History of the
Sorbs (Wends)

Deutsche Version
Homepage About me Satellitephotos Family Tree Sorbs Murphy's Laws Mandelbrot Mensa Riddles Links

I collected some informations about the Sorbs and arranged them here.

Additionally some more interesting links to internet pages about the Sorbs:

The history of the Sorbs in tabular form:

by Dr. Hilza Elina (House for Sorbian Folk Culture Bautzen)

Slavonic tribes settle in the area between Elbe/Saale and Oder/Queiss.

First historical record of the Sorbs in Fredegar's Chronicle.

- The Milzeners in Upper Lausitz are the last Sorbian tribe to lose their political independence.
- Christianization of the Slav territories accompanied by policy of military conquest by the German state.

1000 - 1100:
Cultivation of land by Sorbian peasants.

Beginning of Franconian settlement by Wiprecht von Groitzsch.

-to the top-

1150 -1300:
Immigration of Franconian, Flemish, Thuringian and Saxon peasants.

13. Jh.:
- Sorbs account for over 90% of the population between Saale and Bober/Queis at the beginning of the 13th century.
- Ruling class (margraves, bishops, abbots, knights and vassals) recruited exclusively from among German conquerors.
- Conquered Sorbian territory divided into margravates.

Dresden is documentary mentioned for the first time. The today's name of the city owes to the linkselbischen village of the Sorbs on the left side of the Elbe, which was called "Drezdany" (swamp forest people).

Marienstern Monastery founded in Upper Lausitz.

1293 / 1327:
Sorbian language banned in Bernburg/S., Altenburg, Zwickau and Leipzig.

-to the top-

around 1500:
Sorbian civic oath from Bautzen/Budysin, oldest known historical Sorbian document.

Translation of "Wendish Baptismal Liturgy" -> oldest example of Sorbian church literature.

First translation of the New Testament into the Sorbian language by Miklaws Jakubica.

First printed Sorbian book: a hymnbook with catechism by Albin Moller in the Lower Sorbian language.

First printed Sorbian book in the Uper Sorbian language.

-to the top-

1618 - 1648:
Almost half of the Sorbian population lost in the Thirty Years' War -> reduction in size of the Sorbian-speaking area.

1706 / 1709:
Translation of the New Testament into Upper Sorbian by Michal Frencel and into Lower Sorbian by Bogumil Fabricius; birth of Sorbian as a written language.

Foundation of the Wendish Preachers Society "Sorabia", which is the oldest student association in Germany today.

after 1750:
- Beginnings of nationalistic consciousness among bourgeois Sorbs under the innuence of strong support from their Slavic neighbours.
- German and Sorbian philosophers of the Enlightenment take up an academic interest in the Sorbian language and culture.

The translation of Kloppstock's "Messias" into Sorbian by Jurij Mjen signals the beginning of Sorbian secular literature.

-to the top-

Publication of "Mesacne pismo k rozwucenju a k wokrewjenju", monthly journal for instruction and edification, by two Sorbian students; (banned after first issue).

1790 -1794:
Peasants' revolts in Lausitz under the influence of the French Revolution.

1809 -1812:
Publication of the journal "Serbski powedar a kurer" (Sorbian Reporter and Courier) in Bautzen/Budysin by the carpenter Jan Bohuchwar Dejka.

Reorganisation of the area of Sorbian settlement by the Congress of Vienna Administrative splitting causes the Sorbs to become a minority group in almost all districts.

Decree to further restrict the Sorbian language issued in Prussia. More liberal political situation in Saxony creates more favourable conditions for the development of the Sorbian culture and a renaissance of the Sorbian nation.

-to the top-

1841 / 1843:
Jan Arnost Smoler and Leopold Haupt publish the two-volume work, "Folk songs of the Wends in Upper and Lower Lausitz".

Handrij Zejler and Jan Arnost Smoler establish the newspaper "Tydzenska Nowina", precursor of the "Serbske Nowiny" which is published today.

First Sorbian song festival in Lausitz directed by Korla August Kocor -> Development of Sorbian national music culture.

Scienrific society "Macica Serbska" founded.

"Bramborski serbski Casnik" appears as the first newspaper in the Lower Sorbian language, a forerunner of today's "Nowy Casnik".

-to the top-

1848 /1849:
Sorbian peasants' societies formed in Upper Lausitz, demanding among other things social and national rights ("Sorbian Peasants' Petition"). Intelligentsia calls for equal rights for the Sorbian language and culture in schools, churches and courts ("Great Petition of the Sorbs" signed by 5000 heads of households).

Saxon government makes concessions regarding educational policy.

First great wave Sorb emigration to Texas and Australia, where Sorbian settlements are established.

First Sorbian theater performance in Bautzen.

General ban on the Sorbian language in the schools of Prussian Upper Lausitz.

-to the top-

around 1875:
National suppression of the Sorbs in the German Empire leads to intensified efforts to assert Sorbian culture; founding of the "Young Sorbs' Movement" under the leadership of Arnost Muka and Jakub Bart-Cisinski.

The apex of Classical Sorbian literature in the 19th century is the national epic "Nawozenja" ("The Bridegroom"), by Jakub Bart-Cisinski.

Wendish House opened in Bautzen.

1912 - 1931:
Sorbian associations participate in the founding meeting of "Domowina" in Hoyerswerda/Wojerecy, founded as the umbrella organisation for Sorbian associations.

1919 - 1932:
The Weimar constitution enables a more active cultural and political life, while on the other hand the Sorbian popular movement is kept under surveillance by the "Wend Division".

-to the top-

after 1933:
National Socialist dictatorship -> Attempted physical and psychological destruction of the Sorbian people. Sorbian teachers and priests are banished from Lausitz. Sorbian anti-fascists murdered, including Alojs Andricki (1943) and Marja Grolmusec (1944).

Domowina is banned (following its rejection of Nazi synchronilation), as are all forms of public Sorbian life.

Confiscation of the Wend House by the fascists, burnt to the ground in 1944 by the SS.

The last publication in the Sorbian language is liquidated with the banning of the "Katolski Posol".

The last Sorbian divine services are banned by the Brandenburg Consistory.

-to the top-

1945, 10. May:
Re-establishment of the Domowina as the first post-war democratic organisation in Germany.

- Publication of the Upper Sorbian newspaper "Nowa doba", today "Serbske nowiny".
- Founding of the Sorbian secondary school (later Sorbian extended secondary school Kleinwelka, today Sorbian Grammar School Bautzen).

Saxon State parliament passes "Law to preserve the rights of the Sorbian population".

Late admission of the Domowina into the Lower Lausitz (Brandenburg).

up to 1958:
Numerous Sorbian state institutions to promote the cultural life of the nation are established:
- Sorbian Institute for Teacher Training 1946
- Research Institute for the Sorbian Nation (Academy of Sciences of the GDR) 1951
- Institute of Sorbian Studies at the University of Leipzig 1952
- Sorbian National Arts Ensemble 1952
- Sorbian secondary school 1952 in Cottbus/Chosebuz (today Lower Sorbian Grammar School)
- Sorbian Department of the GDR Broadcasting Authority 1953
- Institute of Sorbian National Art 1956
- Sorbian Museum 1957 (continuation of the "Wendish Museum" which was established in 1904 and confiscated by the Fascists in 1941)
- Domowina publishing company 1958

-to the top-

- Inauguration of the Sorbian House which was rebuilt in 1947.
- Sorbian intellectuals and farmers protest against the increasing industrialisation of Lausitz and call for the preservation of the unique scenery and culture of the area of Sorbian settlement, extensive coal mining destroys Sorbian villages and their surrounding areas (in particular the district of Hoyerswerda, the Schleife region in the district of Wei▀wasser and the district of Cottbus Land).

Reorganisation of Sorbian school teaching leads to drastic reduction in the number of pupils attending Sorbian language lessons.

1966 - 1989:
Seven Festivals of Sorbian Culture were on the one hand a factor in the development of Sorbian professional and national culture, while on the other hand the ruling SED party used them to demonstrate their "successful nationalities policy" and the Sorbs' allegiance to the GDR. By doing so, it attempted to conceal the drastic reduction in the national substance of the Sorbs.

1989, 11. November:
"Sorbian National Assembly", which stands in opposition to the "socialist" Domowina, calls for national dialogue and demands fundamental change in the Domowina organisation. Sorbian Round Table formulates the standpoints of the Sorbs' representatives and prepares the transformation process for the Domowina organisation.

1990, 17. March:
Extraordinary national congress of the Domowina, delegates elect a new leadership for the organisation and declare their support for German unification in a resolution Memorandum in the records of the Unification Treaty stipulates protection and promotion of the Sorbian language and culture.

-to the top-

The Wendish House opened in Cottbus/Chosebuz.

- Reconstitution of Domowina as the umbrella organisation for Sorbian associations.
- Establishment of the Foundation fothe Sorbian People to support the national and cultural development of the Sorbs.

1992, 19. April:
First Sorbian television production - a monthly half-hourly magazine programme - is broadcast by Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg.

Brandenburger federal state parliament decides the "Law for the arrangement of the rights of the Sorbs (Wends) in the state Brandenburg".

Twice a month the little Sandman is shown in Sorbian in the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk.

-to the top-

In case of questions or suggestions just write an Email to me.