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Elbslawische settlement with jetty
in Oldenburg Wall Museum
(about 8 to 9 century)

The Retschanen (Slavic reka = river) (lat. Riaciani ) belong to those West Slavic tribes, in addition to the Ukranes , who settled in the area of ​​the later Uckermark , more precisely in the Southwestuckermark, and also in the northern half of today's Oberhavel district .


Albrecht the Bear, holding a crucifix, monument in the Spandau Citadel , Berlin

When the diocese of Brandenburg was founded by Otto I in 948 , the area of ​​the Retschanen and Ukranen was also added to his diocese in order to conduct missionary work in these areas . Secular rule was exercised, at least in terms of title, by margraves appointed by the emperor . In order to defend themselves against the claims to rule and attempts at proselytizing by foreign powers, the West Slavic tribes of the Kessiner , Zirzipanen , Tollenser and Redarians joined together to form the Liutizenbund , whereupon the Ukranians and Retschanen also joined the group. After the successful uprising of 983, the alliance was able to fight for freedom. Unlike parts of the West Slavic Abodrites and Pomorans , the tribes of the Liutizenbund kept their old beliefs, see Slavic Mythology .

After 1100, the Lutizenbund was in disintegration due to increasing internal conflicts, which weakened its members against external enemies. The crusade-like campaign against the " Wends " (see Wendenkreuzzug) that followed in 1147 and was approved by the Pope was finally to seal the fate of the Liutizen, including the tribe of the Retschanen. In addition to secular and spiritual German princes, Danes and Poles were also involved in the campaign. As a result, the area to the north, north-east and east outside the Retschanenland, in which the Redarians and Ukranians settled, fell to the Pomorans, who were under Polish suzerainty. The Retschanen region itself came under the rule of the Ascanian Albrechts the Bear .

Thereupon margravial ministers came to the Retschanenland, who built castles and fortified houses to strengthen the rule. On the old Slavic castle wall near Liebenwalde they built a new castle, which consequently formed the administrative center of the Retschanenland for centuries. The fortified houses Kannenburg, Jordansdorf, Vietmannsdorf and the watch tower on the Kölpinsee were built on the northern edge of the Werbellinschen Heide . On the north bank of the Finow , on the Werbellinsee and on the Grimnitzsee , the castles of the same name, each with the name Steinvorde (Steinfurt), and the castle Breden were built. In the Treaty of Landin 1250, the Uckerland, the land of the subjugated Ukranians, was finally amalgamated with the margravial property in the Retschanenland, which laid the foundation stone for the later "Uckermark". Due to the economic upswing of the Uckerland, its name also shone on the Retschanenland.

According to historian Lieselott Enders , the proportion of places with mixed Slavic-German names within the Uckermark is highest in the Retschanen area, i.e. the area of ​​the south-western Uckermark, which indicates considerable involvement of Slavic locators . For example, Bröddin bei Warthe is derived from the name Brodowin, Dargersdorf from Dargozlav, Götzkendorf - a desolate village near Lychen - from Jasko, Kröchlendorf from Grecholin, Milmersdorf from Milobrat or Mildebrath, Zlaukendorp (desolate near Zehdenick) from Zlauko / Szlauke, a short form from Slavomir, Tangersdorf from Tangomir, Teschendorf (desert near Templin) from Tesek or Teskov, Vietmannsdorf from Vitan, Wesendorf from Wesil or Zabelsdorf from Zabel. The percentage of clearly German place names is lowest in the region.

Settlement area

Reconstructed Slav village in the
Ukranenland open-air museum

Unlike the country of the Ukranians, the Retschanenland was less populated. The name of the tribe indicates that v. a. was settled on bodies of water. The settlement area is located around Templin and Lychen , on the upper reaches of the Havel between Fürstenberg and Liebenwalde and probably also around Gransee . The natural border of the tribal area was formed by v. a. Forests and wetlands, so in the north and west, later also rivers. To the southeast, the region was delimited in the same way by the Werbellinsche Heide, a huge forest area, which stretched from the Havel to the Finow and beyond Werbellinsee and Grimnitzsee.


Since the settlement area v. a. was rich in water and forests, the Retschanen obtained their main income and food from these springs. They had differentiated handicrafts and trades, as finds show. The occurrence of lawn iron stone made it possible to extract and process iron.

Web links

See also

Individual evidence

  1. See Lieselott Enders : The Uckermark. History of a Kurmark landscape from the 12th to the 18th century. 2nd edition, Berlin 2008, pp. 21-22.
  2. See ibid., Pp. 31–32.
  3. See ibid., P. 33.
  4. See ibid., P. 41.
  5. See ibid., Pp. 42–43.
  6. See ibid., P. 48.
  7. See ibid., P. 24.
  8. See ibid.