Besides Poland, the Czech Republic contains a portion of historical Silesia. AFAIK Germany does too.

The largest city in the Czech portion of Silesia is Ostrava, traditionally linked to heavy industry; the city is highly polluted and has problems with mines leading under the city itself, causing, for example, ground sinkage problems.

One easy place to find a mildly distorted featureless map of Silesia is the map for the game Diplomacy.

Silesia was originally part of Austria, until the War of the Austrian Succession. When the king of Austria died without a male heir, he got almost everyone in Europe to sign the Pragmatic Sanction, which meant that they would recognize his daughter as the rightful ruler of Austria. When Frederick II became king of Prussia, he decided to ignore the document and invaded Silesia, which was one of the most important regions of Austria. It had excellent farming and natural resources, as well as a large population. Prussia managed to hold onto it through the ensuing war, which was called the War of the Austrian Succession.

Si*le"si*a (?), n.

1.

A kind of linen cloth, originally made in Silesia, a province of Prussia.

2.

A twilled cotton fabric, used for dress linings.

 

© Webster 1913.

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