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Thread: Sub-German Identities

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    Sub-German Identities

    I'd really appreciate it if a German could explain the various sub-German identities that modern Germans recognize.

    I notice that in some threads Austrians, Bavarians, and Swiss refer to themselves as being Bajuvarian or Alemannic. I know that some areas of Baden-Würrtemburg and Bavaria are considered Swabian. Are the Swabian areas of Bavaria also Franconian? Are Frisians considered to be a distinct group, or are they lumped in with other, larger sub groups? Are Swabians Alemans? Are Hessians Saxons? Neidersachsens are Saxons, but as I understand it the Germans in Sachsen aren't considered to be Saxons. If this is true, then what are the Sachsens? What are Rhinelanders and Westphalians? Are Prussians Saxons, or are they considered to be their own separate tribe?

    The sub-German identities seem to me to sometimes be based on historical political divisions, sometimes on older tribal identities, and still other times on linguistic differences. Even though I am fairly knowledgeable about German history in general, this information is difficult to find in English language resources.

    A double thanks if you can recommend reference material on this topic.

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    No one can help me with this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by runder View Post
    I'd really appreciate it if a German could explain the various sub-German identities that modern Germans recognize.

    I notice that in some threads Austrians, Bavarians, and Swiss refer to themselves as being Bajuvarian or Alemannic. I know that some areas of Baden-Würrtemburg and Bavaria are considered Swabian. Are the Swabian areas of Bavaria also Franconian?
    No, the Swabian district of Bavaria isn't part of the Franconian districts of Bavaria.



    You can see the three Old-Bavarian districts (Oberbayern, Niederbayern, Oberpfalz), the three Franconian districts (Oberfranken, Mittelfranken, Unterfranken) and the Swabian district (Schwaben).

    Well, the level of regionalism is quite high here in Germany. Every region has its unique self identity and history. We Bavarians even have some kind of "national pride" regarding our Bavarian state. The same counts for Swabians, Saxons or Frisians. But all tribes together are united as Germans and although not less people would consider a split (especially when having arguments with Prussians ) we all know that we´re Germans in our heart.
    Are Frisians considered to be a distinct group, or are they lumped in with other, larger sub groups?
    No, Frisians are considered as an own distinct group like Saxons or Swabians.
    Are Swabians Alemans?
    Yes, they are. Alemans are the Swabians, the Badener, the Swiss-Germans and the Vorarlberger. To name the largest.
    Are Hessians Saxons?
    No, Hessians form an own German tribe and aren't related with Saxons. They are historically, culturally and linguistically related with the Franconians.
    Neidersachsens are Saxons, but as I understand it the Germans in Sachsen aren't considered to be Saxons. If this is true, then what are the Sachsens?
    Both are Saxons, the difference is that the historical Saxon tribe has moved to Niedersachsen for the largest part. The Saxons in Sachsen are not completely directly related with the old Saxons who had to fight against Charlemagne.
    What are Rhinelanders and Westphalians?
    A mix of several German tribes. The Ruhrgebiet has been the inner-German melting pot in the past.
    Are Prussians Saxons, or are they considered to be their own separate tribe?
    "Prussian" is a term to describe a bunch of Northern German tribes. Berliner, Brandenburger, Mecklenburger, etc.

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    A mix of several German tribes. The Ruhrgebiet has been the inner-German melting pot in the past.
    While it is true that the Ruhrgebiet is a unique region that over time formed an own identity - Westphalia and the Rhineland are more than just the Ruhrgebiet.

    Westphalians were once one of the sub-tribes of the (low-)Saxon tribe along with Engern and Eastphalia (but Engern and Eastphalia lost it's names) and are thus North-German. The Westphalian dialect is part of the low-german/low-saxon language.


    The above shown picture shows the area where Westphalian was spoken - marked with the number 6.
    Notice that the historic Westphalian lands go further north than what is today considered Westphalia.

    The Bundesland NRW () consists of the low-german Westphalia and the central-german (northern part of the) Rhineland.
    The southern part of the Rhineland is located in the Bundesland Rhineland-Palatinate.

    It is a shame and it angers me to the boiling point that almost all young people in Westphalia do not even know their own history and see themselves as NRW-ler

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    Thank you both very much.

    I have some follow up questions-

    Are there German identity heirarchies? For example, would a Swabian think of himself as Swab first, then Aleman, then German?

    What position on the heirarchy does Hessian fall? Is Hessian comparable to Swabian, or is is comparable to Aleman? Is Franconian comparable to Aleman?

    Is there somewhere where I could find an exhaustive list of the middle rank identities (for lack of a better term). I know Prussian, Saxon, Aleman, Austro-Bavarians- are there more?

    I'm sorry if I'm being a bit vague. I thank your for your patience.

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    The main volk identities to last into the present, are the Saxons of Norddeutschland, Bavarians of Suddeutschland and Prussians of Ostdeutschland, although Hessians and Thuringians have been reconstituted by the current Bundesrepublik within West and East Mitteldeutschland respectively, but lacked lander integrity for much of history. Franks were the volk of Westdeutschland, but Franken doesn't have much profile outside their Ripuarian region, compared to the coastal Salians of "Frenelux".

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