Lusatia


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Lusatia

(lo͞osā`shə), Ger. Lausitz, Pol. Łużyce, region of E Germany and SW Poland. It extends N from the Lusatian Mts., at the Czech border, and W from the Oder River. The hilly and fertile southern section is known as Upper Lusatia, the sandy and forested northern part as Lower Lusatia. The Lusatian Neisse separates E Germany and SW Poland. Forestry, farming, and stock raising are the chief occupations. There are lignite mines, textile mills, and glass-making factories. Bautzen, Cottbus, Görlitz, Żagań, and Zittau are the main towns.

The Lusatians are descended from the Slavic WendsWends
or Sorbs,
Slavic people (numbering about 60,000) of Brandenburg and Saxony, E Germany, in Lusatia. They speak Lusatian (also known as Sorbic or Wendish), a West Slavic language with two main dialects: Upper Lusatian, nearer to Czech, and Lower Lusatian, nearer to
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, and part of the population, particularly in the Spree Forest, still speaks Wendish and has preserved traditional dress and customs. The region was colonized by the Germans beginning in the 10th cent. and was constituted into the margraviates of Upper and Lower Lusatia. Both margraviates changed hands frequently among Saxony, Bohemia, and Brandenburg. In 1346 several towns of the region formed the Lusatian League and preserved considerable independence. Under the Treaty of Prague (1635) all of Lusatia passed to Saxony. The Congress of Vienna awarded (1815) Lower Lusatia and a large part of Upper Lusatia to Prussia. After World War II the Lusatian Wends (or Sorbs, as they are also called) sought unsuccessfully to obtain national recognition.

Lusatia

 

(Sorbian, Łuzica; German, Lausitz), a historical geographic region between the Elbe and Oder rivers, in what is now the southeastern German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The region is divided into Lower Lusatia (Dolnja Łuzica, Niederlausitz) in the north and Upper Lusatia (Hornja Łuzica, Oberlausitz) in the south; this division appeared in the 15th century, up until which time only Lower Lusatia was known as Lusatia. In the first millennium A.D., the territory was inhabited by Polabian Slavs—the Wends in the north and the Milzani in the south (the Milzani were centered mainly in Baudissin, now Bautzen, and this territory was originally called Baudissin Land); these tribes became the basis for consolidation of the Lusatian (Wendish) feudal nationality.

In the tenth century Lusatia was seized by German feudal lords, and the Lusatian, or Eastern, March (later margravate) was created in the territory of Lower Lusatia. In the 11th to 14th centuries Upper and Lower Lusatia belonged at different times to the margraves of Meissen, Poland, Bohemia, and Brandenburg; in 1320, Upper Lusatia, and in 1373, Lower Lusatia, became part of the Czech lands and together with them became in 1526 part of the Hapsburg monarchy. In 1635, Upper and Lower Lusatia became a possession of the Saxon electors, and in 1815 they were divided between Prussia (all of Lower and part of Upper Lusatia with the city of Görlitz) and Saxony (part of Upper Lusatia and the city of Bautzen). The region was colonized by the Germans; its Slavic population was partially Germanized and partially retained its language, customs, and culture. As part of the GDR, Lower Lusatia and a smaller part of Upper Lusatia are in Cottbus District, and most of Upper Lusatia is in Dresden District.

Lusatia

a region of central Europe, lying between the upper reaches of the Elbe and Oder Rivers: now mostly in E Germany, extending into SW Poland; inhabited chiefly by Sorbs
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