(Pol., Śląsk; Ger., Schlesien; Cz., Slezsko), a region at the borders of Prussia, Saxony, Bohemia, Moravia, and Poland. Silesia was disputed territory from

the tenth century. Around 990, it was separated from the Bohemian lands and became part of Poland. In the period of the regional fracturing of Poland,

the majority of the Silesian princes accepted the sovereignty of the Czech king, which Kazimierz the Great eventually acknowledged, abdicating Silesia to

Bohemia. The Habsburgs ruled it from 1526, and as a result of the Silesian Wars (1740–1763), the majority of its territory came under Prussian rule, with

only the southeastern regions remaining in the realm of the Habsburgs. The latter region, Austrian Silesia—comprising the principalities of Teschen (Pol.,

Cieszyn; Cz., Těšín), Troppau (Pol., Opawa; Cz., Opava), and Jägerndorf (Pol., Karniów, Cz., Krnov)—remained under Habsburg rule from 1742 to 1918.

Although the 1812 Prussian edict of emancipation expanded the rights of Jews, serious restrictions remained in force until 1848, and some obstacles to

full freedom of occupation persisted until the fall of the empire. The latter decades of the nineteenth century saw emigration from older and smaller

settlements and a concentration of Jews in Breslau, where in 1871 they numbered 13,916 or 6.7 percent of the population (rural communities of Jews in

Silesia had virtually disappeared by 1900).

Full article at the YIVO Encyclopedia


See also:


Silesian Communities:





Novissimum-Silesiae Theatrum id est: Exactissimus superioris et inferioris Silesiae  

(1745)  J.J. Lidl


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Generalcharte-von-Schlesien  (1802) F.L. Gussefeld  



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Schlesien und Maehren   (1804)  F.L. Gussefeld





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Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Schlesien  (1810)  D.F. Sotzman


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Provinz Schlesien  (1905)  F.Handtke


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Karte Oberlandesgerichtsbezirks Breslau  (1915)  C.Flemming


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