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The Frisii were among the migrating Germanic tribes that settled along the North Sea in the 4th century BCE. They controlled the area between Bremen and Bruges and many of the smaller offshore islands. In the 1st century BCE they halted a Roman advance and thus managed to remain independent. Later, with the related Chauci, Saxons, and Angles, they inhabited the European coast from the Zuyder Zee to south Jutland, and may have been amalgamated into the Frankish and Saxon peoples, but the Romans regarded them as a separate group until 296, when they were forcibly resettled as laeti (serfs); many of them were deported to Flanders and Kent. Their ancestral lands were abandoned by ca. 400 due to wars, climatic deterioration, and flooding caused by sea level rise, but 2 centuries later, due to changing environmental and political conditions, the Frisians repopulated the coastal regions. The Frisians and the Frisii are probably not the same people but rather Anglo-Saxon immigrants from the Deutsche Bucht of the North Sea. By the 8th century they began to colonize the coastal areas north of the Eider river under Dansk rule, but they were difficult to distinguish from the Saxons. In the 7th and 8th centuries they formed a kingdom that stretched eastward from the Scheldt and Weser rivers until it was conquered by the Franks in 734; however, the Frisians retained a large measure of republican autonomy until the 15th century. In 1439 Hamburg took over Emden and then, in 1453, gave it to the Cirksena family; in 1464 Holy Roman emperor Freidrich III made Ulrich Cirksena the count of East Frisia, an area that eventually became part of Preussen and then Germany. Meanwhile, Danmark subdued the coastal districts north of the Eider river, and duke Albrecht III of Saxony-Meissen, the governor of the Habsburg Netherlands, conquered Friesland. Groningen surrendered to Ulrich's 1/2 brother Edzard of East Frisia in 1506 and conveyed its remaining privileges to the Habsburgs in 1536. The count of Oldenburg occupied Butjadingen in 1514,and the prince-bishop of Bremen took the Land Wursten in 1525. Today, the Frisians are divided into several provinces of the Netherlands and Germany. About a 1/2 million people speak Frisian, the languages closest to English (though English and Frisian are not mutually intelligible, nor are Frisian languages intelligible among themselves, due to independent linguistic innovations and foreign influences).
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