West Slavs

West Slav tribes in the 9th and 10th centuries
Reconstruction of the Slavic temple in Groß Raden
West Slavic languages

The West Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples who speak the West Slavic languages.

- West Slavs

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A bilingual sign in Niesendorf/Niža Wjes near Bautzen

Sorbian languages

A bilingual sign in Niesendorf/Niža Wjes near Bautzen

The Sorbian languages (, serbska rěc) are two closely related and partially mutually intelligible languages spoken by the Sorbs, a West Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany.

Battle between the Slavs and the Scythians — painting by Viktor Vasnetsov (1881).

Early Slavs

The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies who lived during the Migration Period and the Early Middle Ages (approximately the 5th to the 10th centuries) in Central and Eastern Europe and established the foundations for the Slavic nations through the Slavic states of the High Middle Ages.

The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies who lived during the Migration Period and the Early Middle Ages (approximately the 5th to the 10th centuries) in Central and Eastern Europe and established the foundations for the Slavic nations through the Slavic states of the High Middle Ages.

Battle between the Slavs and the Scythians — painting by Viktor Vasnetsov (1881).
Distribution of Venedi (Slavic), Sarmatian (Iranian) and Germanic tribes on the frontier of the Roman empire in 125 AD. Byzantine sources describe the Veneti as the ancestors of the Sclaveni (Slavs).
Map of the Slavic homeland. Early Slavic artifacts are most often linked to the Przeworsk and Zarubintsy cultures.
Slavic language distribution, with the Prague-Penkov-Kolochin complex in pink, and the area of Slavic river names in red.
The origin and migration of Slavs in Europe in the 5th to the 10th centuries AD:
Southeastern Europe in 520, showing the Byzantine Empire under Justin I and the Ostrogothic Kingdom with Migration Period peoples along their borders.
7th-century Slavic cultures (the Prague-Penkov-Kolochin complex). The Prague and the Mogilla cultures reflect the separation of the early Western Slavs (the Sukow-Dziedzice group in the northwest may be the earliest Slavic expansion to the Baltic Sea); the Kolochin culture represents the early East Slavs; the Penkovka culture and its southwestward extension, the Ipoteşti-Cândeşti culture, demonstrate early Slavic expansion into the Balkans, which would later result in the separation of the South Slavs, associated with the Antes people of Byzantine historiography. In the Carpathian basin, the Eurasian Avars began to be Slavicized during the Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps.
Slavic ceramic pottery vessel, c. 8th century AD
Slavic fibula brooch, c. 7th century AD
Reconstruction of a Slavic hilltop Grod in Birów, Poland
Reconstruction of a Slavic settlement in Torgelow, Germany
Reconstruction of a Slavic gatehouse in Thunau am Kamp, Austria. The site excavated in the 1980s dates back to the era of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th and 10th centuries.
An example of early Slavic armor
Svetovid, a Slavic deity of war, fertility and abundance
Baška tablet found in Croatia and inscribed in Church Slavonic, records King Zvonimir's donation of land to a Benedictine abbey, c. 1100
Fresco of Saints Cyril and Methodius, both Byzantine Christian missionaries to the Southern Slavs.
Page of the Gospel of Mark from Codex Zographensis, an Old Church Slavonic manuscript written in Glagolitic script.
Map of Europe in 814 showing the distribution of the Slavic tribes and the First Bulgarian Empire in relation to the Carolingian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.

By the 12th century, they were the core population of a number of medieval Christian states: East Slavs in the Kievan Rus', South Slavs in the Bulgarian Empire, the Principality of Serbia, the Kingdom of Croatia and the Banate of Bosnia, and West Slavs in the Principality of Nitra, Great Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, and the Kingdom of Poland.

Great Moravia in the late 9th century

Great Moravia

Great Moravia in the late 9th century
Great Moravian sword from Blatnica, unearthed in the 19th century, originally interpreted as a burial equipment from a "ducal" mound
The core of Great Moravia
Principalities and lands within Great Moravia
Jewelry from a princely burial site at Kolín, 850–900 AD
Spherical gombiki from the Mikulčice Archaeological Park
Map of Moravia within East Francia in 814
A map presenting the theory of the co-existence of two principalities (Moravia and Nitra) before the 830s
Modern depiction of Rastislav as an Orthodox saint
Constantine and Methodius in Rome
Statue of Svatopluk I on Bratislava Castle, Slovakia
The papal bull Scire vos volumus of 879 addressed to Svatopluk
Icon of St Gorazd, a disciple of St Cyril and Method of Moravian origin, who was the designated successor of archbishop Method
Svatopluk I with three twigs and his three sons—Mojmír II, Svatopluk II and Predslav
Reconstruction of a Great Moravian gatehouse and ramparts in Thunau am Kamp, Austria
Foundations of a pre-Romanesque rotunda at the Great Moravian court in Ducové
Svatopluk I disguised as a monk in the court of Arnulf, King of East Francia (from the 14th-century Chronicle of Dalimil)
Church of St. Margaret of Antioch in Kopčany, Slovakia, one of remaining buildings for which the Great Moravian origin is considered
Stone foundations of a church in Valy u Mikulčic, Czech Republic
Exhibition Among the tribes and the state. Room with the Early medieval princely burial from Kolín (Starý Kolín), 850–900 AD
An example of the Glagolitic script created by Saint Cyril for the mission in Great Moravia (Baščanska ploča from Croatia). The inscribed stone slab records Croatian king Zvonimir's donation of a piece of land to a Benedictine abbey in the time of abbot Drzhiha.
A silver cross from Mikulčice

Great Moravia (Regnum Marahensium; Μεγάλη Μοραβία, Meghálī Moravía; ; Veľká Morava ; Wielkie Morawy), or simply Moravia, was the first major state that was predominantly West Slavic to emerge in the area of Central Europe, possibly including territories which are today part of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

Slavic tribes from the 7th to 9th centuries AD in Europe

Wends

Historical name for Slavs living near Germanic settlement areas.

Historical name for Slavs living near Germanic settlement areas.

Slavic tribes from the 7th to 9th centuries AD in Europe
The Limes Saxoniae border between the Saxons and the Lechites Obotrites, established about 810 in present-day Schleswig-Holstein
Germaniae veteris typus (Old Germany). Aestui, Venedi, Gythones and Ingaevones are visible on the right upper corner of the map. Edited by Willem and Joan Blaeu, 1645.
The interior of the original Lutheran Church the Wends established in Serbin, Texas, St. Paul.
This 1940 ethnic map by an Austrian scholar uses the term Windische for the population of Styria, in parallel to Slowenen elsewhere in Slovenia

In German-speaking Europe during the Middle Ages, the term "Wends" was interpreted as synonymous with "Slavs" and sporadically used in literature to refer to West Slavs and South Slavs living within the Holy Roman Empire.

The Baptism of Poland. Detail from Jan Matejko's Christianization of Poland AD 966.

Poles

For a specific analysis of the population of Poland, see Demographics of Poland

For a specific analysis of the population of Poland, see Demographics of Poland

The Baptism of Poland. Detail from Jan Matejko's Christianization of Poland AD 966.
Fragment of Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (1073) by Adam of Bremen, containing the name "Polans": "trans Oddaram sunt Polanos"
Book of Henryków. Highlighted in red is the earliest known sentence written in the Old Polish language
King Casimir III the Great welcomes the Jews to Poland (painting by Gerson, 1874).

Poles, or Polish people, are a West Slavic nation and ethnic group, who share a common history, culture, the Polish language and are identified with the country of Poland in Central Europe.

South Slavs

South Slavs are Slavic peoples who speak South Slavic languages and inhabit a contiguous region of Southeast Europe comprising the eastern Alps and the Balkan Peninsula.

South Slavs are Slavic peoples who speak South Slavic languages and inhabit a contiguous region of Southeast Europe comprising the eastern Alps and the Balkan Peninsula.

Admixture analysis of autosomal SNPs of the Balkan region in a global context on the resolution level of 7 assumed ancestral populations: the African (brown), South/West European (light blue), Asian (yellow), Middle Eastern (orange), South Asian (green), North/East European (dark blue) and beige Caucasus component.
Autosomal analysis presenting the historical contribution of different donor groups in some European populations. Polish sample was selected to represent the Slavic influence, and it is suggesting a strong and early impact in Greece (30-37%), Romania (48-57%), Bulgaria (55-59%), and Hungary (54-84%).

Geographically separated from the West Slavs and East Slavs by Austria, Hungary, Romania, and the Black Sea, the South Slavs today include Bosniaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbs, and Slovenes, respectively the main populations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Map of West-Central Europe from 919 to 1125, by William R. Shepherd. The territory of the Polabian Slavs is outlined in purple near the top, with the Obotrite and Veleti groups in white and the Sorb groups colored purple.

Polabian Slavs

Map of West-Central Europe from 919 to 1125, by William R. Shepherd. The territory of the Polabian Slavs is outlined in purple near the top, with the Obotrite and Veleti groups in white and the Sorb groups colored purple.
Polabian Slavic Tribes, green is uninhabited forested area
Reconstruction of Slavic gord in Groß Raden, Mecklenburg
Reconstruction of Slavic gord in Lusatia - Raddusch, Vetschau
The Limes Saxoniae border between the Saxons and the Lechites Obotrites, established about 810 in present-day Schleswig-Holstein
Primary source about history of Polabian Slavs - Chronica Slavorum of Helmold from the 12th century translated to Polish language by Jan Papłoński in 1862.
Danish Bishop Absalon destroys the idol of Slavic god Svantevit at Arkona in a painting by Laurits Tuxen.
Reconstruction of Slavic gord near Neubrandenburg
Reconstruction of Slavic gord at the Burgwallinsel (Gord Island)

Polabian Slavs (Połobske słowjany, Słowianie połabscy, ) is a collective term applied to a number of Lechitic (West Slavic) tribes who lived along the Elbe river in what is today eastern Germany.

Obotrites

Main territory of the Obotritic confederation
Map of the Billunger Mark (c. 1000) showing different tribes of the Obotritic confederation
Main territory of the Obotritic confederation
The Limes Saxoniae forming the border between the Saxons to the west and the Obotrites to the east
Main territory of the Obotritic confederation
Niklot (1090–1160), prince of the Obotritic confederation, Schwerin Castle

The Obotrites (Obotriti, Abodritorum, Abodritos…) or Obodrites, also spelled Abodrites (Abodriten), were a confederation of medieval West Slavic tribes within the territory of modern Mecklenburg and Holstein in northern Germany (see Polabian Slavs).

Poland under Mieszko's rule between ca. 960–992, encompassing most of the Lechitic tribes within its borders

Lechites

Poland under Mieszko's rule between ca. 960–992, encompassing most of the Lechitic tribes within its borders
The Limes Saxoniae border between the Saxons and the Lechitic Obotrites, established about 810 in present-day Schleswig-Holstein
Depiction of the legendary ruler Lech in Chronica Polonorum by chronicler Maciej Miechowita (Matthias de Miechow)

Lechites (Lechici, Lechiten), also known as the Lechitic tribes (Plemiona lechickie, Lechitische Stämme), is a name given to certain West Slavic tribes who inhabited modern-day Poland and East Germany, and were speakers of the Lechitic languages.

Duchy of Bohemia, the early form of the Czech state pictured in the 11th century within the Holy Roman Empire

Czechs

Duchy of Bohemia, the early form of the Czech state pictured in the 11th century within the Holy Roman Empire
Czech traditional costumes
Areas where Czech language is spoken
Bedřich Smetana Among his Friends, 1865; oil painting by František Dvořák
The Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha
St. John of Nepomuk (Jan Nepomucký)
Greater coat of arms of the Czech Republic shows symbols of historical lands Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia
Predecessor to Protestantism, Jan Hus

The Czechs (Češi, ; singular masculine: Čech, singular feminine: Češka ), or the Czech people (Český lid), are a West Slavic ethnic group and a nation native to the Czech Republic in Central Europe, who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and the Czech language.