It’s not just the geography that’s varied but the history as well. Lower Silesia can perhaps lay claim to being the most turbulent territory in Europe!


Ancient history

In the Upper Paleolithic period the oldest human remains (40,000 years old) in Lower Silesia were found in a tomb in Tyniec on the river Sleza. Much later, in the Mesolithic era (7,000 years ago), the first nomadic people settled in Lower Silesia, living in caves and primitive huts. In the Neolithic period (4000–1700 BC) the first rural settlements were made, as people began to farm and breed animals. Mining, pottery, and weaving are dated to this period.

In the La Tène culture period, Lower Silesia was inhabited by the Celts, who had their centre and statues on Mount Sleza – these were later worshipped by the Slavic tribes that came here around the sixth century BC. After the 7th century BC Lower Silesia was inhabited by a number of Germanic tribes (Vandals, the Lugii and the Silingi). Later new peoples arrived in Silesia from Sarmatia, Asia Minor and the Asian steppes from the beginning of the sixth century.

Polish Silesia

In 1000 AD Boleslaw I Chrobry founded the Diocese of Wroclaw, which, together with the Bishoprics of Krakow and Kolobrzeg, was placed under the Archbishopric of Gniezno in Greater Poland, founded by Emperor Otto III at the Congress of Gniezno in the same year. The ecclesial centre of Gniezno over Wroclaw lasted until 1821. After a temporary shift to Bohemia in the first half of the 11th century.

Upper and Lower Silesia

The Duchy of Silesia was first 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 former High Duke Wladyslaw II.

Prussian Silesia

Most of Lower Silesia, except for southern part of the Duchy of Nysa, became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1742 after the First Silesian War by the 1742 Treaty of Breslau. In 1815 it became part of the Prussian Silesia Province.

Recent history

By the beginning of the 20th century Lower Silesia had an almost entirely German-speaking and ethnic German population. After the First World War, Upper Silesia was divided between the German Weimar Republic, the Second Polish Republic, and the state of Czechoslovakia, while the Prussian Lower Silesia remained in Germany and was re-organized into the Lower Silesia Province.

Following the end of World War II, all territories east of the Oder-Neisse line were placed under Polish administration according to the Potsdam Agreement and consequently incorporated by the Republic of Poland.