Lusatia ( _de. Lausitz, _hs. Łužica, _ds. Łužyca, _pl. Łużyce, _cs. Lužice) is a historical region between the
Bóbrand Kwisarivers and the Elbe river in the eastern German states of Saxony and Brandenburg, south-western Poland( Lower Silesian Voivodeship) and the northern Czech Republic.
The name derives from a Sorbian word meaning "swamps" or "water-hole".
Upper and Lower Lusatia
Upper Lusatia ("Oberlausitz" or "Hornja Łužica") is today part of the German state of Saxony, except for a small part east of the
Neisse River, which is now Polish. It consists of hilly countryside rising in the South to the Lausitzer Bergland("Lusatian hills") near the Czech border, and then even higher to form the Lusatian Mountains("Lužické hory"/"Lausitzer Gebirge") in the Czech Republic.
Upper Lusatia is characterised by fertile soil and undulating hills as well as by historic towns and cities such as
Bautzen, Görlitz, Zittau, Löbau, Kamenz, Lubań, Bischofswerda, Herrnhut, Hoyerswerda, Bad Muskau. Many villages in the very south of Upper Lusatia contain a typical attraction of the region, the so-called "Umgebindehäuser", half-timbered-houses representing a combination of Franconian and Slavic style. Among those villages are Niedercunnersdorf, Obercunnersdorf, Wehrsdorf, Jonsdorf, Sohland an der Spree, Taubenheim, Oppach, Varnsdorf or Ebersbach.
Most of the area belonging to the German state of Brandenburg today is called Lower Lusatia ("Niederlausitz" or "Dolna Łužyca") and is characterised by forests and meadows. In the course of much of the 19th and the entire 20th century, it was shaped by the lignite industry and extensive open-pit mining. Important towns include
Cottbus, Lübben, Lübbenau, Spremberg, Finsterwalde, and Senftenberg- Zły Komorow.
Between Upper and Lower Lusatia is a region called "Grenzwall", meaning 'border-wall'. In the Middle Ages this area had dense forests, so it represented a major obstacle to civilian and military traffic. Some of the region's villages were damaged or destroyed by the open-pit lignite mining industry managed by Communist East Germany. Some, now exhausted, former open-pit mines are now being converted into artificial lakes, with much hope to attract vacationers, and the area is now being referred to as "
Lausitzer Seenland" ('Lusatian Lakeland').
Lusatia is not and was never an administrative unit. Upper and Lower Lusatia have a different but in some aspects similar history. The city of
Cottbusis the largest of the region. Historically, Luckauwas Lower Lusatia's capital. Bautzenis the historical capital of Upper Lusatia.
More than 60,000 of the Sorbian Slavic minority continue to live in the region. Historically their ancestors are the
Milceniand the Lusitzer, and not the Sorbs, that settled in the region between Elbe and Saale. Many still speak their language (though numbers are dwindling and Lower Sorbian especially is considered endangered), and road signs are usually bilingual. However, note that the number of all the inhabitants of this part of eastern Saxony is fast declining, 20% in the last 10 to 15 years. Sorbians try to protect their typical culture shown in traditional clothes and styles of villages houses. The coal industry in the region, needing vast areas of land, destroyed dozens of Lusatian villages in the past and threatens some of them even now. The Sorbian language is taught in many primary and some secondary schools and at two universities (Leipzig and Prague). Project "Witaj" ("welcome!") is a project of eight preschools where Sorbian is currently the main language for a few hundred Lusatian children.
According to the earliest records, the area was settled by Celtic tribes. Later, around 100 BC, the Germanic tribe of the Semnones settled in that area. Around AD 600 a Slavic people known as the
Milcenisettled permanently in the region. As part of the Frankish Empire under Charlemagne, the territory was administered as Gaus. With the first Poles in about 928, Germans and Poles began struggling for administration of the region. Lusatia changed hands repeatedly, belonging in turn to Samo's Empire, Great Moravia, and Czech Kingdom of Bohemia. Margrave of Lausitz Gero II, lost Lusatia in 1002, the year the Emperor Otto IIIdied, and the Polish Duke Boleslaw Itook the region in his conquests. Lusatia became part of his territory in 1018 until it was regained by the Saxon German rulers and the principalities of Meissenand Brandenburgless than twenty years later. In 1076 Emperor Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire awarded Lusatia as a fief to the Bohemian duke Vratislav II. Around 1200 large numbers of German settlers came to Lusatia, settling in the forested areas yet not settled by the Slavs. Upper Lusatia remained under Bohemian rule until the Thirty Years' Warwhen it became part of Saxony. In 1815 Upper Lusatia was divided, with the eastern part around Görlitznow belonging to Prussia. Following the LutheranReformation, Lusatia became Protestant but especially the Sorbsstayed mainly Catholic till todayFact|date=April 2008. Herrnhut, between Löbauand Zittau, founded in 1722 by religious refugees from Moraviaon the estate of Count von Zinzendorfbecame the starting point of the organized Protestant missionarymovement in 1732 and missionaries went out from the Moravian Churchin Herrnhut to all corners of the world to share the Gospel.
In 1945 the eastern part of Lusatia rejoined Saxony and in 1952, when the state of Saxony was divided into three administrative areas, Upper Lusatia became part of the Dresden administrative region. 1990 the state of Saxony was reestablished.
In 1635 most of Lusatia became a province of
Saxony, except for a region around Cottbus possessed since 1462 by Brandenburg. After the Elector of Saxony was elected king of Poland in 1697, Lusatia became strategically important as the electors-kings sought to create a land connection between their Polish and Saxon realms.
Congress of Viennain 1815, awarded most of Lusatia the Kingdom of Prussia, except for the southern part that included Löbau, Kamenz, Bautzenand Zittau, all of which remained part of Saxony. The Lusatians in Prussia demanded that their land become a distinct administrative unit (province or region/Bezirk), but it was divided between several Prussian provinces instead.
The 19th and early 20th centuries, under Prussian rule, witnessed an era of cultural revival for Slavic Lusatians. The modern languages of Upper and Lower Lusatian (or Sorbian) emerged, national literature flourished, and many national organizations like
Maćica Serbskaand Domowinawere founded.
This era came to an end during the Nazi regime in Germany, when all Sorbian-Lusatian organizations were abolished and forbidden, the newspapers and magazines closed, and any use of the Sorbian-Lusatian languages was prohibited. During
World War II, most Lusatian activists were arrested, executed, exiled or sent as political prisoners to concentration campswhere most of them died. From 1942 to 1944 the underground Lusatian National Committeewas formed and was active in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. After World War II, however, Lusatia was divided between East Germanyand Poland along the Neisse River. Poland's communist government expelled all Germans and Sorbs from the area east of the Neisse River during 1945 and 1946.
There have been endeavours by Sorbs to create a
Lusatian Free Statein the past -- particularly after World War II, when the Sorbian National Committee demanded the attachment of Lusatia to Czechoslovakiaand the Expulsion of the German majority. The Domowinahowever opposed this idea and favoured a future inside Germany. In 1950 the Sorbs obtained language and cultural autonomywithin the then East German state of Saxony. Lusatian schools and magazines were launched and the Domowina association was revived, although under increasing political control of the ruling CommunistParty. The local institutions supported the revival of regional Sorbian-Lusatian arts and culture. At the same time, the large German-speaking majority of the Upper Lusatian population kept up a considerable degree of local, 'Upper Lusatian' patriotism of its own. An attempt to establish a Upper Lusatian land within the Federal Republic of Germany failed after the German reunificationin 1990. The constitutions of Saxonyand Brandenburgguarantee cultural autonomy to the Slavic speaking communities. In 2005 Sorbian activists founded the Sorbian People's Party (Serbska Ludowa Strona - SLS).
Demographics according to the 1900 census
*Cottbus (Province of Brandenburg) 55.8%
*Hoyerswerda (Province of Silesia) 37.8%
*Bautzen (Kingdom of Saxony) 17.7%
*Rothenburg i. d. Oberlausitz (Province of Silesia) 17.2%
*Kamenz (Kingdom of Saxony) 7.1% Total number: 93,032
The number of
Sorbsin Lusatia has substantially decreased since then, due to intermarriage, cultural assimilation due to industrialization and urbanization, Nazi suppression and discrimination and after World War II the settlement of expelled Germans mainly from Lower Silesia and Northern Bohemia.
Upper Sorbian language
Lower Sorbian language
League of six towns of Upper Lusatia
Herrnhut Moravian Churchand Zinzendorf
* [http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Lausitz_map_18thC.jpgMap of Ober and Nieder-Lausitz Lusatia c 1715. (details click bottom right)]
* [http://www.hoeckmann.de/germany/map-saxony.htm Map of Saxony and Lusatia in 1789]
* [http://www.sorben.com/ski/ Sorbian Cultural Information]
* [http://www.domowina.de/ Sorbian umbrella organization "Domowina"]
* [http://www.sorben-wenden.de/ Sorbian internet portal]
* [http://www.bautzen.de/default_sorb.asp/ Bautzen, an important Sorbian town]
* [http://www.luzice.cz/ Organization "Friends of Lusatia" in Czech Republic]
* [http://prolusatia.republika.pl/00_start_1152x864.htm Polish organization "Prolusatia"]
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Look at other dictionaries:
Lusatia — ist: die lateinische und englische Bezeichnung für die Lausitz der Name eines Bautzener Verlages, siehe Lusatia Verlag der Name einer Leipziger Studentenverbindung, siehe Corps Lusatia Leipzig der Name einer ehemaligen Breslauer… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Lusatĭa — Lusatĭa, lateinischer Name für die Lausitz … Pierer's Universal-Lexikon
Lusatĭa — (neulat.), soviel wie Lausitz … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
Lusatia — Lusatĭa, lat. Name für die Lausitz … Kleines Konversations-Lexikon
Lusatia — [lo͞o sā′shə, loo sā′shē ə] region in E Germany & SW Poland … English World dictionary
Lusatia — /looh say shee euh, sheuh/, n. a region in E Germany and SW Poland, between the Elbe and Oder rivers. * * * ▪ region, Germany German Lausitz , Sorbian (Sorb) Luzia (from luz, “meadow”) central European territory of the Sorbs (Lusatians,… … Universalium
Lusatia — or German Lausitz geographical name region E Germany NW of Silesia E of the Elbe … New Collegiate Dictionary
Lusatia — noun A region in Central Europe, belonging to Germany and, to lesser extents, Poland and the Czech Republic … Wiktionary
LUSATIA — a district of Germany, between the Elbe and the Oder, originally divided into Upper and Lower, belongs partly to Saxony and partly to Prussia; it swarmed at one time with Wends … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
Lusatia — n. area of central Europe in east Germany and southwest Poland (between the Elbe and Oder rivers) … English contemporary dictionary