We may trace evidence of settlement in this region back to prehistoric times. The oldest unearthed discoveries include the jaw of a Neanderthal child in the Šipka cave near the town of Štramberk, where humans found shelter as far back as 30,000 years B.C. A little statuette of the Venus of Landek, about 23,000 years old, is also proof that human presence in the region dates far back. Ostrava’s Landek hill is a site where evidence was found of the oldest known use of black coal by humans. The oldest Slavic fortified settlement was found and restored at a site near Chotěbuz-Podobora. Starting in the 12th century, the region welcomed many German settlers. The Amber Trail, the famous route connecting northern and southern Europe, dissected the region.
The most significant medieval cities were first and foremost the centers of Silesian principalities, namely Opava and Těšín, while on the Moravian side it was most notably the town of Nový Jičín. The industrialization period was of vital importance for regional development, beginning in the second half of the 18th century. The textile and glass-making industries flourished in the west (Krnov, Vrbno pod Pradědem), while the mining industry spread in the east (Orlová, Karviná, Ostrava), proliferating the advent of steel mills, chemical plants and the mechanical industry. Most of the region was formed by the former Austrian Silesia, spread out over parts of the former principalities of Těšín, Krnov, Nysa and Opava, as well as several other dominions. A smaller part of the region lies in the former Moravian Magraviate.