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Welcome to the Poland Portal — Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Coat of arms of Poland

Poland is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast to the north. It is an ancient nation whose history as a state began near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century when it united with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to form the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements in the late 18th century, Russia, Prussia and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. It regained independence as the Second Polish Republic in the aftermath of World War I only to lose it again when it was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. The nation lost over six million citizens in the war, following which it emerged as the communist People's Republic of Poland under strong Soviet influence within the Eastern Bloc. A westward border shift followed by forced population transfers after the war turned a once multiethnic country into a mostly homogeneous nation state. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union called Solidarity (Solidarność) that over time became a political force which by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A shock therapy program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of NATO and the European Union.

From Polish history

An ethnic Polish military band in Karviná welcoming Poland's annexation of Zaolzie in 1938. The banner reads, "We have awaited you for 600 years."
Zaolzie (Czech: Zaolší) is a historical region on the left bank of the Olza River on the Czech–Polish border. Historically part of the Duchy of Teschen (Cieszyn, Těšín), it belonged to Austria-Hungary until its dissolution in 1918. Afterwards, it became a bone of contention between the nascent republics of Poland and Czechoslovakia. The region, inhabited by ethnic Poles, Czechs and Jews, was rich in coal and crossed by a strategic railway linking Czech Silesia with Slovakia. Agreements between local authorities, armed fighting and an ettempted plebiscite proved inconclusive and in 1920 the Council of Ambassadors settled the matter at the Spa Conference by awarding Zaolzie to Czechoslovakia. In 1938, Poland issued an ultimatum to its southern neighbor to withdraw from Zaolzie within 24 hours, and the following day Czechoslovakia complied. Poland annexed the region and became seen as an accomplice in the partition of Czechoslovakia resulting from the Munich Agreement. Zaolzie was annexed by Nazi Germany after the German invasion of Poland a year later and returned to Czechoslovak hands with the end of World War II. Today the area is part of the Czech Republic and home to about 37,000 ethnic Poles. After 2001, several villages in the region have erected bilingual signs in Czech and Polish.

Selected image

Józef Piłsudski
Credit: K. Pęcherski

Józef Piłsudski as photographed between 1910 and 1920. Piłsudski was a leader of the Polish Socialist Party early in his political career. During World War I, he created the Polish Legions which fought alongside the Central Powers and later went on to become a national hero largely responsible for Poland's reëmergence as an independent nation in 1918.

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Agnieszka Popielewicz

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Selected biography

A presumed image of Jogaila, painted c. 1475–80
Vladislaus II (Władysław II Jagiełło, Jogaila; ca.1348–1434) was a grand duke of Lithuania and king of Poland. He ruled in Lithuania from 1377, initially with his uncle, Kęstutis. In 1386, he converted to Christianity, was baptized as Vladislaus, married the eleven-year-old Queen Hedwig (Jadwiga) and was crowned Polish king as Vladislaus II. His reign in Poland lasted a further forty-eight years and laid the foundation for the centuries long Polish-Lithuanian union. He gave his name to the Jagiellon branch of the Gediminid dynasty which ruled both states until 1572, and became one of the most influential dynasties in medieval Europe. Jogaila was the last pagan ruler of medieval Lithuania. The allied victory over the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, followed by the First Peace of Thorn, secured the Polish and Lithuanian borders and marked the emergence of the Polish-Lithuanian alliance as a major European force. His reign is often considered the beginning of Poland's Golden Age.

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Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Masovia in Płock

Płock is a town on the Vistula River in the western part of the Masovian Voivodeship. During the reigns of Vladislaus Herman and Boleslaus the Wrymouth in the 10th–11th centuries, Płock was briefly Poland's capital city, and later served as one of the seats of the dukes of Masovia. The town has two cathedrals: the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Masovia (pictured) where Vladislaus and Boleslaus are buried, and the Temple of Mercy and Charity, the principal seat of the Mariavite Church, a native Polish branch of Christianity. Płock is home to Poland's largest oil refinery, owned by PKN Orlen and served by the Druzhba ("Friendship") pipeline linking Russia with Germany.

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Poland now

Recent events

Krzemionki flint mines archeological reserve

Holidays and observances in August 2019
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Polish military aircraft flying in formation during a Polish Armed Forces Day parade

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Wikipedias in the languages of Poland

Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Kaszëbskô Wikipedijô
Kashubian Wikipedia
Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Polska Wikipedia
Polish Wikipedia
Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Ślůnsko Wikipedyjo
Silesian Wikipedia
Incubator-logo.svg Wymysiöeryś Wikipedyj
Vilamovian Wikipedia Incubator