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city, capital of Opolskie wojewodztwo (province), southwestern Poland, situated on the Oder River. Opole began as the home of the Slavic Opolanie tribe; the earliest mention of it was in the 9th century. In 1202 it became the capital of the Opole principality, which included the entire Upper Silesia region. The town passed to Bohemia (1327), the Habsburgs (16th century), and Prussia (1742) and was returned to Poland in 1945.