The Vends, a small tribe, lived in the twelfth to sixteenth centuries in the area around the town of Wenden (now Cēsis) in present-day north-central Latvia. The origin of the Vends and their language is disputed; sometimes they are associated[by whom?] with the Western Slavic Wends, while other researchers believe they spoke a Finnic language and were related to the neighboring Livonians and the Votes. The Livonian Chronicle of Henry made the first surviving mention of the Vends as they were chased away from Courland and Christianized by Germans during Livonian Crusade of 1198-1290.
Prior to their arrival in the area of Wenden in the 12th century, the Vends are believed[by whom?] to have settled in Wynda county (Latvian: Ventava) by the Venta River near the present city of Ventspils in western Latvia. Their proximity to more numerous Finnic and Baltic tribes inclined the Vends to ally with the German crusaders, who began building a stone castle near the older Vendian wooden fortress in 1207. The castle of Wenden later became the residence of the Master of the Livonian Order.
Vends may have a connection with the national flag of Latvia. The Rhyme Chronicle of Livonia (Livländische Reimchronik) states that in 1290 when the local militia was recruited to defend Riga, they came from Wenden with a red banner crossed by white, "in the manner of the Vends".'
The last known record of the Vends' existence as a distinct entity dates from the sixteenth century.
- Bojtár, Endre (1999). Foreword to the Past. Central European University Press. p. 87. ISBN 9789639116429.
- The Livonian Rhymed Chronicle Published 1977, Indiana University
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