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Opole [ɔˈpɔlɛ] ( listen) (German: Oppeln (Ltspkr.png listen), Silesian: Uopole) is a city in southern Poland on the Oder River (Odra). It has a population of 125,992 (June 2009) and is the capital of the Upper Silesia, Opole Voivodeship and, also the seat of Opole County. Today, many German Upper Silesians and Poles of German ancestry live in the Opole region, in the city itself, Germans make up less than 3% of population.



Opole's history begins in the 8th century. It this time, according to the archeological excavations [1], the first Slavic settlement was founded on the Ostrówek - the northern part of the Pasieka island in the middle of the Odra river. In the early 10th century it developed into one of the main gróds of the Slavic Opolanie. At the end of the century Silesia became part of Poland and was ruled by the Piast dynasty; the land of the pagan Opolanie was conquered by Duke Mieszko I in 992. From the 11th-12th centuries it was also a castellany. After the death of Duke Władysław II the Exile, Silesia was divided in 1163 between two Piast lines- the Wrocławska line in Lower Silesia and the Opolsko-Raciborska of Upper Silesia. Opole would became a duchy in 1172 and would share much in common with the Duchy of Racibórz, with which it was often combined. In 1281 Upper Silesia was divided further between the heirs of the dukes. The Duchy of Opole was temporarily reestablished in 1290.

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