Silesian Voivodeship, or Silesia Province (in Polish, województwo śląskie ; ; ), is a voivodeship, or province, in southern Poland, centering on the historic region known as Upper Silesia (Górny Śląsk), with the capital in Katowice. Contrary to the name, however, eastern half of Silesian Voivodeship is not historical Silesia, but Lesser Poland.
For the first time Silesian Voivodeship was appointed in Second Polish Republic. It had much wider range of power autonomy, than other contemporary Polish Voivodeships and it covered all historical lands of Upper Silesia, which ended up in the Interwar period Poland (among them: Katowice (Kattowitz), Rybnik (Rybnik), Pszczyna (Pleß), Wodzisław (Loslau), Żory (Sohrau), Mikołów (Nikolai), Tychy (Tichau), Królewska Huta (Königshütte), Tarnowskie Góry (Tarnowitz), Miasteczko Śląskie (Georgenberg), Woźniki (Woischnik), Lubliniec (Lublinitz), Cieszyn (Teschen), Skoczów (Skotschau), Bielsko (Bielitz)). This Voivodeship did not include – as opposed to the present one – lands and cities of old pre-Partition Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Among the last ones the Southern part was included in Kraków Voivodeship Żywiec (Saybusch), Wilamowice (Wilmesau), Biała Krakowska (Biala) oraz Jaworzno), and the North Western part Będzin (Bendzin), Dąbrowa Górnicza (Dombrowa), Sosnowiec (Sosnowitz), Częstochowa (Tschenstochau), Myszków, Szczekociny (Schtschekotzin), Zawiercie, Sławków) belonged to Kielce Voivodeship.
After aggression of Nazi Germany (Invasion of Poland), on 8 October 1939, Hitler published a decree “About division and administration of Eastern Territories”,. A Silesian Province (Gau Schlesien) was created, with a seat in Breslau (Wrocław). It consisted of four districts: Kattowitz, Oppeln, Breslau and Liegnitz.
The following counties were included in Kattowitz District: Kattowitz, Königshütte, Tarnowitz, Beuthen Hindenburg, Gleiwitz, Freistadt, Teschen, Biala, Bielitz, Saybusch, Pleß, Sosnowitz, Bendzin and parts of the following counties: Kranau, Olkusch, Riebnich and Wadowitz. However, according to Hitler’s dectee from 12 October 1939 about establishing General Government (Generalgouvernement), Tschenstochau (Częstochowa) belonged to GG.
In 1941 the Silesian Province (Provinz Schlesien) underwent new administrative division and as a result Upper Silesian Province was created (Provinz Oberschlesien):
After the War during 1945 - 1950 there existed a Silesian Voivodeship, commonly known as Śląsko-Dąbrowskie Voivodeship, which included a majior part of today’s Silesian Vivodeship. In 1950 Śląsko-Dąbrowskie Voivodeship was divided into Opole and Katowice Voivodeships. The latter one had borders similar to the borders of modern Silesian Voivodeship.
The present Silesian Voivodeship was formed in 1999 from the following voivodeships of the previous adminisrtrative division: