Coat of arms of Bielsko-Biała

Coat of arms of Bielsko-Biała (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Voivodship (Województwo bielski), 1975-99, in southern Poland, southwest of Kraków, and bordering on both the Czech Republic and Slovakia;  named after its capital, which was originally two neighbouring towns, Bielsko (Bielitz in German) on the eastern edge of Austrian Silesia until 1918 and Biała Krakowska, in the Austrian province of Galicia.    They belonged to separate województwa in restored Poland, the former in Śląsk (Silesia:  Katowice after 1945), the latter in Kraków until the two towns were united.

The town and the eastern lands of former Austrian Silesia were separated from Katowice and the southwestern corner of the old principality of Little Poland was detached from Kraków to form their own voivodship in 1975.   It was 47th out of 49 in area, but 10th in population, the result of its industries, particularly textiles.

In 1999 the voivodship of Bielsko-Biała was abolished.   Much of its territory, including the west of the Little Polish lands, has become the south of the voivodship of Śląsk (Silesia), but the rest, including Oświęcim (former Auschwitz), forms the southwest of that of Małopolska (Little Poland).

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