The German name (Czech Tesin, Polish Cieszyn) for a small enclave (850 sq km) tucked into the nothern foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, straddling the border between the Czech Republic and Poland just east of the Czech city of Ostrava. Teschen is also considered the easternmost tip of Silesia (Slask). The area is bisected by the Olsa River, a tributary of the uppermost Odra river.

A city existed on the Olsa river as early as the 11th century. This city became the seat of the Duchy of Teschen, which was created in 1282 as the former Polish principality of Silesia fell apart. Some time in the early 14th century, the Dukes of Teschen swore their fealty to the Kings of Bohemia, along with the rest of Silesia. In 1653, Silesia became part of the Austrian Empire.

During the 1740-1742 War of the Austrian Succession, Prussian king Frederick the Great conquered most of Silesia from Austrian Archduchess Maria Theresa, but Teschen was one of the areas the Maria Theresa held onto.

In 1920, Teschen was the principal point of contention between the newly-formed Poland and Czechoslovakia. The commission set up by the Treaty of Versailles divided the enclave in half along the Olsa, giving the western half to Czechoslovakia and the eastern half to Poland.

In October, 1938, The powers of Europe signed the Munich Pact, essentially looking the other way while Nazi Germany dismembered Czechoslovakia. The military regime in Warsaw (led by Edward Smigly-Rusz) took its little slice, the Czech portion of Teschen. Polish occupation, of course, lasted only ten months before the Nazis invaded Poland September 1939. After World War II, the boundary set in 1920 was restored.

Today, the Polish city of Cieszyn has about 36,000 people and is an important border crossing. Across the Olsa, the Czech town of Ceský Tesín has about 26,000 people.

                     |  P
 G          D        |_     O     W 
      Km       _.-|_/  \        L             Z
 E         _.-'         `-._        A
       _.-'                 `-._  _     N       Kw
_R _.-'     C                  /  \`-.--.   D
\\/              Z             `-./    <
 \            P       E                 `-.__
 M`.                       C              O  |C
   /     R                      H           T\
 A \         E                             .-'\
    \            P                        /   K
 N   \_                        B         /  A       
       `-.           .--._         ___.-' V 
 Y       `-.        /     `-.__-._/     O    A
        _  |`-.__.-'              |   L    I 
       | `-'   A U S T R I A      | S 

B = Brno
C = Cieszyn
D = Dresden
Km = Chemnitz (Karl-Marx_Stadt)
Kw = Katowice
O = Ostrava
P = Praha    (Prague)
T = Cesky Tesin
W = Wroclaw  (Breslau)
Z = Czestochowa