Frankish Kingdom
Carolingian Dyn.

The Frisians

The Frisians stand out among the Germanic peoples, as they are documented since the early Roman period, seemingly little affected by the process of the formation of larger peoples since ca. 200.
The Frisians inhabited the low-lying coastal regions along the North Sea which constantly were threatened by inundation. They adapted by establishing their farmhouses on artificial hills (called TERP, warff or wurt).
Around the turn of the 7th to the 8th century Frisia was subdued by the Franks; missionaries such as ST. WILLIBRORD (consecrated bishop of the Frisians in 695), ST. LEBUIN, ST. BONIFACE were preaching there. In 715, the Frisians rose in revolt under DUKE RADBOD; they were subdued again in 719.
From then on, no more Frisian dukes are recorded. Southern Frisia (the region along the lower rhine) seems to have been under Frankish control; Frisian stretches further north seem to have been affected much less and have joined the Saxon rebellion against the Franks late in the 8th century. The rebellion was subdued; Frisia was fully integrated into the Frankish kingdom, the country administered by Frankish counts, ecclesiastically most of Frisia was part of the DIOCESIS OF UTRECHT, while the northeast came under the bishops of Münster repectively Bremen.
With the onset of the Viking raids in 810, Frisia soon slipped out of Frankish control again.

Frisians were active traders - they had to be, for their very wet homeland did not permit them to grow grain, staple food. They exported FRISIAN CLOTH, a prized commodity in those days, made from the wool of Frisian sheep. Frisians settled NORTH FRISIA (on the west coast of Schlesvig, then Danish) with the permission of the Kings of Denmark/Jutland, and crossing the isthm, from Hedeby ventured out into the Baltic.
DORESTAD on the lower Rhine was a major trading center; only after having been repeatedly sacked by the Vikings, it was given up.

St. Willibrord, from the Ecole Glossary, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914 edition
St. Lebuin, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914 edition
St. Boniface, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Utrecht, Archdiocesis of, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914 edition

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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