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Brzeg

Brzeg is a town in southwestern Poland with 38,496 inhabitants (2004), situated in Silesia in the Opole Voivodeship on the left bank of the Oder. It is the capital of Brzeg County.HistoryEtymologyBrzeg was in earlier documents referred to as Civitas Altae Ripae, meaning "city at high banks" of the Oder (Odra) river; its name is derived from the Polish Brzeg (shore).HistoryThe town received municipal rights in 1250 from the Wrocław Duke Henry III the White, and was fortified in 1297. From 1311-1675 Brzeg was the capital of a Lower Silesian duchy (Duchy of Brzeg) ruled by the Piast dynasty, a branch of the dukes of Lower Silesia, one of whom built a castle in 1341. Much of Silesia was part of the Kingdom of Bohemia during the Middle Ages. The town was burned by the Hussites in 1428 and soon afterwards rebuilt.In 1595 Brieg was again fortified by Joachim Frederick of Brieg and Liegnitz. In the Thirty Years' War it suffered greatly; in the War of the Austrian Succession it was heavily bombarded by the Prussian forces; and in 1807 it was captured by Napoleon's army. When Bohemia fell to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526, the town fell under the overlordship of the Habsburgs in their roles of Kings of Bohemia, although it was still ruled locally by the Silesian Piasts. Upon the extinction of the last duke George William of Legnica in 1675, Brieg came under the direct rule of the Habsburgs.
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