Czy Śląsk stanowił region ekonomiczny w XII-XV w.? Czynniki spajające i dezintegrujące terytorium regionalne pod względem gospodarczym
Did Silesia constitute a distinct economic region between the 13th and 15th centuries? Factors strengthening and weakening the region in the economic context
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This article constitutes an attempt at answering the question whether Silesia, aside from being a distinct historical region was also a distinct economic region. The author starts with Robert E. Dickinson’s theory of economic regions, the basic assumptions of which are shared by contemporary researchers of regional economies. Economic resources, similar economic policies of Silesian rulers in the 13th and 14th centuries, high, in comparison to neighbouring regions, level of urbanisation and the centralising capacity of Wrocław are considered to be the binding forces of the Silesian economic region. Factors retarding the economic cohesion of Silesia were analysed as well. Those were as follows: natural disasters, invasions, internal strife, criminal activity on trade routes, as well as a crisis within the mining industry since the middle of the 14th century. Since the final years of the 13th century Silesia became an economic region containing Upper Silesia, Lower Silesia and Opava. This was not, however a pure cohesion, seeing as Lower Silesia was economically superior to the other regions, while they had strong ties to Lesser Poland. Despite that the crisis events that took place from about 1350 until 1450 did not cause cessation of economic bonds between these three constituents of Silesia. In comparison to every bordering, historical and economic region, the region of Silesia was distinct due to advanced gold mining industry, export of red dyeing agent (marzanna) as well as the highest number of cities with population of 3,000 to 14,000. Further distinct properties of Silesian economy are noticeable in comparison with other distinct historical regions.
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