The sorabos or vendos are of Slavic origin, approximately 100,000 individuals, who inhabit a small extension of the Southeast of Germany.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of vendors was in Upper Saxony (Ober-Lausitz) Saxon of about 47,000; in the Prussian, about 28,000, and in the Lower Prussian Lusatian (Nieder-Lausitz), of more than 40,000. As a total figure, and ignoring those scattered by Germany and some other southern European country, the census of 1900 yielded a figure of 117,000. Today, it is estimated that 60,000 Sorbs live in the region, divided between Upper Lusatia (two thirds) and Lower Lusatia (one third).
Lusatia (in German Lausitz, in Polish Luzyce), that means swampy depression or country of small lakes, is the territory of the sorabos or vendos. Historical region on the current border between Germany and Poland, between the rivers Oder (to the north) and Elbe (to the south), in the territory corresponding to the basins of the Spree and the Neisse. It is divided into Lower Lusatia (to the north) -in Brandenburg- and Upper Lusatia (to the south) -reparted between the German Land of Saxony and Poland.
The Lower Lusatia presents a flat landscape, with an abundance of marshy lands, sandy low fertility lands, and extensive coniferous forests. It is an important region producing lignite and iron deposits. The mineral riches gave rise to an early human settlement, documented by the so-called culture of Lusatia.
The landscape of Upper Lusatia connects with the marshy lands of the north and ascends towards the south by a granitic plateau up to the mountains of Lusatia, already in the Czech Republic. The loess soils predominate, supporting a rich intensive agriculture.
Language belonging to the western branch of the Slavic group, within the Indo-European family.
Between 15,000 and 35,000 people, all of them bilingual in Sorbian and German, still speak it in Lusatia. Despite being surrounded by German speakers for centuries, the Sorabos have retained the genuinely Slavic character of their language. Currently, the German government has established measures to favor the propagation of sorbian, since the Fundamental Law (Constitution) recognizes it as a minority language. In this way, it is a matter of local study in primary education, and it is also actively used in publications and media, despite which its existence is in serious danger.
There are two different dialects of the language: high Sorbian to the south, spoken by two thirds of the total of Lusatian around the cities of Bautzen (in Sorbio Bydyšin) and Görlitz (Zhorjelc) and low Sorbian in the north, with a third of speakers that they reside in the vicinity of Cottbus (Chośebuz). Despite occupying a geographical area that does not extend more than 90 km. from north to south, both languages are strongly differentiated. In fact, the first presents similarities with the Czech, while the second is closer to the Polish.
As for its constitution, it forms the last remaining Slavonic language in the interior of Germany. The area of expansion of the Sorbian was, at the end of the sixteenth century, almost double what it is today.
The Sorbian uses for its written representation the Latin alphabet, although with certain characters modified by diacritic signs.
One tenth of the residents of Lower Lusatia are Catholics and the rest Lutherans of the Evangelical confession. In fact, the Catholic Church has helped maintain the Sorabas language and culture after World War II.
DATA HISTORY(siglos XX-XXI)
Century X: Lusacia was incorporated to the Sacrum Germanic Roman Empire.
1013: The Poles formally annexed it by the Treaty of Bautzen.
1033: It was reconquered by the Germans and incorporated into the states of Meissen and Brandenburg.
1147: Enrique the Lion of Saxony and Alberto de Ballenstedt undertook a crusade against the vendors that culminated in the occupation of these lands.
1360-1635: Lusatia would be administered by the crown of Bohemia.
1467-90: Period of Hungarian administration.
1635: For the peace of Prague was united to the electorate of Saxony.
1815: In the congress of Vienna, the Low Lusatia was transferred to Prussia.
XIX-XIX century: An intense nationalist movement developed in the country, despite the Germanization policy programmed by Berlin.
1919: Failed attempt to achieve independence.
1945: The eastern part of Lusatia east of the Neisse River was inside Poland.
1990: After the reunification of Germany, the Sorabos tried to create an autonomous administrative unit, but the government of Helmut Kohl did not allow it.
2008: Domowina published a memorandum denouncing the conflict between the governments of Germany, Saxony and Brandenburg, which resulted in the blockade of funding to the Sorabas institutions.
Throughout the nineteenth century several newspapers were created in the Sorbian language and in 1912 a cultural organization, Domowina, was founded, but it did not culminate until after the Second World War, with the drastic interruption that meant the normalization of Sorbian the prohibition of publications in this language, imposed by the Nazi regime, and the massive deportation of sorabos.
After the war, the Sorabos were integrated into the territory of the German Democratic Republic, which guaranteed in its Constitution the cultural rights of this people, and supported the publication of newspapers and the activity of the Domowina. Since 1948 the Sorbian language and culture officially enjoy a special status.
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