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Upper Silesia
Silesia
(Polish: Górny Śląsk; Silesian Polish: Gůrny Ślůnsk;[1] Czech: Horní Slezsko; German: Oberschlesien; Silesian German: Oberschläsing; Latin: Silesia
Silesia
Superior) is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia, located mostly in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia
Silesia
has been part of (chronologically) Greater Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, the Piast Kingdom of Poland, again of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown
Lands of the Bohemian Crown
and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as of the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
from 1526. In 1742 the bulk of Upper Silesia
Silesia
was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia, and in 1871 it became part of the German Empire. After the Second World War it became part of the Republic of Poland, in 1945.

Contents

1 Geography 2 History

2.1 Polish rule 2.2 Bohemia, Austria and Prussia 2.3 Ethnolinguistic structure before the plebiscite 2.4 Plebiscite and partition

3 Major cities and towns 4 See also 5 Notes 6 Sources 7 External links

Geography[edit] Upper Silesia
Silesia
is situated on the upper Oder
Oder
River, north of the Eastern Sudetes
Eastern Sudetes
mountain range and the Moravian Gate, which form the southern border with the historic Moravia
Moravia
region. Within the adjacent Silesian Beskids
Silesian Beskids
to the east, the Vistula
Vistula
River rises and turns eastwards, the Biała and Przemsza
Przemsza
tributaries mark the eastern border with Lesser Poland. In the north, Upper Silesia
Silesia
borders on Greater Poland, and in the west on the Lower Silesian lands (the adjacent region around Wrocław
Wrocław
also referred to as Middle Silesia). It is currently split into a larger Polish and the smaller Czech Silesian part, which is located within the Czech regions of Moravia- Silesia
Silesia
and Olomouc. The Polish Upper Silesian territory covers most of the Opole
Opole
Voivodeship, except for the Lower Silesian counties of Brzeg and Namysłów, and the western half of the Silesian Voivodeship (except for the Lesser Polish
Lesser Polish
counties of Będzin, Bielsko-Biała, Częstochowa
Częstochowa
with the city of Częstochowa, Kłobuck, Myszków, Zawiercie and Żywiec, as well as the cities of Dąbrowa Górnicza, Jaworzno
Jaworzno
and Sosnowiec). Divided Cieszyn
Cieszyn
Silesia
Silesia
as well as former Austrian Silesia
Silesia
are historical parts of Upper Silesia. History[edit] See also: History of Silesia According to the 9th century Bavarian Geographer, the West Slavic Opolanie tribe had settled on the upper Oder
Oder
River since the days of the Migration Period, centered on the gord of Opole. At the time of Prince Svatopluk I
Svatopluk I
(871–894), all Silesia
Silesia
was a part of his Great Moravian realm. Upon its dissolution after 906, the region fell under the influence of the Přemyslid rulers of Bohemia, Duke Spytihněv I (894–915) and his son Vratislaus I (915–921), possibly the founder and name giver of the Silesian capital Wrocław
Wrocław
(Czech: Vratislav). Polish rule[edit] By 990 the newly installed Piast duke Mieszko I of the Polans had conquered large parts of Silesia. From the Middle Silesia
Silesia
fortress of Niemcza, his son and successor Bolesław I Chrobry
Bolesław I Chrobry
(992–1025), having established the Diocese of Wrocław, subdued the Upper Silesian lands of the pagan Opolanie, which for several hundred years were part of Poland, though contested by Bohemian dukes like Bretislaus I, who from 1025 invaded Silesia
Silesia
several times. Finally in 1137, the Polish prince Bolesław III Wrymouth
Bolesław III Wrymouth
(1107–1138) came to terms with Duke Soběslav I of Bohemia, when a peace was made confirming the border along the Sudetes. However, this arrangement fell apart when upon the death of Bolesław III and his testament the fragmentation of Poland
Poland
began, which decisively enfeebled its central authority. The newly established Duchy of Silesia
Silesia
became the ancestral homeland of the Silesian Piasts, descendants of Bolesław's eldest son Władysław II the Exile, who nevertheless saw themselves barred from the succession to the Polish throne and only were able to regain their Silesian home territory with the aid of the Holy Roman Emperor.

  Duchy of Opole– Racibórz
Racibórz
under Duke Casimir I (1211-1230)

The failure of the Agnatic seniority principle of inheritance also led to the split-up of the Silesian province itself: in 1172 Władysław's second son Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
claimed his rights and received the Upper Silesian Duchy of Racibórz
Duchy of Racibórz
as an allodium from the hands of his elder brother Duke Bolesław I the Tall
Bolesław I the Tall
of Silesia. In the struggle around the Polish throne, Mieszko additionally received the former Lesser Polish
Lesser Polish
lands of Bytom, Oświęcim, Zator, Siewierz and Pszczyna from the new Polish High Duke Casimir II the Just
Casimir II the Just
in 1177. When in 1202 Mieszko Tanglefoot had annexed the Duchy of Opole
Opole
of his deceased nephew Jarosław, he ruled over all Upper Silesia
Silesia
as Duke of Opole
Opole
and Racibórz. In the early 13th century the ties of the Silesian Piasts
Silesian Piasts
with the neighbouring Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
grew stronger as several dukes married scions of German nobility. Promoted by the Lower Silesian Duke Henry I the Bearded, from 1230 also regent over Upper Silesia
Silesia
for the minor sons of his late cousin Duke Casimir I of Opole, large parts of the Silesian lands were settled with German immigrants in the course of the Ostsiedlung, establishing numerous cities according to German town law. The plans to re-unifiy Silesia
Silesia
shattered upon the Mongol invasion of Poland
Poland
and the death of Duke Henry II the Pious
Henry II the Pious
at the 1241 Battle of Legnica. Upper Silesia
Silesia
further fragmented upon the death of Duke Władysław Opolski
Władysław Opolski
in 1281 into the duchies of Bytom, Opole, Racibórz
Racibórz
and Cieszyn. About 1269 the Duchy of Opava
Duchy of Opava
was established on adjacent Moravian territory, ruled by the Přemyslid duke Nicholas I, whose descendants inherited the Duchy of Racibórz
Duchy of Racibórz
in 1336. As they ruled both duchies in personal union, Opava
Opava
grew into the Upper Silesian territory. Bohemia, Austria and Prussia[edit] In 1327 the Upper Silesian dukes, like most of their Lower Silesian cousins, had sworn allegiance to King John of Bohemia, thereby becoming vassals of the Bohemian kingdom. During the re-establishment of Poland
Poland
under King Casimir III the Great, all Silesia
Silesia
was specifically excluded as non-Polish land by the 1335 Treaty of Trentschin becoming a land of the Bohemian Crown and — indirectly — of the Holy Roman Empire. By the mid-14th century, the influx of German settlers into Upper Silesia
Silesia
was stopped by the Black Death pandemic. Unlike in Lower Silesia, the Germanization
Germanization
process was halted; still a majority of the population spoke Polish and Silesian as their native language, often together with German (Silesian German) as a second language. In the southernmost areas, also Lach dialects were spoken. While Latin, Czech and German language
German language
were used as official languages in towns and cities, only in the 1550s (during the Protestant Reformation) did records with Polish names start to appear. Upper Silesia
Silesia
was hit by the Hussite Wars
Hussite Wars
and in 1469 was conquered by King Matthias Corvinus
Matthias Corvinus
of Hungary, while the Duchies of Oświęcim and Zator fell back to the Polish Crown. Upon the death of the Jagiellonian king Louis II in 1526, the Bohemian crown lands were inherited by the Austrian House of Habsburg. In the 16th century, large parts of Silesia
Silesia
had turned Protestant, promoted by reformers like Caspar Schwenckfeld. After the 1620 Battle of White Mountain, the Catholic Emperors of the Habsburg dynasty forcibly re-introduced Catholicism, led by the Jesuits.[citation needed]

1746 map of Upper Silesia, Homann heirs, Nuremberg

Lower Silesia
Silesia
and most of Upper Silesia
Silesia
were occupied by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1742 during the First Silesian War and annexed by the terms of the Treaty of Breslau. A small part south of the Opava
Opava
River remained within the Habsburg-ruled Bohemian Crown as the "Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia", colloquially called Austrian Silesia. Incorporated into the Prussian Silesia
Silesia
Province from 1815, Upper Silesia
Silesia
became an industrial area taking advantage of its plentiful coal and iron ore. Prussian Upper Silesia
Silesia
became a part of the German Empire in 1871. Ethnolinguistic structure before the plebiscite[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.[2]

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

Year 1819 [3] 1828 [4] 1831 [4] 1837 [4] 1840 [4] 1843 [4] 1846 [4] 1852 [4] 1858 [4] 1861 [4] 1867 [4] 1890 [5] 1900 [5] 1905 [5] 1910 [5]

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 and partition[edit] Main article: Upper Silesia
Silesia
plebiscite In 1919, after World War I, the eastern part of Prussian Upper Silesia (with a majority of ethnic Poles) came under Polish rule as the Silesian Voivodeship, while the mostly German-speaking western part remained part of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
as the newly established Upper Silesia
Silesia
Province. In early 1919, the Polish–Czechoslovak War
Polish–Czechoslovak War
broke out around Cieszyn
Cieszyn
Silesia, whereafter Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
gained the Zaolzie
Zaolzie
strip in addition to the Hlučín Region. From 1919-1921 three Silesian Uprisings
Silesian Uprisings
occurred among the Polish-speaking populace of Upper Silesia; the Battle of Annaberg
Battle of Annaberg
was fought in the region in 1921. In the Upper Silesia
Silesia
plebiscite of March 1921, a majority of 59,4% voted against merging with Poland
Poland
and a minority of 40,6% voted for,[6][7] with clear lines dividing Polish and German communities. The plan to divide the region was suggested by the Inter-Allied Commission on Upper Silesia, headed by the French general Henri Le Rond. The plan was decided by an ambassadors conference in Paris on 20 October 1921. The exact border, the maintenance of cross-border railway traffic and other necessary co-operations, as well as equal rights for all inhabitants in both parts of Upper Silesia, were all fixed by the German-Polish Accord on East Silesia,[8] signed in Geneva on May 15, 1922. On June 20 1922, the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
ceded, de facto, the East Upper Silesia
Silesia
region, becoming part of Silesian Voivodeship
Silesian Voivodeship
of the Second Polish Republic. After 1945, almost all of Upper Silesia
Silesia
that was not ceded to Poland in 1922 was transferred to the Republic of Poland. A majority of the German-speaking population had fled or were expelled in accordance with the decision of the victorious Allied powers at their 1945 meeting at Potsdam. This expulsion program also included German speaking inhabitants of Lower Silesia, eastern Brandenburg, eastern Pomerania, Gdańsk
Gdańsk
(Danzig), and East Prussia. The German expellees were transported to the present day Germany (including the former East Germany), and they were replaced with Poles, many from former Polish provinces taken over by the USSR in the east. A good many German-speaking Upper Silesians were relocated in Bavaria. A small part of Upper Silesia
Silesia
stayed as part of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
as Czech Silesia. The expulsions of German-speakers did not totally eliminate the presence of a population that considered itself German. Upper Silesia, in 1945, had a considerable number of Roman Catholic mixed bilingual inhabitants that spoke both German and Polish dialects, and their Polish linguistic skills were solid enough for them to be allowed to remain in the area. With the fall of communism and Poland's joining the European Union, there were enough of these remaining in Upper Silesia
Silesia
to allow for the recognition of the German minority in Poland by the Polish government. Major cities and towns[edit]

Katowice

Ostrava

Gliwice

Opole

The historical capital of Upper Silesia
Silesia
is Opole, nevertheless the largest towns of the region, including Katowice, are located in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region, the total population of which is about 3,000,000. Population figures as of 1995 (all in Poland
Poland
unless otherwise indicated)

Katowice
Katowice
(354,200) Ostrava
Ostrava
(320,000) - Czech Republic
Czech Republic
(eastern districts of former Slezská Ostrava) Bytom
Bytom
(227,600) Gliwice
Gliwice
(214,000) Zabrze
Zabrze
(201,600) Bielsko-Biała
Bielsko-Biała
(196,307) Ruda Śląska
Ruda Śląska
(166,300) Rybnik
Rybnik
(144,300) Tychy
Tychy
(140,900) Opole
Opole
(130,600) Chorzów
Chorzów
(125,800) Jastrzębie Zdrój
Jastrzębie Zdrój
(103,500) Havířov
Havířov
(85,000) - Czech Republic Mysłowice
Mysłowice
(80,000) Siemianowice Śląskie
Siemianowice Śląskie
(78,100) Kędzierzyn-Koźle
Kędzierzyn-Koźle
(70,700) Tarnowskie Góry
Tarnowskie Góry
(67,200) Piekary Śląskie
Piekary Śląskie
(67,200) Żory
Żory
(66,300) Racibórz
Racibórz
(65,100) Karviná
Karviná
(64,200) - Czech Republic Opava
Opava
(62,000) - Czech Republic Świętochłowice
Świętochłowice
(59,600) Wodzisław Śląski
Wodzisław Śląski
(50,500) Nysa (49,000) Mikołów
Mikołów
(38,900) Cieszyn
Cieszyn
(37,300) Orlová
Orlová
(35,900) - Czech Republic Czechowice-Dziedzice
Czechowice-Dziedzice
(35,600) Pszczyna
Pszczyna
(34,600) Kluczbork
Kluczbork
(26,900) Lubliniec
Lubliniec
(26,900) Český Těšín
Český Těšín
(26,300) - Czech Republic
Czech Republic
(Czech part of Cieszyn) Krnov
Krnov
(25,400) - Czech Republic Rydułtowy
Rydułtowy
(24,100) Łaziska Górne
Łaziska Górne
(23,000) Bohumín
Bohumín
(22 894) - Czech Republic Bieruń
Bieruń
(22,100) Pyskowice
Pyskowice
(21,900) Strzelce Opolskie (21,900)

See also[edit]

Silesia Opole
Opole
Silesia Lower Silesia Middle Silesia Silesian Interurbans Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union Upper Silesian Industrial Area Upper Silesian Coal
Coal
Basin Wojciech Korfanty

Notes[edit]

^ This name is used on Silesian Gůrny Ślůnsk and various Silesian websites: http://www.gornyslonsk.republika.pl/, http://sport.nowiny.pyrsk.com/artikel.php?tymat=3, http://ponaszymu.com, http://www.slunskoeka.pyrsk.com/menu.html. ^ 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.  ^ Volksabstimmungen in Oberschlesien 1920-1922 (gonschior.de) ^ Die Volksabstimmung in Oberschlesien 1921 (home.arcor.de) ^ Cf. Deutsch-polnisches Abkommen über Ostschlesien (Genfer Abkommen)

Sources[edit]

H. Förster, B. Kortus (1989) "Social-Geographical Problems of the Cracow and Upper Silesia
Silesia
Agglomerations", Paderborn. (Bochumer Geographische Arbeiten No. 51) Bernhard Gröschel (1993) Die Presse Oberschlesiens von den Anfängen bis zum Jahre 1945: Dokumentation und Strukturbeschreibung. Schriften der Stiftung Haus Oberschlesien: Landeskundliche Reihe, Bd. 4 (in German). Berlin: Gebr. Mann, p. 447. ISBN 3-7861-1669-5 Bernhard Gröschel (1993) Studien und Materialien zur oberschlesischen Tendenzpublizistik des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts. Schriften der Stiftung Haus Oberschlesien: Landeskundliche Reihe, Bd. 5 (in German). Berlin: Gebr. Mann, p. 219. ISBN 3-7861-1698-9 Bernhard Gröschel (1993) Themen und Tendenzen in Schlagzeilen der Kattowitzer Zeitung und des Oberschlesischen Kuriers 1925 - 1939: Analyse der Berichterstattung zur Lage der deutschen Minderheit in Ostoberschlesien. Schriften der Stiftung Haus Oberschlesien: Landeskundliche Reihe, Bd. 6 (in German). Berlin: Gebr. Mann, p. 188. ISBN 3-7861-1719-5 Krzysztof Gwozdz (2000) "The Image of Upper Silesia
Silesia
in geography textbooks 1921-1998", in: Boleslaw Domanski (Ed.), Prace Geograficzne, No. 106, Institute of Geography of the Jagiellonian University Kraków. pp. 55–68 Rudolf Carl Virchow. "Report on the Typhus Epidemic in Upper Silesia." (1848) Am J Public Health 2006;96 2102–2105. (Excerpted from: Virchow RC. Collected Essays on Public Health and Epidemiology. Vol 1. Rather LJ, ed. Boston, Mass: Science History Publications; 1985:204–319.)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Upper Silesia.

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Coordinates: 50°N 18°E / 50°N 18°E

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