Sile'sia, a province of SE. Prussia, having Brandenburg and Posen on the N., the Polish provinces of Russia and Austria on the E., and Austrian Silesia, Bohemia, and Saxony on the S. Area, 15,557 sq. m.; pop. (1875) 3,863,699; (1900) 4,668,857, including more than 900,000 Poles, 65,000 Bohemians (Czechs), and 35,000 Wends. By religion 2,569,360 are Catholics and 2,042,600 Evangelical Protestants. The province is drained almost entirely by the Oder (navigable from Rati-bor), which traverses it from SW. to NW. There are extensive marshy and sandy tracts, on which large forests grow; but between the Oder and the Sudetic Mountains in the SW. the soil is exceptionally fertile. In the SE. is one of the most productive coal-mining regions of Prussia; zinc and lead are also extracted. In point of industrial activity Siiesia ranks high amongst the provinces of Prussia. Breslau is the capital. Early in the 10th c. Silesia, except the extreme western districts, was under Polish dominion, and in the 14th its dukes became vassals of Bohemia. In 1742 the duchies were divided pretty much as they now are, Prussia getting the lion's share; and the Seven Years' War (1756-63) confirmed Frederick the Great in possession.
Silesia, Austrian, a duchy of the Austrian empire, bounded by Prussian Silesia, Moravia, and Hungary. Area, 1987 sq. m.; pop. (1880) 565,475; (1900) 680,422. Subsidiary chains of the Carpathians and Sudetic Mountains diversify the southern and western frontiers; the duchy is watered by the systems of the Vistula (in the east) and the Oder (west). Mining (coal, iron, sulphur, etc.) and manufacturing industries flourish. The principal town is Troppau.