Region of Wrocław – region of Silesia. Territorial divisions and forming of regional community between 11th and early half of 13th century. An analitic souce essay

Przemysław Wiszewski
Original title: Region wrocławski – region śląski. Podziały terytorialne a kształtowanie wspólnoty regionalnej w XI – pierwszej połowie XIII w. Esej źródłowy
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 2011

The main purpose of the article was to catch a moment of the birth of the Silesian region. Two major elements were pointed out as key features of this phenomenon. The first was coming and then steady functioning of a separate administrative territorial unit, not only bringing integrity of the territory, but also linking its inhabitants each other. Studying the sources, we can find the second element: distinctive and long-lasting political, cultural or economic activities of population or its elite. These activities were determined or afflicted by actors’ consciousness of belonging to a ‘regional community’. In this short article only a detailed question of a much more complex problem of ‘regiogenesis’ was discussed: a moment of appearing of a name of the region, a name broadly accepted by ‘region’ inhabitants as their own. A name, which they could identified themselves with. Taking into consideration both chronicles (Thietmar of Merseburg and Anonymus) and contemporary charters, the region ‘Silesia’ was officially born at the beginning of the 12th century, although its geographical limits were different from late medieval and modern vision of the province. ‘Silesia’ of 13th century was a region over the middle course of the river Odra, without duchies of Opole, Racibórz and Cieszyn. These lands were under control of rulers of other branches of Piast family and centuries later by dukes from different dynasties. However, the name ‘Silesia’ expanded and embraced also territories in the higher course of the Odra river what was the result of the political action made by the House of Habsburg and should be the issue for further research.

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