Definitions for vends
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The Vends were a small tribe who lived in the twelfth-sixteenth centuries in the area around the town of Wenden in what is now north-central Latvia. The origin of the Vends and their language is disputed; sometimes they are associated with the Western Slavic Wends, while other researchers believe they spoke a Baltic-Finnic language and were related to the neighboring Livonians and the Votians. The Vends were first mentioned in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia as they were chased away from Courland and Christianized by Germans during Livonian Crusade. Prior to their arrival in the area of Wenden in the 12th century, the Vends are believed to have settled in Wynda county 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 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".
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