Katowice is a city in southwestern Poland and the center of the Silesian Metropolis, with a population of 299,910.Katowice is a center of science, culture, industry, business, trade, and transportation in Upper Silesia and southern Poland, and the main city in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region. Katowice lies within an urban zone, with a population of 2,746,460 according to Eurostat, and also part of the wider Silesian metropolitan area, with a population of 5,294,000 according to the European Spatial Planning Observation Network. Today, Katowice is an emerging metropolis. The whole metropolitan area is the 16th most economically powerful city by GDP in the European Union with an output amounting to $114.5 billion.Katowice has been the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship since its formation in 1999. Previously it was the capital of the Katowice Voivodeship, the autonomous Silesian Voivodeship in Poland, and the Province of Upper Silesia in Germany.HistoryThe 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 by the Kingdom of Prussia during the First Silesian War.