In the Kingdom of Bohemia
In the Kingdom of Bohemia
In the 14th century, due to the Bohemian expansion, Silesia was separated from Poland and became a part of the Crown of the Kingdom of Bohemia. In 1327, Władysław Bytomski, Duke of Koźle, and his younger brothers, Jerzy and Siemowit, were the first ones to pay homage to John the Blind, King of Bohemia. Although their father, Casimir, already paid homage to Wenceslaus II, the then-King of Bohemia, in 1289, Wenceslaus was simultaneously the ruler of Poland. At the time when Władysław paid homage to Bohemia, Poland was already ruled by Władysław Łokietek, Duke of Kujawy and Lesser Poland, who was considering coronation. As a consequence of the subordination of subsequent Silesian duchies to Bohemia, aside from being obliged to participate in war expeditions of Bohemian rulers and to appear at the court in Prague, the Silesian Piasts also had to respect the decisions made by the Bohemian king in accordance with the Bohemian law.
One of such astounding decisions was made in the case of the succession of the Duchy of Koźle after the heirless death of Bolesław, Duke of Koźle and Bytom, in 1355. According to the Polish law, the duchy could be inherited only by a man, and therefore, the closest relative of Bolesław, Casimir, Duke of Cieszyn, was preparing himself to rule Koźle. However, as stated in the Bohemian law, the succession could also occur in the female line, and since the deceased Bolesław had a sister, Eufemia, the fight for the succession was joined by her husband, Duke Konrad of Oleśnica. Charles IV, King of Bohemia, decided to consider the Piasts’ familiarity with the Polish law one last time and agreed that a part of the duchy would be inherited by the closest male relative – Casimir of Cieszyn received the Duchy of Bytom, but to mark the beginning of new times, Charles IV decided that the Duchy of Koźle would be inherited by the husband of the deceased duke’s sister. Therefore, the dukes of Oleśnica took the throne of Koźle.
After the death of the last Piast in 1532, the regions of Opole, including the Duchy of Koźle, became an integral part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, and thus shared the subsequent historical turmoil. In the 16th century, the Kingdom of Bohemia became a province of the Austrian Empire ruled by the House of Habsburg, within the borders of which it had to endure disasters such as the Thirty Years’ War fought between 1618 and 1648, due to which one-third of the inhabitants of Silesia lost their lives. The Koźle Region remained part of the Empire of Habsburgs until 1741, when, due to their defeat in the war, the Austrians lost Silesia to Prussia.