Institute of Texan Cultures' Texans Series
The Wends are unlike many other groups that settled in Texas. Their history in Europe is long, but their origins are hard to trace. Called Sorbs in most European languages, the Wends are united by their language, customs, and religion even though they have never had a nation to call their own.
The Wends lived as ethnic minorities under the rule of other European nations like Germany. In the 18th century, the Wends were pressured to abandon their native language and culture in order to assimilate into mainstream German culture. Those that resisted faced discrimination, were denied citizenship and were restricted to special sections of the cities.
Many Wends that refused to assimilate could not move up in German society. While some Wends were considered middle class, most were poor farmers that hoped for a better life. They worked as tenant farmers and were dependent on German landholders to make a meager living. Crop failures, drought and other agricultural disasters in the mid-1800s caused Many Wends to seek new places for opportunities. Some found their way to Texas.