The Polabian Slavs: A History of a Vanquished People


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The Polabian Slavs were a group of Slavic tribes who lived in the region known as Pomerania, which covered parts of modern-day Germany and Poland. They were one of the largest Slavic groups in the area and were known for their distinctive culture and language.

The Polabian Slavs were first mentioned in written sources in the 6th century AD, and by the 9th century they had established a number of important settlements along the Elbe and Oder rivers. These settlements included fortified towns and castles, as well as smaller villages and hamlets.

The Polabian Slavs had a complex social and political organization, with a system of tribal chieftains and rulers who oversaw different regions of the territory. They also had a unique religion, which included worship of natural phenomena such as the sun, moon, and stars, as well as various deities associated with agriculture and fertility.

Despite their relative isolation, the Polabian Slavs were in contact with a number of other peoples in the region, including the Germanic tribes to the west and the Baltic tribes to the north. They engaged in trade, warfare, and diplomacy with these neighboring peoples, and their culture and language were influenced by these interactions.

The Polabian Slavs were eventually conquered by the Germans in the 12th century, and their culture and language were largely assimilated into Germanic culture. However, some aspects of their legacy have survived to the present day, including the Slavic place names that are still used in the region, as well as a few surviving documents and artifacts that provide a glimpse into their fascinating history.