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The Saxons were a large and powerful Germanic tribe located in what is now northwestern and eastern Germany and the Netherlands. The Saxons, as well as the Angles, Jutes, and Frisians, invaded Britain in the Early Middle Ages.

A majority of the Saxons remained in continental Europe and long avoided becoming Christians and being incorporated into the orbit of the Frankish kingdom, but were decisively conquered by Charlemagne in a long series of annual campaigns. With defeat came the enforced baptism and conversion of the Saxon leaders and their people.

Under Carolingian rule, the Saxons were reduced to a tributary status. There is evidence that the Saxons, as well as Slavic tributaries like the Abodrites and the Wends, often provided troops to their Carolingian overlords.