- Opole County
- History of the County
History of the County
Character of this land was shaped by its history. Silesia Region was undergoing various stages and had many different rulers, changing in rule over the region, on average every 200 years. Among them, they were good administers, who made Opole region flourish, but there were also “destructive” rulers, whose reign was disastrous for the development of this land.
Archaeological excavations confirm that first humans inhabited Opole region in the Neolithic period, 4500 BC in vicinity of Ozimek and Prószków. Between 1300 and 400 BC, archaeologists have found traces of Lusatian culture. Very poor “evidence” materials make it difficult to estimate the importance of the influence of Lusatian culture on the development of Silesia. There is far more information about Celts who were arriving here from circa 400 BC, until circa 25 AD. Archaeologists have found in 1931 and 1953-54 everyday use tools, urns and Celtic coins. Probably, Celts were the ones who have "industrialised" this part of Silesia region. Except for the discovered tools, another proof of their “industrial” activity are remains of smoke-furnaces in Donbrzeń Wielki, Popielów and Chruścice.
Celts were displaced by the Germanic tribe – called the Vandals, who arrived there circa 200 -300 AD. In the turn of the 3rd and 4th century, Slavic tribes arrived to Silesia, being the one the first tribes which began to lead a settled life style. The introduced the first settlement structure, which eventually turned national.
In the period of Piasts rule – Silesia has entered the sphere of influence of three countries: Czech Kingdom, Polish Kingdom and German Empire. In 13th century, after the battle of Legnica, invited by Piast princes - Czech
and German settlers have arrived there. They introduced new modern technologies, new agriculture methods and animal husbandry, new legal regulations and different spatial organization of towns. In 1335 Kazimierz Wielki /Casimir The Great/ in Trenczyn, renounced his rights to rule over Silesia on behalf of Czech king. German Emperor Maksymilian I Habsburg due to hereditary treaty of 1491 and treaty of Vienna of 1526 with the Jagiellonians , acting as a Czech king, enabled Habsburgs to rule over Hungary, Czech Kingdom and Silesia. In 16th century, Silesia was not a region of homogenous structure – it was divided into more than a dozen kingdoms.
As a result of Silesian wars, the rule over Silesia was taken by Prussia. This change brought economical and social development of the region. It was so called “post industrialisation" of 18th century – creation of the basis of mining and metallurgy industry. In the area of Opole county, ironworks in Ozimek and Zagwiździe were built and also metal works in Osowiec. The second stage was 19th century industrialisation, which has introduced significant civilization changes. Administration, education and legal system was reformed and also compulsory education was introduced.
After World War II, under the terms of Potsdam Agreement, Silesia Region - including the County of Opole was incorporated into borders of Poland.