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Alemanni

Alemanni (ălĭmănˈĪ) [key], Germanic tribe, a splinter group of the Suebi (see Germans). The Alemanni may have been a confederation of smaller tribes. First mentioned (A.D. 213) as unsuccessfully assaulting the Romans between the Elbe and the Danube, they later settled (3d cent.) in upper Italy. By the 5th cent. they occupied territories on both sides of the Rhine south of its junction with the Main (present Alsace, Baden, and NE Switzerland). Their westward expansion brought them into conflict with the Franks, whose king Clovis I defeated them in 496. In 505 he forced them to retire into Rhaetia, and in 536 they passed under Frankish rule. By the 7th cent. they had accepted Christianity. Swabia is also known as Alamannia, and the High German dialects of SW Germany and Switzerland are called Alemannic. In French speech the name Allemands came to signify all Germans.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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