Silesia - Economic History

By Period : Prior to 1200, 1200-1348, 1348-1700, 1700-1830, 1830-1918, 1918-1945, 1945-1990, Since 1990
Historic Encyclopedias on Silesia's Economy : Brockhaus 1809-1811, Brockhaus 1837-1841, Pierer 1857-1865, Meyer 1885-1892

Economic History by Period

Prior to 1200 . Silesia in c.900 a thinly populated region; the Slavic population lived of crude agriculure, hunting and fishing. As plowing was conducted by woden plows, the fertile Loess soil could not be cultivated. On fields, grain was grown for a number of years; when the soil was exhausted, the field was left fallow for a number iof years before grain again was grown. Fields had neither been parcellized nor demarkated. Trade was limited; interregional trade minimal. The few nonagrarian settlements of the High Middle Ages are interpreted as settlements of warriors rather than craftsmen (Conrads p.64).
In the course of the 12th century, a number of monasteries were established in Silesia; the first generation of monks being sent from older monasteries elsewhere; they were agents of economic change, as monasteries engaged in the clearance of forest, in bringing in new agricultural techniques such as the iron plow, in bringing in skilled peasants from various parts of Germany.

1200-1348 . In the 13th century, a number of cities were founded, by groups of urban settlers called into the country. The establishment of these cities resulted in the intensification of trade, in the shift from trade based on a metal-weight currency to monetary trade; in the establishment of urban craft industry organized in guilds. Silesia witnessed significant population growth, due to the continuous influx of German settlers. The Oder and many of her tributaries were navigable/raftable and thus supplied the infrastructure for intensified interregional trade; the trade route connecting Leipzig and Krakow passed through Silesia. Via the Oder, Silesia was connected with the Hanseatic cities of Stettin, Greifswald and Stralsund, which facilitated the distribution of Silesian products such as linen textiles to foreign markets,

1348-1700 . The Famine of 1315-1318 and the Bubonic Plague which struck Europe in 1347-1349 mark the transition from a period of sustained growth of population and economy in Central Europe. Silesia, in both cases, experienced a lesser mortality than the core regions of Germany, and a higher degree of mortality than core Poland, because in Silesia the process of clearing land for agriculture had not yet resulted in establishing farms on marginal lands, because nutrition of the Silesian population was better than in the core regions of Germany. On the other hand, the higher population density in Silesia compared to that of Poland facilitated a higher rate of infection.
From 1350 to 1700 there was little population growth; the urban economy adjusted to a market of limited size. The guilds pursued the policies of restricting membership and managing raw materials, while imposing quality standards, thus ensuring that her members had a secure income.
Periods of war (the Hussite Wars 1420-1433, the Thirty Years War 1618-1648) resulted in major disruptions of the Silesian econmy, in population loss and damage to the Silesian infrastructure; recovery was slow. Compared to adjacent regions such as Brandenburg, Greater Poland, and Moravia, Silesia was blessed by (by the standards of the time) the combination of a superior transportation network, fertile soil, and the availability of a variety of natural resources. Breslau was seat of a university since 1505. The Finow Canal, constructed in 1605, connected the Oder and Havel (a tributary of the Elbe), thus making it possible to ship goods from Breslau to Hamburg and vice versa. Breslau, at the outset of the Thirty Years War (1618) had a population of 40,000 - making it one of the largest cities in the Holy Roman Empire at that time. New industries, such as paper mills (16th century) did emerge; new mining cities founded, such as Wilhelmsthal 1581 (County Glatz, which at that time was part of Bohemia; it came to Silesia in 1742). The policy of Counterreformation, supported by the Habsburg Dynasty, proved to be less harmful in Silesia (by comparison to Bohemia or Upper Austria), due to confessional toleration being guaranteed in the Silesian privileges.

1700-1830 . In 1742 much of Silesia was annexed by Prussia, in 1756 to 1763 it was a major battleground in the Seven Years War.
The success of Mercantilism in France resulted in mercantilist policies being adopted by monarchs great and small. Prussia's kings pursued an active policy of attracting immigrants (seen as potential taxpayers and soldiers). Prussia pursued projects such as river regulation which improved navigation and resulted in land reclamation, built paved roads (the chaussees), built canals. The introduction of the potato - easier to cultivate than grain and therefore cheaper than bread - made possible a sustained population growth (the first time since 1348) and a growth of the percentage of persons working in the non-agrarian sector.
While Mercantilist policies stimulated growth of population and the development of the regional economy, it did so within the framework of the Prussian respectively Habsburg state. The wars of 1742 and 1756-1763 had left Silesia partitioned in the larger Prussian Silesia and the smaller Austrian Silesia. The border was not only of political, but also of economic nature - merchants had to pay import tariff for goods they transported across the border, thus discouraging trade between Prussian and Austrian Silesia, while the Prussian administration induced craftsmen from across the border to immigrate into Prussia; with success, as my own ancestors, linen dyers, accepted the offer.
During the Napoleonic Era the privileges of the guilds were replaced; a market economy provided the environment for change which permitted the Industrial Revolution to affect Silesia. In 1792-1812 the Klodnica Canal, connecting Cosel and Gleiwitz (and making coal mining a profitable enterprise) was constructed. In 1822 the Breslau Bourse was opened.

1830-1918 . The (First) Industrial Revolution, initiated in Britain, caused among others a sharp reduction in the price for yarn, cloth and textiles. While this was welcomed by the customers, the spinsters and weavers saw a sudden decline in their earnings. In 1844 the weavers of Lower Silesia, receiving pay not sufficient to pay for the basics, rent and food, staged a "rebellion", smashing the machinery in nearby textile factories, and then waiting for the troops to arrive, to be shot. The event was reported in newspapers of the time.
Railroad construction soon followed. The booming industries needed a regular supply of coal; in Upper Silesia a coal mining industry (modern coal mining began here in the later half of the 18th century) rapidly expanded in the course of the 19th century, and new coal mining cities, often also the seat of steelworks, popped up : Kattowitz (Katowice), Königshütte (Ruda Slaska), Gleiwitz (Gliwice), Beuthen (Bytom), Zabrze.
Within unified Germany (1871-1945), Breslau (Wroclaw) was the third largest city.

1918-1945 . The Plebiscite Area Upper Silesia 1918-1922 was contested by Germany and newly independent Poland not merely for its territory and population, but also for control of the Upper Silesian Industrial Zone - its coal mines and industries. Following the plebiscite, the Upper Silesian Industrial Zone was partitioned. Some Silesians unhappy about finding themselves on the Polish side of the border emigrated, many of them into the Ruhr valley (another area with a booming coal mining industry).
The economy of those parts of Silesia which remained with Germany suffered, as the entire country, from Hyperinflation (until Nov. 1923), from the burden of reparations, after 1923 from rising unemployment, especially after the NY stock market crash of 1929 which initiated the Great Depression. Nazi rule ended democracy in Germany, but seemed to end the problem of unemployment, as state-financed employment programs (financed by the printing of money) resulted in the construction of the Autobahn, of hydroelectric power stations etc. - a boom economy most elements of which were to prepare the next war.
1938 saw the German acquisition of the adjacent Sudetenland, 1939 the occupation of core Czechia and of much of Poland, and the beginning of World War II. The Silesian economy was integrated into the German war economy, an economy were most German male workers were replaced by women or foreign forced labor; where factories switched to the production of war essentials, where consumption was planned by the means of fixed prices and ration coupons. The German war machine depended heavily on fuel; yet Central Europe had few oil fields. Germany, in order to fuel its tanks, airplanes and trucks, generated fuel out of coal - Silesian coal being of eminent importance.

1945-1990 . In early 1945 Silesia was battleground, and much damage was inflicted on Silesian infrastructure and production facilities in the process. In 1945-1947, the bulk of the German population of Silesia either fled before he arrival of Soviet troops, or was forcefully expelled as Poland annexed the area east of the Neisse river. Poland in turn had lost her eastern provinces to the USSR, and in the later 1940es Poles from these eastern provinces migrated into the areas vacated by the German population, among them Silesia.
1945-1947, for Silesia, thus marks a new beginning, the vast majority of the population being immigrants, often unfamiliar with the industries prevalent in the area. The new, Communist-dominated administration implemented a land reform, then established Poland as a Soviet-style People's Republic with a planned economy, with industries being state-owned (only a number of farms remained in private hands).
In the early 1960es foreign visitors had the impression that Poles were living in better economic cnditions than their neighbours in othr communist countries - due to the fact that Poland subsidized consumer prices to a greater extent than the aforementioned neighbours. The communist administration continued to operate the coal mines of Upper Silesia with equipment from the Kaiser's days; nothing was done to combat pollution.
The oil crisis of 1973 caused a major crisis in Poland; cheap Soviet oil Poland d received was limited in quantity. The country could no longer afford the lavish subsidies of consumer goods. Poland had to try maximize both her coal production and her exports to the west, with the consequence of causing shortages of many consumer goods in the stores - Poland , in the middle of peacetime, had to reintroduce ration coupons - and exacerbating pollution in Upper Silesia. This resulted in protests (the Solidarnosz movement), in the exodus of Poles who found the opportunity to move west. Only the support of the Soviet Union kept communism in power in Poland; with Gorbachev rising to ower in the USSR in 1985, the Polish communists tried to avoid the unavoidable - the transfer of power to a government elected by the people; a lost cause; the transfer took place in 1990.

since 1990 . Transition to a free market economy in Poland differed much from the same process in Eastern Germany. In 1991, the salaries of East German employees were at about 80 % of that of their West German counterparts; those of workers in Poland and Czechoslovakia rather at about 10 % of the west German level. Incompetitive, technologically outdated industries; a landscape shaped by decades of heavy pollution; a population who lacked the skills to work in a modern environment, a school system where until recently Russian had been taught as first foreign language, business managers accustomed to a planned economy - these cnditions had to be overcome. Many coal mines, steel mills closed down. Unemployment, especially in Upper Silesia, remains high. The transition to a free market economy was successfulPoland joined the EU, salaries rose significantly, while still remaining lower than those in Germany.
In 1938, Breslau (Weoclaw) had 629,000 inhabitants; the figure for Wroclaw (Breslau) in 2000 was 633,000 (Lahmeyer).

Historic Encyclopedias on Silesia's Economy

Brockhaus Cionversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Schlesien (excerpts)
The Duchy of Silesia, in every aspect, is a good and blessed land, which is devoid of nothing. While in some mountainous parts in some years not sufficient amounts of grain are produced, at least not enough winter grain, other crops grow all the better, compensating these areas, most notably flax. In order to make up this deficiency of wheat, other parts of Silesia produce it in excess. And even if there would be a total lack of grain - while there have not been price hikes for many years - Poland, Moravia and Hungary would cheaply supply Silesia with it.
The country's main product is flax, which is cultivated in such a quantity, that its processing employs and nourishes the larger part of the population. No matter the scope of the consumption of spun yarns in regional factories, it is impossible to consume the entire amount in Silesia, and every year a considerable quantity, bleeched or unbleeched, is exported. So considerable amounts of money flow into Silesia, especially into Upper Lusatia. In Silesia produced linen cloth is highly popular abroad, and every year large amounts are shipped directly to England, France and Spain, even to America. This way several hundred thousand hands are occupied, especially in certain regions, for example near Hirschberg, Bunzlau, Schmiedeberg, Greifenberg, Landshut, Waldenburg and near Schweidnitz. Not of lesser importance is livestock keeping, especially sheep breeding, in Prussia Silesia certainly is the region which produces the most and best wool; so the Silesian wool textile factories are almost as important as the linen cloth factories, as considerable amounts of money enter the country for exported Silesian wool textiles. Garden products of all kind are grown, in some areas in excess, in most parts sufficient to cover the local demand. There is no deficiency of timber, especially in the mountainous regions. In case of need, turf is cut, to replace firewood. Silesia does enjoy the blessed neighbourhood to Poland. Every year a large qualtity of cattle is imported from Poland into Silesia, especially to Breslau; the horses needed in Silesia are also brought in from Poland for similarly reasonable, low prices, as is any other article. In brief, this country would be blessed by its advantageous location, even if it would not be blessed by the products itself richly prioduces.

source in German, posted by Zeno

Brockhaus Bilder-Conversations-Lexikon 1837-1841, Article : Schlesien (excerpts)
The Prussian province of Silesia covers 741 1/3 square miles and contains 2,514,000 inhabitants. It is the most important province of the Prussian state as it supplies more than one fifth of the state revenues. ..
In general the soil is very fertile, towards Brandenburg and Poland partially sandy or swampy, but still suited for agriculture. Cultivated are grains of all kinds, such as wheat, rye, barley and oats, spelt, maize, peas, lentals, buckwheat, beans, fruit (especially near Niederbeuthen and Grünberg), wine (near Grünberg), timber, meadows (especially in mountainous areas), excellent vegetables near Breslau, Liegnitz, Brieg and Neisse, flax and dyer's madder in large quantity, hemp, hop, serratula, tobacco, tar, pitch, tarpentin and Kienruss, excellent sheep, especially around Öls and Namslau, horses, cattle (but animals for the purpose of being slaughtered are imported from Poland and Hungary), goats (in the mountains), bees (near Muskau and in Upper Silesia), venison, fish, iron, copper, lead, silver, arsenic, calamine, vitriol, sulphur, a lot of coal, chalk, gypsum, marl, marble, slate, millstones, grindstones, jasper, achate, chrysopras, topas, carniole, onyx, amethyst, many mineral springs, as in Warmbrunn, Salzbrunn, Reinerz, Flinsberg, Landeck, Altwasser etc. Famous is the Silesian linen cloth, which mainly is produced in the mountainous areas, and which still sells in considerable quantity, while the latter has declined recently. Of importance are the factories producing ironware; further cloth, cottonwares, pottery, fayence, tobacco and paper are produced.
Regierungsbezirk Breslau : Brieg has 10,600 inhabitants, factories producing linen, cloth, socks, it has cattle and wool markets and conducts trade on the Oder river. Ohlau has 4,300 inhabitants and various factories. At Nimptsch cloth is fabricated. At Münsterberg (3,000 inh.) oats are cultivated and factories produce plush and Manchester. Frankenstein (5,400 inh.) has a saltpeter mill, a factory producing nitric acid, factories turning out cloth, linen, straw hats, socks. Reichenstein (3,000 inh.) is seat of a regional mining authority and a factory producing arsenic. Near the village of Baumgarten, people dig for chrysoprase. Reichenbach, with over 5,000 inhabitants, has cottonware and linenware production. In the village of Langenbielau (7,900 inh.) there are over 1000 fast weaving looms. The fortress of Schweidnitz (9,000 inh.) has factories producing cloth, gloves, paper etc. Freiburg (3,500 inh.) has a strong trade in linen cloth. Waldenburg is seat of a regional mining authority; at Gottesberg mining is conducted, at Weistritz there are large coal mines. Salzbrunn, Altwasser and Charlottenbrunn have mineral springs with healing capacity. Striegau (3,500 inh.) has factiories turning out cloth and linen. Glatz (8,500 inh.) has factories producing musselin, plush, leather. At Reinerz there is a strongly frequented spa. Neurode (4,600 inh., weaving industry) and Cudowa have health springs with healing capacity. Landeck has warm springs, Niederlangenau a spring wih healing capacity.
Regierungsbezirk Liegnitz : Liegnitz (10,000 inh.) has several factories, especially textile industry, and the cultivation of vegetables. Landshut (4,000 inh.) has a factory turning out linen cloth. Hirschberg (6,700) has several textile factories; the city used to be the center of Silesian linen trade. Schmiedeberg (5,000 inh.) is seat of a mounain forest authority, has factories turning out linen cloth, and workshops where cloth is bleeched. Warmbrunn has strongly frequented warm springs with healing capacity. Jauer (5,000 inh. linen cloth production, and it is famous for its Bratwurst. Bunzlau (4,600 inh.) produces excellent pottery. Goldberg (6,000 inh.) used to have important mines, which no longer operate. Glogau (9,000 inh.) is home to various factories, as is Neusalz (2,300 inh.). Grünberg (10,000 inh.) has strong textile production; here fruit and wine are cultivated. Görlitz (11,000 inh.) is home to several factories. At Muskau there are iron mud baths and steam baths and Alum production. Lauban (4,500 inh.) has weaving industry.
Regierungsbezirk Oppeln : Oppeln (6,000 inh.) is a center of beekeeping. Near Malapane are large ironworks. Neisse (9,000 inh.) has powder mills. Powder mills are also found at Patschkau. At Jakobswalde and Slawentzitz, spoon factories, ironworks and paper mills are found. At Tarnowitz a regional mining authority is located; here are important iron ore deposits, calamine, silver and lead mines. At Königshütte there are three steel mills and a zinc mill. Pless (3,000 inh.) has a factory processing wool. Ratibor, located on the Oder which is navigable until here, has 5,500 inh. Gleiwitz (4,300 inh.), by canal connected wih the Oder, is seat of a regional mining authority, an alum works and a royal cannon factory. Nearby at Czarkow there are mineral springs. At Raudten there is a steel mill and a factory turning out wire. Near the village of Zowoda are springs the water of which contains sulphur. Kreuzburg (3,000 inh.) is seat of an iron mill authority and of a poor- and workhouse for all of Slesia.
Austrian Silesia
The soil is fertile except for parts of the district of Teschen where it is sandy and contains many stones. Sheep breeding is excellent. Man products include goats, pigs, horses, cattle, venison, honey, flax, clover and fodder plants, irion, coal. Export articles include linen, yarn, cloth, coal, wires, paper, sponges, goat milk cheese, flax, copperwares, rosoglio. Austrian Silesia benefits from transit trade of Austrian goods to Prussian Silesia.
Troppau (11,000 inh.) has textile factories, and trade of considerable volume. Jägerndorf (5,000 inh.) has factories turning out cloth and linen. At Lichten and Wiese there are mineral springs. Bielitz in the district of Teschen (5,400 inh.) has textile industry.

source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Schlesien (excerpts)
Overall, Silesia is fertile and wel-cultivated. Most fertile is the left bank of the Oder, least fertile the higher parts of the mpuntains, and on the right bank of the Oder, the sandy, swampy and cold stretches of land; but they have been much ameliorated and turned into arable land. Products : grains of all kinds, potatos, lentals, oil plants, garden vegetabls, flax, fruit, some tobacco, hop, dyer's madder, a little wine (of Grünberg), consideable forests, livestock (especially sheep, the breeding of which is of a high level), horses (royal stables at Leubus), fish, venison. Minerals : a lot of iron, zink, calamine, some silver, copper, lead, cobalt, arsenic, coal, turf, sulphur, vitriol, saltpeter, alum, clay for pottery and porcelain production, marble, slates, mill- and grinding stones, chalk, gypsum, a few precious stones (chrysoprases), many mineral springs. The most frequented of the 33 spas are Warmbrunn and Salzbrunn, then Landan, Reinerz, Cudowa, Altwasser, Charlottenbrunn, Flinsberg. Inhabitants : by the end of 1858: 3,269,613 (thus 4408 inh. per 1 square mile).
Of importance are the linen and veil production, especially in the mountains, cloth and cottonware industry, steel and zinc production (in Upper Silesia). Among the Silesian factories need to be mentioned the cottonware, paper, ribbon, sock, tobacco, ironware, glass, pottery, tanning, dye industry, distilleries, fayence production, chemical industry, production of wooden goods, beet sugar industry, sugar refineries, starch production. Famous are the linnen and yarn bleecheries on the Bober and Queis rivers. Trade is compared to earlier times, when transit trade wih Poland and Russia flourished, still of importance, and is facilitated by the Oder, good chaussees (roads) and railroads (Breslau-Oppeln-Myslowitz; Berlin-Breslau, Breslau-Posen, Breslau-Schweidnitz, Görlitz-Dresden and a number of branch lines. Main export articles include wool, linen, cloth and cottonwares and madder. The leading market is Breslau, further Görlitz, Grünberg, Hirschberg, Landshut, Lauban, Liegnitz, Schmiedeberg, Schweidnitz and Waldenburg. In Silesia trade is now conducted using Prussian Courant, otherwise using Silesian Thalers, of which 17 1/2 made up one mark of silver, and the Friedrich d'or at 5 Thalers, 18 Groschen 3-4 Pfennig. One Silesian Thaler is 19 1/5 Groschen = 24 Silbergroschen = 36 white Groschen = 72 Kreuzer = 96 Gröschel = 288 Silesian Pfennigs or Denars.The old weights and measures, which have been partially in use until 1815, are no longer used, except for the Silesian Morgen (2.19 Prussian Morgen) and the Silesian Scheffel (1.36 Prussian Scheffel).

source in German, posted by Zeno

Meyers Conversations-Lexikon 1885-1892, Article : Schlesien (excerpts)
Of the province's area 55.8 % are farmland, gardens and vinyards, 8.5 % meadows, 2.2 pastorage and 28.9 % forests. The soil, alongside the mountains, is very fertile, especially in the land between Liegnitz and Ratibor, where 70 to 80 % of the land are farmland. Least fertile are the mountain districts, and the part of Regierungsbezirk ppeln which is located on the right bank of the Oder, the districts located on the Bartsch river in the north, and, with the exception of the district of Görlitz, the westernmost districts of the province; here farmland makes up only a minor part of the land, instead forests are of importance. Grain production satisfies the needs of the province; the cultivation of flax recently again cultivated in larger quantity, gainst in importance, especially in the mountainous and hilly parts. Sugar beets are cultivated especuially between Breslau and Schweidnitz. The potato is mainly cultivated in the less fertile parts of the country. Other crops include : chicory between Breslau and Ohlau, hop near Münsterberg, tobacco, oil lants, wine near Grünberg, a lot of fruit in central Silesia (fruit cultivation is supported by a Pomological Institute at Proskau), all kinds of garden crops etc. Horticulture, in combination with hothouse cultivation (pineapple) and large parks, is promoted by the large estates, to which 51 % of the area belong. In no other province of the Prussian state, land ownership is so concentrated as in Silesia. Estates of 25,000 to 44,000 hectar are owned by the King of Saxony (Öls), the Duke of Ujest (Schlawenzitz), the Count of Schaffgotsch (Warmbrunn), the heirs of Count Renard (Gross-Strehlitz), the Duke of Ratibor (Rauden), Count Arnim (Muskau) and the Prince of Pless. According to the livestock count of 1883 there were 275,122 horses, 1,397,130 head of cattle, 1,309,495 sheep, 518,612 pigs and 175,283 goats. Stud farms at Leubus and Kosel aim at raising the level of horse breeding. Cattle breeding flourishes in the fertile area between Liegnitz and Ratibor; it als is of importance in the mountainous areas, of lesser importance in the sandy regions on the right bank of the oder and on the Schwarze Elster. In the case of sheep breeding, Silesia, with its large estates (Eckersdorf, Rogau, Kuchelna), since the beginning of the century functioned as a model for the other provinces; therefore most sheep are of ameliorated breed. Hog breeding does not yet cover the regional demand. Venison is abundant; Silesia has deer, wild hogs and hares in abundance; occasionally wolves cross into Silesia coming from the Carpathians. Fowl is also strongly represented. Fishing is not without importance; carp are held in numerous ponds; catfish and salmon caught in the Oder, trout in the mountain creeks. Beekeeping is of considerable importance; the new method of beekeeping was established by Father Dzierzon here in Silesia.
Of considerable scale is the exploitation of minerals. Silesia contains the largest coal deposits of the European continent, most notably on the right bank of the Oder in Upper Silesia, where coal formations in rich layers partially reach the surface, partially are covered by sandstone, shell limestone or diluvial layers, cover an area of at least 1,375 square km (25 square miles). The core of the area where coal layers reach the surface stretches between Zabrze and Myslowitz and sends a branch southwestward via Nikolai to Belk. Smaller coal deposits are found near Czernitz, Pschow and even on the west bank of the Oder in the area south of the mouth of the Oppa. A second deposit of coal is found near Waldenburg between the older layers of the coal formation of Freiburg and the porphyrs and melaphyrs of the Lower Silesian Steinkohlengebirge; this stretches, as the former, beyond the borders of the province. Finally, coal also is found in sandstone of the Upper Cretaceous along the Queiss river. Rich deposits of Lignite are found in the hill country, but are not exploited in significant quantity. Of importance are the production or iron and zinc ore, the former near Beuthen in Upper Silesia in immediate vicinity of the coal deposits, the latter in various parts in Regierungsbezirk Oppeln on the right bank of the Oder, but also in the mountains. Further are produced : lead ores in Upper Silesia, copper, cobalt ores, sulphur gravel, arsenic, alum, a few gemstones of low value (chrysolith, amethyst, chalcedon, achat, chrysopras, jaspis etc.), excellent clay, marble, serpentine, grind- and millstones, limestone (Gogoline in Upper Silesia), gypsum, smectite, magnesite, turf etc. The existing salines produce only weak brine; instead other mineral springs caused well-frequented spas to emerge, at Warmbrunn, Salzbrunn, Reinerz, Landeck, Flinsberg, Kudowa, Charlottenbrunn, Langenau etc. In 1886 in the province were produced : 15,996,326 tons of coal at a value of 68,336,188 Mark., 360,589 tons of lignite at a value of 1,289,398 Mark, 722,018 tons of iron ore at a value of 2,307,850 Mark, 578,858 tons of zinc ore at a value of 3,547,603 Mark, 29,316 tons of lead ore at a value of 3,647,941 Mark etc. The metal production of 1886 was : 374,493 tons of pig iron at a value of 17,259,181 Mark, 82,659 tons of zinc at a value of 21,209,323 Mark, 20,879 tons of lead at a value of 4,914,495 Mark, 31,987 tons of sulphur acid at a value of 1,536,006 Mark etc.
Industry and Trade. Industry forms an important source of income, as 35.2 % of the population are employed in the sector. In the districts from Leobschütz to Löwenberg, mostly in the mountains, and adjacent to the large district of flax industry in Bohemia, linen production, in combination with cotton textile weaving, dyeing and bleeching, are the dominant industries. Large flax spinning factories are located at Liebau, Landeshut, Erdmannsdorf, Freiburg, Waldenburg, and, at a distance from the mountains, at Neusalz on the Oder; cotton spinning factories at Langenbielau etc., large weaving factories in the districts Reichenbach, Waldenburg, Landeshut and Hirschberg.Cloth fabrication is of importance in Görlitz, Sagan, Grünberg and Goldberg; also wool products are turned out at several locations.Haynau produces gloves; carpets are produced in Neustadt and in the valley of Hirschberg (here recently also lace production), in Sprottau and Schmiedeberg. Metal smelting and processing are concentrated in the coal mining regions. Zinc smelting is taking place almost exclusively in the Upper Silesian coal mining area;iron smelting is spead more widely. The largest ironworks are situated between Gleiwitz, where the Gleiwitzer Hütte in 1796 took the first coke-based iron smelter in the Kingdom of Prussia in operation, Tarnowitz, where the lead smelter Friedrichsgrube in 1788 took Germany's first steam engine in operation, Beuthen, Königshütte and Myslowitz, further at the Malapane in the district of Oppeln and near aldenburg, further in Lower Silesia in the vicinity of the forests of the Silesian L&aunl;ngenthal between Bunzlau and Sprottau.Important foundries and machine factories are found at Breslau, Ratibor, Görlitz, Lauban etc.
Other important industrial sectors include : the production of beet sugar between Breslau and Schweidnitz (1887 : 56 factories), of starch, paper, leather, roofing board, ropes (Oppeln), soap, shoes, tobacco and cigars (Breslau, Ohlau), chemicals, powder, dynamite, matches, clocks (Freiburg, Silberberg), tower clocks (Glogau), hats (Liegnitz), straw products, glace gloves (Breslau), Billard (Breslau), lead and tin wares (Breslau), nails, carts, railway carts, chalk (Gogolin and Oppeln), cement (Oppeln), glas (in the district of Oppeln, near Waldenburg, on the Queiss and the Lausitzer Neisse), of fine glassware (Josephinenhütte in the Riesengebirge), of firebricks, pottery (Bunzlau), porcelain and earthenware (in the districts of Waldenburg and Schweidnitz), of champaign (Grünberg), of conserved fruits (Grünberg and Hirschberg). Worthy to mention are further : breweries, distilleries and liquor factories, large grinduing mills, tanneries etc.
Silesia's trade suffers from the conditions on the Russian border, but recently has picked up because of the greatly expanded railroad net. The railroads are almost exclusively owned by the state. The most important lines are Sommerfeld-Breslau, Görlitz-Kohlfurt-Liegnitz, Kohlfurt-Sorgau, Liegnitz-Neisse-Oppeln, Breslau-Halbstadt, Breslau-Mittelwalde, Breslau-Stettin, Breslau-Posen, Breslau-Tarnowitz, Breslau-Brieg-Kosel, Kosel-Kamenz, Kosel-Oderberg, Kosel-Oswiecim etc. The railroad net is most dense in the Upper Silesian Industrial Zone, where numerous branch lines connect with the main lines. The Oder, with the exception of short stretches of other rivers, is the only navigable river of the province;in mid summer its navigability is questionable because of the low water level. Recently it has been improved by measures. The Klodnitz Canal, as a waterway, is not of great importance. The main places of trade are : Breslau, Görlitz, Hirschberg, Grünberg, Liegnitz, Schweidnitz, Waldenburg, Ratibor, Beuthen, Königshütte, Kattowitz und Gleiwitz.

source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek

Articles Silesia, Autonomous Silesian Voivodeship, Zaolzie (Olsa/Olza Territory), Austrian Silesia, Ciescyn Silesia, Wroclaw, Upper Silesian Industrial Region, Upper Silesian Coal Basin, Klodnica Canal; Prussian Silesia, from Wikipedia
Articles Elektrischer Bahnbetrieb in Schlesien, from Wikipedia German edition
Literatur zur Geschichte des Bergbaus in Schlesien, from Boehm Chronik, in German
Die Wirtschaft in Schlesien im Zeitraum von 1898 bis 1905, from Familienchronik Jursitzky, in German
Satoshi Baba, Die Schlesische Leinenindustrie und die Europaeische Wirtschaft im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert, in German
Region und Industriegesellschaft Oberschlesien im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, from Oberschlesisches Landesmuseum, in German
Die Geschichte der Glasindustrie in Weisswasser, by Marschner, in German
Über Glashütten und Glasmacher in Oberschlesien, by Astrid Dojetsch, in German
Glashütte Orzesche, from GenWiki, in German
Industrie und Gewerbe der Grafschaft Glatz (Schlesien), by Ladek Zdroj, in German
History of "Krolowa Luiza" Monumental Coal Mine in Zabrze
Stalinogrod - Post-War History of Katowice, from Silesia Online
Moravian-Silesian Region Profile, from ICN
The History of Industry in the Region of Silesia, from Turystyka Silesia
Geschichte von Breslau, from Breslau-Wroclaw, German language timeline
Der Bau des Staubeckens bei Ottmachau, by Dietrich Voigt
Provinz Schlesien (1820-1914), from HGISG EKompendium
Poland, from European Textile Network (lists historical sites)
DOCUMENTS Poland : Historical Demographic Data for Urban Centers, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 5th 2009

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