- Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship
Infobox Former Subdivision
native_name = Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship
common_name = Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship
continent = Europe
country = Poland
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
latd=50 |latm=15 |latNS=N |longd=19 |longm=00 |longEW=E
common_languages = Polish, German
Voivode Józef Rymer(first)
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 Silesiabetween Poland, Germanyand then- Czechoslovakia. The special status of the voivodeshipdated to a July 15 1920act of Sejm. The act was forcibly renounced in May 6 1945by the ruling communists.
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
Silesianswere not recognised as a separate nation by the Polish government and the Silesian languagewas considered to be a dialect of Polish. Germansmade 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 Voivodeshipthe 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%).
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
This region possessed wide autonomy, including having its own Silesian
Parliamentas well as its own national treasury- the Silesian Treasury( _pl. Skarb Śląski), all of which were connected to autonomic Silesia (excluding foreign policyand militarylaws to competence of the Silesian Lower House of Parliament. There was a separate Silesian Parliamentwith 48 MPs elected in democratic elections. Sejm elections designated a Silesian Voivod as the head of administration.
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:
Biggest cities of the Voivodeship within its 1939 boundaries were (population based on 1931 census):
*¹ – in
1934the cities of Królewska Huta, Maciejkowiceand Chorzów municipality joined with Chorzów
Józef Rymer16 June 1922 – 5 December 1922
Zygmunt Żurawski15 December 1922 – 1 February 1923 (acting)
Antoni Schultis1 February 1923 – 3 March 1924
Tadeusz Koncki15 October 1923 – 2 May 1924 (acting till 3 March 1924)
Mieczysław Bilski6 May 1924 – 3 September 1926
Michał Grażyński6 September 1926 – 5 September 1939
Poland’s current Silesian Voivodeship
*"Mały rocznik statystyczny" nakładem Głównego Urzędu Statystycznego - 1939, (Concise Statistical Year-Book of Poland, Warsaw 1939).
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