Gradual spread of German settlements to the east was observed in the VIII century. and significantly intensified in the XII century, when, as a result of a long and brutal struggle, the German feudal lords captured the territories of the Polabian Slavs – the obedrites and the Lyutichs.
The Margrave of Brandenburg, the Duchies of Mecklenburg and Pomerania was formed on the occupied lands of Polabia. In the zone of colonization, the cities of Lübeck, Berlin, etc. were founded and upset. In the 13th century, German settlements existed already in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
At the same time, German colonization covered the lands of the Eastern Baltic, where the pagan tribes of Livs, Letts, Ests, Prussians lived. First here came the Bremen and Lyubetsk merchants,
The German feudal lords conquered the Baltic territories with the power of the knightly and monastic order “Brothers of the Knighthood of Christ from Livonia”. The Knights of the Order were of German origin, wore white cloaks depicting a cross and a red sword. Having established themselves in Livonia, they began preparations for the conquest of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but in 1236 they were defeated by Lithuanians.
In the XIII century. The knights of the Teutonic Order seized the land of the Prussians and created on them a small but strong and well-organized state.
The Teutonic knights tried to penetrate the Russian lands. But the princes valiantly defended their lands.
In 1238 the Galician-Volyn Prince Danilo Romanovich together with his brother Vasilko defeated the German knights in the Battle of Dorogichin. And in 1242 the army of the Novgorod prince Alexander Nevsky defeated them in battle on the ice of Lake Peipsi.
The defeat put an end to the subsequent advance of the Germans to Russia. However, later German knights began to attack the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. At the beginning of the XIV century. The Teutonic Order seized the lands west of the Vistula, which seriously complicated its relations with the Polish kingdom. Much “calmer” the Germans colonized the Danube region.