Can Kłodzko County exist as an independent state?

The right to exist as a sovereign political entity has become widely accepted nowadays. There are, however, many regions whose appeals for independence are in vain. These include for example, Scotland, Catalonia, and the Basque Country. They have received extensive coverage in all kinds of media, whereas, other communities remain unnoticed.

For instance, in recent years, Upper Silesia voiced its demand for greater autonomy from the central government in Warsaw (Nijakowski 5). Surprisingly, another part of Poland may have an equally strong claim to sovereignty. 

The County of Kłodzko, the southwestern part of the historical and geographical region of Lower Silesia, possesses many environmental, historical and social arguments in favour of its independence.

Borders set on mountains, rivers or other natural obstacles serve to protect neighbouring countries from land disputes. Mountains, indeed, are even better than rivers because they cannot change their course fast. The County of Kłodzko is firmly surrouned by a few mountain belts. The Table Mountains, the Bystrzyckie Mountains, and Masyw Śnieżnika separate it from the Czech Republic in the west, the south, and the east, respectaveli. Furthermore, access to it from the north is limited too, due to a relatively narrow mountain pass in Bardo Śląskie. The landscape has determined the territory of the County of Kłodzko. Since the 15th century, nobody either questioned its boundries or attempted to change them (Wrzesiński). If so, the County of Kłodzko would precisely delimit its realm.

As far as political identity is concerned, the Kłodzko Land remained in Bohemia proper until 1459 when it was ceded and turned into a separate estate of the local Silesian Duke (Wrzesiński). Most importantly, it was recognized by the Roman Emperor as an Imperial county (Wrzesiński). Known as Grafschaft Glatz, the area experienced the 350 years of autonomous self-governance as a part of Bohemia, Austria, and eventually, Prussia. The latter, pervaded by a patriotic surge after the Napoleonic Wars, sought to strenghen national unity and finally deprived the County of Kłodzko of its independent political character in 1818. Yet, the Prussian kings and German Emperors still willingly used the title of the Count of Glatz (Wrzesiński). This very prolific small cultural melting-pot in the Sudetes turnet out two specific local variants of German and brought forth prominent reverends, artists, and scholars, including for exmple, Franciscus Boden and Gerhadt Hirschfelder.

The community, admittedly, maintain the tradition of language, religion, and folklore up to 1945. Although the native population was expelled after World War II, the area was a part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Prague until 1972. Moreover, a few cities still have a lion in their coat of arms which derives from the traditional emblem of Bohemia and diffentiates them symbolically from the rest of Poland. The contemporary Polish administrative unit, ‚powiat kłodzki’, finely reflects the traditional territory as well. The County of Kłodzko has a long history of self-ruling in the distant cultural atmosphere. That implies the possibility of reviving this vital heritage for the sake of the country-to-be.

Some opponents may argue that the County of Kłodzko would be too small to prosper successfully. Having 1 642 km2 in size, in fact, the County of Kłodzko is bigger than six existing European countries. Namely, Andorra, Malta, Lichtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, and the Vatican. Indeed, five of them are very small communities, whereas, the 160 465 people living in the County of Kłodzko approximately resembles the population of Iceland when it gained its independence. Noone will say that a state comprising an area of Luxembourg and the population of Iceland cannot develop a strong economy. 

Having the necessary experience of self-rule, a space encircled by natural obstacles, sufficiently populated cities, symbolical distincitvness, the County of Kłodzko can cenrtainly be said to have ground for an appeal for independence.

Works cited:

Wrzesiński, Wojciech. Dolny Śląsk. Monografia. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław. 2014

Nijakowski, Lech. Nadciągają Ślązacy. Warsaw, 2002

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