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Silesians
Silesians
(Silesian: Ślůnzoki; Silesian German: Schläsinger; Polish: Ślązacy; Czech: Slezané; German: Schlesier) are the inhabitants of Silesia, a historical region in Central Europe
Central Europe
divided by the current national boundaries of Poland, Germany
Germany
and the Czech Republic. This central European ethno-linguistic group should not be confused with German Silesians
Silesians
and their descendants who inhabited both Upper and Lower Silesia
Silesia
until their expulsion in 1945–47. Today, Silesians
Silesians
inhabiting Poland
Poland
are considered to belong to a Polish ethnographic group, and they speak a dialect of Polish. As a result of German influence, Silesians
Silesians
have been influenced by German culture.[6] There have been some debates on whether or not the Silesians (historically, Upper Silesians) constitute a distinct nation. In modern history, they have often been pressured to declare themselves to be German, Polish or Czech, and use the language of the nation currently governing them. Nevertheless, 847,000 people declared themselves to be of Silesian nationality in the 2011 Polish national census (including 376,000 who declared it to be their only nationality, 436,000 who declared to be their first nationality, 411,000 who declared to be their second one, and 431,000 who declared joint Silesian and Polish nationality),[2] (173,153 in Poland
Poland
in 2002[7] maintaining its position as the largest minority group. About 126,000 people declared themselves as members of the German minority (58,000 declared it jointly with Polish nationality), making it the third largest minority group in the country (93% of Germans
Germans
living in Poland
Poland
are in the Polish part of Silesia). 12,231 people declared themselves to be of Silesian nationality in the Czech national census of 2011[8] (44,446 in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
in 1991),[9] and 6,361 people declared joint Silesian and Moravian nationality in the Slovak national census.[10] During the German occupation of Poland, Nazi
Nazi
authorities conducted a census in East Upper Silesia
Silesia
in 1940. 157,057 people declared Silesian nationality (Slonzaken Volk), and the Silesian language
Silesian language
was declared by 288,445 people. However, the Silesian nationality could only be declared in the Cieszyn
Cieszyn
part of the region. Approximately 400–500,000 respondents from the other areas of East Upper Silesia who declared "Upper Silesian nationality" (Oberschlesier) were assigned to the German nationality category.[11] After World War II
World War II
in Poland, the 1945 census showed a sizable group of people in Upper Silesia
Silesia
who declared Silesian nationality. According to police reports, 22% of people in Zabrze
Zabrze
considered themselves to be Silesians, and that number was around 50% in Strzelce County.[12]

Contents

1 History

1.1 Middle Ages 1.2 Modern history

2 Language 3 Prussian Upper Silesia
Silesia
in 1790-1910 4 Plebiscite in Prussian Upper Silesia 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

History[edit] Archaeological findings of the 20th century in Silesia
Silesia
confirm the existence of an early settlement inhabited by Celtic tribes.[13] Until the 2nd century some parts of Silesia
Silesia
were populated by Celtic Boii, predecessors of the states of Bohemia
Bohemia
and Bavaria
Bavaria
and subsequently until the 5th century, by the Germanic Silingi, a tribe of the Vandals, which moved south and west to invade Andalusia. Silesia
Silesia
remained depopulated until the second phase of the migration period. The Slavs, predominantly White Croats
White Croats
entered the depopulated territory of Silesia
Silesia
in the first half of the 6th century. The Slavic territories were mostly abandoned, because the Celtic and Germanic tribes that lived there before had moved west.[14] Chronologically, the first group of Slavs
Slavs
were those that dwelt by the Dnieper River, the second was the Sukov-Dzidzice type Slavs, and the last were groups of Avaro-Slavic peoples from the Danube river
Danube river
areas.[15] In the early 9th century, the settlement stabilized. Local Slavs
Slavs
started to erect defence systems, such as Silesian Przesieka
Silesian Przesieka
and the Silesia
Silesia
Walls to guard them from the peoples of the West. The north-eastern border with Slavic Polans was not reinforced, due to their common culture and language.[16] The 9th-century Bavarian Geographer
Bavarian Geographer
records the tribal names of the Opolanie, Dadosesani, Golenzizi, Lupiglaa and the Ślężanie. The 1086 Prague Document, which is believed to document the 10th-century settlements,[16] also mentions the Bobrzanie and Trzebowianie tribes. Later sources classified those tribes as Silesian tribes, which were also jointly classified as part of Polish tribes.[17][18][19][20] The reason for this classification was the "fundamentally common culture and language" of Silesian, Polan, Masovian, Vistulan and Pomeranian tribes that "were considerably more closely related to one another than were the Germanic tribes."[21] According to Perspectives on Ethnicity, written by anthropologist V. I. Kozlov and edited by R. Holloman, the Silesian tribes, together with other Polish tribes, formed what is now Polish ethnicity and culture. This process is called ethnic consolidation, in which several ethnic communities of the same origin and cognate languages merge into one.[18] Middle Ages[edit] The Silesians
Silesians
lived on the territory that became part of the Great Moravia in 875. Later, in 990, the first Polish state was created by Duke Mieszko I, and then expanded by king Boleslaw I at the beginning of the 11th century. He established the Bishopric of Wrocław
Bishopric of Wrocław
in Lower Silesia
Silesia
in the year 1000. In the Middle Ages, Slavic tribal confederacies, and then Slavic states, dominated. Silesia
Silesia
was part of Great Moravia, then Kingdom of Bohemia
Bohemia
and finally the Piast
Piast
monarchy of Poland. The tribal differences started to disappear after the consolidation of Poland
Poland
in the 10th and 11th centuries. The main factors of this process were the establishment of a single monarchy that ruled over all Polish tribes, as well as creation of a separate ecclesiastical organization within the boundaries of the newly established Polish state.[22] The names of the smaller tribes disappeared from historical records, as well as the names of some prominent tribes. However, in some places, the names of the most important tribes transformed into names representing the whole region, such as Mazovians for Mazovia, and Silesians
Silesians
for Silesia. As a result of the fragmentation of Poland, some of those regions were again divided into smaller entities, such as the division of Silesia
Silesia
into Lower Silesia
Silesia
and Upper Silesia). However, the tribal era was already over, and these divisions reflected only political subdivisions of the Polish realm.[23] Within Poland, from 1177 onward, Silesia
Silesia
was divided into many smaller duchies. In 1178, parts of the Duchy of Kraków
Duchy of Kraków
around Bytom, Oświęcim, Chrzanów
Chrzanów
and Siewierz
Siewierz
were transferred to the Silesian Piasts, although their population was of Vistulan and not of Silesian descent.[24] Parts of those territories were bought by the Polish kings in the second half of the 15th century, but the Bytom
Bytom
area remained in the possession of the Silesian Piasts, even though it remained a part of the Diocese of Kraków.[24] Between 1327 and 1348, duchies of Silesia
Silesia
came under suzerainty of the Crown of Bohemia, and was then passed to the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
of Austria
Austria
in 1526. Beginning in the 13th century, Slavic Silesia
Silesia
began to be settled by Germans. This led to changes in the ethnic structure of the province. In the Middle Ages, various German dialects of the new settlers became widely used throughout Lower Silesia
Silesia
and some Upper Silesian cities. However, after the era of German colonization, the Polish language
Polish language
was still predominant in Upper Silesia
Silesia
and parts of Lower and Middle Silesia
Silesia
north of the Odra river. Germans
Germans
usually dominated large cities, and Poles
Poles
mostly lived in rural areas. This required the Prussian authorities to issue official documents in Polish, or in German and Polish. The Polish-speaking territories of Lower and Middle Silesia, commonly called the Polish side until the end of the 19th century, were mostly Germanized in the 18th and 19th centuries, except for some areas along the northeastern frontier.[25][26] Modern history[edit] In 1742, most of Silesia
Silesia
was seized in the War of the Austrian Succession by King Frederick the Great of Prussia, who named himself a ' Piast
Piast
prince' (he was actually a remote descendant) in his first declaration. The remainder of Silesia, known as Cieszyn
Cieszyn
Silesia, remained in the Austrian Empire. The Prussian part of Silesia constituted the Province of Silesia
Silesia
until 1918. Later, the province was split into the Prussian provinces of Upper and Lower Silesia. Owing to the development of education, a rebirth of Polish culture took place in the second half of the 1800s in Silesia, which was connected with the emergence of a Polish national movement of a clearly Catholic character. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the fact that Silesians
Silesians
were part of the Polish nation
Polish nation
was not questioned.[6] The language and culture of the self-declared Polish Silesians
Silesians
were put under the pressure of the Prussian Kulturkampf policies, which attempted to Germanize them in culture and language. The process of Germanisation was never completely successful. The cultural distance of Upper Silesians
Silesians
from the German population resulted in the development of Polish national awareness at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, culminating in the pro-Polish movements at the end of World War I.[27] After the Silesian Uprisings, the eastern minor, but richer, part of Upper Silesia
Silesia
became part of the newly restored Poland; most of the land that had been ruled by the Habsburgs following the 1742 war went to Czechoslovakia, while Lower Silesia
Silesia
and most of Upper Silesia remained in Germany. The ethnic situation of the region became more complex as the division of Upper Silesia
Silesia
into Polish and German parts led to ethnic polarization. The people that lived in the western part of Upper Silesia
Silesia
were subject to a strong German cultural influence, where those living in the eastern part of Silesia
Silesia
started to identify with the Polish culture
Polish culture
and statehood.[6] World War II
World War II
and its aftermath amplified this polarization. Three groups took shape within the Silesian population. The Polish group was the strongest; the German group, which was primarily in central Silesia, was clearly less numerous. A third group supported separatism and an independent Silesian nation-state. The separatists were of marginal importance, finding little support among native Silesians.[28] The reasons for these transitions were boundary shifts and population changes that came after World War II. As a result, the vast majority of the former German Silesia
Silesia
was incorporated into Poland, with smaller regions remaining under the control of the German Democratic Republic (which later became a part of unified Germany), and Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
obtained most of Cieszyn
Cieszyn
Silesia. Millions of Silesians, mostly of German ethnicity, were subsequently expelled, but after being sifted out from the ethnic Germans
Germans
by a process of "national verification", the Silesians
Silesians
classified as "autochthons" by the Polish communist authorities were allowed to remain, and they were intensely polonized.[29] Between 1955 and 1959, under the supervision of the Red Cross, some of the remaining Silesians
Silesians
were able to emigrate to West and East Germany to reunite with their families in Germany.[30] But some had to wait for years. Until 1989, nearly 600,000 Silesians
Silesians
emigrated to Germany. Between 1945 and 1949, millions of ethnic Poles
Poles
from the former (pre-1939) eastern Poland
Poland
(especially Lviv, Volhynia, Podolia, Vilnius, etc.) and central Poland
Poland
moved into Silesia, particularly in Lower Silesia. Since the end of Communist rule in Poland, there have been calls for greater political representation for the Silesian ethnic minority. In 1997, a Katowice
Katowice
court of law registered the Union of People of Silesian Nationality
Nationality
(ZLNS) as the political representative organization of the Silesian ethnic minority, but after two months, the registration was revoked by a regional court.[31] Language[edit] Main article: Silesian language The Slavic Silesian language
Silesian language
(often called Upper Silesian) is spoken by the Silesian ethnic group or nationality inside Polish Upper Silesia. According to the last census in Poland
Poland
(2011), some 509,000[32] people declared Silesian to be their native language; however, as many as 817,000 people declared themselves to be of Silesian nationality, not necessarily speaking Silesian, even though the Silesian nationality has not been recognized by Polish governments since its creation in 1945. There is some contention over whether Silesian is a dialect or a language in its own right. Most Polish linguists consider Silesian to be a prominent regional dialect of Polish. However, many Silesians regard it to be a separate language belonging to the West Slavic branch of Slavic languages, together with Polish and other Lechitic languages, such as Upper and Lower Sorbian, Czech and Slovak. In July 2007, the Silesian language
Silesian language
was officially recognized by the Library of Congress and SIL International. The language was attributed an ISO code: SZL. The first official dictation contest of the Silesian language took place in August 2007. Although the German language
German language
is still spoken in Silesia, as it has a sizable minority of speakers in the Opole Voivodship
Opole Voivodship
in Poland, the vast majority of native speakers were expelled during or after 1945. Therefore, the number of German speakers in the region was radically and significantly decreased after World War II, even though the Germans
Germans
had settled there for centuries. The Silesian German dialect is a distinct variety of East Central German, with some West Slavic influence likely caused by centuries of contact between Germans
Germans
and Slavs
Slavs
in the region; the dialect is related to contemporary Saxon in some ways. The Silesian German dialect is often misleading referred to as Lower Silesian in the German language. The usage of this dialect appears to be decreasing, as most Silesian Germans
Germans
prefer either Standard German
Standard German
or even Polish. Prussian Upper Silesia
Silesia
in 1790-1910[edit] The earliest exact census figures on ethnolinguistic or national structure (Nationalverschiedenheit) of the Prussian part of Upper Silesia, come from year 1819. The last pre-WW1 general census figures available, are from 1910 (if not including the 1911 census of school children—Sprachzählung unter den Schulkindern—which revealed a higher percent of Polish-speakers among school children than the 1910 census among the general populace). Figures (Table 1.) show that large demographic changes took place between 1819 and 1910, with the region's total population quadrupling, the percent of German-speakers increasing significantly, and that of Polish-speakers declining considerably. Also the total land area in which Polish language
Polish language
was spoken, as well as the land area in which it was spoken by the majority, declined between 1790 and 1890.[33]

Table 1. Numbers of Polish-speaking and German-speaking inhabitants (Regierungsbezirk Oppeln)

Year 1819[34] 1828[35] 1831[35] 1837[35] 1840[35] 1843[35] 1846[35] 1852[35] 1858[35] 1861[35] 1867[35] 1890[36] 1900[36] 1905[36] 1910[36]

Polish 377,100 (67.2%) 418,437 456,348 495,362 525,395 540,402 568,582 584,293 612,849 665,865 742,153 918,728 (58.2%) 1,048,230 (56.1%) 1,158,805 (56.9%) 1,169,340 (53.0%)

German 162,600 (29.0%) 255,383 257,852 290,168 330,099 348,094 364,175 363,990 406,950 409,218 457,545 566,523 (35.9%) 684,397 (36.6%) 757,200 (37.2%) 884,045 (40.0%)

Plebiscite in Prussian Upper Silesia[edit] Main article: Upper Silesia
Silesia
plebiscite In the 1921 plebiscite 40.6% of eligible voters (people over 20 years old – a high minimum age that favoured the German-speaking part of the population, whose median age was greater than that of Polish-speakers in Upper Silesia, according to censuses of 1900–1910) decided to secede from Germany
Germany
and become Polish citizens.[37] In total over seven hundred towns and villages voted in majority to secede from Germany
Germany
and become parts of Poland, especially in counties of Pszczyna,[38] Rybnik,[39] Tarnowskie Góry,[40] Toszek-Gliwice,[41] Strzelce Opolskie,[42] Bytom,[43] Katowice,[44] Lubliniec,[45] Zabrze,[46] Racibórz,[47] Olesno,[48] Koźle[49] and Opole.[50] See also[edit]

German minority in Poland List of Silesians People by city in Silesia

References[edit]

^ "The Institute for European Studies, Ethnological institute of UW" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-16.  ^ a b Przynależność narodowo-etniczna ludności – wyniki spisu ludności i mieszkań 2011. GUS. Materiał na konferencję prasową w dniu 29. 01. 2013. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-03-06. ^ Tab. 614a Obyvatelstvo podle věku, národnosti a pohlaví - Český statistický úřad ^ National census in West Germany
West Germany
in 1970. ^ "Volkszählung vom 27. Mai 1970" Germany
Germany
(West). Statistisches Bundesamt. W. Kohlhammer, 1972, OCLC Number: 760396 ^ a b c P. Eberhardt, Ethnic Groups and Population Changes in Twentieth-century Central-Eastern Europe: History, Data, and Analysis, M.E. Sharpe, 2003, p. 166, ISBN 0765618338, 9780765618337 Google books ^ "Wayback Machine". 12 May 2011. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2018.  ^ "Obyvatelstvo podle národnosti podle krajů" (PDF). Czech Statistical Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-01-31.  ^ "Národnost ve sčítání lidu v českých zemích" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2012-08-16.  ^ [1] ^ "Górny Śląsk: szczególny przypadek kulturowy" (en: "Upper Silesia: special case of cultural") - Mirosława Błaszczak-Wacławik, Wojciech Błasiak, Tomasz Nawrocki, University of Warsaw
University of Warsaw
1990, p. 63 ^ "Polityka antyniemiecka na Górnym Śląsku w latach 1945-1950" - Bernard Linek, Opole
Opole
2000, ISBN 978-83-7126-142-8 ^ " Opole
Opole
county". Powiatopolski.pl. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2012-08-16.  ^ R. Żerelik(in:) M. Czpliński (red.) Historia Śląska, Wrocław 2007, p. 34–37, ISBN 978-83-229-2872-1 ^ R. Żerelik(in:) M. Czpliński (red.) Historia Śląska, Wrocław 2007, p. 37–38, ISBN 978-83-229-2872-1 ^ a b R. Żerelik(in:) M. Czpliński (red.) Historia Śląska, Wrocław 2007, p. 40, ISBN 978-83-229-2872-1 ^ Raymond Breton, National Survival in Dependent Societies: Social Change in Canada and Poland, McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP, 1990, p. 106, ISBN 0-88629-127-5 Google Books; Charles William Previte-Orton, The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1962, V. II, p. 744, ISBN 0-521-09976-5 Google Books ^ a b V.I. Kozlov [in:] Regina E. Holloman, Serghei A. Arutiunov (ed.) Perspectives on Ethnicity, Walter de Gruyter 1978, p. 391, ISBN 311080770X, 9783110807707 Google Books ^ Raymond Breton, W. Kwaśniewicz, National Survival in Dependent Societies: Social Change in Canada and Poland, McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1990, p. 106,ISBN 0-88629-127-5 Google Books ^ S. Arnold, M. Żychowski, Outline history of Poland. From the beginning of the state to the present time, Warsaw 1962, p. 7-11 Google Books ^ John Blacking, Anna Czekanowska, Polish Folk Music: Slavonic Heritage – Polish Tradition – Contemporary Trends, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 3, ISBN 0-521-02797-7 Google Books same conclusions in Mark Salter, Jonathan Bousfield, Poland, Rough Guides, 2002, p. 675, ISBN 1-85828-849-5 Google Books ^ S. Rosik [in:] W. Wrzesiński (red.) Historia Dolnego Śląska, Wrocław 2006, p. 49, ISBN 978-83-229-2763-2 ^ S. Rosik [in:] W. Wrzesiński (red.) Historia Dolnego Śląska, Wrocław 2006, p. 53-54, ISBN 978-83-229-2763-2 ^ a b R. Żerelik(in:) M. Czpliński (red.) Historia Śląska, Wrocław 2007, p. 21-22, ISBN 978-83-229-2872-1 ^ Badstübner 2005, p. 4. ^ M. Czapliński [in:] M. Czapliński (red.) Historia Śląska, Wrocław 2007, s. 290, ISBN 978-83-229-2872-1 ^ David M. Smith, Enid Wistrich, Regional Identity and Diversity in Europe: Experience in Wales, Silesia
Silesia
and Flanders, The Federal Trust for Education & Research, 2008, p. 65, ISBN 1903403871, 9781903403877 Google books ^ P. Eberhardt, Ethnic Groups and Population Changes in Twentieth-century Central-Eastern Europe: History, Data, and Analysis, M.E. Sharpe, 2003, p. 166, ISBN 0765618338, 9780765618337 Google books ^ Kamusella, Tomasz (November 2005). "Doing It Our Way". Transitions Online. Retrieved 2006-07-25.  ^ "Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung" (in German). Bpb.de. 2005-03-15. Retrieved 2012-08-16.  ^ "Zgoda Świętochłowice labour camp - history and list of the dead". ipn.gov.pl.  ^ Central Statistical Office of Poland
Poland
(2012-07-26). "Język używany w domu - Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludności i Mieszkań 2011" (PDF).  ^ Joseph Partsch (1896). "Die Sprachgrenze 1790 und 1890". Schlesien: eine Landeskunde für das deutsche Volk. T. 1., Das ganze Land (in German). Breslau: Verlag Ferdinand Hirt. pp. 364–367.  ^ Georg Hassel (1823). Statistischer Umriß der sämmtlichen europäischen und der vornehmsten außereuropäischen Staaten, in Hinsicht ihrer Entwickelung, Größe, Volksmenge, Finanz- und Militärverfassung, tabellarisch dargestellt; Erster Heft: Welcher die beiden großen Mächte Österreich und Preußen und den Deutschen Staatenbund darstellt (in German). Verlag des Geographischen Instituts Weimar. p. 34. Nationalverschiedenheit 1819: Polen - 377,100; Deutsche - 162,600; Mährer - 12,000; Juden - 8,000; Tschechen - 1,600; Gesamtbevölkerung: 561,203  ^ a b c d e f g h i j Paul Weber (1913). Die Polen in Oberschlesien: eine statistische Untersuchung (in German). Berlin: Verlagsbuchhandlung von Julius Springer. pp. 8–9.  ^ a b c d Paul Weber (1913). Die Polen in Oberschlesien: eine statistische Untersuchung (in German). Berlin: Verlagsbuchhandlung von Julius Springer. p. 27.  ^ "Oberschlesien: Volksabstimmung 1920 und 1922". Gonschior.de. Retrieved 10 January 2018.  ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Pless Archived 2015-05-02 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Rybnik
Rybnik
Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Tarnowitz Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Tost-Gleiwitz Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Groß Strehlitz Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Beuthen Archived 2015-04-05 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Kattowitz Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Lublinitz Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Hindenburg Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Ratibor Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Rosenberg Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Cosel Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921: Kreis Oppeln Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

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Tomasz Kamusella. The Szlonzoks and their Language: Between Germany, Poland
Poland
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