The Lusatians are descended from the Slavic Wends, and part of the population, particularly in the Spree Forest, still speaks Wendish and has preserved traditional dress and customs. The region was colonized by the Germans beginning in the 10th cent. and was constituted into the margraviates of Upper and Lower Lusatia. Both margraviates changed hands frequently among Saxony, Bohemia, and Brandenburg. In 1346 several towns of the region formed the Lusatian League and preserved considerable independence. Under the Treaty of Prague (1635) all of Lusatia passed to Saxony. The Congress of Vienna awarded (1815) Lower Lusatia and a large part of Upper Lusatia to Prussia. After World War II the Lusatian Wends (or Sorbs, as they are also called) sought unsuccessfully to obtain national recognition.
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