Silesia

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Silesia (czech Slezsko, german Schlesien, polish Śląsk) is a historical region in Central Europe. Nowaday Silesia is divided between Poland (main part), Czechia and Germany. It has two parts - Lower Silesia and Upper Silesia. Esteemed center of Silesia is Wrocław.

Geography

Silesia borders with another historical regions, from south clockwise it is Moravia, Bohemia, Lusatia, Brandenburg, Greater Poland, Lesser Poland and Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia).

History

Duchy of Silesia

Silesian region was border region between Duchy of Bohemia and Duchy of Poland. In 1138 polish duke Bolesław III, shortly before his death, divided his realm among his sons. Silesia was given to Władysław II Wygnaniec, first polish senior. But soon his brothers disagree with his rule and in 1146 he was forced to exile. The Silesia an senior title fall on Bolesław IV Kędzierzawy. But Władysław turned to holy roman emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa. He answered his call and call of his sons and forced Bołeslaw to return Silesia in 1163 to Władysław line - sons Bolesław I Wysoki and Mieszko I Plątonogi. But the agreement of brothers came to swift end. Bolesław Wysoki was driven from his land, further conflict was ward off by mutual treaty. Mieszko keeps southern part of Silesia (Duchy of Teschen), Bolesław got northern part (Duchy of Wrocław), theirs brother Konrad Laskonogi Duchy of Głogów and Bolesław's son Jarosław received central part (Duchy of Opole).

Partition of Silesia

After the deaths of Jarosław of Opole and Konrad Laskonogi, the Silesia was divided into to main parts - Upper (ducatus Opolie) and Lower (ducatus Slezie) parts. More significant of them was Lower Silesia, which was under the rule of Bolesław line. His son Henryk I Brodaty acquire Duchy of Kraków and Duchy of Greater Poland and the title of polish senior. This lands inherited his son Henryk II Pobożny in 1238, but their domain disintegrate after his death at battle of Legnica in 1241. In 13th century this two parts dilapidated to smaller duchies, because each duke splits his realm among his sons. Overall there was over 30 different independent duchies ruled by Silesian Piasts. In the second half of 13th century Duchy of Opava was detached from Moravia as independent land and began convergencing with Silesian duchies.

Silesian wars

Holy Roman emperor Charles VI failed to have male offspring, so he decided that the Habsburgian lands will fall to his daughter Maria Theresa. He publish the Pragmatic sanction, which made it possible for her to inherit his realm, and enforced other countries (e. g. Spain, Russia, Prussia, England and France) to recognize this document. But after his death in 1740 the Prussian king Friedrich II the Great attacked Austria and invaded to Silesia. In resulting First Silesian War (17401742) the Austrian army was several times beaten by its Prussian counterpart and Austria had to sign the Treaty of Berlin. Prussia acquired nearly whole Silesia, except of Duchy of Teschen, greater part of Duchy of Opava and Duchy of Krnov and smaller part of Duchy of Nysa (so-called Austrian Silesia).

Literature

  • Fukala, Radek. Slezsko - neznámá země Koruny české : knížecí a stavovské Slezsko do roku 1740 České Budějovice: Veduta, 2007. 344 pp.
  • Žáček, Rudolf. Slezsko. Prague: Libri, 2005. 214 pp.