Prussian Silesia
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The Province of Silesia (german: Provinz Schlesien; pl, Prowincja Śląska; szl, Prowincyjŏ Ślōnskŏ) was a
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
of
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europe ...
from 1815 to 1919. The
Silesia Silesia (, also , ) is a historical region of Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Europe, Southern Europe and East ...

Silesia
region was part of the Prussian realm since 1740 and established as an official province in 1815, then became part of the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
in 1871. In 1919, as part of the
Free State of Prussia The Free State of Prussia (german: Freistaat Preußen) was a of from 1918 to 1947. It was established in 1918 following the , abolishing the and founding the in the aftermath of the . The was a direct successor to the , but featured a , ...
within Weimar Republic, Weimar Germany, Silesia was divided into the provinces of Upper Silesia Province, Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia Province (Prussia), Lower Silesia. Silesia was reunified briefly from 1 April 1938 to 27 January 1941 as a province of Nazi Germany before being divided back into Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia. Wrocław, Breslau (present-day Wrocław, Poland) was the provincial capital.


Geography

The territory on both sides of the Oder river formed the southeastern part of the Prussian kingdom. It comprised the bulk of the former Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Bohemian crown land of Upper Silesia, Upper and Lower Silesia as well as the adjacent County of Kladsko, which the Prussian King Frederick the Great had all conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy under Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century Silesian Wars. It furthermore included the northeastern part of Upper Lusatia around Görlitz and Lubań, Lauban, ceded to Prussia by the Kingdom of Saxony according to the resolutions of the Congress of Vienna, Vienna Congress in 1815. The province bordered on the Prussian heartland of Province of Brandenburg, Brandenburg (including the newly acquired lands of Lower Lusatia) in the northwest, and on the Grand Duchy of Posen (Province of Posen from 1848) in the north, i.e. the Greater Poland, Greater Polish lands that before the 18th century Partitions of Poland had belonged to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the northeast, Upper Silesia bordered on remaining Congress Poland, the Russian partition that was incorporated as Vistula Land by 1867. In the east lay the Austrian share, the Lesser Poland, Lesser Polish kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria with the Free City of Kraków (until 1846), and in the south the remaining Bohemian crown lands of Austrian Silesia, Moravia and Bohemia proper. The incorporated Upper Lusatian strip of land in the west touched the remaining territory of the Saxon kingdom.


History


Prussian Silesia, 1740–1815

The coronation of Maria Theresa as queen regnant of the Kingdom of Bohemia immediately triggered an invasion of the region of
Silesia Silesia (, also , ) is a historical region of Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Europe, Southern Europe and East ...

Silesia
by King Frederick the Great of
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europe ...
, thereby starting the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748). By the end of the Silesian Wars, First Silesian War in 1742, the Prussian forces had conquered almost all of the Habsburg crown land in Silesia, while according to the peace treaties of Treaty of Breslau, Breslau and Treaty of Berlin (1742), Berlin, only some smaller parts in the extreme southeast, like the Duchy of Teschen as well as the southern parts of the duchies of Duchy of Troppau, Troppau and Duchy of Nysa, Nysa, remained possessions of the Habsburg Monarchy as Austrian Silesia. Attempts by Maria Theresa to regain the crown land in the Second Silesian War (1744–1745) failed and she ultimately had to relinquish her claims over Silesia by the Treaty of Dresden. The Third Silesian War (1756–1763), a theatre of the Seven Years' War, once again confirmed Prussian control over most of Silesia, and due to its predominantly Protestantism, Protestant population especially in Lower Silesia, it became one of the most loyal territories of the House of Hohenzollern. When the Prussian territories were reorganized upon the Congress of Vienna, the Province of Silesia was created out of the territories acquired by Prussia in the Silesian Wars, as well as those Upper Lusatian territories which King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony had to relinquish due to his indecisive attitude in the Napoleonic Wars. As the lands had been part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1806, Silesia was among the western Prussian provinces that lay within the borders of the German Confederation.


Province of Silesia


Kingdom of Prussia and German Empire

In 1815, after the Napoleonic wars, Prussian Silesia was formally reorganized into the Province of Silesia. The character of the province's eastern third, Upper Silesia, had been much lesser shaped by the medieval German ''Ostsiedlung''. According to the census of 1905, about three-quarters of the Silesian inhabitants were German language, German–speaking, while a majority of the population to the east of the Oder river spoke Polish language, Polish (including Silesian language, Silesian and Lach dialects). Because of the extended iron ore and bituminous coal, black coal deposits of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin, there was considerable industrialization and urbanization in Upper Silesia and many people from neighbouring Province of Posen, Posen and Congress Poland immigrated at that time. In 1871, Silesia became part of the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
as a province of Prussia following the unification of Germany. The Upper Silesian Industrial Region was the second largest industrial urban agglomeration, agglomeration of the German Empire after the Ruhr area. Over decades the mainly Catholic Church, Catholic Upper Silesian citizens in majority voted for the German Centre Party (Germany), Centre Party, while the Lower Silesian constituencies were dominated by the German Free-minded Party, Free-minded Party and the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democrats. Ethnic tensions rose on the eve of World War I, with politicians like Wojciech Korfanty separating from the Centre Party and giving utterance to distinct Polish interests.


Weimar Republic

In 1919, a year after the war ended, the parts of Silesia remaining in Weimar Republic, Weimar Germany were re-organized into the two provinces of Province of Lower Silesia, Lower Silesia (''Niederschlesien'') and Province of Upper Silesia, Upper Silesia (''Oberschlesien'', the former ''Regierungsbezirk Opole, Oppeln''). After three Silesian Uprisings and the 1921 Upper Silesia plebiscite, the East Upper Silesian part of the province around the industrial town of Katowice, Kattowitz was transferred to the Second Polish Republic and incorporated into the Silesian Voivodeship (1920–1939), Silesian Voivodeship in 1922. Further, in 1920 the Hlučín Region was ceded to Czechoslovakia according to the Treaty of Versailles.


=Division after WWI

=


Nazi Germany

On 1 April 1938 the Province of Silesia was re-established by Nazi Germany by uniting the existing Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia provinces, then following the German invasion of Poland, conquest of Poland, the border was extended eastwards when parts of Polish Silesia were merged into the province. On 27 January 1941, during World War II, the province of Silesia was divided again by reverting into Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia. Upon the implementation of the Oder-Neisse line according to the 1945 Potsdam Agreement, most of the Prussian Silesia Province became part of Poland, incorporated into the Lubusz Voivodeship, Lubusz, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Lower Silesian, Opole Voivodeship, Opole and Silesian Voivodeships. The German-speaking population left or was Flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland during and after World War II, expelled following World War II, though a German minority in Poland, minority remains. A smaller western part of the former Silesia Province lies within modern States of Germany, German states of Saxony and Brandenburg.


Demographics

According to the Prussian census of 1890, the province of Silesia had a population of 4,224,458, of which 3,105,843 (73.52%) spoke German language, German, 973,596 (23.05%) spoke Polish language, Polish, 68,781 (1.63%) spoke Czech language, Czech, 26,257 (0.62%) spoke Sorbian languages, Sorbian and 48,045 (1.14%) identified as bilingual. Liegnitz (region), Regierungsbezirk Liegnitz - 1,047,405 (96.41% German, 2.51% Sorbian, 0.53% Polish, 0.11% Czech, 0.38% bilingual). Middle Silesia, Regierungsbezirk Breslau - 1,599,322 (95.63% German, 3.08% Polish, 0.59% Czech, 0.64% bilingual). Oppeln (region), Regierungsbezirk Oppeln - 1,577,731 (58.23% Polish, 35.91% German, 3.69% Czech, 2.14% bilingual).


Administration


References


Notes


External links


Coats of arms
of Upper Silesian towns while part of the Province of Silesia

{{Authority control Province of Silesia, 1939 establishments in Germany 1941 disestablishments in Germany History of Silesia Provinces of Prussia, Silesia, Province of 1815 establishments in Prussia Former eastern territories of Germany