Wends
Overview
 
Wends is a historic name for West Slavs
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...

 living near Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 settlement areas. It does not refer to a homogeneous people, but to various peoples, tribes or groups depending on where and when it is used. Today, it is used either in historical contexts or as a catch-all term for Lusatian Sorbs
Sorbs
Sorbs are a Western Slavic people of Central Europe living predominantly in Lusatia, a region on the territory of Germany and Poland. In Germany they live in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. They speak the Sorbian languages - closely related to Polish and Czech - officially recognized and...

, and their descendants, like the Texas Wends.

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...

 the term "Wends" often referred to Western Slavs living within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, though not always.
Encyclopedia
Wends is a historic name for West Slavs
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...

 living near Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 settlement areas. It does not refer to a homogeneous people, but to various peoples, tribes or groups depending on where and when it is used. Today, it is used either in historical contexts or as a catch-all term for Lusatian Sorbs
Sorbs
Sorbs are a Western Slavic people of Central Europe living predominantly in Lusatia, a region on the territory of Germany and Poland. In Germany they live in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. They speak the Sorbian languages - closely related to Polish and Czech - officially recognized and...

, and their descendants, like the Texas Wends.

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...

 the term "Wends" often referred to Western Slavs living within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, though not always. Mieszko I
Mieszko I of Poland
Mieszko I , was a Duke of the Polans from about 960 until his death. A member of the Piast dynasty, he was son of Siemomysł; grandchild of Lestek; father of Bolesław I the Brave, the first crowned King of Poland; likely father of Świętosława , a Nordic Queen; and grandfather of her son, Cnut the...

, the first historical prince of Poland, also appeared as "Dagome, King of the Wends" (Old Norse: Vindakonungr). The name has also survived in Finnic languages
Finnic languages
The term Finnic languages often means the Baltic-Finnic languages, an undisputed branch of the Uralic languages. However, it is also commonly used to mean the Finno-Permic languages, a hypothetical intermediate branch that includes Baltic Finnic, or the more disputed Finno-Volgaic languages....

 ' onMouseout='HidePop("56017")' href="/topics/Karelian">Karelian
Karelian
Karelian refers to something from or related to the region of Karelia, in present-day Russia and FInland*Karelians*Karelian language*Karelian foods* Karelian pasties* Karelian hot pot* Karelian Birch, a cultivar of Betula pendula...

: Veneä) denoting Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

People termed "Wends" in the course of history

It is believed that Germanic peoples originally applied the ethnonym to the ancient Veneti, and that 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...

 they transferred it to their new easterly neighbours, the Slavs (see Relation between Veneti and Slavs for further details).

For the medieval Scandinavians
Scandinavians
Scandinavians are a group of Germanic peoples, inhabiting Scandinavia and to a lesser extent countries associated with Scandinavia, and speaking Scandinavian languages. The group includes Danes, Norwegians and Swedes, and additionally the descendants of Scandinavian settlers such as the Icelandic...

, the term Wend (Vender) meant a Slav originating from the southern shore of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 (Vendland), the term was therefore used to refer to Polabian Slavs
Polabian Slavs
Polabian Slavs - is a collective term applied to a number of Lechites tribes who lived along the Elbe river, between the Baltic Sea to the north, the Saale and the Limes Saxoniae to the west, the Ore Mountains and the Western Sudetes to the south, and Poland to the east. They have also been known...

 like Obotrites
Obotrites
The Obotrites , also commonly known as the Obodrites, Abotrites, or Abodrites, were a confederation of medieval West Slavic tribes within the territory of modern Mecklenburg and Holstein in northern Germany . For decades they were allies of Charlemagne in his wars against Germanic Saxons and Slavic...

, Rugian Slavs
Rani (Slavic tribe)
The Rani or Rujani were a West Slavic tribe based on the island of Rugia and the southwestern mainland across the Strelasund in what is today northeastern Germany....

, Veleti
Veleti
The Veleti or Wilzi were a group of medieval Lechites tribes within the territory of modern northeastern Germany; see Polabian Slavs. In common with other Slavic groups between the Elbe and Oder Rivers, they were often described by Germanic sources as Wends. In the late 10th century, they were...

/Lutici
Lutici
The Lutici were a federation of West Slavic Polabian tribes, who between the 10th and 12th centuries lived in what is now northeastern Germany. Four tribes made up the core of the federation: the Redarians , Circipanians , Kessinians and Tollensians...

 and Pomeranian tribes.

For people living in medieval Northern Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and its precursors, especially for the Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

, a Wend (Wende) was a Slav living west of the Oder River area, an area later entitled Germania Slavica
Germania Slavica
Germania Slavica is a historiographic term used since the 1950s to denote the medieval contact zone between Germans and Slavs in East Central Europe...

, settled by the Polabian
Polabian Slavs
Polabian Slavs - is a collective term applied to a number of Lechites tribes who lived along the Elbe river, between the Baltic Sea to the north, the Saale and the Limes Saxoniae to the west, the Ore Mountains and the Western Sudetes to the south, and Poland to the east. They have also been known...

 tribes (mentioned above) in the north and by others, such as the Sorbs
Sorbs
Sorbs are a Western Slavic people of Central Europe living predominantly in Lusatia, a region on the territory of Germany and Poland. In Germany they live in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. They speak the Sorbian languages - closely related to Polish and Czech - officially recognized and...

 and the Milceni
Milceni
The Milceni or Milzeni were a West Slavic tribe, who settled in the present-day Upper Lusatia region. They were first mentioned in the middle of the 9th century AD by the Bavarian Geographer, who wrote of 30 civitates which possibly had fortifications. They were gradually conquered by Germans...

, in the middle.

The Germans in the south used the term Winde instead of Wende and applied it, just as the Germans in the north, to Slavs they had contact with, e.g. Polabian
Polabian Slavs
Polabian Slavs - is a collective term applied to a number of Lechites tribes who lived along the Elbe river, between the Baltic Sea to the north, the Saale and the Limes Saxoniae to the west, the Ore Mountains and the Western Sudetes to the south, and Poland to the east. They have also been known...

 people from Bavaria Slavica or the Slovenes (the names Windic March
Windic march
The Windic march or marca Vindica was a province of the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages, corresponding more or less to modern Lower Carniola in Slovenia. In Medieval German language, the term "Windisch" was a common name for some Slavic peoples The Windic march or marca Vindica was a...

 and Windisch Feistritz
Slovenska Bistrica
Slovenska Bistrica is a town and a municipality south of Maribor in eastern Slovenia. It is one of the largest municipalities in Slovenia. Traditionally the area was part of the Lower Styria region. The municipality is now included in the Drava statistical region. The town was established in the...

 still bear testimony to this historical denomination).

Following the 8th century, the Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 kings and their successors organized nearly all Wendish land into marches
Marches
A march or mark refers to a border region similar to a frontier, such as the Welsh Marches, the borderland between England and Wales. During the Frankish Carolingian Dynasty, the word spread throughout Europe....

. This process later turned into the series of crusades. By the 12th century, all Wendish lands had become part of the Holy Roman Empire. In the course of the 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...

, which reached its peak in the 12th to 14th centuries, this land was settled by Germans
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and reorganized.

Due to the process of assimilation following German settlement, many Slavs west of the Oder adopted the German culture and language. Only some rural communities that did not have a strong admixture with Germans and continued to use West Slavic languages
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...

 were still termed Wends. With the gradual decline of the use of these local Slavic tongues, the term Wends slowly disappeared, too.

Some sources claim that in the 13th century there were actual historic people called Wends or Vends
Vends
The Vends were a small tribe who lived in the twelfth-sixteenth centuries in the area around the town of Wenden in what is now north-central Latvia...

 living as far as northern Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 (east of the Baltic Sea) around the city of Wenden
Cesis
Cēsis , is a town in Latvia located in the northern part of the Central Vidzeme Upland. Cēsis is on the Gauja River valley, and is built on a series of ridges above the river overlooking the woods below...

. Henry of Livonia (Henricus de Lettis) in his 13th-century Latin chronicle described a tribe called the Vindi.

Today, only one group of Wends still exists: the Lusatia
Lusatia
Lusatia is a historical region in Central Europe. It stretches from the Bóbr and Kwisa rivers in the east to the Elbe valley in the west, today located within the German states of Saxony and Brandenburg as well as in the Lower Silesian and Lubusz voivodeships of western Poland...

n Sorbs
Sorbs
Sorbs are a Western Slavic people of Central Europe living predominantly in Lusatia, a region on the territory of Germany and Poland. In Germany they live in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. They speak the Sorbian languages - closely related to Polish and Czech - officially recognized and...

 in present-day eastern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.

Early sources

In the third book of his Geographia
Geographia (Ptolemy)
The Geography is Ptolemy's main work besides the Almagest...

, Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 mentions the Ouenedai among other dwellers on the Baltic shore in the middle of the 2nd century CE. Some early scholars identified the Ouenedai with the Wends, however, based on linguistic facts, modern academic views now argue that the Ouenedai were ethnolinguistically different from Slavs and hence cannot be equated with Wends.

Rise (500–1000 AD)

As a part of the Slavic migrations in the first millennium, splitting the just evolved Slav ethnicity into Southern, Eastern and Western groups, some West Slavs
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...

 moved into the areas between the Elbe and Oder Rivers from east to west and from south to north. There, they assimilated the remaining Germanic population that had not left the area in 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...

. Their German neighbors adapted the term they had been using for peoples east of the Elbe River before to the Slavs, calling them Wends as they called the Venedi before and probably the Vandals also.

While the Wends were arriving in so-called Germania Slavica as large homogeneous groups, they soon divided into a variety of small tribes, with large strips of woodland separating one tribal settlement area from another. Their tribal names were derived from local place names, sometimes adopting the Germanic tradition (e.g. Heveller from Havel, Rujanes
Rani (Slavic tribe)
The Rani or Rujani were a West Slavic tribe based on the island of Rugia and the southwestern mainland across the Strelasund in what is today northeastern Germany....

 from Rugians
Rugians
"Rugi" redirects here. For the Romanian villages by this name, see Păltiniş, Caraş-Severin and Turcineşti.The Rugii, also Rugians, Rygir, Ulmerugi, or Holmrygir were an East Germanic tribe migrated from southwest Norway to Pomerania around 100 AD, and from there to the Danube River valley...

). Settlements were secured by round burghs made of wood and clay, where either people could retreat in case of a raid from the neighboring tribe or used as military strongholds or outposts.

Some tribes unified to larger, duchy-like units. E.g., the Obotrites
Obotrites
The Obotrites , also commonly known as the Obodrites, Abotrites, or Abodrites, were a confederation of medieval West Slavic tribes within the territory of modern Mecklenburg and Holstein in northern Germany . For decades they were allies of Charlemagne in his wars against Germanic Saxons and Slavic...

 evolved from the unification of the Holstein
Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

and Western Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern...

tribes led by mighty dukes known for their raids into German Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

. The Lutici
Lutici
The Lutici were a federation of West Slavic Polabian tribes, who between the 10th and 12th centuries lived in what is now northeastern Germany. Four tribes made up the core of the federation: the Redarians , Circipanians , Kessinians and Tollensians...

 were an alliance of tribes living between Obotrites and Pomeranians. They did not unify under a duke, but remained independent and had their leaders meet and decide in the temple of Rethra.

In 983, many Wend tribes participated in a great uprising against the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, which before had established Christian missions, German colonies and German administrative institutions (Marken such as Nordmark
Northern March
The Northern March or North March was created out of the division of the vast Marca Geronis in 965. It initially comprised the northern third of the Marca and was part of the territorial organisation of areas conquered from the Wends...

and Billungermark) in pagan Wendish territories. The uprising was successful and the Wends delayed Germanisation for about two centuries.

Decline (1000–1200 AD)

After that victory, Wends were under increasing pressure from Germans
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Danes
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

. The Poles invaded Pomerania several times. The Danes often raided the Baltic shores (and, in turn, were often raided by the Wends). The Holy Roman Empire and its margrave
Margrave
A margrave or margravine was a medieval hereditary nobleman with military responsibilities in a border province of a kingdom. Border provinces usually had more exposure to military incursions from the outside, compared to interior provinces, and thus a margrave usually had larger and more active...

s tried to restore their marches.

In 1068/69, a German expedition took and destroyed Rethra, one of the major pagan Wend temples. The Wendish religious center shifted to Arkona
Arkona
Arkona may refer to:* Cape Arkona on the German island of Rügen* Arkona , the Russian folk metal band* Arkona , a black metal band* Arkona, Ontario...

 thereafter. In 1124 and 1128, the Pomeranians and some Lutici
Lutici
The Lutici were a federation of West Slavic Polabian tribes, who between the 10th and 12th centuries lived in what is now northeastern Germany. Four tribes made up the core of the federation: the Redarians , Circipanians , Kessinians and Tollensians...

s were baptised. In 1147, the Wend crusade took place.

In 1168 during the Northern Crusades
Northern Crusades
The Northern Crusades or Baltic Crusades were crusades undertaken by the Christian kings of Denmark and Sweden, the German Livonian and Teutonic military orders, and their allies against the pagan peoples of Northern Europe around the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 mounted a crusade led by Bishop Absalon
Absalon
Absalon was a Danish archbishop and statesman, who was the Bishop of Roskilde from 1158 to 1192 and Archbishop of Lund from 1178 until his death. He was the foremost politician and churchfather of Denmark in the second half of the 12th century, and was the closest advisor of King Valdemar I of...

 and King Valdemar the Great
Valdemar I of Denmark
Valdemar I of Denmark , also known as Valdemar the Great, was King of Denmark from 1157 until 1182.-Biography:...

 against the Wends of Rugia
Rani (Slavic tribe)
The Rani or Rujani were a West Slavic tribe based on the island of Rugia and the southwestern mainland across the Strelasund in what is today northeastern Germany....

 in order to convert them to Christianity. They captured and destroyed Arkona
Cape Arkona
Cape Arkona is a cape on the island of Rügen in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. Cape Arkona is the tip of the Wittow peninsula, just a few kilometres north of the Jasmund National Park....

, the Wendish temple fortress, and tore down the statue of the Wendish god, Svantevit
Svetovid
Sventevith, Sventovid , Svyatovit , Svyatovid , Svyentovit , Svetovid , Suvid Sventevith, Sventovid (Russian and Bulgarian, and alternative name in Serbo-Croatian), Svyatovit (Ukrainian), Svyatovid (alternative name in Ukrainian), Svyentovit (alternative name in Ukrainian), Svetovid (Serbian,...

. With the capitulation of the Rugian Wends, the last independent pagan Wends were defeated by the surrounding Christian feudal powers.

From 12th to 14th century, German colonists were called into the Wend lands and settled there in large numbers, transforming the area from a Slavic to a Germanic culture. The settlers were called in by local dukes and monasteries to repopulate land devastated in the wars, to cultivate the large woodlands and heavy soils that have not been settled before, and to found cities as part of the "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...

" (German eastward expansion).

The German population assimilated most of the Wends, making them disappear as an ethnic minority except for parts of the Sorbs
Sorbs
Sorbs are a Western Slavic people of Central Europe living predominantly in Lusatia, a region on the territory of Germany and Poland. In Germany they live in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. They speak the Sorbian languages - closely related to Polish and Czech - officially recognized and...

. The Polabian language
Polabian language
The Polabian language is an extinct West Slavic language that was spoken by the Polabian Slavs in present-day North-Eastern Germany around the Elbe river, from which derives its name...

 survived until the beginning of the 19th century in what is now the German state of Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

. Yet, many place names and some family names in eastern Germany still are of Wendish origin today. Also, the Dukes of Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern...

, of Rügen
Rügen
Rügen is Germany's largest island. Located in the Baltic Sea, it is part of the Vorpommern-Rügen district of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.- Geography :Rügen is located off the north-eastern coast of Germany in the Baltic Sea...

 and of Pomerania
Dukes of Pomerania
- 10th and 11th century – Dukes of the Slavic Pomeranian tribes :* 1046 mention of Zemuzil * 1113 Gallus Anonymus mentions several dukes of Pomerania: Swantibor, Gniewomir, and an unnamed duke besieged in Kołobrzeg.-Duchy of Pomerania:*1121–1135 Wartislaw I*1135–1155 Ratibor I, ancestor of the...

 had Wendish ancestors.

Between 1540 and 1973, the kings of Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 were officially called king of the Swedes, the Geats and the Wends (in Latin translation king of Suiones
Suiones
The Swedes e, "one's own [tribesmen/kinsmen]"; Old English: Sweonas; , Suehans or Sueones) were an ancient North Germanic tribe in Scandinavia...

, Goths and Vandals)
(Sw. Svears, Götes och Wendes Konung). The current monarch, Carl XVI Gustaf would be able to use the same title, but chose his royal title to be simply King of Sweden (Sveriges Konung), thereby changing an age-old tradition.

Since the Middle Age, the kings of Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway is the historiographical name for a former political entity consisting of the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, including the originally Norwegian dependencies of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands...

 carried the titles King of the Wends and Goths
King of the Goths
The title of King of the Goths was for many centuries borne by both the Kings of Sweden and the Kings of Denmark, denoting sovereignty or claimed sovereignty over the antique people of the Goths....

. The use of both titles was discontinued in 1972.

Other uses

Historically, the term "Wends" has also occurred in the following contexts:
  1. Until the mid 19th-century German-speakers most commonly used the name Wenden to refer to Slovenes. With the diffusion of the term slowenisch for the Slovene language and Slowenen for Slovenes, the words windisch and Winde or Wende became derogatory in connotation. The same development could be seen in the case of the Hungarian Slovenes
    Hungarian Slovenes
    Hungarian Slovenes are an autochthonous ethnic and linguistic Slovene minority living in Hungary. The largest groups are the Rába Slovenes in the Rába Valley in western Hungary between the town of Szentgotthárd and the borders with Slovenia and Austria. They speak the Prekmurje dialect of Slovene...

     who used to be known under the name "Vends".
  2. It was also used to denote the Slovaks
    Slovaks
    The Slovaks, Slovak people, or Slovakians are a West Slavic people that primarily inhabit Slovakia and speak the Slovak language, which is closely related to the Czech language.Most Slovaks today live within the borders of the independent Slovakia...

     in German texts before ca. 1400.
  3. A Finnish
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

     historian, Matti Klinge, has speculated that the words "Wends" or "Vandals" used in Scandinavia
    Scandinavia
    Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

    n sources occasionally meant all peoples of the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea
    Baltic Sea
    The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

     from Pomerania to Finland, including some Finnic
    Finnic peoples
    The Finnic or Fennic peoples were historic ethnic groups who spoke various languages traditionally classified as Finno-Permic...

     peoples. The existence of these supposed Finnic Wends is far from clear. In the 13th century there was indeed a people called Wends or Vends
    Vends
    The Vends were a small tribe who lived in the twelfth-sixteenth centuries in the area around the town of Wenden in what is now north-central Latvia...

     living as far as northern Latvia
    Latvia
    Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

     around the city of Wenden
    Cesis
    Cēsis , is a town in Latvia located in the northern part of the Central Vidzeme Upland. Cēsis is on the Gauja River valley, and is built on a series of ridges above the river overlooking the woods below...

     and it is not known if they were indeed Slavs as their name suggests. Some researchers suspect a relationship with Finnic-speaking Votians.

See also

  • List of Medieval Slavic tribes
  • Limes Saxoniae
    Limes Saxoniae
    The Limes Saxoniae , also known as the Limes Saxonicus or Sachsenwall , was a limes or border between the Saxons and the Slavic Obotrites, established about 810 in present-day Schleswig-Holstein....

  • 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...

  • Kashubians
    Kashubians
    Kashubians/Kaszubians , also called Kashubs, Kashubes, Kaszubians, Kassubians or Cassubians, are a West Slavic ethnic group in Pomerelia, north-central Poland. Their settlement area is referred to as Kashubia ....

  • King of the Wends
    King of the Wends
    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...

  • Drevani
    Drevani
    The Drevani were a tribe of Polabian Slavs settling on the Elbe river in the area of the present-day Lüchow-Dannenberg district of Lower Saxony, Germany....

  • Wendland
    Wendland
    Wendland may refer to either of the following regions or people:*Wendland may refer to a region once inhabited by Wends, an old Germanic term for Slavic tribes living in close proximity to the Germanic tribes:...

  • Vistula Veneti
  • Slavic piracy
    Slavic piracy
    In the Baltic Sea region, groups of pirates of Slavic descent lived dating as far back as the 8th century to the 14th century.Baltic Slavs, whose agriculture was not highly developed in early 800, were in dire need of resources, since the dry islets were the only ones capable of cultivation and...

  • Wendish Crusade
    Wendish Crusade
    The Wendish Crusade was an 1147 campaign, one of the Northern Crusades and also a part of the Second Crusade, led primarily by the Kingdom of Germany inside the Holy Roman Empire and directed against the Polabian Slavs ....

  • Lechites
    Lechites
    Lechites – an ethnic and linguistic group of West Slavs, the ancestors of modern Poles and the historical Pomeranians and Polabians.-History:...


External links

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