The area around Katowice, Upper Silesia, has been inhabited by ethnic Silesians from its earliest history. It was first ruled by the Polish Silesian Piasts dynasty (until its extinction). From 1335 were a part of Czech lands. 1526 fall into the Habsburg domains. The city itself was founded in the 19th century, a period while the area was under Prussian rule since 1742, and Katowice gained city status in 1865.
Inhabited mainly by Germans, Silesians, Jews and Poles, Katowice became part of the Second Polish Republic following the Silesian Uprisings throughout the Silesian region between 1918 and 1921. The land was subsequently divided by an allied commission and the League of Nations, leaving Kattowitz on the Polish side and with significant Autonomy.
The city flourished due to large mineral (especially coal) deposits in the nearby mountains. Extensive city growth and prosperity depended on the coal mining and steel industries, which took off during the Industrial Revolution. But recently, due to economic reforms, there is a shift away from heavy industry, and towards small businesses.
Between 1953-1956 it was renamed Stalinogród - "Stalin City" by Polish communists.
Katowice lies in the center of the largest agglomeration in Poland and is one of the largest in the European Union. Katowice is also part of a megalopolis of over 7 million inhabitants covering Cracow, Katowice and Ostrava regions.