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[[Image:TestamentKrzywoustego.png|thumb|right|250px|Fragmentation of Poland betweens the sons of Bolesław:

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The Duchy of Silesia ( ) was a medieval duchy located in Silesia. Soon after it was formed in 1163, it fragmented into various Duchies of Silesia.

As the Silesian Province ( ), the duchy was one of five main provinces established in medieval Poland according to the Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty. From 1138-1146 it was controlled by the Senior Duke of Poland or High duke, Władysław II the Exile, who soon lost his status as the senior duke after his failed bid to take control of the entire Kingdom. Until 1163 the duchy was under the control of Bolesław IV the Curly. With support from Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, Władysław's sons were able to return to the duchy in 1163.

Władysław's sons divided the duchy among themselves; this led to the creation of several duchies of Silesia. His second elder son, Bolesław I the Tall, received Middle Silesia and Lower Silesia, with Wrocławmarker (Breslau) as his capital, thus Duchy of Wrocław (sometimes also misleadingly known as Duchy of Silesia, due to its size) was created. The next youngest son, Mieszko I Tanglefoot, received Racibórzmarker and Cieszynmarker (Teschen); this resulted in the creation of Duchy of Racibórz. After a brief war between the brothers, Duchy of Opole, with capital in Opolemarker (Oppeln) would be created in 1201 for the eldest brother, Jarosław Opolski (who was not content with an ecclesiastical career). The youngest son, Konrad I, received Głogówmarker, this led to the creation of the Duchy of Głogów in 1180.

The subdivision of the duchy increased over the following generations and accompanied the fragmentation of Poland. Affiliated with the Kingdom of Bohemia in the 14th century, some of these duchies were reintegrated into the Kingdom of Poland, but most of them became part of the Holy Roman Empire in 1348. After the inheritance of Bohemia by the Habsburg Monarchy in 1526, the Bohemian-Silesian duchies gradually passed under the control of Austriamarker.

King Frederick II of Prussia invaded Austrian Silesia in 1740 and annexed most of the duchies during the 18th century Silesian Wars. The bulk of the Duchy of Silesia was subsequently reorganized as part of the Prussian Province of Silesiamarker, while the duchies remaining under Austrian control were reconstituted as the Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesiamarker in 1742. The duchies which had remained in Poland were subsequently annexed by Prussia and Austria during the 18th century Partitions of Poland. The Duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia lasted until 1918, when it was divided between the Second Polish Republicmarker and Czechoslovakiamarker after World War I.


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