Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship


Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship

Infobox Former Subdivision
native_name = Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship
conventional_long_name =
common_name = Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship
continent = Europe
country = Poland
government_type = Autonomy
subdivision = Autonomous province
nation = Poland
life_span = July 15, 1920 - May 6, 1945
year_start = 1921
year_end = de facto in 1939, de iure in 1945





capital = Katowice
latd=50 |latm=15 |latNS=N |longd=19 |longm=00 |longEW=E
common_languages = Polish, German
leader1 = Voivode Józef Rymer (first)
leader2 = Marshal of the Sejm Konstanty Wolny (first)
stat_year1 = 1929
stat_area1 = 5100
stat_pop1 = 1533500

The Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship ( _pl. Autonomiczne Województwo Śląskie, _de. Autonome Woiwodschaft Schlesien) was an autonomous region of the Poland created as the result of the popular plebiscite in 1921, the treaty in Geneva, three Silesian Uprisings, and the partition of Upper Silesia between Poland, Germany and then-Czechoslovakia. The special status of the voivodeship dated to a July 15 1920 act of Sejm. The act was forcibly renounced in May 6 1945 by the ruling communists.

General description

Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship was the richest and best developed of all provinces of interbellum Poland. It owed its wealth to rich deposits of coal, which resulted in construction of numerous coal mines and steelworks. For this reason, this Voivodeship was crucial to Polish armament production. However, its location - right on the border with Germany, made it vulnerable. So, in mid-1930s, Polish government decided to move some sectors of heavy industry to the nation’s heartland, creating Centralny Okreg Przemyslowy. With highly effective agriculture, Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship also was a major producer of food, despite its small size.

According to the 1931 census, 92.3% of population stated Polish as their mother tongue, which made it the most “Polish” of all Voivodeships. However, it should be noted that Silesians were not recognised as a separate nation by the Polish government and the Silesian language was considered to be a dialect of Polish. Germans made 7% and Jews - only 0.5%, which was the lowest percentage in the whole nation. Poles lived mainly in the villages (95.6% of population there), while Germans preferred cities (12.9% of Polish Upper Silesian cities’ population was German).

Population density (299 persons per 1 km²) was the highest in the country (by comparison - in Polesie Voivodeship the density was only 31 persons per 1 km²). On January 1, 1937, forested was 27.9% of area (with the national average of 22.2%). Rail density was the highest in the country (18.5 km. per 100 km², by comparison - in Polesie Voivideship it was only 3.1 km. per 100 km²) In 1931, illiterate was only 1.5% of population (with the national average of 23.1%, in Polesie Voivodeship - 48.4%).

History

*First Silesian Uprising: 16 August-26 August 1919
*Second Silesian Uprising: 19 August-25 August 1920
*Third Silesian Uprising: 2 May-5 July 1921
*Upper Silesia plebiscite

Politics

This region possessed wide autonomy, including having its own Silesian Parliament as well as its own national treasury - the Silesian Treasury ( _pl. Skarb Śląski), all of which were connected to autonomic Silesia (excluding foreign policy and military laws to competence of the Silesian Lower House of Parliament. There was a separate Silesian Parliament with 48 MPs elected in democratic elections. Sejm elections designated a Silesian Voivod as the head of administration.

Administrative divisions

Counties (powiaty)

In mid-1939 the population of the Voivodeship was 1,533,500 (together with Zaolzie, annexed in October 1938) and its area was 5 122 sq. km. The Voivodeship was divided into these counties:

Cities

Biggest cities of the Voivodeship within its 1939 boundaries were (population based on 1931 census):
*¹ – in 1934 the cities of Królewska Huta, Maciejkowice and Chorzów municipality joined with Chorzów

Voivodes

*Józef Rymer 16 June 1922 – 5 December 1922
*Zygmunt Żurawski 15 December 1922 – 1 February 1923 (acting)
*Antoni Schultis 1 February 1923 – 3 March 1924
*Tadeusz Koncki 15 October 1923 – 2 May 1924 (acting till 3 March 1924)
*Mieczysław Bilski 6 May 1924 – 3 September 1926
*Michał Grażyński 6 September 1926 – 5 September 1939

ee also

*Poland’s current Silesian Voivodeship
*Silesia

References

*"Mały rocznik statystyczny" nakładem Głównego Urzędu Statystycznego - 1939, (Concise Statistical Year-Book of Poland, Warsaw 1939).


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