“The onslaught on the East.” German Crusades against the Slavs XII-XIII centuries

German feudal lords did not receive anything in the Muslim East in the Crusades. Aspirations to increase their possessions they lacked – Germany seemed to them close. Therefore, while the emperors fought with Italy and quarreled with the popes, the feudal lords carried out an “onslaught on the East” – populated the lands in the Baltic States, the Baltic and Pomerania. This colonization movement was conducted under the slogan of conversion of the Gentiles to the faith of Christ. The militant zeal of the German feudal lords was supported by the popes, who sought to spread their influence in Eastern Europe.

In the XII century. German feudal lords organized several Crusades against the Slavic-obedrites, who lived east of the Elbe. On the lands of the obedrites, they formed the Mecklenburg Duchy.

They also seized the lands of the Lyutis, where they created the Markgrädde of Brandenburg. In the XIII century. in this margrave, the city of Berlin appeared.


German knights were driven from the best lands, forbade them to engage in trade and crafts in the cities, settled in separate blocks. Slavs Germanized, forgot their language and culture.

German colonization was also directed at the land of Slovenes in the Middle Danube. There the Austrian duchy was formed. The German colonialists did not pass the Czech Republic either.

At the beginning of the XIII century. The German merchant class and the Catholic clergy hammered on the Livonian lands inhabited by ancestors of modern Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians. To baptize the people there, knights from all of Catholic Europe, mostly German, formed the Order of the Sword Bearers. However, the population of the Eastern Baltic region has preserved its language and culture.

German feudal lords and Prussians, who lived between the middle reaches of the Vistula and the Neman, were engaged. They organized the Crusade against the Prussians, but failed. The Prussians resisted the conversion, but the German Order still made them Christians. For several centuries, the Prussians completely immersed, the

memory of them remained only in the name “Prussia”.

In 1237 the Teutons and Sword-swords united in one order – the Teutonic Order. He formed his state, which included almost the entire Eastern Baltic. But in 1242, in the Battle of Lake Peipsi, the Teutons suffered a crushing defeat from the Novgorodians.

At the beginning of the XIV century. The Teutonic Order seized the lands of the Eastern Pomorze right up to the Gulf of Finland. To counteract it, Poland and Lithuania united. In 1410 the Polish-Lithuanian and Russian troops routed the knights in the Battle of Grunwald, in which the Great Master of the Order died. Half a century later, the Order suffered another defeat from Poland. Surrounded in the east and west by strong states, the German feudal lords removed their colonial appetites, especially as Germany weakened at the decline of the Middle Ages.

Markgrafstvo is a borderline principality in Germany.

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“The onslaught on the East.” German Crusades against the Slavs XII-XIII centuries