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Social structures and social groups in the processes of integration and disintegration of Silesia as a region (1526–1619)

Subject and Keywords:

social history   Silesia   social structure


The distinct Silesian social structure, especially its unique ruling group of dukes, territorial rulers as well as heterogeneous groups of higher Silesian nobility, incompatible with the ruling lords of the Bohemian and Moravian lands constituted estate asymmetry when compared to the other lands of the Bohemian Crown. It became a factor detrimental to the formation of social relations at a level higher than regional. Other reasons for the growth of Silesian regionalism in the social context were political by nature, in the 16th and beginnings of the 17th centuries and were the consequences of the centralising policies of the Habsburg monarchy. These were realised in the approval for the Bohemian political agenda, in granting the highest legal and social status in the monarchy and choosing only its members for offices in the central institutions of the monarchy. This marginalised the socio-political importance of Silesian upper classes and their confinement within the region. The Silesian dukes’ countered this socio-political alienation in the Bohemian Crown by extending their prestige through marrying abroad, with the houses of the Holy Roman Empire. That became an additional factor disruptive to the social structure of the monarchy. Although groups of higher Silesian nobility had the potential for tendencies for integration, opposition from the Bohemian nobles meant that their approach until the year 1619 was a combination of pro-monarchic and pro-regional approach, while simultaneously including the tendency to individually include themselves in the group of the Bohemian-Moravian rulers. For the population of the Silesian land, including the lower gentry and the townsfolk, who were only in a small extent affected by the common legal solutions, the state division was merely a framework within which heterogeneous communities with individual social and legal rules still functioned.

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Publishing House eBooki.com.pl   www.ebooki.com.pl

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ISBN 978-83-927132-7-2



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Copyright by Authors and Uniwersytet Wrocławski

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