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The German term Vlkerwanderung ("the migration of peoples"), is used in historiography as an alternate label for the "Migrations Period", of Germanic, Slavic and other tribes on the European continent during the period AD 300900.

German historians in the 19th century used the term Vlkerwanderung to describe the migrations of the Goths, Vandals, Franks and other Germanic tribes triggered by the incursions of the Huns. They saw these migrations as a contributing factor leading to the break-up of the Roman Empire, in which they attributed moral factors, contrasting vigorous and manly Germanic kultur with a decadent and slothful civilizazion. In a reaction, 20th-century English-language historiography widely supplanted Vlkerwanderung with "Migrations period", as in the series Studies in Historical Archaeoethnology or Gyula Laslo, The Art of the Migration Period. The "invasions" of Romantic-generation historians have given way, too: scholars today hold that a great deal of the migration did not represent hostile invasion, but rather tribes taking the opportunity to enter and settle lands already thinly populated and weakly held by a divided Roman state whose economy was shrinking.

The expansion of Germanic tribes into France, England, Northern Italy and elsewhere, in the moral reading given it by historians after the mid-18th century, indicating the energy and dynamism of those so-called "barbarian" peoples, became associated with 19th century German Romantic nationalism and the Eastern expansion of Germany (Drang nach Osten, the urge to move East), and later contributed to the Nazi folk ideology of Lebensraum, or "living space", the theory that the Germans had a mission to expand their population beyond the national borders of Germany.

Modern historians divide the migration movement into two phases. The first phase, between AD300 and 500, largely seen from the Mediterranean perspective, saw the movement of Germanic and other tribes and resulted in putting Germanic peoples in control of most areas of the former Western Roman Empire. (See also: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Burgundians, Langobards, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Suebi, Alamanni).

The second phase, between AD 500 and 900, saw Slavic, Turkish and other tribes on the move, re-settling in Eastern Europe and gradually making it predominantly Slavic, and affecting Anatolia and the Caucasus as the first Turkic peoples arrived. See also: Avars, Huns, Arabs, Varangians. The last phase of the migrations saw the coming of the Magyars to Pannonia and the expansion of the Vikings out of Scandinavia,

Other migrations that happened later in the history of Europe generally did not give rise to new states (except for Turkey, for example) and comprised mainly temporary invasions.

For a discussion of prehistoric migrations, see Human migration.

Timeline

Template:Timeline of the Migrations Period

See also

de:Vlkerwanderung he:נדידת_העמים nl:Grote volksverhuizing ru:Великое переселение народов fi:Kansainvaellusaika sv:Folkvandringstiden

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