Katowice is a city in Silesia in southern Poland, on the Kłodnica and Rawa rivers (tributaries of the Oder and the Vistula respectively). Katowice is located in the Silesian Highlands, about 50 km (31 mi) north of the Silesian Beskids (part of the Carpathian Mountains) and about 100 km (62 mi) southeast of the Sudetes Mountains.It is the central district of the Upper Silesian Metropolis, with a population of 2 million. Katowice is the center of science, culture, industry, business and transportation in southern Poland. It is the main city in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region and of the 2,7 million conurbation, the Katowice urban area, within a Silesian metropolitan area populated by 4,676,983 people.
Katowice has been the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship since its formation in 1999. Previously, it was the capital of the Katowice Voivodeship, before then, of the Silesian Voivodeship and before then Province of Upper Silesia in Germany.
The area around Katowice in Upper Silesia has been inhabited by ethnic Silesians from its earliest documented history. It was first ruled by the Polish Silesian Piast dynasty (until its extinction). From 1335, it was a part of the Crown of Bohemia. In 1526 the territory passed to the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy after the death of King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia. In 1742, most of Silesia was annexed from Austria by the Kingdom of Prussia during the First Silesian War.