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Herzogtum Beuthen (de)
Księstwo Bytomskie (pl)
Duchy of Bytom
Silesian duchy
Duchy of Opole
1281 – 1498 Duchy of Opole

Coat of arms

Capital Bytom
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Partitioned from Opole 1281
 - Casimir sole ruler 1284
 - Vassalized by Bohemia 1289
 - Divided between
    Oleśnica and Cieszyn
 - Merged with Opole 1498

The Duchy of Bytom (Polish: Księstwo Bytomskie) or Duchy of Beuthen (German: Herzogtum Beuthen) was one of many duchies of Silesia. It was established in Upper Silesia about 1281 during the division of the Duchy of Opole among the sons of Władysław Opolski, its capital was Bytom (Beuthen). Casimir became Duke of Bytom, who at first ruled jointly with his brother Bolko I of Opole and from 1284 on alone. The conflict with his cousin Duke Henry IV Probus of Wrocław led Casimir to seek shelter from King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia and in 1289 he became the first Silesian Piast duke to submit himself under Bohemian overlordship.

With the death of Casimir's grand-son Duke Bolesław in 1355 the Bytom branch of the Piasts became extinct and in the following inheritance dispute his widow Margareta of Sternberg had to cede the northern part of the duchy including the lordship of Koźle to Duke Konrad I of Oleśnica, while the remaining part was bequested to Duke Casimir I of Cieszyn. Bytom remained divided until in 1459 Duke Wenceslaus I of Cieszyn sold his portion to Duke Konrad IX the Black of Oleśnica and the duchy was reunited under his rule.

In 1472 Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, then self-declared King of Bohemia, annexed Bytom and pledged it to Lord Jan of Zierotin. In 1498 it was finally merged back into the Duchy of Opole under the rule of Duke Jan II the Good. Jan had signed an inheritance treaty with Margrave George of Brandenburg-Ansbach, who in 1526 was enfeoffed with Bytom by King Louis II Jagiellon of Bohemia.

His rule however was denied by Louis' successors from the House of Habsburg, who suspiciously eyed the gain of power of the House of Hohenzollern in Silesia. After the 1620 Battle of White Mountain Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg took the opportunity to deprive Elector George Wiliam of Brandenburg of the rule over Bytom. It then remained a state country within the Habsburg Monarchy until its annexation by Prussia in 1742.

See also



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