Lower Silesia

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Lower Silesian voivodship since 1999

Lower Silesia (Polish: Dolny Śląsk, Latin: Silesia Inferior, German: Niederschlesien) is the north-western part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia in Poland, located along the middle Odra 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 Gra 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

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Flag of Lower Silesia
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Coat of Arms of Lower Silesia

Major cities and towns: (population in 1995):

Other cities: Chojnw, Złotoryja (both under 20,000).

Administrative divisions

County nameCounty site Number of communesCounty area
(in sq. km)
Jelenia Gra City CountyJelenia Gora
Legnica City CountyLegnica 1
Wałbrzych City CountyWałbrzych 1
Wrocław City CountyWrocław 1
Bolesławiec CountyBolesławiec
Dzierżoniw CountyDzierżoniw
Głogw CountyGłogw
Gra CountyGra
Jawor CountyJawor
Jelenia Gora CountyJelenia Gra
Kamienna Gora CountyKamienna Gra
Kłodzko CountyKłodzko
Legnica CountyLegnica
Lubań CountyLubań
Lubin CountyLubin
Lwwek Śląski CountyLwwek Śląski
Milicz CountyMilicz
Oleśnica CountyOleśnica
Oława CountyOława
Polkowice CountyPolkowice
Strzelin CountyStrzelin
Środa Śląska CountyŚroda Śląska
Świdnica CountyŚwidnica
Trzebnica CountyTrzebnica
Wałbrzych CountyWałbrzych
Wołw CountyWołw
Wrocław CountyWrocław 91116.292,900
Ząbkowice Śląskie CountyZąbkowice Śląskie 7801.873,600
Zgorzelec CountyZgorzelec 7838.1101,300
Złotoryja CountyZłotoryja 6575.547,800

Most popular surnames in the region


History: Silesia (Prussian Province) from 1870 to 1945. See also: Silesia (historical region it forms part of)

Tourism: Most tourists visit the famous ski resorts in Karkonosze mountains with its centres Szklarska Poręba and Karpacz. The cities of Wrocław, Jelenia Gra and Legnica also are famous for visitors.

Early History

Early documents mention a number of tribes believed to have lived in Lower Silesia. A Bavarian geographer (ca. 845) reported the Slenzanie (from which it is believed Silesia takes its name) and Dziadoshanie tribes, while a document of the bishopric of Prague (1086) listed the Zlasane, Trebovane, Poborane, and Dedositze tribes. At the same time Upper Silesia was inhabited by the Opolanie, Lupiglaa, and Golenshitse tribes. 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. 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 as many as 17 duchies.

Duchies of Lower Silesia in XIV century:

The 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. In 1526 Silesia fell to Austrian rule under the Habsburg dynasty.

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 Gra 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.

See also

Flag of Poland
Voivodships of Poland
Greater Poland | Kuyavia-Pomerania | Lesser Poland | Łdź | Lower Silesia | Lublin | Lubusz | Masovia | Opole | Podlachia | Pomerania | Świętokrzyskie | Silesia | Subcarpathia | Warmia and Masuria | West Pomerania
Principal cities
Warsaw | Łdź | Krakw | Wrocław | Poznań | Gdańsk | Szczecin | Bydgoszcz | Lublin | Katowice | Białystok | Częstochowa | Gdynia | Gorzw Wlkp. | Toruń | Radom | Kielce | Rzeszw | Olsztyn

da:Niederschlesien no:Nedre Schlesien pl:Dolny Śląsk id:Provinsi Dolnoslaskie bg:Долносилезко воеводство de:Woiwodschaft Niederschlesien fr:Vovodie de Basse-Silsie ja:ドルヌィ・シロンスク県 pl:Województwo dolnośląskie


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