HISTORY OF THE FRISIAN FOLK PART TWO - ( 785A.D. - 1498A.D.) The Frankish-period (785 A.D - 925 A.D.) Charlemagne ruled his Frankish Empire in a strong centralized manner. Frisians had to serve in his armies. They served under the Franks in the war against the Wilts (789 A.D.) and against the Avars (791 A.D.). When in 800 A.D. the first Scandinavian Viking attacks upon Friesland under Carolinian rule start, the Frisians are discharged from military service abroad. Instead they are left to organize their defenses against the Heathen Vikings. After Charlemagne defeated the Saxons in 785 A.D., the Frankish Empire bordered in the north to the Danish Empire. The Danes were very well aware of the terrible atrocities Charlemagne, in name of the Church, had inflicted on their Heathen kinfolk the Frisians and the Saxons. The Danish/Viking raids on Charlemagne's empire and on the wealthy churches and monasteries in it can be seen as a heathen reprisal. Next to the Franco/Christian invaders, another enemy of the Frisians reared its ugly head. In the Christmas of 838 A.D. an enormous storm flood flooded nearly all of Friesland, drowning lots of people and livestock.   FRIESLAND COUNTY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE  (749 - 840 AD) After Charlemagne victory in 785 A. D. the entire Frisian Empire became a county of the Frankish Empire. As seen before the grandson of the legendary Redbad, Abba, became the first Frisian count under Frankish rule (749 - 775 A.D.) over Friesland west of the Lauwers. The two main duties of a count were: to maintain the rule of law, and to organize the conscripts for the Frankish armies. From 734 until 1100 A.D. Frankish Emperors (and after them German Kings) have been represented by counts. These counts were feudal tenants. Very little is known about these counts. East-, West- and Middle Friesland have probably each had their own count. The counts of Friesland we know by name: o 754 count Abba (Boppa) is leader of the building of the Bonifatius Church in Dokkum o 791 count Diderik (Durk) leads the Frisians in the Frankish struggle against the Avars o 839 count Gerlof sides with the rebellious son of the Frank Louis the Pious o 873 count Aibdag defeats Vikings (Rudolf) in Westergo o 885 count Gerdolf is present at the murder of Godfried the Norwegian Count Gerlof is the father of Diderik I, the count of Holland, and of count Waltger in Teisterbant. The sons of count Waltger are named "Redbad" and "Poppa". These names highlight the fact that the counts in Friesland are Redbadings (kindred of Redbad). The counts of Middle Friesland: o 966 count Egbert of the Brunoanen dynasty; which by marriage and inheritance get Middle Friesland o 1038 count Liudolf of the Brunswik dynasty dies o 1038-1057 Bruno count of Middle Friesland o 1057-1068 Egbert I count of Middle Friesland o 1068-1088 Egbert II count of Middle Friesland The counts of West Friesland: o 885 count Gerlof o 922 count Diderik I (Durk I); for the first time this dynasty is called "House of Holland" count Diderik II       (Durk II) o 993 count Arnulf dies in battle with West Frisians, count Durk III beats the army of emperor Hendrik II o 1049 count Durk IV is killed o 1049-1061 Count Floris I is killed 1076 Count Durk V; County Holland is born (also trough Flemish influences), and Count Durk V and his County Holland become the antagonists of West- and Middle Friesland. In East Friesland there is nearly no trace of counts. Frankish Christianity (688 - 734/785 A.D.) The converting of Heathens to Christianity could only be realized in areas that were under Frankish rule. West Lauwers Friesland became a Frankish county in 734 A.D. The entire Frisian Empire came under Frankish rule in 785 A.D. The Christianization of Friesland started in 688 A.D. when Wigbert preached in Friesland and was completed in 800 A.D. when Friesland was firmly in the grip of Frankish ruler Charlemange. In 800 A.D. the Friesians "seem" to be converted. But only the ruling elite (the counts and other Frankish vassals) has become Catholic. Large portions of the population are still heathen, and will remain for a long time. But the voices of the Frisian Heathen priests and Frisian skalds of the epic poems (in the likes of Beowulf) are silenced. Thereby the chain of the oral tradition that connects the Frisians with their heathen past is broken, and Christianity -in the end-wins. Some (tragic) dates: o 688 A.D. Wigbert preaches in Friesland o 690 - 754 Willibrord and Bonifatius preach o 770-789 Willehad preaches 775 Liudger (a Frisian) preaches 800 A.D. Friesland has Christian social structures (diocese in Utrecht) but, the larger part of the population remains heathen. Highlights in Heathen terms are: o In 714-719 A.D. when Willibrord flees Utrecht after Redbad conquers the city; o In when 754 A.D. Bonifatius is killed in Dokkum; o In 782 A.D. when Liudger flees for Saxo-Frisian uprising under Widukind. In 793 A.D. Liudger meets the only Frisian skald known by name "Bernlef". Bernlef sang epic songs of the Frisian Heroic Age (like Beowulf). VIKING RAIDS AND DANISH RULE  (800 - 1014 A.D.) In 807 A.D. a war starts between Charlemagne and the Danish king Godfried. Godfried raids Friesland with a fleet of 200 ships, mocking the Frankish defenses. Shortly after Godfried dies (810 A. D.). After Godfrieds death, the Danish raids concentrate mostly on the British Isles and less upon Friesland. After the death of the Frankish emperor Lewis the Pious in 840 A.D., the Carolinian defense of Friesland had collapsed. Since there was no Frisian King to organize a defensive force, the Danish raids on this Carolinian outpost intensified. And in the rest of the 9th century the Frisians frequently lived under Danish rule and had to pay taxes to the Danish feudal-tenants. The Danes forced the weakened Carolinian Kings to give them Friesland as a feudal estate. Feudal tenants in Friesland were: o     Harald (840 - 844 A.D.) o Rorik and Godfried (844 - 857 A.D.) o Rorik (a Christian) (862 -872 A.D.) o Godfried (881 - 885 A.D.) In 885 the last Scandinavian ruler of Friesland, Godfried the Norwegian, is murdered and the ruling Danes are evicted from Friesland by the Frisians. The great tidal waves of Heathenistic Viking raids (sometimes accompanied with occupation) in Friesland, had come to an end. Smaller raids still took place until 1014 A.D. when the Christian Knut the Great became king of Denmark, Norway and England. THE GERMAN PERIOD (925 A.D. - 1498 A.D.) In 843 A.D. Lotharius II became ruler of Friesland. In 925 A.D. most of the Lotharingian rulers accepted Henry I of Germany as king. Friesland became part of the "Heilige römische Reich deutscher Nation". The executive power was, until 1217 A.D., in hands of feudal tenants (counts). After 1217 A.D. Middle-Friesland did not have a count, no feudal tenant, almost no knights, no slaves and a few cities. They were a people of farmers, fishermen and bargemen. Since there was no overruling authority, everywhere indigenous administrative organs developed. It was a booming period; agriculture and trade flourished and raised it prosperity. Frisian cities joined the "Hanze" (West- European trade alliance). But already dark clouds were drifting over, which would eventually (1498 A.D.) end the Frisian Freedom. Dyke Building (starts ± 1000 A.D.) After the terpbuilding, which was in fact a defensive measure against the sea level rising, the Frisians went on the offensive and started taking land out of the reach of the sea by dike building. Around 1000 A.D. larger parts of land were surrounded by dykes. This happened in Friesland on both sides of the Lauwers. Between 1000 and 1100 A. D. large parts of Friesland were protected by dykes, and there were extensive regulations concerning maintenance of dykes and watering sluices. These first dykes had a height of 1, 50 meters above field level. Behind the dyke there were roads with a width of approximately 4 meters, so that in case of an emergency two wagons could pass one and-other. In terms of total earth movement necessary for the dyke building one can speak of a world wonder. These large dyke building projects were first organized by so called 'skeltas'. In the 13th century the dykes became the responsibility of 'grietmannen' and 'asegas'. Despite the dyke building there were frequently storm floods that broke the dykes and flooded Frisian lands with all the tragic consequences. Opstalboom (± 1000 - 1327 A.D.) To the southwest of Aurich in East-Friesland, on a burial mound dating from the Bronze Age lies a place called the Opstalboom (Opstalboom; Upstallboom; Upstalesbame (Old Frisian)). In the 11th, 12th and 13th an alliance called the "Opstalboom" gathered on the burial mound. The alliance consisted of representatives of the 7 "Zeelanden" (lands by the sea). These representatives gathered once a year (on the Tuesday after Whit Sunday) and they drew up rules of law and. The alliance also joined forces if one of the individual of the 7 members was attacked. STRUGGLE AGAINST THE DUTCH COUNTS (993 - 26 September 1345 A.D.) ("Battle at Warns")The end of the West-Frisian freedom. After the period of the Scandinavian/Viking rule, the counts of the "House of Holland" become the ruling elite in the lands along the North Sea south of West-Friesland. These counts of the house of Holland were of Frisian origin. But after the birth of the province Holland in 1075 A.D. the Frankish influences dominated the Frisian. At this time a deep rift developed between the Frisians in West-Friesland and the counts of Holland. Several attempts were made by these counts to forcefully submit the West-Frisians. Count Arnuif: undertakes a military expedition; he gets killed in 993 A.D. Count Willem ll attacks West-Friesland in the winter of 1256 A.D. he falls through the ice while on horseback and is beaten to death by Frisians. Floris V, son of Willem II, is bent on revenging his father's death and attacks and defeats West Friesland. Around 1200 Frisians die in battle. The de-Friezing of West-Friesland starts. After the death of Floris V the West-Frisians arise again against Jan I. His successor, Jan II, defeated the West-Frisian uprising, killing 3000 Frisians. Middle- Friesland set troops to abide the West-Frisians, but they came too late. West-Friesians lost their freedom, and in the coming centuries also the Frisian language (their mother tongue) Battle of Warns After the defeat of West-Friesland, the counts of Holland set their eye on Middle-Friesland. In 1345 A.D. count Willem IV sets out on a military expedition to conquer Middle-Friesland. With a large fleet and with the help of French and Flemish knights he sailed over the "Zuiderzee". The approach of the aggressor united the Frisian fractions (the Upstallboom played a role in this unification). On 26 September 1345 A.D. Friesland had its finest hour. Willem IV and the cream of the Hollandish, Flemish and French knights were in the forefront of their army, and near Warns they were surrounded by Frisian land folk and beaten to death. In disarray the rest of the army fled, leaving the body of Willem IV behind. The 26 of September became an annual festive day in Middle-Friesland. SCHIERINGERS AND VETKOPERS (1217 - 1489 A.D.) In 1392 we first hear of the "Schieringers" and the "Vetkopers". These two infamous names indicate the end of the Frisian freedom. It came from the Frisian heart itself. The Schieringers and the Vetkopers were two rivaling parties of Frisian origin. They led Friesland into a civil war. Village fought against village, stins against stins and son against father. It was Friesland darkest hour, and it started in 1217 A.D. At this time the rule of Charlemagnian counts in Middle Friesland ends. This results in the lack of one overruling authority eventually resulting in a severe weakening of law and order. The power of the civil service no longer came from above, but out of the community itself. The result of this was that the Grietman (judge) did not have anybody of authority to support him in his actions against disobedient people. In the 14th century this resulted in the partisanship of the Schieringers and Vetkopers. The Frisians remained in this stalemate because of a character trait; there strong individuality. Their personal freedom was more valuable than the freedom of the people as a whole. In 1489 A.D. the aid of a foreign authority, Albrecht of Saxony, was accepted to end the catastrophic partisanship. Thus ending the Frisian freedom! End of the Frisian freedom (1498 A.D.) Albrecht of Saxony, on request of the Schieringers, created a centralist authority and installing Saxon civil servants. Law and order returned to Middle-Friesland, but culturally Middle Friesland impoverishes. The language of civil service is German, which results in the de Friesing of most cities. The de-Friesing was also hastened because after reformation in the 16th century the Bible and the preaching in churches was in Low German language only. A little about the Friesian Horses Friesian horses, are one of the oldest breeds in Europe. Today they are mainly found in the  province of Friesland, where they are bred in the so-called meadow districts and in sandy soil areas. The Friesian horse is unique. It developed from a very old breed which was inherent to all of Western Europe. It's the only horse native to Holland. Historically speaking, the Friesian horse has been influenced by eastern bloodlines and has often been threatened with extinction. Armored knights found the Friesian Horse very desirable, having the strength, courage and heart to carry great weight and still maneuver precisely in the face of the enemy.  The Friesian was used as a war horse by Friesian Soldiers fighting with the Roman Armies. Hungarian King Louis II used a Friesian Stallion on the battlefield on June 15, 1526. THE FRISIAN LANGUAGE One of the most important cultural expressions of a people is their language. The Frisians mother tongue is 'Frisian'. Frisian is a 'Germanic' language. The Germanic languages can be divided in North, East and West Germanic. Frisian belongs to the 'West Germanic' language group. Other languages belonging to this group are High-low German, Dutch and English. Of these four languages Frisian is the closest in relation to English. Frisian, High and Low German, Dutch and English can also be classified as Inguaeonish languages. They have a common origin. In the 8th century A.D. Frisian starts to set itself apart from the other Inguaonish languages. This is the birth of the Frisian language. In the 8th century the Frisian language is spoken in the coastal areas from Holland up to Denmark. As any language, Frisian started to develop dialects. Three dialects can be distinguished: East, North and West Frisian. East Frisian In the 13th century East Frisian was spoken by the people who lived in an area between Lauwers and Weser and on the East Friesian Isles. Today it is spoken only by a thousand people in a small area called Saterland (near Oldenburg). North Frisian North Frisian was spoken in an area on the North Sea coast on the Danish /German border. Today it's spoken by about ten thousand people on the islands Amrum, Sylt, Four, the Hallingen and on the mainland of Sleeswijk. Today there are about 10.000 people in Germany who consider themselves to be Frisians first and German second. West Frisian Currently West Frisian is spoken by about 450.000 people in what is known as the province Fryslân in the Netherlands. The Frisian language has a long history of suppression by the Dutch government, and only in 1980 did it become a regular course on primary schools in Friesland (Dutch is still the first language). There is a lively literary and musical scene. Unlike English, which is a Germanic/Latin mixture, Frisian has kept much of its originality. Though there have been strong influences from High and Lower German and Diets. Meaning of the name "Friezen" The name "Friezen" (Frisians) can be traced back to the end of the first century A.D. The Roman writers Plinius and Tacitus write about the so-called Frisii. The Germanic word Freisias (Frisians) comes from the Indo-European Preisios. Preisios is a derivation of the root-word prei-, which means: to love. Freya is the Germanic goddess of fertility and love. Thus the meaning of the name. Frisian surnames (family names) Most non-Frisians (in the Netherlands) associate surnames ending on -a as typically Frisian. This is true; surnames ending on -a are plentiful in Friesland. Some of these names (e.g. Albada, Idsarda, Tjaarda, and Wybranda) are composed of old first names. Others of Frisian place-names (e.g. Baarda, Ferwerda, Hoiwerda). But surnames ending on -a are not the only ones that are typically Frisian. Other endings are: -i: The -i is a Latin ending that follows after a Germanic male-name. E.g. Adriani, Gerbrandy, Rudoiphi, Sybrandy. -ides: This is a Greek ending that follows after a first-name. E.g. Hilarides, Mensonides. Germanic endings of a surname are: e.g. Foppes, Gosses, Haukes, Poppes, Sikkes, Wumkes. -(e)n: e.g. Sipken, Popken -(e)ns: e.g. Sipkens -ma: A lot of Frisian place-names end on -urn (e.g. Deinurn, Dokkum). By putting -ma after these place-names, one gets surnames like Deinuma, Dokkuma. The same thing can be done with first-names: e.g. Adema, Boukema, and Bartlema -sma: The same story as above. E.g. Jelsma from the place Jelsum and Jensma from the first-name Jens. -(e)na: An ending that can be found abundantly in East-Friesland(Germany). -inga: Surnames ending on -inga are the oldest. The ending -ing means "belonging to" or "related to" the person named in the name before. The -ing ending appears in most of the other Germanic languages (e.g. Witting (son of Witte) is Old-English; or Carolingi (Charlemagne and descendants) is Frankish; or Skil~Ofmgar is Old-Norse). Frisian names are Abbinga, Dekkinga, Eisinga, Osinga, Piebinga, and Tanirninga. This type of surname is plentiful in Friesland. -nia: This ending is the worn down form of -inga. E.g. Burmania, Tania, Sinia. Most of the endings named above followed a first-name. But there are also Frisian surnames that are derived from names of places. Places like in towns and cities (e.g. Deinum, Van Dokkum, Van Slooten (Van is a preposition)), or in Van Dam (Dam=dam) or Van der Wa! (Wal=embankment). The -stra ending is also plentiful. This -stra means to originate from somewhere. E.g. Balkstra, Beetstra, Boonstra. It is a striking fact that names ending on -stra can only be found in the current province Friesland and a western part the province Groningen (both in the Netherlands). The profession of Frisians has also been a reason to chose a surname: Bakker (baker), Brouwer (brewer), Dc Boer (farmer), and Visser (fisherman). De Vries is the most appearing surname in Friesland. This is probably due to the fact that, when in the years 1811/12 the Frisians were forced to take surnames by the French occupation force, nationalist sentiments drove them to take a name which was manifestation of their being different. De Vries means the Frisian. After De Vries, De Jong occurs the most, then Dykstra, then De Boer, and then Visser. But if we count all the surnames ending with an -a form (-a, -inga, -ma, -sma, -stra) we have 35% of the population of the province of Friesland, which is by far the most. So maybe after reading this article on Frisian surnames, you'll have discovered that you to have Frisian blood in your veins. Congratulations and welcome to the club of this "trochioftich folk".
Ûleboerd
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PAGE II
HISTORY OF THE FRISIAN FOLK

PART TWO - ( 785A.D. - 1498A.D.)

The Frankish-period (785 A.D - 925 A.D.)

Charlemagne ruled his Frankish Empire in a strong

centralized manner. Frisians had to serve in his armies.

They served under the Franks in the war against the Wilts

(789 A.D.) and against the Avars (791 A.D.). When in 800

A.D. the first Scandinavian Viking attacks upon Friesland

under Carolinian rule start, the Frisians are discharged from

military service abroad. Instead they are left to organize

their defenses against the Heathen Vikings.

After Charlemagne defeated the Saxons in 785 A.D., the

Frankish Empire bordered in the north

to the Danish Empire.

The Danes were very well aware of

the terrible atrocities Charlemagne, in

name of the Church, had inflicted on

their Heathen kinfolk the Frisians and

the Saxons. The Danish/Viking raids

on Charlemagne's empire and on the

wealthy churches and monasteries in

it can be seen as a heathen reprisal.

Next to the Franco/Christian invaders, another enemy of the

Frisians reared its ugly head. In the Christmas of 838 A.D.

an enormous storm flood flooded nearly all of Friesland,

drowning lots of people and livestock.

 FRIESLAND COUNTY OF THE FRANKISH EMPIRE 

(749 - 840 AD)

After Charlemagne victory in 785 A. D. the entire Frisian

Empire became a county of the Frankish Empire. As seen

before the grandson of the legendary Redbad, Abba,

became the first Frisian count under Frankish rule (749 -

775 A.D.) over Friesland west of the Lauwers. The two main

duties of a count were: to maintain the rule of law, and to

organize the conscripts for the Frankish armies. From 734

until 1100 A.D. Frankish Emperors (and after them German

Kings) have been represented by counts. These counts

were feudal tenants. Very little is known about these counts.

East-, West- and Middle Friesland have probably each had

their own count.

The counts of Friesland we know by name:

754 count Abba (Boppa) is leader of the building of

the Bonifatius Church in Dokkum

791 count Diderik (Durk) leads the Frisians in the

Frankish struggle against the Avars

839 count Gerlof sides with the rebellious son of the

Frank Louis the Pious

873 count Aibdag defeats Vikings (Rudolf) in

Westergo

885 count Gerdolf is present at the murder of Godfried

the Norwegian

Count Gerlof is the father of Diderik I, the count of Holland,

and of count Waltger in Teisterbant. The sons of count

Waltger are named "Redbad" and "Poppa". These names

highlight the fact that the counts in Friesland are

Redbadings (kindred of Redbad).

The counts of Middle Friesland:

966 count Egbert of the Brunoanen dynasty; which by

marriage and inheritance get Middle Friesland

1038 count Liudolf of the Brunswik dynasty dies

1038-1057 Bruno count of Middle Friesland

1057-1068 Egbert I count of Middle Friesland

1068-1088 Egbert II count of Middle Friesland

The counts of West Friesland:

885 count Gerlof

922 count Diderik I (Durk I); for the first time this

dynasty is called "House of Holland" count Diderik II      

(Durk II)

993 count Arnulf dies in battle with West Frisians,

count Durk III beats the army of emperor Hendrik II

1049 count Durk IV is killed

1049-1061 Count Floris I is killed

1076 Count Durk V; County Holland is born (also

trough Flemish influences), and Count Durk

V and his County Holland become the antagonists of West-

and Middle Friesland. In East Friesland there is nearly no

trace of counts.

Frankish Christianity (688 - 734/785 A.D.)

The converting of Heathens to Christianity could only be

realized in areas that were under Frankish rule. West

Lauwers Friesland became a Frankish county in 734 A.D.

The entire Frisian Empire came under Frankish rule in 785

A.D.

The Christianization of Friesland started in 688 A.D. when

Wigbert preached in Friesland and was completed in 800

A.D. when Friesland was firmly in the grip of Frankish ruler

Charlemange.

In 800 A.D. the Friesians "seem" to be converted. But only

the ruling elite (the counts and other Frankish vassals) has

become Catholic. Large portions of the population are still

heathen, and will remain for a long time. But the voices of

the Frisian Heathen priests and Frisian skalds of the epic

poems (in the likes of Beowulf) are silenced.

Thereby the chain of the oral tradition that connects the

Frisians with their heathen past is broken, and Christianity -

in the end-wins.

Some (tragic) dates:

688 A.D. Wigbert preaches in Friesland

690 - 754 Willibrord and Bonifatius preach

770-789 Willehad preaches 775 Liudger (a Frisian)

preaches 800 A.D. Friesland has Christian social

structures (diocese in Utrecht) but, the larger part of

the population remains heathen.

Highlights in Heathen terms are:

In 714-719 A.D. when Willibrord flees Utrecht after

Redbad conquers the city;

In when 754 A.D. Bonifatius is killed in Dokkum;

In 782 A.D. when Liudger flees for Saxo-Frisian

uprising under Widukind.

In 793 A.D. Liudger meets the only Frisian skald

known by name "Bernlef". Bernlef sang epic songs of

the Frisian Heroic Age (like Beowulf).

VIKING RAIDS AND DANISH RULE  (800 - 1014 A.D.)

In 807 A.D. a war starts between Charlemagne and the

Danish king Godfried. Godfried raids Friesland with a fleet of

200 ships, mocking the Frankish defenses. Shortly after

Godfried dies (810 A. D.). After Godfrieds death, the Danish

raids concentrate mostly on the British Isles and less upon

Friesland.

After the death of the Frankish emperor Lewis the Pious in

840 A.D., the Carolinian defense of Friesland had collapsed.

Since there was no Frisian King to organize a defensive

force, the Danish raids on this Carolinian outpost intensified.

And in the rest of the 9th century the Frisians frequently

lived under Danish rule and had to pay taxes to the Danish

feudal-tenants.

The Danes forced the weakened Carolinian Kings to give

them Friesland as a feudal estate.

Feudal tenants in Friesland were:

Harald (840 - 844 A.D.)

Rorik and Godfried (844 - 857 A.D.)

Rorik (a Christian) (862 -872 A.D.)

Godfried (881 - 885 A.D.)

In 885 the last Scandinavian ruler of Friesland, Godfried the

Norwegian, is murdered and the ruling Danes are evicted

from Friesland by the Frisians. The great tidal waves of

Heathenistic Viking raids (sometimes accompanied with

occupation) in Friesland, had come to an end.

Smaller raids still took place until 1014 A.D. when the

Christian Knut the Great became king of Denmark, Norway

and England.

THE GERMAN PERIOD (925 A.D. - 1498 A.D.)

In 843 A.D. Lotharius II became ruler of Friesland. In 925

A.D. most of the Lotharingian rulers accepted Henry I of

Germany as king. Friesland became part of the "Heilige

römische Reich deutscher Nation". The executive power

was, until 1217 A.D., in hands of feudal tenants (counts).

After 1217 A.D. Middle-Friesland did not have a count, no

feudal tenant, almost no knights, no slaves and a few cities.

They were a people of farmers, fishermen and bargemen.

Since there was no overruling authority, everywhere

indigenous administrative organs developed. It was a

booming period; agriculture and trade flourished and raised

it prosperity. Frisian cities joined the "Hanze" (West-

European trade alliance). But already dark clouds were

drifting over, which would eventually (1498 A.D.) end the

Frisian Freedom.

Dyke Building (starts ± 1000 A.D.)

After the terpbuilding, which was in fact a defensive

measure against the sea level rising, the Frisians went on

the offensive and started taking land out of the reach of the

sea by dike building. Around 1000 A.D. larger parts of land

were surrounded by dykes. This happened in Friesland on

both sides of the Lauwers.

Between 1000 and 1100 A. D. large parts of Friesland were

protected by dykes, and there were extensive regulations

concerning maintenance of dykes and watering sluices.

These first dykes had a height of 1, 50 meters above field

level. Behind the dyke there were roads with a width of

approximately 4 meters, so that in case of an emergency

two wagons could pass one and-other. In terms of total

earth movement necessary for the dyke building one can

speak of a world wonder.

These large dyke building projects were first organized by

so called 'skeltas'. In the 13th century the dykes became the

responsibility of 'grietmannen' and 'asegas'.

Despite the dyke building there were frequently storm floods

that broke the dykes and flooded Frisian lands with all the

tragic consequences.

Opstalboom (± 1000 - 1327 A.D.)

To the southwest of Aurich in East-Friesland, on a burial

mound dating from the Bronze Age lies a place called the

Opstalboom (Opstalboom; Upstallboom; Upstalesbame (Old

Frisian)). In the 11th, 12th and 13th an alliance called the

"Opstalboom" gathered on the burial mound. The alliance

consisted of representatives of the 7 "Zeelanden" (lands by

the sea). These representatives gathered once a year (on

the Tuesday after Whit Sunday) and they drew up rules of

law and. The alliance also joined forces if one of the

individual of the 7 members was attacked.

STRUGGLE AGAINST THE DUTCH COUNTS (993 - 26

September 1345 A.D.)

("Battle at Warns")The end of the West-Frisian freedom.

After the period of the Scandinavian/Viking rule, the counts

of the "House of Holland" become the ruling elite in the

lands along the North Sea south of West-Friesland. These

counts of the house of Holland were of Frisian origin. But

after the birth of the province Holland in 1075 A.D. the

Frankish influences dominated the Frisian. At this time a

deep rift developed between the Frisians in West-Friesland

and the counts of Holland. Several attempts were made by

these counts to forcefully submit the West-Frisians.

Count Arnuif: undertakes a military expedition; he gets killed

in 993 A.D.

Count Willem ll attacks West-Friesland in the winter of 1256

A.D. he falls through the ice while on horseback and is

beaten to death by Frisians.

Floris V, son of Willem II, is bent on revenging his father's

death and attacks and defeats West Friesland. Around 1200

Frisians die in battle. The de-Friezing of West-Friesland

starts. After the death of Floris V the West-Frisians arise

again against Jan I. His successor, Jan II, defeated the

West-Frisian uprising, killing 3000 Frisians. Middle-Friesland

set troops to abide the West-Frisians, but they came too

late. West-Friesians lost their freedom, and in the coming

centuries also the Frisian language (their mother tongue)

Battle of Warns

After the defeat of West-Friesland, the counts of Holland set

their eye on Middle-Friesland.

In 1345 A.D. count Willem IV sets out on a military

expedition to conquer Middle-Friesland.

With a large fleet and with the help of French and Flemish

knights he sailed over the

"Zuiderzee". The approach of the aggressor united the

Frisian fractions (the Upstallboom played a role in this

unification). On 26 September 1345 A.D. Friesland had its

finest hour. Willem IV and the cream of the Hollandish,

Flemish and French knights were in the forefront of their

army, and near Warns they were surrounded by Frisian land

folk and beaten to death. In disarray the rest of the army

fled, leaving the body of Willem IV behind.

The 26 of September became an annual festive day in

Middle-Friesland.

SCHIERINGERS AND VETKOPERS (1217 - 1489 A.D.)

In 1392 we first hear of the "Schieringers" and the

"Vetkopers". These two infamous names indicate the end of

the Frisian freedom. It came from the Frisian heart itself.

The Schieringers and the Vetkopers were two rivaling

parties of Frisian origin. They led Friesland into a civil war.

Village fought against village, stins against stins and son

against father.

It was Friesland darkest hour, and it started in 1217 A.D. At

this time the rule of Charlemagnian counts in Middle

Friesland ends. This results in the lack of one overruling

authority eventually resulting in a severe weakening of law

and order. The power of the civil service no longer came

from above, but out of the community itself. The result of

this was that the Grietman (judge) did not have anybody of

authority to support him in his actions against disobedient

people. In the 14th century this resulted in the partisanship

of the Schieringers and Vetkopers.

The Frisians remained in this stalemate because of a

character trait; there strong individuality. Their personal

freedom was more valuable than the freedom of the people

as a whole.

In 1489 A.D. the aid of a foreign authority, Albrecht of

Saxony, was accepted to end the catastrophic partisanship.

Thus ending the Frisian freedom!

End of the Frisian freedom (1498 A.D.)

Albrecht of Saxony, on request of the Schieringers, created

a centralist authority and installing Saxon civil servants. Law

and order returned to Middle-Friesland, but culturally Middle

Friesland impoverishes. The language of civil service is

German, which results in the de Friesing of most cities. The

de-Friesing was also hastened because after reformation in

the 16th century the Bible and the preaching in churches

was in Low German language only.

A little about the Friesian Horses

Friesian horses, are one of the oldest breeds in Europe.

Today they are mainly found in the  province of Friesland,

where they are bred in the so-called meadow districts and in

sandy soil areas.

The Friesian horse is unique. It developed from a very old

breed which was inherent to all of Western Europe. It's the

only horse native to Holland. Historically speaking, the

Friesian horse has been influenced by eastern bloodlines

and has often been threatened with extinction.

Armored knights found the Friesian Horse very desirable,

having the strength, courage and heart to carry great weight

and still maneuver precisely in the face of the enemy.  The

Friesian was used as a war horse by Friesian Soldiers

fighting with the Roman Armies. Hungarian King Louis II

used a Friesian Stallion on the battlefield on June 15, 1526.

THE FRISIAN LANGUAGE

One of the most important cultural expressions of a people

is their language. The Frisians mother tongue is 'Frisian'.

Frisian is a 'Germanic' language. The Germanic languages

can be divided in North, East and West Germanic. Frisian

belongs to the 'West Germanic' language group. Other

languages belonging to this group are High-low German,

Dutch and English. Of these four languages Frisian is the

closest in relation to English.

Frisian, High and Low German, Dutch and English can also

be classified as Inguaeonish languages.

They have a common origin. In the 8th century A.D. Frisian

starts to set itself apart from the other Inguaonish

languages. This is the birth of the Frisian language. In the

8th century the Frisian language is spoken in the coastal

areas from Holland up to Denmark.

As any language, Frisian started to develop dialects. Three

dialects can be distinguished: East, North and West Frisian.

East Frisian

In the 13th century East Frisian was spoken by the people

who lived in an area between Lauwers and Weser and on

the East Friesian Isles. Today it is spoken only by a

thousand people in a small area called Saterland (near

Oldenburg).

North Frisian

North Frisian was spoken in an area on the North Sea coast

on the Danish /German border.

Today it's spoken by about ten thousand people on the

islands Amrum, Sylt, Four, the Hallingen and on the

mainland of Sleeswijk.

Today there are about 10.000 people in Germany who

consider themselves to be Frisians first and German

second.

West Frisian

Currently West Frisian is spoken by about 450.000 people in

what is known as the province Fryslân in the Netherlands.

The Frisian language has a long history of suppression by

the Dutch government, and only in 1980 did it become a

regular course on primary schools in Friesland (Dutch is still

the first language). There is a lively literary and musical

scene.

Unlike English, which is a Germanic/Latin mixture, Frisian

has kept much of its originality. Though there have been

strong influences from High and Lower German and Diets.

Meaning of the name "Friezen"

The name "Friezen" (Frisians) can be traced back to the end

of the first century A.D. The Roman writers Plinius and

Tacitus write about the so-called Frisii.

The Germanic word Freisias (Frisians) comes from the Indo-

European Preisios. Preisios is a derivation of the root-word

prei-, which means: to love.

Freya is the Germanic goddess of fertility and love. Thus the

meaning of the name.

Frisian surnames (family names)

Most non-Frisians (in the Netherlands) associate surnames

ending on -a as typically Frisian.

This is true; surnames ending on -a are plentiful in

Friesland. Some of these names (e.g. Albada, Idsarda,

Tjaarda, and Wybranda) are composed of old first names.

Others of Frisian place-names (e.g. Baarda, Ferwerda,

Hoiwerda).

But surnames ending on -a are not the only ones that are

typically Frisian. Other endings are: -i:

The -i is a Latin ending that follows after a Germanic male-

name. E.g. Adriani, Gerbrandy, Rudoiphi, Sybrandy.

-ides:

This is a Greek ending that follows after a first-name. E.g.

Hilarides, Mensonides. Germanic endings of a surname are:

e.g.

Foppes, Gosses, Haukes, Poppes, Sikkes, Wumkes.

-(e)n: e.g.

Sipken, Popken

-(e)ns: e.g.

Sipkens

-ma:

A lot of Frisian place-names end on -urn (e.g. Deinurn,

Dokkum). By putting -ma after these place-names, one gets

surnames like Deinuma, Dokkuma. The same thing can be

done with first-names: e.g. Adema, Boukema, Tolsma and

Bartlema

-sma:

The same story as above. E.g. Jelsma from the place

Jelsum and Jensma from the first-name Jens. -(e)na:

An ending that can be found abundantly in East-

Friesland(Germany).

-inga:

Surnames ending on -inga are the oldest. The ending -ing

means "belonging to" or "related to" the person named in

the name before. The -ing ending appears in most of the

other Germanic languages (e.g. Witting (son of Witte) is

Old-English; or Carolingi (Charlemagne and descendants) is

Frankish; or Skil~Ofmgar is Old-Norse). Frisian names are

Abbinga, Dekkinga, Eisinga, Osinga, Piebinga, and

Tanirninga. This type of surname is plentiful in Friesland.

-nia:

This ending is the worn down form of -inga. E.g. Burmania,

Tania, Sinia.

Most of the endings named above followed a first-name. But

there are also Frisian surnames that are derived from

names of places. Places like in towns and cities (e.g.

Deinum, Van Dokkum, Van Slooten (Van is a preposition)),

or in Van Dam (Dam=dam) or Van der Wa!

(Wal=embankment).

The -stra ending is also plentiful. This -stra means to

originate from somewhere. E.g.

Balkstra, Beetstra, Boonstra.

It is a striking fact that names ending on -stra can only be

found in the current province

Friesland and a western part the province Groningen (both

in the Netherlands).

The profession of Frisians has also been a reason to chose

a surname: Bakker (baker), Brouwer (brewer), Dc Boer

(farmer), and Visser (fisherman).

De Vries is the most appearing surname in Friesland. This is

probably due to the fact that, when in the years 1811/12 the

Frisians were forced to take surnames by the French

occupation force, nationalist sentiments drove them to take

a name which was manifestation of their being different. De

Vries means the Frisian.

After De Vries, De Jong occurs the most, then Dykstra, then

De Boer, and then Visser. But if we count all the surnames

ending with an -a form (-a, -inga, -ma, -sma, -stra) we have

35% of the population of the province of Friesland, which is

by far the most.

So maybe after reading this article on Frisian surnames,

you'll have discovered that you to have Frisian blood in your

veins. Congratulations and welcome to the club of this

"trochioftich folk".

Ûleboerd
Ûleboerd (decoration on barn tops)
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