Where did the Slavs and Visigoths originate?
The Visigoths were
one of two main branches of the Goths, an East Germanic tribe (the Ostrogoths
being the other). After the collapse of the western Roman Empire the Visigoths
played a major role in western European affairs for another two and a half
With the fail of
the Roman Empire, the Visigoths, one of the Germanic peoples,
created a new kingdom. The first capital was established in Toulouse (France).
It was later moved to Toledo. The Visigoths were one of the most
romanised German peoples, although they practised a different religion,
kingdom reached its greatest splendour in the second half of the 6th
century and the first half of the 7th century. King Leovigild
consolidated royal authority. He transformed the Suevi kingdom, in the
north of the Iberian Peninsula, into a Visigothic province and passed new laws.
His son, Reccared promoted religious unification when he
converted to Catholic Christianity.
The number of
Visigoths who settled in Hispania almost certainly did not exceed one
hundred thousand. It was, thus, a very small number against the five or
six million Hispano-Romans. This disproportion explains why the Visigoths
adopted the Hispano Roman language, culture and religion.
The origin of the Slavs
Nowadays, it is
estimated that the Slavs number over 300 million in the world. They are
usually classified in three main divisions. The West Slavs include the
Poles, the Czechs, and the Slovaks. The South Slavs include
the Serbs, the Croats, the Slovenes, the Macedonians,
the Montenegrins, the Bosniaks, and the Bulgars. The East
Slavs, the largest group, include the Russians, Ukrainians, and
Belorussians (or White Russians).
There are several
theories about the original land of the Slavs. The map above shows the most
accepted theory. From this area, Slavs expanded westwards and southwards.
By the 6th century Slavs had settled in Germany East of the Elbe River. In the
Balkan Peninsula they invaded the Byzantine Empire in the 6th
and again in the 8th century.