They alternately fought with and served as tributaries to the Frankish kings and their successors in the East, acknowledging finally the suzerainty of the Holy Roman Empire in 1170, after which the region underwent rapid Germanisation. However, through the late 15th century, most villagers were still speaking Slavic dialects (Polabian language).
In common with other Slavic groups, they were often described by Frankish sources as Wends.
Relations between the Frankish emperor and the Obodrite leaders were very close in the decades around 800, due to the common Saxo-Danish enemy.
Oldenburg (known as Starigard by the Slavs, and Brandehuse by the Scandinavians) was another trading centre in the territory of the Obodrites.
Hedeby remained a Danish town despite its multinational population; in the same way Reric-Mecklenburg was Obodrite, Wolin a town of the Wolin Slavs; Truso, Prussian; Staraja Ladoga, Slav and Finno-Ugrian; and Novgorod an international mercantile centre of the Ilmen Slavs.
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