Volume 42, 2021

Mihai Dragnea
Pages 41-61

Crusade and Colonization in the Wendish Territories in the Early Twelfth Century
An Analysis of the So-called Magdeburg Letter of 1108

This study will consider the colonization process during the twelfth century in a new, previously undiscussed context. A frontier movement, involving expansion into and colonization of Wendish territories that had been little developed in terms of infrastructure in earlier times was accompanied by an intensification of crusading ideas from much more developed regions. This study deals with the German eastward expansion and colonization (in both theory and practice) across the Elbe in the twelfth century under the shadow of crusading ideology, as reflected in the so-called Magdeburg Letter of 1108. It also emphasizes lay colonization as one of the main factors in the process of the Europeanization of the Wends.