Poland

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Coordinates: 52°N 20°E / 52°N 20°E / 52; 20

Republic of Poland
Rzeczpospolita Polska (Polish)
Anthem: Mazurek Dąbrowskiego
"
Ethnic groups
(2011)[2]
Religion
(2011)[3]
  • 2.4% No religion
  • 0.2% Other
  • 8.7% Unanswered
Demonym(s)
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
• President
Andrzej Duda
Mateusz Morawiecki
LegislatureParliament
Senate
Sejm
Formation
14 April 966
18 April 1025
1 July 1569
24 October 1795
11 November 1918
17 September 1939
19 February 1947
31 December 1989[5]
Area
• Total
312,696 km2 (120,733 sq mi)[6] (69th)
• Water (%)
1.48 (2015)[7]
Population
• 2022 census
Neutral decrease 38,036,118[8] (38th)
• Density
122/km2 (316.0/sq mi) (98th)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.664 trillion[9] (22nd)
• Per capita
Increase $44,249[9] (41st)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $754 billion[9] (23rd)
• Per capita
Increase $20,045[9] (56th)
Gini (2020)Positive decrease 27.2[10]
low
HDI (2021)Increase 0.876[11]
very high · 34th
CurrencyZłoty (PLN)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Date formatdd.mm.yyyy (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+48
ISO 3166 codePL
Internet TLD.pl

Poland,[c] officially the Republic of Poland,[d] is a country in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative provinces called voivodeships, covering an area of 312,696 km2 (120,733 sq mi). Poland has a population of 38 million and is the fifth-most populous member state of the European Union. Warsaw is the nation's capital and largest metropolis. Other major cities include Kraków, Wrocław, Łódź, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Poland has a

Mount Rysy, situated in the Tatra mountain range of the Carpathians. The country is bordered by Lithuania and Russia to the northeast,[e] Belarus and Ukraine to the east, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to the south, and Germany to the west. It also shares maritime boundaries with Denmark and Sweden
.

The

Roman Church. The Kingdom of Poland emerged in 1025 and in 1569 cemented its longstanding association with Lithuania, thus forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was one of the great powers of Europe at the time, with a uniquely liberal political system that adopted Europe's first modern constitution
in 1791.

With the passing of a prosperous

Communist Bloc in the global Cold War, the Polish People's Republic was a founding signatory of the Warsaw Pact. Through the emergence and contributions of the Solidarity movement, the communist government was dissolved and Poland re-established itself as a democratic state
in 1989.

Poland is a

high income economy. Considered a middle power, Poland has the sixth largest economy in the European Union by GDP (nominal) and the fifth largest by GDP (PPP). It provides high standards of living, safety and economic freedom, as well as free university education and a universal health care system. The country has 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 15 of which are cultural. Poland is a founding member state of the United Nations, as well as a member of the World Trade Organization, NATO, and the European Union (including the Schengen Area
).

Etymology

The native

Proto-Slavic noun pole meaning field, which in-itself originates from the Proto-Indo-European word *pleh₂- indicating flatland.[14] The etymology alludes to the topography of the region and the flat landscape of Greater Poland.[15][16] The English name Poland was formed in the 1560s, from German Pole(n) and the suffix -land, denoting a people or nation.[17][18] Prior to its adoption, the Latin form Polonia was widely used throughout medieval Europe.[19]

The country's alternative archaic name is

Old Polish word lęda (plain).[23] Initially, both names Lechia and Polonia were used interchangeably when referring to Poland by chroniclers during the Middle Ages.[24]

History

Prehistory and protohistory

A reconstruction of a Bronze Age, Lusatian culture settlement in Biskupin
, 8th century BC

The first

Homo sapiens and anatomically modern humans coincided with the climatic discontinuity at the end of the Last Glacial Period (10,000 BC), when Poland became habitable.[26] Neolithic excavations indicated broad-ranging development in that era; the earliest evidence of European cheesemaking (5500 BC) was discovered in Polish Kuyavia,[27] and the Bronocice pot is incised with the earliest known depiction of what may be a wheeled vehicle (3400 BC).[28]

The period spanning the

Late Bronze Age (mid-8th century BC).[31]

Throughout

Roman Legions sent to protect the amber trade.[33] The Polish tribes emerged following the second wave of the Migration Period around the 6th century AD;[19] they were Slavic and possibly may have included assimilated remnants of peoples that earlier dwelled in the area.[34][35] Beginning in the early 10th century, the Polans would come to dominate other Lechitic tribes in the region, initially forming a tribal federation and later a centralised monarchial state.[36]

Kingdom of Poland

Baptism of Poland
marked the beginning of statehood in 966.

Poland began to form into a recognisable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the

martyrdom of Saint Adalbert, who was killed by Prussian pagans in 997 and whose remains were reputedly bought back for their weight in gold by Mieszko's successor, Bolesław I the Brave.[39]

In 1000, at the Congress of Gniezno, Bolesław obtained the right of investiture from Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, who assented to the creation of additional bishoprics.[39] Three new dioceses were subsequently established in Kraków, Kołobrzeg, and Wrocław.[41] Also, Otto bestowed upon Bolesław royal regalia and a replica of the Holy Lance, which were later used at his coronation as the first King of Poland in circa 1025, when Bolesław received permission for his coronation from Pope John XIX.[42][43] Bolesław also expanded the realm considerably by seizing parts of German Lusatia, Czech Moravia, Upper Hungary and southwestern regions of the Kievan Rus'.[44]

The transition from

Teutonic Knights to aid in combating the Baltic Prussians; a decision that led to centuries of warfare with the Knights.[50]

In the mid-13th century,

a reunified Poland since Przemysł II in 1296,[55] and the first to be crowned at Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.[56]

Beginning in 1333, the reign of

Ruthenia in 1340 and imposed quarantine that prevented the spread of Black Death.[59][60] In 1364, Casimir inaugurated the University of Kraków, one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Europe.[61] Upon his death in 1370, the Piast dynasty came to an end.[62] He was succeeded by his closest male relative, Louis of Anjou, who ruled Poland, Hungary and Croatia in a personal union.[63] Louis' younger daughter Jadwiga became Poland's first female monarch in 1384.[63]

Kingdom of Poland
, 15 July 1410.

In 1386, Jadwiga of Poland entered a marriage of convenience with

Modern Era.[64] The partnership between Poles and Lithuanians brought the vast multi-ethnic Lithuanian territories into Poland's sphere of influence and proved beneficial for its inhabitants, who coexisted in one of the largest European political entities of the time.[65]

In the Baltic Sea region, the struggle of Poland and Lithuania with the

Thirteen Years' War, king Casimir IV Jagiellon gave royal consent to the Peace of Thorn, which created the future Duchy of Prussia under Polish suzerainty and forced the Prussian rulers to pay tributes.[21] The Jagiellonian dynasty also established dynastic control over the kingdoms of Bohemia (1471 onwards) and Hungary.[67] In the south, Poland confronted the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean Tatars, and in the east helped Lithuania to combat Russia.[21]

Poland was developing as a

General Sejm in 1505, transferred most of the legislative power from the monarch to the parliament, an event which marked the beginning of the period known as Golden Liberty, when the state was ruled by the seemingly free and equal Polish nobles.[70]

Wawel Castle in Kraków, seat of Polish kings from 1038 until the capital was moved to Warsaw
in 1596.

The 16th century saw

Protestant Reformation movements making deep inroads into Polish Christianity, which resulted in the establishment of policies promoting religious tolerance, unique in Europe at that time.[71] This tolerance allowed the country to avoid the religious turmoil and wars of religion that beset Europe.[71] In Poland, Nontrinitarian Christianity became the doctrine of the so-called Polish Brethren, who separated from their Calvinist denomination and became the co-founders of global Unitarianism.[72]

The European Renaissance evoked under Sigismund I the Old and Sigismund II Augustus a sense of urgency in the need to promote a cultural awakening.[21] During the Polish Golden Age, the nation's economy and culture flourished.[21] The Italian-born Bona Sforza, daughter of the Duke of Milan and queen consort to Sigismund I, made considerable contributions to architecture, cuisine, language and court customs at Wawel Castle.[21]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
at its greatest extent in 1619

The

Polonisation policies in newly acquired territories which were met with resistance from ethnic and religious minorities.[73]

In 1573,

Polish-Swedish union endured until 1599, when he was deposed by the Swedes.[80]

In 1609, Sigismund invaded Russia which was engulfed in a civil war,[21] and a year later the Polish winged hussar units under Stanisław Żółkiewski occupied Moscow for two years after defeating the Russians at Klushino.[21] Sigismund also countered the Ottoman Empire in the southeast; at Khotyn in 1621 Jan Karol Chodkiewicz achieved a decisive victory against the Turks, which ushered the downfall of Sultan Osman II.[81][82]

Sigismund's long reign in Poland coincided with the

Saxon era, under Augustus II and Augustus III, saw the rise of neighbouring countries in the aftermath of the Great Northern War (1700) and the War of the Polish Succession (1733).[89]

Partitions

King of Poland
, reigned from 1764 until his abdication on 25 November 1795.