Polski a bez Kaszeb Polski"). The Society of Young Kashubians
Society of Young Kashubians
The Society of Young Kashubians was an association founded in 1912 in Gdańsk . Its leader was Dr. Aleksander Majkowski, a well-known Kashubian writer and poet. Apart from him, the members of Sociaty of Young Kashubians were Jan Karnowski and priest Leon Heyke...

 has decided to follow in this way, and while they the sought to create a strong Kashubian identity, at the same time saw in Kashubs "One branch, of many, of the great Polish nation".

The leader of the movement was Aleksander Majkowski
Aleksander Majkowski
Aleksander Majkowski was a Kashubian writer, poet, journalist, editor, activist, and physician. He was the most important figure in the Kashubian movement before World War II...

, a doctor educated in Chełmno thanks to the Society of Educational Help in Chełmno. In 1912 he founded Towarzystwo Młodokaszubskie and started the newspaper "Gryf". Kashubs voted for Polish lists in elections, which strengthened the representation of Poles in the Pomerania region.)

Due to their Catholic faith, the Kashubians were subject to Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

's Kulturkampf
Kulturkampf
The German term refers to German policies in relation to secularity and the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, enacted from 1871 to 1878 by the Prime Minister of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck. The Kulturkampf did not extend to the other German states such as Bavaria...

 in the late 19th century. The Kashubians faced Germanification efforts, including those by evangelical Lutheran clergy. These efforts were successful in Lauenburg (Lębork) and Leba (Łeba), where the local population used the Gothic alphabet. While resenting the disrespect shown by some Prussian officials and junkers, Kashubians lived in peaceful coexistence with the local German population until World War II, although during the interbellum, the Kashubian ties to Poland were either overemphasized or neglected by Polish and German authors, respectively, in arguments regarding the Polish Corridor
Polish Corridor
The Polish Corridor , also known as Danzig Corridor, Corridor to the Sea or Gdańsk Corridor, was a territory located in the region of Pomerelia , which provided the Second Republic of Poland with access to the Baltic Sea, thus dividing the bulk of Germany from the province of East...

.

During the Second World War, Kashubians were considered by the Nazis as being either of "German stock" or "extraction", or "inclined toward Germanness" and "capable of Germanisation", and thus classified third category of Deutsche Volksliste (German ethnic classification list) if possible ties to the Polish nation could be dissolved. However, Kashubians who were suspected to support the Polish cause, particularly those with higher education, were arrested and executed, the main place of executions being Piaśnica
Piasnica
Wielka Piaśnica is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Puck, within Puck County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies approximately west of Puck and north-west of the regional capital Gdańsk...

 (Groß Plaßnitz), where according 12,000 were executed. The German administrator of the area Albert Forster
Albert Forster
Albert Maria Forster was a Nazi German politician. Under his administration as the Gauleiter of Danzig-West Prussia during the Second World War, the local non-German population suffered ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and forceful Germanisation...

 considered Kashubians of "low value" and didn't support any attempts to create Kashubian nationality. Some Kashubians organized anti-Nazi resistance groups, "Gryf Kaszubski" (later "Gryf Pomorski"), and the exiled "Zwiazek Pomorski" in Great Britain.

When integrated into Poland, those envisioning Kashubian autonomy faced a Communist regime striving for ethnic homogeneity and presenting Kashubian culture as merely folklore. Kashubians were sent to Silesian mines, where they met Silesians
Silesians
Silesians , are the inhabitants of Silesia in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. A small diaspora community also exists in Karnes County, Texas in the USA....

 facing similar problems. Lech Bądkowski
Lech Bądkowski
Lech Bądkowski - Polish writer, journalist, publicist and Kashubian-Pomeranian activist, promoter of regional history and culture, co-founder and leader of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association, opponent of the Communist rules in postwar Poland.-Early life:Lech Bądkowski was born Leszek Buntkowski...

 from the Kashubian opposition became the first spokesperson of Solidarność.

Language

About 50,000 Kashubians speak Kashubian
Kashubian language
Kashubian or Cassubian is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages....

.

The classification of Kashubian as a language or dialect has been controversial. From a diachronic
Diachronic
Diachronic or Diachronous,from the Greek word Διαχρονικός , is a term for something happening over time. It is used in several fields of research.*Diachronic linguistics : see Historical linguistics...

 point of view of historical linguistics, Kashubian like Slovincian
Slovincian
Slovincian is the language formerly spoken by the Slovincians , a Slavic people living between lakes Gardno and Łebsko near Słupsk in Pomerania....

, Polabian
Polabian
Polabian may refer to:* Polabian language, an extinct Slavic language spoken by Polabians* Polabians, an extinct Slavic tribe living in the eastern part of today's Germany...

 and Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 is a Lechitic
Lechitic languages
The Lechitic languages include three languages spoken in Central Europe, mainly in Poland, and historically also in the eastern and northern parts of modern Germany. This language group is a branch of the larger West Slavic language family...

 West Slavic language
West Slavic languages
The West Slavic languages are a subdivision of the Slavic language group that includes Czech, Polish, Slovak, Kashubian and Sorbian.Classification:* Indo-European** Balto-Slavic*** Slavic**** West Slavic***** Czech-Slovak languages****** Czech...

, while from a synchronic
Synchronic analysis
In linguistics, a synchronic analysis is one that views linguistic phenomena only at one point in time, usually the present, though a synchronic analysis of a historical language form is also possible. This may be distinguished from diachronics, which regards a phenomenon in terms of developments...

 point of view it is a group of Polish dialects. Given the past nationalist interests of Germans and Poles in Kashubia, Barbour and Carmichel state: "As is always the case with the division of a dialect continuum
Dialect continuum
A dialect continuum, or dialect area, was defined by Leonard Bloomfield as a range of dialects spoken across some geographical area that differ only slightly between neighboring areas, but as one travels in any direction, these differences accumulate such that speakers from opposite ends of the...

 into separate languages, there is scope here for manipulation".

A "Standard" Kashubian language does not exist despite attempts to create one, rather a variety of dialects are spoken that differ significantly from each other. The vocabulary is influenced by both German and Polish.

There are other traditional Slavic ethnic groups inhabiting Pomerania
Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

, including the Kociewiacy
Kociewiacy
The Kociewiacy are a small Polish ethnic group. They live in Pomerania south of Gdansk. The region they inhabit is called Kociewie and has well-developed industry and agriculture. The capital city of Kociewie is Starogard Gdański, while their biggest city is Tczew...

, Borowiacy
Borowiacy
The Borowiacy are a Polish ethnic group who traditionally inhabit the area of the Tuchola Forest near Tuchola in eastern Pomerania.They live next to the other important group, the Kashubians....

 and Krajniacy. These dialects tend to fall between Kashubian and the Polish dialects of Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

 and Mazovia
Mazovia
Mazovia or Masovia is a geographical, historical and cultural region in east-central Poland. It is also a voivodeship in Poland.Its historic capital is Płock, which was the medieval residence of first Dukes of Masovia...

. This might indicate that they are not only descendants of ancient Pomeranians
Pomeranian Balts
The term Pomerania Balts, or rather Western Balts, refers to Baltic people, who as early as the bronze age inhabited parts of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, an area now known as Pomerania....

, but also of settlers who arrived in Pomerania from Greater Poland and Masovia in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. However, this is only one possible explanation.

In the 16th and 17th century Michael Brüggemann (also known as Pontanus or Michał Mostnik), Simon Krofey (Szimon Krofej) and J.M. Sporgius introduced Kashubian into the Lutheran Church. Krofey, pastor in Bütow
Bytów
Bytów is a town in the Middle Pomerania region of northern Poland in the Bytów Lakeland with 16,888 inhabitants . Previously in Słupsk Voivodeship , it is the capital of Bytów County in Pomeranian Voivodeship .-History:...

 (Bytow), published a religious song book in 1586, written in Polish but also containing some Kashubian words. Brüggemann, pastor in Schmolsin, published a Polish translation of some works of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 (catechism
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

) and biblical texts, also containing Kashubian elements. Other biblical texts were published in 1700 by Sporgius, pastor in Schmolsin. His "Schmolsiner Perikopen", most of which is written in the same Polish-Kashubian style as Krofey's and Brüggemann's books, also contain small passages ("6th Sunday after Epiphany") written in pure Kashubian. Scientific interest in the Kashubian language was sparked by Mrongovius (publications in 1823, 1828), Florian Ceynowa
Florian Ceynowa
Florian Ceynowa was a doctor, political activist, writer, and linguist. He undertook efforts to identitfy Kashubian language, culture and traditions. He awakened Kashubian self-identity, thereby opposing both Germanisation and Prussian authority, and Polish nobility and clergy...

 and the Russian linguist Aleksander Hilferding
Aleksander Hilferding
Alexander Hilferding was a Russian linguist and folklorist of German descent who collected some 318 bylinas in the Russian North. A native of Warsaw, he assisted Nikolay Milyutin in reforming the administration of Congress Poland...

 (1859, 1862), later followed by Biskupski (1883, 1891), G. Bronisch (1896, 1898), J. Mikkola (1897), Nitsch (1903). Important works are S. Ramult's, Słownik jezyka pomorskiego, czyli kaszubskiego, 1893, and Friedrich Lorentz, Slovinzische Grammatik, 1903, Slovinzische Texte, 1905, and Slovinzisches Wörterbuch, 1908.

The first activist of the Kashubian national movement was Florian Ceynowa
Florian Ceynowa
Florian Ceynowa was a doctor, political activist, writer, and linguist. He undertook efforts to identitfy Kashubian language, culture and traditions. He awakened Kashubian self-identity, thereby opposing both Germanisation and Prussian authority, and Polish nobility and clergy...

. Among his accomplishments, he documented the Kashubian alphabet
Kashubian alphabet
The Kashubian alphabet is the script of the Kashubian language, based on the Latin alphabet. The Kashubian alphabet consists of 34 letters:...

 and grammar by 1879 and published a collection of ethnographic-historic stories of the life of the Kashubians (Skórb kaszébsko-slovjnckjé mòvé, 1866–1868). Another early writer in Kashubian was Hieronim Derdowski. The Young Kashubian movement followed, led by author Aleksander Majkowski
Aleksander Majkowski
Aleksander Majkowski was a Kashubian writer, poet, journalist, editor, activist, and physician. He was the most important figure in the Kashubian movement before World War II...

, who wrote for the paper "Zrzësz Kaszëbskô" as part of the "Zrzëszincë" group. The group would contribute significantly to the development of the Kashubian literary language. Another important writer in Kashubian was Bernard Sychta (1907–1982).

Today

In 2005, Kashubian was for the first time made an official subject on the Polish matura
Matura
Matura or a similar term is the common name for the high-school leaving exam or "maturity exam" in various countries, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia,...

 exam (roughly equivalent to the English A-Level and French Baccalaureat). Despite an initial uptake of only 23 students, this development was seen as an important step in the official recognition and establishment of the language. Today, in some towns and villages in northern Poland, Kashubian is the second language spoken after Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, and it is taught in regional schools.

Since 2005 Kashubian enjoys legal protection in Poland as an official regional language
Regional language
A regional language is a language spoken in an area of a nation state, whether it be a small area, a federal state or province, or some wider area....

. It is the only tongue in Poland with this status. It was granted by an act of the Polish Parliament
Polish parliament
Polish parliament is an expression referring to the historical Polish parliaments. It implies chaos and general disorder, and that no real decision can be reached during sessions...

 on January 6, 2005.

Old Kashubian culture has partially survived in architecture and folk crafts such as pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, plaiting, embroidery
Embroidery
Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins....

, amber-working, sculpturing and glasspainting.

Diaspora

In 1858 Kashubians emigrated to Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

 and created the settlement of Wilno
Wilno, Ontario
The community of Wilno, Ontario is situated on the border of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards and Madawaska Valley townships in Renfrew County, Ontario.-Geography:...

, in Renfrew County, Ontario
Renfrew County, Ontario
Renfrew is a county in the Canadian province of Ontario. In 2006, the population was 97,545 and county covered , giving a population density of . There are 17 official municipalities.-Government:...

, which still exists today. Kashub immigrants founded St. Josaphat parish in Chicago's Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park, Chicago
Lincoln Park, is one of the 77 community areas on Chicago, Illinois North Side, USA. Named after Lincoln Park, a vast park bordering Lake Michigan, the community area is anchored by the Lincoln Park Zoo and DePaul University...

 community in the late 19th century. In the 1870s a fishing village was established in Jones Island in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Kashubian immigrants. The settlers however did not hold deeds to the land, and the government of Milwaukee evicted them as squatters in the 1940s, with the area soon after turned into industrial park. The last trace of this Milwaukee fishing village that had been settled by Kaszubs on Jones Island is in the name of the smallest park in the city, Kaszube's Park.

Notable Kashubians

  • Lech Bądkowski
    Lech Bądkowski
    Lech Bądkowski - Polish writer, journalist, publicist and Kashubian-Pomeranian activist, promoter of regional history and culture, co-founder and leader of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association, opponent of the Communist rules in postwar Poland.-Early life:Lech Bądkowski was born Leszek Buntkowski...

     (1920–1984) writer, journalist, translator, political, cultural, and social activist
  • Józef Borzyszkowski
    Józef Borzyszkowski
    Józef Borzyszkowski is a Polish historian and Kashubian activist, who served as chairman of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association from 1986-92.-Sources:* * * -Bibliography:...

     (1946- ) historian, politician, founder of the Kashubian Institute
  • Florian Ceynowa
    Florian Ceynowa
    Florian Ceynowa was a doctor, political activist, writer, and linguist. He undertook efforts to identitfy Kashubian language, culture and traditions. He awakened Kashubian self-identity, thereby opposing both Germanisation and Prussian authority, and Polish nobility and clergy...

     (1817–1881) political activist, writer, linguist, and revolutionary
  • Günter Grass
    Günter Grass
    Günter Wilhelm Grass is a Nobel Prize-winning German author, poet, playwright, sculptor and artist.He was born in the Free City of Danzig...

     (1927- ) Nobel Prize
    Nobel Prize in Literature
    Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

    -winning German author of Kashubian descent
  • Yurek K. Hinz American computer scientist - professor
  • Zenon Kitowski
    Zenon Kitowski
    Zenon Kitowski is one of the most talented and recognized clarinet players of Poland. Born in Kartuzë , Mr. Kitowski considers himself a Kashub and although he’s lived in Warsaw since the early 1980s, he can still speak the Kashubian language...

     (1962- ) clarinet player
  • Józef Kos
    Józef Kos
    Józef Kos was one of the last surviving veterans of the First World War and one of the oldest people in Poland at the time of his death. He was an ethnic Kashubian...

     (1900–2007) World War I veteran
  • Gerard Labuda
    Gerard Labuda
    Gerard Labuda was a Polish historian whose main fields of interest were the Middle Ages and the Western Slavs. He was born in what became the Polish Corridor after World War I...

     (1916–2010) historian
  • Mark Lilla
    Mark Lilla
    Mark Lilla is an essayist and historian of ideas at Columbia University in New York City.A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, and the New York Times, he is best known for his books The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics and The Stillborn God: Religion,...

     (1956-) American writer, intellectual historian
  • Aleksander Majkowski
    Aleksander Majkowski
    Aleksander Majkowski was a Kashubian writer, poet, journalist, editor, activist, and physician. He was the most important figure in the Kashubian movement before World War II...

     (1876–1938) author, publicist, play writer, cultural activist
  • Paul Mattick
    Paul Mattick
    Paul Mattick Sr. was a Marxist political writer and social revolutionary, whose thought can be placed within the council communist and left communist traditions...

     (1904-1981) Marxist writer, social revolutionary
  • Mestwin II (1220–1294) ruler of united Eastern Pomerania
  • Paul Nipkow (1860–1940) inventor of the first television system called the nipkow disc
  • Jerzy Samp
    Jerzy Samp
    Jerzy Samp is a Polish writer, publicist and historian of the literature and culture of Pomerania and especially of the Kashubian literature...

     (1951- ) writer, publicist, historian, and social activist
  • Wawrzyniec Samp
    Wawrzyniec Samp
    Wawrzyniec Samp is a Polish sculptor and graphic artist.Samp was born in the Free City of Danzig, . He graduated from Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Sztuk Platycznych in Gdańsk in 1965, and now he has his own artstic study in the city...

     (1939- ) sculptor and graphic artist
  • Franziska Schanzkowska (1896–1984); aka Anna Anderson, impostor who claimed to be, Anastasia Romanova, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II
  • Swantopolk II (1195–1266) powerful ruler of Eastern Pomerania
  • Brunon Synak
    Brunon Synak
    Brunon Synak is a professor of sociology and a Kashubian activist. He was the chairman of Kashubian-Pomeranian Association in the period 1998-2004.-References:...

     is a professor of sociology and a Kashubian activist
  • Friedrich Bogislav von Tauentzien
    Friedrich Bogislav von Tauentzien
    Friedrich Bogislav von Tauentzien was a Prussian general who served during the wars of King Frederick the Great....

     (1710-1791), Prussian general of the Seven Years' War
  • Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel Graf Tauentzien von Wittenberg (1760-1824), Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars and namesake of Tauentzienstraße in Berlin
  • Jan Trepczyk
    Jan Trepczyk
    Jan Trepczyk was one of the most accomplished Kashubian poets, and also a song writer, a Kashubian ideologist, lexicographer, and teacher...

     (1907–1989) poet, song-writer, lexicographer and creator of the Polish-Kashubian dictionary
  • Donald Tusk
    Donald Tusk
    Donald Franciszek Tusk is a Polish politician who has been Prime Minister of Poland since 2007. He was a co-founder and is chairman of the Civic Platform party....

     (1957- ) historian, politician, leader of Platforma Obywatelska, Prime Minister of Poland
  • Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg (1759–1830) Prussia
    Prussia
    Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

    n Field Marshal
    Field Marshal
    Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

     of the Napoleonic era

See also

  • Kashubian alphabet
    Kashubian alphabet
    The Kashubian alphabet is the script of the Kashubian language, based on the Latin alphabet. The Kashubian alphabet consists of 34 letters:...

  • Kashubian language
    Kashubian language
    Kashubian or Cassubian is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages....

  • Kashubian studies
    Kashubian studies
    Kashubian studies is a philological discipline, a branch of Slavic studies, researching the language, literature, culture, and history of the Kashubians.The main centre for development of Kashubian studies is the University of Gdańsk, Poland...

  • Kaszebe from Kartuzy
  • Wilno, Ontario
    Wilno, Ontario
    The community of Wilno, Ontario is situated on the border of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards and Madawaska Valley townships in Renfrew County, Ontario.-Geography:...


Further reading

  • Borzyszkowski J.: The Kashubs, Pomerania and Gdańsk; [transl. by Tomasz Wicherkiewicz] Gdańsk : Instytut Kaszubski : Uniwersytet Gdański ; Elbląg : Elbląska Uczelnia Humanistyczno-Ekonomiczna, 2005, ISBN 83-89079-35-6
  • Obracht-Prondzyński C.: The Kashubs today : culture, language, identity; [transl. by Tomasz Wicherkiewicz] Gdańsk : Instytut Kaszubski, 2007, ISBN 978-83-89079-78-7
  • Szulist W.: Kaszubi w Ameryce : Szkice i materiały, MPiMK-P Wejherowo 2005 (English summary).

External links

http://www.zk-p.pl/ http://www.kashub.com/ (Kashubian) http://kaszubia.com/ http://www.republika.pl/modraglina/kaszlink.html
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