Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lower Silesia (Polish Dolny Śląsk, German Niederschlesien, Latin Silesia Inferior) is the north-western part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia in Poland, located along the middle Oder River and organized into Lower Silesian Voivodship, (Polish: województwo dolnośląskie) with capital Wrocław
It was created on 1 January 1999 out of the former Wrocław, Legnica, Wałbrzych and Jelenia Góra voivodships as a result of Local Government Reorganization Act of 1998. The voivodship's name recalls the region's traditional name of Lower Silesia.
Population: 2.987 million
Area: 19,946 km².
The capital and biggest city : Wrocław
Major cities and towns: (population in 1995):
- Wrocław (642,700);
- Wałbrzych (139,600);
- Legnica (108,000);
- Jelenia Góra (93,500);
- Lubin (83,500);
- Głogów (74,200);
- Świdnica (64,800);
- Bolesławiec (44,400);
- Oleśnica (38,900);
- Dzierżoniów (38,300);
- Bielawa (34,600);
- Zgorzelec (36,800);
- Oława (31,800).
- Kłodzko (30,900);
- Nowa Ruda (27,200);
- Jawor (25,600);
- Świebodzice (24,700);
- Lubań (24,400);
- Kamienna Góra (23,600);
- Polkowice (21,600);
|County name||County site||Number of communes||County area |
(in sq. km)
|Jelenia Góra City County||Jelenia Gora|
|Legnica City County||Legnica||1|
|Wałbrzych City County||Wałbrzych||1|
|Wrocław City County||Wrocław||1|
|Jelenia Gora County||Jelenia Góra|
|Kamienna Gora County||Kamienna Góra|
|Lwówek Śląski County||Lwówek Śląski|
|Środa Śląska County||Środa Śląska|
|Ząbkowice Śląskie County||Ząbkowice Śląskie||7||801.8||73,600|
Most popular surnames in the region
Tourism: Most tourists visit the famous ski resorts in Karkonosze mountains with its centres Szklarska Poręba and Karpacz. The cities of Wrocław, Jelenia Góra and Legnica also are famous for visitors.
Early documents mention a couple of tribes most probably living in Lower Silesia: Bavarian Geographer (ca. 845): Slenzanie, Dziadoshanie; and a document of Prague bishopric (1086): Zlasane, Trebovane, Poborane, Dedositze. At the same time the Upper Silesia was inhabited by Opolanie, Lupiglaa, Golenshitse. In the 9th and 10th centuries the territory was subject to the Moravian and then Bohemian rulers of the neighbouring area covered by today's Czech Republic to the south. In 990 Silesia was incorporated into Poland by Mieszko I
Feudal fragmentation of Poland
Silesia was split into Lower and Upper parts in 1172 during the period of Poland's feudal fragmentation, when the land was divided between two sons of Ladislaus the Exile (Władysław Wygnaniec): Bolesław the Tall ruling over the Lower Silesia with the capital in Wroclaw and Mieszko Plątonogi ruling over Upper Silesia with the capital in Opole.
Later Silesia was divided into upto 17 duchies.
Duchies of Lower Silesia in XIV century:
- Wrocław (Breslau)
- Brzeg (Brieg)
- Oleśnica (Oels)
- Legnica (Liegnitz)
- Swidnica (Schweidnitz)
- Glogow (Glogau)
- Nysa (Neisse)
- Żagań-Szprotawa (Sagan - Sprottau)
- Krosno Odrzańskie-Ścinawa
Under Bohemian crown and Austria (1348-1742)
In 1348 most of the Silesian duchies were ruled by the Polish-speaking Piast dukes under the feudal overlordship of Bohemian kings, and thus became part of the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation). In 1526 it became a part of Austria under the Habsburgs.
In Prussia (1742-1945)
Most of Silesia became Prussian in 1742 after the First Silesian War and turned into the Silesian province, divided into the districts of Lower Silesia (Liegnitz), Middle Silesia (Breslau), and Upper Silesia (Oppeln). After World War I, Upper Silesia was divided between Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. The German portion was reorganized into two provinces: Lower Silesia and Upper Silesia.
In Poland (after 1945)
After World War II most of Lower Silesia was assigned to Poland by the Allies and reorganized into Wrocław Voivodship (1945-1975). The German population was forcefully expelled. As a result of Local Government Reorganisation Act (1975) Poland's administration was reorganized into 49 voivodships, 4 of them in Lower Silesia: Jelenia Góra Voivodship, Legnica Voivodship, Wałbrzych Voivodship and Wrocław Voivodship (1975-1998). As a result of Local Government Reorganisation Act of 1998, these 4 provinces were joined into the Lower Silesian Voivodship (effective 1 January 1999), whose capital is Wrocław.
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