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The Province of Silesia
Schlesien; Polish: Prowincja Śląsk; Silesian: Prowincyjo Ślůnsko) was a
province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919; the territory had been
conquered from Habsburg Austria during the 18th century Silesian Wars. The
provincial capital was Breslau. During the Weimar Republic, in 1919, Silesia
was divided into the separate provinces of Upper Silesia and Lower Silesia.
The two provinces were reunited into a single province from 1938-41 ...
Map of the plebiscite areas - Upper Silesia
LOWER AND UPPER SILESIA
- Turning farther east to Silesia, we
encounter a comparatively new German population. Silesia, overrun by the
Slavs, was resettled by German colonists in the thirteenth century, and the
colonists were mostly Thuringians and Upper Saxons, with a few from the
Upper Rhine country ... They came from a region which is today largely
Noric, Dinaric, and Alpine, but which at the time of their exodus was still
A sample drawn from Friedersdoff in the Sudeten lands of German Silesia
may be taken as typical of this eastern German population ... The
stature is only moderate, with a mean of 166 cm.; the head is of Alpine or
Dinaric size and definitely smaller than those of North or West Germans,
while the cephalic index of 86.5 is hyperbrachycephalic. The facial and
upper facial indices are too low for Dinarics, and fall into an Alpine
category; the noses, like those of the Bavarians, are usually straight in
profile, and only moderately leptorrhine (N. I. = 67). Like the Saxons,
these people are not infrequently blond. Medium brown hair is the commonest
color; 20 per cent of eyes are brown, while most of the others are light and
The racial diagnosis of these people shows them to be largely Alpine in
type, with a number of brachycephalized Nordics, a few Dinarics, and an
important minority of snub-nosed eastern European-looking brachycephals. The
presence of these last indicates that in Silesia we have already entered the
eastern European racial area ...
Northeastern Germany, from Mecklenburg over to East Prussia, is a region
of great blondism, in which northwestern German types, especially the
Borreby, gradually merge into the racial forms found in Lithuania and White
Russia. Von Hindenburg, an East Prussian par excellence, was an ideal
example of a Borreby-East Baltic combination typical of his own class and
To summarize the data on the physical anthropology of Germany it seems
necessary to stress the relative absence of conventional Nordics comparable
to those found in eastern Norway, in Sweden, and in England. Such Nordics
may be seen almost everywhere in Germany as individuals, but nowhere as a
large element in the population. The Northwest Germans represent for the
most part a reëmergence of Brünn and Borreby types which have absorbed the
Iron Age Nordic group almost completely, as well as the old North German
Corded concentration. The southwestern Germans are the most nearly Nordic of
all, but have strong Brünn and Borreby accretions. The southern Germans,
from southern Baden to eastern Bavaria, are basically Alpine, with strong,
often predominant, Dinaric tendencies, and a large purely brunet minority.
In central Germany an intermediate condition between the North German and
the South German extremes is found. In southeastern Germany, from Saxony to
Silesia, while the head form is extremely brachycephalic, the pigmentation
is usually light, and the head size small in comparison with the northern
and western parts of the country. The racial type which is most
characteristic here is the Noric, a blond Dinaric form resulting from a
brachycephalization of Iron Age Nordics through direct or indirect Alpine
admixture. In Silesia, to the same elements may be added a broad-faced,
snub-nosed, brachycephalic strain which we have already observed among Finns
and Balts, and which will be studied in further detail in Poland and Russia.
The northeastern Germans are for the most part blond brachycephals, varying
in type from Borreby to East Baltic, and especially the latter.
Some historians maintain that the area was inhabited by the Silingae, a
Vandal tribe, from the 3d cent. B.C. to the 3d cent. A.D. Slavic tribes
settled here c.A.D. 500, and Silesia was an integral part of Poland by the
11th cent. King Boleslaus III (reigned 1102–38), of the Piast dynasty,
divided Poland into four hereditary duchies (of which Silesia was one) for
the benefit of his sons. After 1200 the duchy of Silesia fell apart into
numerous minor principalities.
The Silesian Piasts encouraged German colonization of their lands, the
larger part of which became thoroughly Germanized, and in the early 14th
cent. the Silesian princes accepted the king of Bohemia as their suzerain
and thus became mediate princes of the Holy Roman Empire. During the Hussite
Wars of the 15th cent. Silesia, with Moravia, was temporarily detached from
the Bohemian crown and was ruled by Hungary. In 1490, however, both Silesia
and Moravia reverted to Bohemia, with which they passed to the house of
Hapsburg in 1526.
Hapsburg rule and increasing Germanization loosened Silesia's historic ties
with Poland. However, the ducal title, along with several fiefs, remained
with the Silesian branch of the Piast dynasty until the extinction of the
line in 1675. The margraviate of Jägerndorf was purchased in 1523 by a cadet
branch of the Hohenzollern dynasty of Brandenburg, which later also claimed
inheritance to other Silesian fiefs. Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg,
moreover, concluded (1537) an alliance with the Piast duke, by which
Brandenburg would inherit the Piast principalities if the Piast dynasty
became extinct. This treaty was declared invalid by King Ferdinand I of
Bohemia (later Emperor Ferdinand I). In 1621, John George of Jägerndorf,
brother of the elector of Brandenburg, lost his fief for having supported
Frederick the Winter King.
The Thirty Years War (1618–48) brought untold misery to Silesia under
successive Saxon, imperial, and Swedish occupation. It reverted to Austrian
control at the Peace of Westphalia (1648). In 1675, on the death of the last
Piast, Austria incorporated the Piast territories into the Bohemian crown
domain. The Counter Reformation had by then made great progress in Silesia,
although Lutheranism was tolerated in Breslau (Wrocław) and certain other
It was on the very shaky dynastic grounds indicated above that Frederick
II of Prussia, as heir of the house of Brandenburg, claimed a portion of
Silesia in 1740 from Maria Theresa, who had just assumed the succession to
Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary. His claim and his offer to assist Maria
Theresa in the impending War of the Austrian Succession were rejected by the
queen while Prussian troops were already invading Silesia. The Silesian Wars
(1740–42 and 1744–45) were part of the general War of the Austrian
Succession. By the Treaty of Berlin (1742), Maria Theresa ceded all of
Silesia except Teschen and present Czech Silesia to Prussia; this cession
was ratified by the Treaty of Dresden (1745). In the Seven Years War,
Prussia retained Silesia.
During the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and 19th cent. textile
weaving and coal mining developed rapidly in Silesia, but industrialization
brought great social tension. The Silesian weavers became dependent on
entrepreneurs who farmed out work; working conditions and unemployment
became intolerable, and discontent ran high. Most coal mining was in the
hands of private industry, under which miners were often mistreated.
Landholding conditions also were iniquitous, most of the land being held by
owners of large estates. The resulting tensions assumed an ethnic character,
since the upper and middle classes were predominantly German, while a large
percentage of the workers were Polish. Though these conditions were
gradually improved, Silesia even in the 20th cent. remained, despite its
great productivity, a relatively backward area.
After World War I the Treaty of Versailles (1919) provided for a
plebiscite to determine if Upper Silesia was to remain German or to pass to
Poland. The results of the plebiscite (1921) were favorable to Germany
except in the easternmost part of Upper Silesia, where the Polish population
predominated. After an armed rising of the Poles (1922) the League of
Nations accepted a partition of the territory; the larger part of the
industrial district, including Katowice, passed to Poland. The contested
city and district of Teschen were partitioned in 1920 between Poland and
Czechoslovakia (to the satisfaction of neither) by the conference of
ambassadors. The political division of the Silesian industrial district was
carried out so arbitrarily that the boundaries often cut through mines; some
workers slept in one country and worked in another. As a result of the
Munich Pact of 1938 most of Czech Silesia was partitioned between Germany
and Poland, and after the German conquest of Poland in 1939 all Polish
Silesia was annexed to Germany.
After World War II the pre-1938 boundaries were restored, but all
formerly Prussian Silesia E of the Lusatian Neisse was placed under Polish
administration (a small section of Lower Silesia W of the Neisse was
incorporated with the East German state of Saxony). The Allies also allowed
the expulsion (in an “orderly and humane” manner) of the German population
from Czech Silesia, Polish Silesia, and Polish-administered Silesia. The
mass expulsion of Germans was, perforce, neither orderly nor humane;
moreover, although the transfer of territories to Polish administration was
made subject to revision in a final peace treaty with Germany, the Polish
government treated all Silesia as integral Polish territory. West Germany
finally relinquished all claims to the area under the terms of a
nonaggression pact with Poland in 1972. With the unification of East and
West Germany in 1990, German leaders attempted once again to allay the fears
of its neighbors, particularly Poland, by declaring the stability of the
borders determined at the end of World War II.
- Silesian tribes (pl: plemiona śląskie) – are the European tribes of West
Slavs ... that lived in the territories of Silesia. The territory they lived
on became part of the Great Moravia in 875 (now mostly Czech Republic) and
later, in 990, first Polish state created by duke Mieszko I and then
expanded by king Boleslaw I at the beginning of the 11th century. They are
usually treated as part of Polish tribes ... and sometimes as part of
Germanic tribes ... Two tribes among them are sometimes considered as Czech
(Moravian) tribes ...
The Silesian tribes, together with the Polans,
Masovians, Vistulans and Pomeranians are the most important Polish tribes...
These five tribes "shared fundamentally common culture and language and were
considerably more closely related to one another than were the Germanic
Before the 5th century, Silesia was probably inhabited by the Germanic
Silingi. Tacitus in his description of Magna Germania mentions Suevi:
Marsigni, Osi, Gothini, Burii in what later became Silesia and Burgundiones
and Lygii at the Vistula ...
- After the migratory movement of the 5th century, any Silingi remaining
in Silesia were most likely slowly replaced in the sixth century by a influx
of Slavic people ...
- The Slavs entered Silesia in the first half of the 7th century. The
territories were mostly abandoned becouse the celtic and germanic tribes
that dwelled here before had earlier moved west ...
In 14th century
Silesia was settled by Germans, becoming the majority of the population in
Silesia for the next centuries. Germans began to build a lot of towns in
Silesia. But also in the 12th and 13th century Germans settled in a minor
number in Silesia ...
In 1742, most of Silesia was seized by King Frederick the Great of
Prussia in the War of the Austrian Succession, who in his first declaration
to the Silesians named himself a 'Piast prince' (he was in fact a remote
descendant). The remainder of Silesia or Cieszyn Silesia stayed within the
Austrian Empire. The Prussian part of Silesia constituted the Province of
Silesia (later the Prussian provinces of Upper and Lower Silesia) until
1918. The minority of self-declared Polish Silesians, their language and
their culture were put under the pressure of the Prussian state's
Kulturkampf policies, attempting to make Germans out of them in culture and
language too. After the Silesian Uprisings the eastern minor, but richer
part of Upper Silesia became part of newly restored Poland, the most of the
part that had remained under the rule of Habsburgs following the 1742 war
came to Czechoslovakia, while Lower Silesia and most of Upper Silesia
remained within Germany.
Following World War II, the vast majority of the region of Silesia was
incorporated into Poland, with smaller regions remaining in the German
Democratic Republic (later in unified Germany), and Czechoslovakia (most of
Cieszyn Silesia). Millions of Silesians (mostly of German ethnicity) were
subsequently expelled, but those Silesians classified by the Polish
communist authorities as descriped by propaganda as "autochthons", in fact
also the expelled Silesians were autochthons of Silesia, or "ethnic Poles
insufficiently aware of their Polishness" were allowed to remain (and
intensely polonized), after being sifted out from the ethnic Germans by a
process of "national verification" ...
Under the care of the Red Cross between 1955 and 1959 some of the
remaining Silesians had the possibility to emigrate to West and East Germany
for a Family reunification with their families in Germany ... But some had
to wait for years. Until 1989 nearly 600,000 Silesians emigrated to Germany.
In 1945-49 millions of ethnic Poles from former (pre1939) eastern Poland
(especially Lviv, Volyhnia, Podolia, Vilnius etc) and central Poland moved
into Silesia, especially 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 law court registered the Union
of People of Silesian Nationality (ZLNS) as the political representative
organization of the Silesian ethnic minority, but after two months the
registration was revoked by a regional court ...
1561 / 1685
SILESIA (Note: North at
the Bottom; South at the Top)
WEST PORTION OF SILESIA (Lower Silesia: From
Sagan Westward - (Note: North at the Bottom; South at the
1645 map of Upper Lusatia
WEST PORTION OF SILESIA (Lower Silesia:
From Sagan Westward)
LOWER SILESIA: LODENAU / STEINBACH / FRIEWALDA
|Note: Golitz (Lower Silesia)
is situated just to the west
of this map, i.e west of Naumburg
/ Bohemia /
Saxony - *
WEST PORTION OF SILESIA (Lower Silesia: From
[* -http://www.library.ucla.edu/yrl/reference/maps/blaeu/germania-nt.htm#germania ]
WEST PORTION OF SILESIA
(Lower Silesia: From
(Gorlitz to Breslau)
CIRCLE OF UPPER SAXONY: WITH THE DUCHY OF SILESIA AND LOWER LUSATIA
PRIEBUS TO BRESLAU
/ Saxony /
Prussia - 1803
[* -http://www.library.ucla.edu/yrl/reference/maps/blaeu/germania-nt.htm#germania ]
1815 - 1918
Poland 1815-1918: Poland was divided among Austria, Prussia,
Lower Silesia -
Lower Silesia - Coat of Arms
Lower Silesia (Niederschlesien),
to the northwest, includes the valley of the upper Oder, where potatoes,
grain, and sugar beets are grown.
Upper Silesia (Oberschlesien), to the southeast, is a heavily
industrialized area with extensive iron, coal, and other mineral
Rothenburg/O.L.-Lodenau. Atlas von Schlesien, Kr. Rothen...
[NOTE: O.L. = Oberlausitz = Upper Lusatia]
Beschreibung: Rothenburg/O.L.-Lodenau. Atlas von Schlesien,
Kr. Rothenburg, Verlag von C. Flemming/Glogau, um 1850
Foto: Rapp, Günter
Datensatz-Nr.: obj 70505131
/ Saxony /
Prussia - 1871
Silesia / Prussia - 1871+
[* -http://www.library.ucla.edu/yrl/reference/maps/blaeu/germania-nt.htm#germania ]
"Description: A map of Germany in 1872, showing the extent of
Prussia, the German states which joined Prussia to make the German Empire, and
Alsace and Lorraine territories taken from France in 1871 ..."
Where Rothenburg, Steinbach and Lodenau were previously in
Silesia - for example in 1871 - apparently here - in 1872 as later for
certain - they are now in Saxony
SCHLESIEN IN 1873
TOWNSHIP OF ROTHENBURG
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
1 Beinsdorf 2 Berg 3 Biehain 4 Boxberg 5 Braunsdorf 6
Bremenhain 7 Caana 8 Collm 9 Cosel, Nieder- 10 Cosel-, Ober 11 Creba mit 12
Cunnersdorf 13 Dauban 14 Daubitz 15 Diehsa 16 Dobers 17 Düben, Gross- 18
Dürrbach mit 19 Förstgen 20 Gablenz 21 Gebelzig, Nieder- mit 22 Gebelzig,
Ober- 23 Geheege und 24 Grosssaubernitz 25 Hammerstadt 26 Horka I, Mittel-
27 Horka II, Mittel- 28 Horka, Nieder- 29 Horka, Ober- 30 Horscha 31
Hähnichen 32 Jahmen mit 33 Jerchwitz 34 Jänkendorf mit 35 Kaltwasser 36
Kaschel und 37 Keula 38 Klein-Krauscha 39 Klitten 40 Kodersdorf 41
Kringelsdorf und Eselsberg 42 Köbeln 43 Leippa 44 Liebel, Alt- 45
Lodenau 46 Moholz 47 Muskau 48 Muskau, Forst 49 Mücka
50 Mückenhain 51 Mühlrose 52 Neuliebel 53 Neundorf, Nieder- 54 Niesky 55
Noes 56 Oelsa, Nieder- 57 Oelsa, Ober- 58 Petershain 59 Prauske, Ober- 60
Quitzdorf 61 Quolsdorf 62 Radisch, Gross- 63 Reichwalde 64 Rengersdorf, Ober-
mit 65 Rietschen 66 Rothenburg o. L. mit 67 Schleife 68 See 69 Skerbersdorf
70 Spreehammer, Nieder- 71 Sproitz 72 Standesherrschaft Muskau 73
Stannewisch und 74 Steinbach 75 Steinölsa 76 Tauer 77
Teicha 78 Thiemendorf 79 Thräna 80 Tormersdorf 81 Trebus mit 82 Uhsmannsdorf
83 Ullersdorf 84 Weigersdorf 85 Weisskeissel 86 Weisswasser 87 Werda 88
Wiesa 89 Wilhelmsfeld 90 Wunscha 91 Zedlig 92 Zibelle, Nieder- 93 Zibelle,
Ober- 94 Zimpel 95 Zoblitz 96 Zschernske und
regierung zu liegnitz / Silesia - Government of Liegnitz
und Kreis-Wundärzte - Physici county and district surgeons
Über Den Königlich Preussischen Hof Und Staat Für Das Jahr 1875. (Berlin,
1874), p. 493 -
The pink line is the present border between Poland and
Germany. Polish and German names of cities are provided. Please note Rothenburg.
... In 1900 the province of Schlesien had the following
districts and Kreise (counties):
Regierungsbezirk (district) of Breslau with 24 Kreise (counties):
Breslau-Stadt, Breslau-Land, Brieg, Frankenstein, Glatz, Gr. Wartenberg,
Guhrau, Habelschwerdt, Militsch, Münsterberg, Namslau, Neumarkt, Neurode,
Nimpgtsch, Ohlau, Oels, Reichenbach, Schweidnitz, Steinau, Strehlen,
Striegau, Trebnitz, Waldenburg, Wohlau.
Regierungsbezirk (district) of Oppeln with 20 Kreise (counties):
Beuthen-Stadt, Beuthen-Land, Falkenberg, Gr.Strehlitz, Grottkau,
Kattowitz, Kosel, Kreuzburg, Leobschütz, Lublinitz, Neisse, Neustadt, Oppeln,
Pless, Ratibor, Rosenberg, Rybnitz, Tarnowitz, Tost-Gleiwitz, Zabrze.
Regierungsbezirk (district) of Liegnitz with 21 Kreise (counties):
Bolkenhain, Bunzlau, Freystadt, Glogau, Goldberg-Hainau, Görlitz-Stadt,
Görlitz-Land, Grünberg, Hirschberg, Hoyerswerda, Jauer, Landeshut, Lauban,
Liegnitz-Stadt, Liegnitz-Land, Löwenberg, Lueben, Rothenburg, Sagan, Schönau,
What about the remaining Silesian areas outside Prussia?
Österreichisch-Schlesien (Austrian-Silesia) remained with Austria after the
Breslau peace treaty of 1742 with Prussia as an Austrian
duchy and crownland.
In 1890 it comprised the following districts:
Städte (cities) of Troppau, Bielitz, Friedek.
Bezirkshauptmannschaften (land districts) of Bielitz, Freistadt,
Freiwaldau, Freudenthal, Jägerndorf, Teschen, Troppau.
What were the court districts in Schlesien before 1900?
The highest Silesian court was the Oberlandesgericht in Breslau with records
deposited at the Wroclaw archives today.
The lower courts (Landgerichte) and lowest courts (Amtsgerichte) were
Landgericht Beuthen with (5) Amtsgerichte:
Beuthen, Kattowitz, Königshütte, Myslowitz, Tarnowitz.
Landgericht Breslau with (5) Amtsgerichte:
Breslau, Kanth, Neumarkt, Winzig, Wohlau.
Landgericht Brieg with (6) Amtsgerichte:
Brieg, Grottkau, Löwen, Ohlau, Strehlen, Wansen.
Landgericht Glatz with (11) Amtsgerichte:
Frankenstein, Glatz, Habelschwerdt, Landeck, Lewin, Mittelwalde,
Münsterberg, Neurode, Reichenstein, Reinerz, Wünschelburg.
Landgericht Gleiwitz, with (6) Amtsgerichte:
Gleiwitz, Nikolai, Peiskretscham, Pless, Tost, Zabrze.
Landgericht Glogau with (15) Amtsgerichte:
Beuthen, Carolath, Freistadt, Glogau, Grünberg, Guhrau, Halbau,
Herrnstadt, Kontopp, Neusalz,Polkwitz, Priebus, Sagan, Sprottau, Steinau.
Landgericht Görlitz with (10) Amtsgerichte:
Görlitz, Hoyerswerda, Lauban, Marklissa, Muskau, Niesky, Reichenbach,
Landgericht Hirschberg with (12) Amtsgerichte:
Bolkenhain, Friedeberg, Greifenberg, Hermsdorf, Hirschberg, Lähn,
Landeshut, Liebau, Löwenberg, Schmiedeberg, Schömberg, Schönau.
Landgericht Liegnitz with (8) Amtsgerichte:
Bunzlau, Goldberg, Haynau, Jauer, Liegnitz, Lüben, Naumburg,
Landgericht Neisse with (8) Amtsgerichte:
Falkenberg, Friedland, Neisse, Neustadt, Oberglogau, Ottmachau,
Landgericht Öls with (10) Amtsgerichte:
Bernstadt, Festenberg, Gr.Wartenberg, Militsch, Namslau,
Neumittelwalde, Öls, Prausnitz, Trachenberg, Trebnitz.
Landgericht Oppeln with (14) Amtsgerichte:
Gr. Strehlitz, Guttentag, Karlsruh, Konstadt, Krappitz, Kreuzburg,
Kupp, Landsberg, Leschitz, Lublinitz, Oppeln, Pitschen, Rosenberg, Ujest.
Landgericht Ratibor with (10) Amtsgerichte:
Bauerwitz, Gnadenfeld, Hultschin, Katscher, Kosel, Leobschütz, Loslau,
Ratibor, Rybnik, Sohrau.
Landgericht Schweidnitz with (10) Amtsgerichte:
Freiburg, Friedland bei Waldenburg, Gottesberg, Nieder-Wüstegiersdorf,
Nimptsch, Reichenbach, Schweidnitz, Striegau, Waldenburg, Zobten.
LOWER AND UPPER SILESIA
1905 administrative map of Silesia, showing Lower Silesia in
Prussian Silesia, the
largest province of Prussia, has an area of 15,557 square miles, and is
traversed in its entire length by the River Oder. In 1905 the province had
4,942,612 inhabitants, of whom 2,765,394 were Catholics, 2,120,361 Lutherans,
and 46,845 Jews; 72.3 per cent were Germans and nearly 25 per cent Poles.
Agriculture is in a flourishing condition, 66 per cent of the area being under
cultivation; the mining of iron, lead, and coal is largely carried on, and the
manufacturing industry is considerable; among the articles manufactured are
hardware, glass, china, linen, cotton and woollen goods.
In the earliest period
Silesia was inhabited by Germans, the tribes being the Lygii and the Silingii.
When during the migrations these peoples emigrated about the year 400 towards
the West, the territory was lost to the Germanic races, and for about eight
hundred years the region was Slavonic. The sole memorial of the Silingii is the
retention of the name Silesia; the Slavs called Mount Zobten near Breslau "Slenz"
(Silingis), and the Gau surrounding Mount Zobten they called Pagus Silensi or
Slenzane, Slenza, Silesia. The region belonged politically at times to Poland
and at times to Bohemia. Christianity came to it from Bohemia and Moravia. The
apostles of these two countries, Cyril and Methodius (from 863), are indirectly
also the apostles of Silesia. Until nearly the year 1000 Silesia had no bishop
of its own. The right bank of the Oder belonged to the Diocese of Posen which
was established in 968 and was suffragan of Magdeburg; the left bank belonged to
the Diocese of Prague, that was established in 973 and was suffragan of Mainz.
The Emperor Otto III transferred the part on the left bank of the Oder to the
Diocese of Meissen in 995. In 999 Silesia was conquered by the Poles. Duke
Boleslaw Chrobry (the Brave) of Poland now founded the Diocese of Breslau; in
the year 1000 this diocese was made suffragan of the new Archdiocese of Gnesen
that was established by Otto III. In 1163, at the command of the German Emperor
Frederick Barbarossa, Silesia was given dukes of its own who belonged to the
family of the Piasts. With these rulers began the connection with Germany and
German civilization. Lower Silesia was governed by Boleslaw the Long, the
companion-in-arms of the emperor. His successor was Henry the Bearded (1201-38),
the husband of St. Hedwig. From about 1210 Henry began to bring German colonists
into his territory and to permit them to found German villages and cities.
Bishop Laurence of Breslau followed his example in the district under the
control of his see, the castellany of Ottmachau. The monasteries did much to aid
the colonization and the Germanic tendencies, especially the Cistercians of the
monastery of Leubus. These established no less than sixty-five new German
villages and materially promoted agriculture and gardening, mechanical arts,
mining, and navigation of the Oder. In the reign of Henry II (1238-41), the son
of St. Hedwig Silesia and its western civilization were threatened by the
Tatars. Henry met them in battle at Wahlstatt near Liegnitz and there died the
death of a hero; his courageous resistance forced the barbarians to withdraw.
Consequently 9 April, 1241, is one of the great days of Silesian history.
The German colonization
was vigorously carried on and towards the end of the thirteenth century Lower
Silesia was mainly German, while in Upper Silesia the Slavs were in the
majority. Among the contemporaries of St. Hedwig (d. 1243) were the Blessed
Ceslaus and St. Hyacinth, both natives of Upper Silesia. They entered the
Dominican Order in Italy and then became missionaries. Ceslaus labored in
Breslau, where his order in 1226 obtained the Church of St. Adalbert; he died in
1242. Hyacinth, who among other labors also preached in Upper Silesia, died in
1257 at Cracow. A third native saint of Silesia was a relative of Hyacinth,
Bronislawa, who became a Premonstratensian in 1217 and passed forty years in the
practice of severe penances. Besides the monastery of Leubus the Cistercians had
monasteries also at Kamenz (1248) Heinrichau (1228), Rauden (1252), Himmelwitz
(1280), and Grussau (1292). The wealthiest convent was the Abbey of Trebnitz for
Cistercian nuns founded by St. Hedwig who was buried there. Celebrated
monasteries of the Augustinians were the one on the Sande at Breslau, which was
founded at Gorkau about 1146 and was transferred to Breslau about 1148, and that
at Sagan, established in 1217 at Naumburg on the Bober and transferred to Sagan
in 1284. There were also a large number of houses belonging to the
Premonstratensians, Franciscans, and orders of knights, as the Knights of St.
John of Jerusalem, Knights of the Cross, Knights Templar. Up to the middle of
the fourteenth century forty-five monasteries for men and fourteen for women had
been established. The ruling family, the Piasts, repeatedly divided their
inheritance so that in the fourteenth century Silesia contained no less than
eighteen principalities. This made it all the easier for the Bishop of Breslau
as Prince of Neisse and Duke of Grottkau to become the most important of the
ruling princes. Silesia came under the suzerainty of the kings of Bohemia in
1327-29. As Bohemia was controlled by Germany the change was more favorable for
colonization than if it had fallen to Poland. Silesia suffered terribly during
the Hussite Wars (1420-37). The Hussites repeatedly undertook marauding
expeditions, and hardly any city except Breslau escaped the havoc they wrought.
About forty cities were laid in ashes. The clergy were burnt or put to death in
other ways; the nobility grew poor; the peasants became serfs; the fields lay
uncultivated; the "golden" Diocese of Breslau became a diocese of
"filth". In 1469 Silesia came under the suzerainty of Hungary.
However, as in 1526 Hungary, with Silesia, and Bohemia became at the same time
possessions of the Habsburgs, from this time the province was once more regarded
as a dependency of Bohemia.
The Reformation made rapid
progress in Silesia. For the causes of this see THE PRINCE-BISHOPRIC OF BRESLAU.
In the same article also the course of the Reformation and that of the
counter-Reformation are fully treated. A large share of the credit for the
restoration and firm establishment of Catholicism is due to the Jesuits, who
during the years 1622-98 established in Silesia nine large colleges, each with a
gymnasium, four residences, and two missions, and brought under their control
all the higher schools of the country. This control endured, as Frederick the
Great continued his protection of the Jesuits, even after the suppression of the
order, up to 1800. In the seventeenth century Silesia obtained great renown
through the two Silesian schools of poetry, the chief of these poets being
Martin Opitz, Friedrich von Logau, and Andreas Gryphius. In 1702 the Jesuit
college at Breslau was changed into the Leopoldine University (see BRESLAU,
UNIVERSITY OF). At the close of the three Silesian wars (1740-2, 1744-5,
1756-63) the greater part of Silesia belonged to Prussia. By this change
Catholicism lost the privileged position which it had regained in the
counter-Reformation, even though Frederick the Great did not impair the
possessions of the Church, as happened later (1810-40). In 1815 the Congress of
Vienna enlarged Silesia by the addition of about half of Lausitz (Lusatia).
During the decade of the forties the sect of "German Catholics"
developed from Silesia as the starting-point; this sect was founded at
Laurahutte in Upper Silesia by the ex-chaplain, John Ronge. Finally a brief
mention should here be made of the enormous economic development of the province
in the last fifty years, especially in the mining of coal, the mining and
working of metals, and the manufacture of chemicals and machines. In Upper
Silesia especially manufactures have advanced with American rapidity.
Ecclesiastically the entire province belongs to the Prince Bishopric of Breslau
with the following exceptions: the commissariat of Katscher, which consists of
the Archipresbyterates of Katscher, Hultschin, and Leobschutz with 44 parishes
and 130,944 Catholics, and belongs to the Archdiocese of Olmutz; the county of
Glatz, which has 51 parishes and 146,673 Catholics, and belongs to the
Archdiocese of Prague
Austrian Silesia is that
part of Silesia which remained an Austrian possession after 1763. It is a
crownland with an area of 1987 square miles and a population of 727,000 persons.
Of its population 84.73 per cent are Catholics; 14 per cent are Protestants;
44.69 per cent are Germans; 33.31 per cent Poles; 22.05 per cent Czechs. As in
Prussian Silesia, agriculture, mining, and manufactures are in a very
flourishing condition. The districts of Teschen and Neisse belong to the Prince
Bishopric of Breslau, those of Troppau and Jagerndorf to the Archdiocese of
Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912.
Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New
York - KLEMENS LÖFFLER Transcribed by Joseph E. O'Connor
WEST PORTION OF SILESIA (Lower Silesia: From
Sagan Westward to Saxony: Bischofswerda and Dresden)
Rothenburg / Freiwaldau
Please note: Lodenau / Rothenburg / Steinbach / Freiwaldau (Frei-waldau)
German Silesia. German Silesia is bounded by Brandenburg, Posen,
Russian Poland, Galicia, Austrian Silesia, Moravia, Bohemia and the kingdom and
province of Saxony. Besides the bulk of the old duchy of Silesia, it comprises
the countship of Glatz, a fragment of the Neumark, and part of Upper Lusatia,
taken from the kingdom of Saxony in 1815. The province, which has an area of
15,576 sq. m. and is the largest in Prussia, is divided into three governmental
districts, those of Liegnitz and Breslau comprising lower Silesia, and of Oppeln
taking in the greater part of mountainous Silesia.
OF WORLD WAR 1
Rothenburg / Freiwaldau
Red: Annexed by Poland in 1945
Grey: Annexed by Soviet Union in 1945
Historic Silesia, superimposed on modern international borders
The Region of Silesia
German Borders and Loss of Silesia
"Silesia (Polish: Slask; German: Schlesien; Czech: Slezsko) is a
historic region in east central Europe, situated along the middle and upper
Oder River basin. Most of Silesia lies in southwestern Poland, with smaller
sections in the Czech Republic and the German state of Saxony " [http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~rgrosser/silesia.htm]
"The region was divided historically into three parts. Lower
Silesia (Niederschlesien), to the northwest, includes the valley of the
upper Oder ... Upper Silesia (Oberschlesien), to the southeast... A third
division, known as Austrian Silesia, or Teschen, borders Upper Silesia on
the south ... The most important cities of Silesia are Wroclaw in Lower
Silesia and Katowice in Upper Silesia."
This site is in
site is in German
Silesia is divided in 3
administrative regions ( Regierungsbezirk):
These administrative regions consist of the following
- Urban districts: Görlitz, Liegnitz
- Rural districts: Bolkenhain, Bunzlau, Freystadt, Glogau,
Goldberg-Haynau, Görlitz, Grünberg, Hirschberg, Hoyerswerda,
Jauer, Landeshut, Lauban, Liegnitz , Löwenberg, Lüben,
Rothenburg, Sagan, Schönau, Sprottau
- Urban districts: Breslau, Brieg und Schweidnitz
- Rural districts: Breslau, Brieg, Frankenstein, Glatz, Groß
Wartenberg, Guhrau, Habelschwerdt, Militsch, Münsterberg,
Namslau, Neumarkt, Neurode, Nimptsch, Öls, Ohlau, Reichenbach,
Schweidnitz, Steinau, Strehlen, Striegau, Trebnitz, Waldenburg,
- Urban districts: Beuthen, Gleiwitz, Kattowitz, Königshütte,
- Rural districts: Beuthen, Cosel, Falkenberg, Gleiwitz, Groß
Strehlitz, Grottkau, Hindenburg, Kattowitz, Königshütte,
Kreuzburg, Leobschütz, Lublinitz, Neisse, Neustadt, Oppeln, Pleß,
Ratibor, Rosenberg, Rybnik, Tarnowitz
The Province of Silesia (; ; Silesian: Prowincyjo Ślůnsko)
was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919; the territory
had been conquered from Habsburg Austria during the 18th century Silesian
Wars. The provincial capital was Breslau. During the Weimar Republic, in
1919, Silesia was divided into the separate provinces of Upper Silesia and
Lower Silesia. The two provinces were reunited into a single province from
- The Province of Lower Silesia (German: Provinz Niederschlesien)
was a province of the Free State of Prussia from 1919 to 1945.
Between 1938 and 1941 it was reunited with Upper Silesia as the
Province of Silesia. The capital of Lower Silesia was Breslau (now
Wrocław in Poland). The province was further divided into two
administrative regions (Regierungsbezirke), Breslau and Liegnitz.
The region of Lower Silesia now lies mainly in Poland, but with
parts in the German Free State of Saxony (the Görlitz, Rothenburg/Oberlausitz
and Hoyerswerda areas) and a small part in the federal state of
Please note Rothenburg.
LODENAU, STEINBACH, ROTHENBURG
Note: Steinbach, Lodenau, and Rothenburg
are today located in Saxony