The position of the Poland in Europe.Is a country in central Europe. Poland is bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republik and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kalingrad Oblast, a Russian exlave, to the north.
Prehistory Historians have postulated that throughout Late Antiquity, many distinct ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now known as Poland. The exact ethnicity and linguistic affiliation of these groups has been hotly debated; in particular the time and route of the original settlement of Slavic peoples in these regions has been the subject of much controversy. The most famous archeological find from Polands prehistory and protohistory is the Biskupin fortified settlement (now reconstructed as a museum), dating from the Lustin culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Piast dynasty Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the tenth century under the Piast Dynasty. Polands first historically documented ruler Mieszko I, was baptized in 966, adopting Catholic Christianity as the nation's new official religion, to which the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next centuries. In the twelfth century, Poland fragmented into several smaller states. In 1320,Władysław I became the King of a reunified Poland. His son, Kazimierz III, is remembered as one of the greatest Polish kings. Poland was also a centre of migration of peoples and the Jewish community began to settle and flourish in Poland during this era. The Black Death which affected most parts of Europe from 1347 to 1351 did not reach Poland.
Jagiellon dynasty Under the Dynasty Poland forged a union with its neighbour, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1410, a Polish-Lithuanian army inflicted a decisive defeat on the Teutonic Knights, both countries' main adversary, in the battle of Grunwald. After the Thirteen YearsWar, the Knight's state became a Polish vassal. Polish culture and economy flourished under the Jagiellons, and the country produced such figures as astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and poet Jan Kochanowski. Compared to other European nations, Poland was exceptional in its tolerance of religious dissent, allowing the country to avoid the religious turmoil that spread over Western Europe in that time.
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth A golden age ensued during the sixteenth century after the Union of Lublin which gave birth to the Polish – Lithuanian Commonwealth. The nobility of Poland, far more numerous than in Western European countries, took pride in their freedoms and parliamentary system. During the Golden Age period, Poland expanded its borders to become the largest country in Europe.
In the mid-seventeenth century, a Swedish invasion (The Deluge) and the CossacksChmielnicki Uprising which ravaged the country marked the end of the golden age.Numerous wars against Russia coupled with government inefficiency caused by the Liberum veto, a right which had allowed any member of the parliament to dissolve it and to veto any legislation it had passed, marked the steady deterioration of the Commonwealth from a European power into a near- anarchy controlled by its neighbours. Despite the erosion of its power, the Commonwealth was able to deal a crushing defeat to the Ottoman Empire in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna.
The reforms, particularly those of the Great Sejm, which passed the Constitution of May 3, 1791,, the world's second modern constitution, were thwarted with the three partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, and 1795) which culminated in Poland's being erased from the map and its territories being divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria.
Reconstitution of Poland During World War I, all the Allies agreed on the reconstitution of Poland that United States President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed in Point 13 of his Fourten Points. Shortly after the surrender of Germany in November 1918, Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic. It reaffirmed its independence after a series of military conflicts, the most notable being the Polish – Soviet War (1919–1921) when Poland inflicted a crushing defeat on the Read Army. 11-XI-1918
World War II The Sanacja movement controlled Poland until the start of World War II in 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded on 1 September and the Soviet invasion of Poland followed on 17 September. Warsaw capitulated on 28 September 1939. As agreed in the Molotov- Ribbentrop Pact, Poland was split into two zones, one occupied by Germany while the eastern provinces fell under the control of Soviet Union. 1-IX-1939
Of all the countries involved In the war, Poland lost the highest percentage of its citizens: over six million perished, half of them Polish Jews. Poland made the fourth-largest troop contribution to the Allied war effort, after the Soviets, the British and the Americans. The Polish expeditionary corps played an important role in the Italian Campaing, particularly at the Battle of Monte Casino. At the war's conclusion, Poland's borders were shifted westwards, pushing the eastern border to the Curzon Line. Meanwhile, the western border was moved to the Oder – Neisse Line. The new Poland emerged 20% smaller by 77,500 square kilometres (29,900 sq mi). The shift forced the migration of milions of people, most of whom were Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, and Jews. Monte Cassino
Postwar Communist Poland The Soviet Union instituted a new Communist government in Poland, analogous to much of the rest of the Eastern Bloc. Military alignment within the Warsaw Pact throughout the Cold War was also part of this change. The Peoples Republic of Poland was officially proclaimed in 1952. In 1956, the régime of Władysław Gomułka became temporarily more liberal, freeing many people from prison and expanding some personal freedoms. A similar situation repeated itself in the 1970s under Edward Gierek, but most of the time persecution of communist opposition persisted. Labour turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union Solidarity, which over time became a political force. Despite persecution and imposition of nartial law in 1981, it eroded the dominance of the Communist Party and by 1989 had triunphed in parliamentary elections. Lech Wałęsa, a Solidarity candidate, eventually won the presidency wn 1990. The Solidarity movement heralded the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe.
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