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The Wends are a Slavic people from north-central Europe. The term has not historically enjoyed consistent usage, being employed specifically for one or two Slavic groups and as an over-arching term. The Franks referred to most Slavs living between the Odra and Laba as either Wends or Sorbs, while in Slavic literature these people are called Polabian slavs.

As a result, it is still difficult today to present a coherent picture of the Wends as a people. Here is one possible theory:

Wends are a sub-group of the Sorbs, a Slavic people who moved into Central Europe during the Völkerwanderung, most likely in response to pressure by the westward movement of warlike peoples such as the Huns and Avars. Some of their descendants, also called Wends or Lusatian Sorbs (\Luzicki Srbi), still live in Lusatia today, where the Sorbian language is maintained in schools.

The Kashubians, possibly a Wendish people, settled between Kolobrzeg, Slupsk and west of Gdansk in Pomerania. Many Wends were driven out of Prussia during the revolutions of 1848. The Prussian (German Imperial) government insisted that Wends living in the area give up their language in schools and other public arenas. Moreover, the Wends who wished to continue living in the Empire were compelled to practice Lutheranism. A large part of the Wendish population of Prussia emigrated to countries that welcomed immigrants as a source of cheap labor, including the United States and Australia. In the United States, the majority of Wends landed in Texas, where they became some of the earliest members of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran church.

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