1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Polabs
POLABS (Po =o n, Laba = Elbe), the Slavs (q v.) who dwelt upon the Elbe and eastwards to the Oder. Their chief tribes were the Vagri in Holstein, the Bodriči or Obotritae in Mecklenburg, the Ljutiči or Wiltzi in western Pomerania, the Sprevane on the Spree and the Glomači or Dalemintsi in Saxony. Except the Lithuanians they were the last Europeans to be Christianized; their chief sanctuary was at Arcona on the Isle of Rugen. They were converted and conquered by the 12th century and systematically germanized. By the 17th century Slavonic survived only in a tiny patch in the east of Hanover about Luchow, where a few words were still understood at the beginning of the 19th century. The population of the district still goes by the name of Wends (q.v.). The chief remains of the language are a paternoster, a few phrases and a short vocabulary written down by Pastor Chr. Henning (c. 1700), and the diary of J. Paruns Schultze (d. 1734). These were edited by A. Hilferding (St Petersburg, 1856), and a grammar was published there by A. Schleicher (1871). M. Porzezinski and Fr. Lorentz are the chief later authorities. Polabian agrees mostly with Polish and Kašube with its nasalized vowels and highly palatalized consonants. It had, however, long vowels and a free accent. The remains of it are most corrupt, having been written down when the language was full of Low German by people who did not know Slavonic.