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OELS, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Silesia, formerly the capital of a mediatized principality of its own name. It lies in a sandy plain on the Oelsbach, 20 m. N.E. of Breslau by rail. Pop. (1905) 10,940. The princely chateau, now the property of the crown prince of Prussia, dating from 1558 and beautifully restored in 1891-1894, contains a good library and a collection of pictures. Of its three Evangelical churches, the Schlosskirche dates from the 13th century and the Propstkirche from the 14th. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in making shoes and growing vegetables for the Breslau market.

Oels was founded about 940, and became a town in 1255. It appears as the capital of an independent principality at the beginning of the 14th century. The principality, with an area of 700 sq. m. and about 130,000 inhabitants, passed through various hands and was inherited by the ducal family of Brunswick in 1792. Then on the extinction of this family in 1884 it lapsed to the crown of Prussia.

See W. Hiiusler, Geschichle des Fiirstentums Ols bis zum Aussterben der piastischen Herzogslinie (Breslau, 1883); and Schulze, Die Succession itn Fiirstentum Ols (Breslau, 1884).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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