« PreviousContinue »
descriptive of Albrecht's colonizing policy which is so excellent that it is here translated:
In that time (ca. 1157) the margrave Adelbert, surnamed the Bear, had possession of eastern Slavia, who by God's care over him very greatly prospered in his lot. For he conquered [misit sub jugum] all the territory of the Brizani," Stoderani,3 and many other tribes dwelling along the Havel and the Elbe, and overcame those of them in rebellion. Finally, as the Slavs gradually disappeared [deficientibus sensim Slavis], he sent to Utrecht and the regions of the [lower] Rhine, as well as to those peoples who live near the ocean and suffer the violence of the sea [patiebantur vim maris], namely, Hollanders, Zealanders, Flemings, and brought a great multitude of them and caused them to dwell in the towns and villages of the Slavs.
He greatly furthered the immigration of settlers [advenae] into the bishoprics of Brandenburg and Havelberg, because the churches multiplied there and the value of the tithes greatly increased.5
In this time Dutch settlers began to occupy the east bank of the Elbe. From the city of Salzwedel these Hollanders settled all the marsh and meadow land [terram palustrem atque campestrem] which is called Balsemerlande and Marscinerlande, being very many towns and villages as far as the Bohemian frontier. The Saxons are said formerly [olim] to have inhabited these lands
'Helmold's phrase is in funiculo sortis.
The figure is derived from the method
of surveying land by measuring it off with a rope.
The Brizani wete one of the small tribes belonging to the Baltic branch of the Slavs; they dwelt near Havelberg (Riedel, Der Mark Brandenburg, 271 f.).
3 A similar tribe in the same region (Riedel, 306 f.).
4 Albrecht the Bear recovered Brandenburg (the city) in 1157.
s For the terrible burden of the tithe imposed upon the conquered Wends see my article, "The German Church and the Conversion of the Baltic Slavs," op. cit., 210-17, 224, 386.
Balsemerlande, Pagus Belxa, was the territory around Stendal in the diocese of Halberstadt. Marscinerlande is supposed to have been between Arnesburg and Werben, but Rudolph, op. cit., 37, has questioned it.
7 Helmold's words are usque ad saltum Boemicum. In chap. 80, 150, he uses the same phrase. Whether Helmold, who lived in Holstein, knew the difference between the Boehmerwald and the Erzgebirge may be doubted. Dehio, Brem. Jahrb., VI, 85 f., thinks the phrase refers to the Erzgebirge; Rudolph, op. cit., 37, to the Boehmerwald. Schmiedler, the last editor of Helmold, is sure that the latter is not meant, and not certain that it applies to the former. I have translated the word saltum as "frontier," which, while not an exact rendering of the word, is sufficiently indefinite to express the hazy state of Helmold's mind.
in the time of the Ottos, as can still be seen in the remains of old levees which had buttressed the banks of the Elbe in the swampy land of the Balsami. But afterward, when the Slavs prevailed' the Saxons were killed and the territory has been possessed by the Slavs until our time. But now, because God has generously given health and victory to our duke and the other princes, the Slavs everywhere have been worn down [protriti] and driven out, and peoples "strong and without number" have been brought in from the borders of the sea,3 and have taken possession of the fields [terminos], and have built towns and churches and increased in wealth beyond all expectation.
Albrecht the Bear seems to have preferred the agency of others in promoting lowlander colonization of his territories to direct enterprise by himself. His favorite agencies were the Cistercians and the Praemonstratensians. In 1159 Abbot Arnold of Ballenstadt purchased two localities "formerly possessed by the Slavs" from the margrave, and sold holdings in them to "certain Flemings who had petitioned permission to occupy them and to preserve their own law."4 In 1170 Otto of Brandenburg gave two Dörfer, Dalchau and Drusedow, to the Johannite Order, which had been settled by Hollanders during his father's lifetime.5
In the Weser region the initiative begun by Frederick of Bremen was continued by later archbishops. In 1158 Archbishop Hartwig I established a colony of Hollanders on the Ochtum, a small affluent of the Weser. In 1170 Friedrich von Machenstedt, founder of the monastery of Heiligenrode, southwest of Bremen, received permission from his successor, Archbishop Baldwin, to settle the swamp lands between Brinkum and Machenstedt, west of the Ochtum, with Hollanders. This example is interesting because Baldwin himself was a Hollander by birth, and in 1178 returned to his native land as bishop of Utrecht, over which he ruled until his death in 1196.
In Saxony the precedent of Dutch and Flemish colonization, which Adolph of Holstein was the earliest of the lay nobles of
* Helmold, I, chaps. 12 and 18.
This refers to the great Slav rebellion in 1066. See, for details, my article on "The German Church and the Conversion of the Baltic Slavs," op. cit., 228-30.
Germany to introduce, was followed by Henry the Lion, whose intelligent rule owes more to Adolph's example than his biographers have admitted. After all but the last remnants of the wretched Obodrite population were driven out of Mecklenburg in 1160, by a joint expedition of Henry and King Waldemar of Denmark, hundreds of lowlanders were imported into the bottom lands around Mecklenburg and Ratzeburg.'
As the end of the twelfth century approaches there is a noticeable falling off in Dutch and Flemish immigration into Lower Germany. How far this decline was due to the great revolution made in North Germany by the fall of Henry the Lion in 1181, or to the growing prosperity of the Low Countries, which, as every scholar knows, reached a high degree of economic development at this time, it does not seem possible to determine. One factor in "slowing down" this immigration perhaps may be found in this, that as the Weser and Elbe marshes increasingly became settled, the next available tracts, in the basin of the Oder, were so far away from the source of immigrant supply that it required unusual activity and unusually favorable terms to induce new settlers to go so far. Probably also the fact that the best marsh lands by 1200 had been taken up had its influence. What remained unoccupied was so huge and so hopelessly miry that simple peasants had neither the capital nor the engineering means to undertake its reclamation. Such enormous tracts of swamp as the Goldene Aue could be successfully drained only by corporate enterprise like that of the Cistercians.
Whatever the reasons, it is certain that there are proportionally fewer examples of the establishment of colonies of Dutch or Flemish in Lower Germany after 1180 than before that date. Hartwig II of Bremen in 1201 established a colony of Hollanders near Bremen, but it is noteworthy that exceedingly attractive terms were required to prevail upon them to come."
1 Heinemann, 227; Henry the Lion founded a colony of Hollanders in 1164 around Erteneburg (Meitzen, III, 358).
• Meitzen, II, 350–51; Kretschmer, 368; Knüll, 7-8; Lamprecht, III, 326; Kötzschke, Das Unternehmertum in der ostdeutschen Kolonisation des Mittelalters (Bautzen, 1894), 5-8. It is unfortunate that Kötzschke has not included this record in his Quellen.
By the beginning of the thirteenth century the Hinterland of mediaeval Germany was not the valley of the Elbe, but the valley of the Oder. The "Far" East of earlier Germany had now become the "Middle" East,' and Breslau had taken the place of Magdeburg and Brandenburg as a frontier city. In the thirteenth century Silesia and the territory of Lebus in farther Brandenburg, where the March touched the Oder, not the bottom lands of the Weser and the Elbe, not lower Saxony and Mecklenburg, were the parts of Germany whither the tide of overflow population from the Low Countries directed itself. In Lebus, where the population still was heavily Slavonic (it was the ancient land of the Leubuzzi), the local house was very active in attracting colonists from Flanders and Eastphalia, from Hesse and Thuringia. In the thirty-five years between 1204-39 it is said that over 160,000 acres of waste or bottom land was redeemed by them. In lower Silesia, where the people were Polish in blood, there was a great influx of German colonists in the time of Boleslav the Tall and his son Conrad, who seem chiefly to have come from Westphalia, and it may be surmised that most of the Flemish immigrants who entered Silesia came into the country in the wake of these. Zedlitz, west of the Oder near Steinau, seems to have been one of these settlements, and Pogel near Wohlau certainly was a Flemish colony.3
In general, it may be said that east of the Elbe River the Cistercian monks and the Praemonstratensian canons were more active in furthering lowlander immigration than either the bishops or the feudal nobles, while as to Prussia, the whole exploitation of
Professor F. J. Turner has made this distinction classic for the history of the American frontier between the "Old West," the "New West," and the "Far West," and I have applied it here.
2 Fisher, Mediaeval Empire, II, 16. I do not know upon what authority he depends for this statement.
In the middle of the twelfth century the Augustins of Breslau brought a colony of Walloons into the Altmark (Grünhagen, Les colonies wallones de Silesie, Brussels, 1867), and later some serfs from Namur are found in Silesia. The Walloon immigration into Silesia preceded that of the Flemings, but they were never numerous. Their coming was rather an infiltration than a migration. Since Grünhagen's study, Levison (Zur Gesch. des Bischofs Walter von Breslau, 1149-1169, Zeitschrift des Vereins für Gesch. und Altertum Schlesiens, XXV , 353-57) has thrown new light upon this obscure Walloon population. Cf. Pirenne, Histoire de Bélgique, I, 138, n. 3.
the land was in the hands of the Teutonic Order. The colonizing work of the two former is a subject which will be taken up in another article, and the activities of the great military order of the north territorially fall outside of Germany proper.
As to Dutch and Flemish immigration into Southwestern Germany, there is little to be written. Leopold VI of Austria in 1106 issued a charter bestowing certain rights and liberties upon burgenses nostros qui apud nos Flandrenses nuncupatur in civitate nostra Wiena. But the intensely mountainous nature of much of the Austrian and Hungarian lands repelled settlers who were used to a fen country. The Erzgebirge and the Carpathians had more attraction for Saxon miners from the Harz than for them. There is no evidence of organized or group colonization by Flemings or Dutch in Southeastern Europe. The few lowlanders found in Vienna or Hermannstadt probably percolated into the country individually or at the most in family groups.2
It was natural that the changes and new conditions here outlined should develop new institutions. Almost from the very inception of the movement it acquired an organized character. The joint proclamation issued in 1108 by Adolph of Holstein and other Saxon nobles is an indication of this. The mechanism of both feudal and ecclesiastical government was early used to promote and govern the movement of Dutch and Flemish colonization in mediaeval Germany. In the rivalry between the two forms that of the church was superior to that of the secular nobles; and of the two branches of the clergy the system of the Cistercian Order was superior to all.
One of the earliest and most influential institutions that developed was the office and profession of "promoter" or locator. Usually he was a bailiff or steward of the feudal domains of some prince or prelate, who as agent of the lord surveyed the tract
'This valuable charter is reprinted from Herrgott, Monumenta domus Austriacae, etc. (1750-72), in Reich, Select Documents Illustrating Med. and Mod. History, 264–65. Kaindl, op. cit, II, 206–10, has summarized the information to be found. For other special literature see Schwind-Dopsch, Urkunden zur Verfassungsgesch. d. deutschoesterr. Erblande (Innsbruck, 1895), 38.
2 Kötzschke, 53A; Archiv f. Kunde Oest. Geschichtsq., X, 92; Huber, Gesch. Oesterreich, I, 488.