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Romans already mentioned the Frisii but historians are unsure whether they were the ancestors of today's Frisians or not. In the early Middle Ages the Frisians controlled a kingdom stretching from the Scheldt to Jutland. Although eventually defeated by the Franks, they kept enjoying the famous Frisian freedom, refusing to recognise the rule of any feudal lord. In the 15th and 16th centuries Frisian territory was eventually carved up, the core becoming a province of the United Netherlands. In 1782 the Estates of Friesland was the first foreign government to recognise the independence of the United States of America.