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More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in with the Treaty of Versailles.
Poland is a developed market and regional power. It has the eighth largest and one of the most dynamic economies in the European Union ,  simultaneously achieving a very high rank on the Human Development Index.
The country provides free university education , state-funded social security , and a universal health care system for all citizens.
The origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans Polanie that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century.
The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole" field. In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian, Persian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites Lechici , which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I.
During this time, the Lusatian culture , spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became particularly prominent. The most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement now reconstructed as an open-air museum , dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about BC to AD.
Also, recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the s.
Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty.
The bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. The significance of the event was documented by Gallus Anonymus in his chronicle.
In , Konrad I of Masovia , one of the regional Piast dukes, invited the Teutonic Knights to help him fight the Baltic Prussian pagans; a decision that led to centuries of warfare with the Knights.
In , the Statute of Kalisz or the General Charter of Jewish Liberties introduced numerous right for the Jews in Poland, leading to a nearly autonomous "nation within a nation".
When Casimir the Great died in , leaving no legitimate male heir, the Piast dynasty came to an end. During the 13th and 14th centuries, Poland became a destination for German, Flemish and to a lesser extent Walloon, Danish and Scottish migrants.
The Black Death , a plague that ravaged Europe from to did not significantly affect Poland, and the country was spared from a major outbreak of the disease.
In the Baltic Sea region the struggle of Poland and Lithuania with the Teutonic Knights continued and culminated in the Battle of Grunwald , where a combined Polish-Lithuanian army inflicted a decisive victory against them.
The Jagiellon dynasty at one point also established dynastic control over the kingdoms of Bohemia onwards and Hungary. Some historians estimate that Crimean Tatar slave-raiding cost Poland-Lithuania one million of its population between the years of and Poland was developing as a feudal state, with a predominantly agricultural economy and an increasingly powerful landed nobility.
The Nihil novi act adopted by the Polish Sejm parliament in , transferred most of the legislative power from the monarch to the Sejm, an event which marked the beginning of the period known as "Golden Liberty", when the state was ruled by the "free and equal" Polish nobility.
Protestant Reformation movements made deep inroads into Polish Christianity, which resulted in the establishment of policies promoting religious tolerance, unique in Europe at that time.
Another major figure associated with the era is the classicist poet Jan Kochanowski. The Union of Lublin established the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth , a more closely unified federal state with an elective monarchy , but which was governed largely by the nobility, through a system of local assemblies with a central parliament.
The Warsaw Confederation guaranteed religious freedom for the Polish nobility Szlachta and burgesses Mieszczanie. In , the Tsar of Russia paid homage to the King of Poland.
Starting in , the Cossack Khmelnytsky Uprising engulfed the south and east, eventually leaving Ukraine divided, with the eastern part, lost by the Commonwealth, becoming a dependency of the Tsardom of Russia.
Finding itself subjected to almost constant warfare and suffering enormous population losses as well as massive damage to its economy, the Commonwealth fell into decline.
The government became ineffective as a result of large-scale internal conflicts e. Lubomirski Rebellion against John II Casimir and rebellious confederations and corrupted legislative processes.
During the later part of the 18th century, the Commonwealth made attempts to implement fundamental internal reforms; with the second half of the century bringing a much improved economy, significant population growth and far-reaching progress in the areas of education, intellectual life, art, and especially toward the end of the period, evolution of the social and political system.
However, as a one-time personal admirer of Empress Catherine II of Russia , the new king spent much of his reign torn between his desire to implement reforms necessary to save his nation, and his perceived necessity to remain in a political relationship with his Russian sponsor.
Corporal punishment of children was officially prohibited in Russia was aided in achieving its goal when the Targowica Confederation , an organisation of Polish nobles, appealed to the Empress for help.
The defensive war fought by the Poles ended prematurely when the King, convinced of the futility of resistance, capitulated and joined the Targowica Confederation.
The Confederation then took over the government. Russia and Prussia, fearing the mere existence of a Polish state, arranged for, and in executed, the Second Partition of the Commonwealth , which left the country deprived of so much territory that it was practically incapable of independent existence.
Poles rebelled several times against the partitioners , particularly near the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.
But, after the failed Napoleonic Wars , Poland was again split between the victorious powers at the Congress of Vienna of However, over time the Russian monarch reduced Polish freedoms, and Russia annexed the country in virtually all but name.
Meanwhile, the Prussian controlled territory of Poland came under increased Germanization. Throughout the period of the partitions, political and cultural repression of the Polish nation led to the organisation of a number of uprisings against the authorities of the occupying Russian, Prussian and Austrian governments.
Over the course of the next seven months, Polish forces successfully defeated the Russian armies of Field Marshal Hans Karl von Diebitsch and a number of other Russian commanders; however, finding themselves in a position unsupported by any other foreign powers, save distant France and the newborn United States, and with Prussia and Austria refusing to allow the import of military supplies through their territories, the Poles accepted that the uprising was doomed to failure.
Upon the surrender of Warsaw to General Ivan Paskievich , many Polish troops, feeling they could not go on, withdrew into Prussia and there laid down their arms.
After the defeat, the semi-independent Congress Poland lost its constitution, army and legislative assembly, and was integrated more closely with the Russian Empire.
During the Spring of Nations a series of revolutions which swept across Europe , Poles took up arms in the Greater Poland Uprising of to resist Prussian rule.
Initially, the uprising manifested itself in the form of civil disobedience, but eventually turned into an armed struggle when the Prussian military was sent in to pacify the region.
Eventually, after several battles the uprising was suppressed by the Prussians, and the Grand Duchy of Posen was more completely incorporated into Prussia.
In , a new Polish uprising against Russian rule began. The January Uprising started out as a spontaneous protest by young Poles against conscription into the Imperial Russian Army.
However, the insurrectionists, despite being joined by high-ranking Polish-Lithuanian officers and numerous politicians, were still severely outnumbered and lacking in foreign support.
They were forced to resort to guerrilla warfare tactics and failed to win any major military victories. Afterwards no major uprising was witnessed in the Russian-controlled Congress Poland, and Poles resorted instead to fostering economic and cultural self-improvement.
Despite the political unrest experienced during the partitions, Poland did benefit from large-scale industrialisation and modernisation programs, instituted by the occupying powers, which helped it develop into a more economically coherent and viable entity.
A total of 2 million Polish troops fought with the armies of the three occupying powers, and , died. It reaffirmed its independence after a series of military conflicts , the most notable being the Polish—Soviet War —21 when Poland inflicted a crushing defeat on the Red Army at the Battle of Warsaw , an event which is considered to have halted the advance of Communism into Europe and forced Vladimir Lenin to rethink his objective of achieving global socialism.
The event is often referred to as the "Miracle at the Vistula". During this period, Poland successfully managed to fuse the territories of the three former partitioning powers into a cohesive nation state.
Railways were restructured to direct traffic towards Warsaw instead of the former imperial capitals, a new network of national roads was gradually built up and a major seaport was opened on the Baltic Coast, so as to allow Polish exports and imports to bypass the politically charged Free City of Danzig.
The inter-war period heralded in a new era of Polish politics. Whilst Polish political activists had faced heavy censorship in the decades up until the First World War, the country now found itself trying to establish a new political tradition.
For this reason, many exiled Polish activists, such as Ignacy Paderewski who would later become prime minister returned home to help; a significant number of them then went on to take key positions in the newly formed political and governmental structures.
As a subsequent result of the Munich Agreement in , Czechoslovakia ceded to Poland the small sq mi Zaolzie region. The area was a point of contention between the Polish and Czechoslovak governments in the past and the two countries fought a brief seven-day war over it in On 28 September Warsaw fell.
In —41, the Soviets deported hundreds of thousands of Poles. In July the Polish Cipher Bureau had taught Britain and France how to crack German Enigma codes , which it had been doing since using mathematics and technology such as the Bomba and Zygalski sheets.
Poland made the fourth-largest troop contribution in Europe [f] and its troops served both the Polish Government in Exile in the west and Soviet leadership in the east.
Polish troops played an important role in the Normandy , Italian and North African Campaigns and are particularly remembered for the Battle of Monte Cassino.
During the Battle of Britain Polish squadrons such as the No. The Polish Navy protected the Dunkirk evacuation and Atlantic convoys.
The wartime resistance movement , and the Armia Krajowa Home Army , fought against German occupation. It was one of the three largest resistance movements of the entire war, [g] and encompassed a range of clandestine activities, which functioned as an underground state complete with degree-awarding universities and a court system.
Secondary motives were to liberate Warsaw before the Soviets, to underscore Polish sovereignty by empowering the Polish Underground State before the Soviet-backed Polish Committee of National Liberation could assume control.
Nazi forces under orders from Adolf Hitler set up six German extermination camps in occupied Poland, including Treblinka , Majdanek and Auschwitz.
The Germans transported Jews from across occupied Europe to murder them in the camps. Throughout the occupation , many members of the Armia Krajowa, supported by the Polish government in exile , and millions of ordinary Poles — at great risk to themselves and their families — engaged in rescuing Jews from the Nazi Germans.
Grouped by nationality, Poles represent the largest number of people who rescued Jews during the Holocaust.
To date, 6, Poles have been awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel—more than any other nation.
The massacres were part of a vicious ethnic clensing campaign waged by Ukrainian nationalists against the local Polish population in the German-occupied territories of eastern Poland.
The shift forced the migration of millions of other people , most of whom were Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, and Jews.
Population numbers did not recover until the s. At the insistence of Joseph Stalin , the Yalta Conference sanctioned the formation of a new provisional pro-Communist coalition government in Moscow, which ignored the Polish government-in-exile based in London; a move which angered many Poles who considered it a betrayal by the Allies.
The Soviet Union instituted a new communist government in Poland, analogous to much of the rest of the Eastern Bloc. As elsewhere in Communist Europe the Soviet occupation of Poland met with armed resistance from the outset which continued into the fifties.
A similar situation repeated itself in the s under Edward Gierek , but most of the time persecution of anti-communist opposition groups persisted.
Despite this, Poland was at the time considered to be one of the least oppressive states of the Soviet Bloc. The Solidarity movement heralded the collapse of communist regimes and parties across Europe.
A shock therapy programme, initiated by Leszek Balcerowicz in the early s enabled the country to transform its socialist-style planned economy into a market economy.
As with other post-communist countries, Poland suffered slumps in social and economic standards,  but it became the first post-communist country to reach its pre GDP levels, which it achieved by largely thanks to its booming economy.
Most visibly, there were numerous improvements in human rights, such as freedom of speech , internet freedom no censorship , civil liberties 1st class and political rights 1st class , as ranked by Freedom House non-governmental organization.
Poles then voted to join the European Union in a referendum in June , with Poland becoming a full member on 1 May These battle groups will operate outside of NATO and within the European defense initiative framework.
In , the Presidency of the Council of the European Union responsible for the functioning of the Council was awarded to Poland.
The same year parliamentary elections took place in both the Senate and the Sejm. They were won by the ruling Civic Platform. In , Poland also became a member of the Development Assistance Committee.
This coast is marked by several spits , coastal lakes former bays that have been cut off from the sea , and dunes. The centre and parts of the north of the country lie within the North European Plain.
Rising above these lowlands is a geographical region comprising four hilly districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age.
The Masurian Lake District is the largest of the four and covers much of north-eastern Poland. The lake districts form part of the Baltic Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.
South of the Northern European Plain are the regions of Lusatia , Silesia and Masovia , which are marked by broad ice-age river valleys.
Both processes shaped the Sudetes and the Carpathian Mountains. The moraine landscape of northern Poland contains soils made up mostly of sand or loam , while the ice age river valleys of the south often contain loess.
The Polish Jura , the Pieniny , and the Western Tatras consist of limestone , while the High Tatras , the Beskids , and the Karkonosze are made up mainly of granite and basalts.
The Polish Jura Chain has some of the oldest rock formation on the continent of Europe. Poland has 70 mountains over 2, metres 6, feet in elevation, all in the Tatras.
The Polish Tatras, which consist of the High Tatras and the Western Tatras, is the highest mountain group of Poland and of the entire Carpathian range.
The lowest point in Poland — at 1. It is not a natural desert but results from human activity from the Middle Ages onwards. As waves and wind carry sand inland the dunes slowly move, at a rate of 3 to 10 metres 9.
The highest peak of the park is Rowokol metres or feet above sea level. The longest rivers are the Vistula Polish: The eastern Beskids are also the source of some streams that drain through the Dniester to the Black Sea.
The Vikings , for example, traveled up the Vistula and the Oder in their longships. With almost ten thousand closed bodies of water covering more than 1 hectare 2.
In Europe, only Finland has a greater density of lakes. In addition to the lake districts in the north in Masuria, Pomerania, Kashubia , Lubuskie, and Greater Poland , there is also a large number of mountain lakes in the Tatras, of which the Morskie Oko is the largest in area.
Among the first lakes whose shores were settled are those in the Greater Polish Lake District. The stilt house settlement of Biskupin , occupied by more than one thousand residents, was founded before the 7th century BC by people of the Lusatian culture.
Nowadays the Polish lakes provide a location for the pursuit of water sports such as yachting and wind-surfing. For the most part, Poland has a smooth coastline, which has been shaped by the continual movement of sand by currents and winds.
The largest spits are Hel Peninsula and the Vistula Spit. The coast line is varied also by Szczecin and Vistula Lagoons and a few lakes, e.
Poland is the fourth most forested country in Europe. Forests cover about The richness of Polish forest per SoEF statistics [ clarification needed ] is more than twice as high as European average with Germany and France at the top , containing 2.
Three more national parks are projected for Masuria , the Polish Jura, and the eastern Beskids. In addition, wetlands along lakes and rivers in central Poland are legally protected, as are coastal areas in the north.
There are over areas designated as landscape parks , along with numerous nature reserves and other protected areas e. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature , the territory of Poland belongs to three Palearctic Ecoregions of the continental forest spanning Central and Northern European temperate broadleaf and mixed forest ecoregions as well as the Carpathian montane conifer forest.
In the forests there are game animals, such as red deer , roe deer and wild boar. Poland is the most important breeding ground for a variety of European migratory birds.
Both survived in Poland longer than anywhere else. The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country.
The climate is oceanic in the north and west and becomes gradually warmer and continental towards the south and east. Precipitation falls throughout the year, although, especially in the east, winter is drier than summer.
The coldest region of Poland is in the northeast in the Podlaskie Voivodeship near the borders with Belarus and Lithuania.
The climate is affected by cold fronts which come from Scandinavia and Siberia. Poland is a representative democracy , with a president as a head of state , whose current constitution dates from Poland ranks in the top 20 percent of the most peaceful countries in the world, according to the Global Peace Index.
The government structure centers on the Council of Ministers , led by a prime minister. The president appoints the cabinet according to the proposals of the prime minister, typically from the majority coalition in the Sejm.
The president is elected by popular vote every five years. The current president is Andrzej Duda and the prime minister is Mateusz Morawiecki.
Polish voters elect a bicameral parliament consisting of a member lower house Sejm and a member Senate Senat. The Senat, on the other hand, is elected under the first-past-the-post voting method, with one senator being returned from each of the constituencies.
The National Assembly is formed on three occasions: To date only the first instance has occurred. The judicial branch plays an important role in decision-making.
The ombudsman has the duty of guarding the observance and implementation of the rights and liberties of Polish citizens and residents, of the law and of principles of community life and social justice.
The Constitution of Poland is the supreme law in contemporary Poland, and the Polish legal system is based on the principle of civil rights, governed by the code of Civil Law.
Historically, the most famous Polish legal act is the Constitution of 3 May Historian Norman Davies describes it as the first of its kind in Europe.
Primarily, it was designed to redress long-standing political defects of the federative Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth and its Golden Liberty.
The new Constitution introduced political equality between townspeople and the nobility szlachta , and placed the peasants under the protection of the government.
The Constitution abolished pernicious parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto , which at one time had placed the sejm at the mercy of any deputy who might choose, or be bribed by an interest or foreign power, to have rescinded all the legislation that had been passed by that sejm.
The Republic and Article 54 section II. Feminism in Poland started in the s in the age of the foreign Partitions. Prior to the last Partition in , tax-paying females were allowed to take part in political life.
Since , following the return to independence, all women could vote. Also, Poland recognises gender change. It requires public officials to pursue ecologically sound public policy and acknowledges the inviolability of the home, the right to form trade unions, and to strike, whilst at the same time prohibiting the practices of forced medical experimentation, torture and corporal punishment.
Poland has forged a special relationships with Ukraine ,  with whom it co-hosted the UEFA Euro football tournament, in an effort to firmly anchor the country within the Western world and provide it with an alternative to aligning itself with the Russian Federation.
Despite many positive developments in the region, Poland has found itself in a position where it must seek to defend the rights of ethnic Poles living in the former Soviet Union ; this is particularly true of Belarus , where in the Lukashenko regime launched a campaign against the Polish ethnic minority.
Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union and has a grand total of 51 representatives in the European Parliament. Administrative authority at voivodeship level is shared between a government-appointed voivode governor , an elected regional assembly sejmik and a voivodeship marshal, an executive elected by that assembly.
The voivodeships are subdivided into powiats often referred to in English as counties , and these are further divided into gminas also known as communes or municipalities.
Major cities normally have the status of both gmina and powiat. Poland has 16 voivodeships, powiats including 66 cities with powiat status , and 2, gminas.
The Polish armed forces are composed of five branches: Plans call for the force, once fully active, to consist of 53, people who will be trained and equipped to counter potential hybrid warfare threats.
However, its commander-in-chief is the President of the Republic. The Polish Navy primarily operates in the Baltic Sea and conducts operations such as maritime patrol, search and rescue for the section of the Baltic under Polish sovereignty, as well as hydrographic measurements and research.
Also, the Polish Navy played a more international role as part of the invasion of Iraq , providing logistical support for the United States Navy.
The current position of the Polish Air Force is much the same; it has routinely taken part in Baltic Air Policing assignments, but otherwise, with the exception of a number of units serving in Afghanistan , has seen no active combat.
In , the FC Block 52 was chosen as the new general multi-role fighter for the air force, the first deliveries taking place in November The most important mission of the armed forces is the defence of Polish territorial integrity and Polish interests abroad.
Compulsory military service for men was discontinued in From , until conscription ended in , the mandatory service was nine months.
Polish military doctrine reflects the same defensive nature as that of its NATO partners. From to Poland was a large contributor to various United Nations peacekeeping missions.
Also, the army plans to modernize its existing inventory of main battle tanks , and update its stock of small arms. In May the Ministry of National Defence has assured that the Polish army will be increased to , active personnel.
Poland has a highly developed system of law enforcement with a long history of effective policing by the State Police Service Policja.
The structure of law enforcement agencies within Poland is a multi-tier one, with the State Police providing criminal-investigative services, Municipal Police serving to maintain public order and a number of other specialized agencies, such as the Polish Border Guard , acting to fulfill their assigned missions.
In addition to these state services, private security companies are also common, although they possess no powers assigned to state agencies, such as, for example, the power to make an arrest or detain a suspect.
Emergency services in Poland consist of the emergency medical services , search and rescue units of the Polish Armed Forces and State Fire Service.
Emergency medical services in Poland are, unlike other services, provided for by local and regional government. In addition, the police and other agencies have been steadily replacing and modernising their fleets of vehicles.
It is an example of the transition from a centrally planned to a primarily market-based economy. The Polish banking sector is the largest in the Central and Eastern European region,  with They are regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority.
During the transformation to a market-oriented economy, the government privatized several banks, recapitalized the rest, and introduced legal reforms that made the sector more competitive.
This has attracted a significant number of strategic foreign investors ICFI. Poland has a large number of private farms in its agricultural sector, with the potential to become a leading producer of food in the European Union.
The biggest money-makers abroad include smoked and fresh fish, fine chocolate, and dairy products, meats and specialty breads,  with the exchange rate conducive to export growth.
Warsaw leads Central Europe in foreign investment. Since the gradual opening of the European Union labor market from , Poland has had mass emigration of over 2.
Products and goods manufactured in Poland include: Poland is recognised as a regional economic leader within Central Europe, with nearly 40 percent of the biggest companies in the region by revenues as well as a high globalisation rate.
The economic transition in has resulted in a dynamic increase in the number and value of investments conducted by Polish corporations abroad.
Over a quarter of these companies have participated in a foreign project or joint venture , and 72 percent decided to continue foreign expansion.
According to reports made by the National Bank of Poland , the value of Polish foreign direct investments reached almost billion PLN at the end of The Central Statistical Office estimated that in there were around 1, Polish corporations with interests in 3, foreign entities.
Poland experienced an increase in the number of tourists after joining the European Union in Tourist attractions in Poland vary, from the mountains in the south to the sandy beaches in the north, with a trail of nearly every architectural style.
The Polish capital Warsaw and its historical Old Town were entirely reconstructed after wartime destruction. The Pieniny and Bieszczady Mountains lie in the extreme south-east.
The electricity generation sector in Poland is largely fossil-fuel —based. In , Poland scored 48 out of states in the Energy Sustainability Index.
This is to be achieved mainly through the construction of wind farms and a number of hydroelectric stations.
Poland has around ,,, m 3 of proven natural gas reserves and around 96,, barrels of proven oil reserves. However, the small amounts of fossil fuels naturally occurring in Poland is insufficient to satisfy the full energy consumption needs of the population.
Therefore, the country is a net importer of oil and natural gas. Transport in Poland is provided by means of rail , road , marine shipping and air travel.
Positioned in Central Europe with its eastern and part of its northeastern border constituting the longest land border of the Schengen Area with the rest of Northern and Central Europe.
Since joining the EU in May , Poland has invested large amounts of public funds into modernization projects of its transport networks.
The country now has a developing network of highways , composed of express roads and motorways such as A1 , A2 , A4 , A6 , A8 , A In addition to these newly built roads, many local and regional roads are being fixed as part of a national programme to rebuild all roads in Poland.
Polish authorities maintain a program of improving operating speeds across the entire Polish rail network. Additionally, in December , Poland began to implement high—speed rail routes connecting major Polish cities.
The Polish government has revealed that it intends to connect all major cities to a future high-speed rail network by Most interregional connections rail routes in Poland is operated by PKP Intercity , whilst regional trains are run by a number of operators, the largest of which is Przewozy Regionalne.
The air and maritime transport markets in Poland are largely well developed. Poland has begun preparations for a construction that can handle million passengers of the Central Communication Port.
Over the course of history, the Polish people have made considerable contributions in the fields of science, technology and mathematics.
There are around research and development institutes, with about 10, researchers. In total, there are around 91, scientists in Poland today.
In the first half of the 20th century, Poland was a flourishing centre of mathematics. Other notable scientists from Poland include: Over 40 research and development centers and 4, researchers make Poland the biggest research and development hub in Central and Eastern Europe.
The service was dissolved during the foreign partitions in the 18th century. After regaining independence in , Poland saw the rapid development of the postal system as new services were introduced including money transfers , payment of pensions, delivery of magazines, and air mail.
During wars and national uprisings communication was provided mainly through the military authorities. At present, the service is a modern state-owned company that provides a number of standard and express delivery as well as home-delivery services.
With an estimated number of around 83, employees ,  Poczta Polska also has a personal tracking system for parcels.
In the company adopted a strategy that assumes increasing revenues to 6. Poland, with its 38,, inhabitants, has the eighth-largest population in Europe and the sixth-largest in the European Union.
It has a population density of inhabitants per square kilometer per square mile. The total fertility rate TFR in Poland was estimated in at 1.
It belongs to the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages. It is one of the official languages of the European Union.
Until recent decades Russian was commonly learned as a second language, but after the Revolutions of has been replaced by English as the most common second language studied and spoken.
According to the Act of 6 January on national and ethnic minorities and on the regional languages ,  16 other languages have officially recognized status of minority languages: Jewish and Romani minorities each have 2 minority languages recognized.
Also, official recognition is granted to two Romani languages: Polska Roma and Bergitka Roma. Official recognition of a language provides certain rights under conditions prescribed by the law: The Poles are a West Slavic ethnic group and a nation native to Poland, who share a common ancestry, culture, history, religion and are native speakers of the Polish language, along with its various dialects.
The formation of the Polish identity and ethnicity can be traced to the 10th century when Duke Mieszko I politically unified the Slavic tribes of Polans , Mazovians , Slezans , Vistulans , Pomeranians , Lendians and others,   which inhabited the area of central Europe between the Oder River in the west and the Bug River in the east, and between the Carpathian and Sudetes mountains in the south and the Baltic sea in the north, and then by accepting Christianity as the official state religion.
Following the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in , the country over the next two centuries contained many languages, cultures and religions.
When Poland regained its independence in , Poles constituted the majority of the population in the country, during the interwar period , with sizable Ukrainian, Belarusian, Jewish and German minorities.
Today, Poland is primarily inhabited by ethnic Poles. In the census , 37,, Other identities were reported by 88, people 0. The persistence was demonstrated by a series of rebellions known as the Pagan reaction in the first half of the 11th century, which also showed elements of a peasant uprising against landowners and feudalism,  and led to a mutiny that destabilized the country.
Since then, Poland has been a predominantly Catholic nation, however throughout its history, religious tolerance was an important part of the political culture.
In , the Statute of Kalisz , also known as a Charter of Jewish Liberties, granted Jews living in the Polish lands unprecedented legal rights not found anywhere in Europe.
Then in , the Warsaw Confederation marked the formal beginning of extensive religious freedoms granted to all faiths in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The act was not imposed by a king or consequence of war, but rather resulted from the actions of members of the Polish-Lithuanian society.
It was also influenced by the events of the French St. Also, in the 16th century, Anabaptists from the Netherlands and Germany settled in Poland—after being persecuted in Western Europe—and became known as the Vistula delta Mennonites.
There are also several thousand neopagans, some of whom are members of the Native Polish Church. He is the only Polish Pope to date.
Freedom of religion is now guaranteed by the statute of the Polish Constitution,  enabling the emergence of additional denominations. Orthodox pilgrims visit Mountain Grabarka near Grabarka-Klasztor.
State subsidised healthcare is available to all Polish citizens who are covered by this general health insurance program.
However, it is not compulsory to be treated in a state-run hospital as a number of private medical complexes exist nationwide.
All medical service providers and hospitals in Poland are subordinate to the Polish Ministry of Health , which provides oversight and scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for the day-to-day administration of the healthcare system.
In addition to these roles, the ministry is tasked with the maintenance of standards of hygiene and patient-care.
Hospitals in Poland are organised according to the regional administrative structure, resultantly most towns have their own hospital Szpital Miejski.
In , the Polish health-care industry experienced further transformation. Hospitals were given priority for refurbishment where necessary.
In , the average life expectancy at birth was It is compulsory that children participate in one year of formal education before entering the 1st class at no later than 7 years of age.
Corporal punishment of children in schools is officially prohibited since before the partitions and criminalised since in schools as well as at home.
At the end of the 6th class when students are 13, students take a compulsory exam that will determine their acceptance and transition into a specific lower secondary school gimnazjum —middle school or junior high.
They will attend this school for three years during classes 7, 8, and 9. Students then take another compulsory exam to determine the upper secondary level school they will attend.
There are several alternatives, the most common being the three years in a liceum or four years in a technikum. In Poland, there are university-level institutions for the pursuit of higher education.
The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate 1,year history. With origins in the culture of the Proto-Slavs , over time Polish culture has been profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic , Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the many other ethnic groups and minorities living in Poland.
In the 19th and 20th centuries the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity.
These factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art, with all its complex nuances. Artists from Poland, including famous musicians like Chopin , Rubinstein , Paderewski or Penderecki and traditional, regionalized folk composers , create a lively and diverse music scene, which even recognizes its own music genres, such as sung poetry and disco polo.
As of [update] , Poland is one of the few countries in Europe where rock and hip hop dominate over pop music, while all kinds of alternative music genres are encouraged.
Other early compositions, such as the melody of Bogurodzica and God Is Born a coronation polonaise for Polish kings by an unknown composer , may also date back to this period, however, the first known notable composer, Nicholas of Radom , was born and lived in the 15th century.
Most of the compositions written were either liturgical music , or secular compositions such as concertos and sonatas for voices or instruments.
At the end of the 18th century, Polish classical music evolved into national forms like the polonaise. In the 19th century the most popular composers were: Alexandre Tansman lived in Paris but had strong connections with Poland.
Traditional Polish folk music has had a major effect on the works of many well-known Polish composers, and no more so than on Fryderyk Chopin, a widely recognised national hero of the arts.
It is largely thanks to him that such pieces gained great popularity throughout Europe during the 19th century.
Nowadays the most distinctive folk music can be heard in the towns and villages of the mountainous south, particularly in the region surrounding the winter resort town of Zakopane.
Today Poland has a very active music scene, with the jazz and metal genres being particularly popular among the contemporary populace.
Polish jazz musicians such as Krzysztof Komeda created a unique style, which was most famous in the s and s and continues to be popular to this day.
Art in Poland has always reflected European trends while maintaining its unique character. Perhaps the most prominent and internationally admired Polish artist was Tamara de Lempicka , who specialized in the style of Art Deco and whose paintings are often collected by celebrities and well-known personas.
Prior to the 19th century only Daniel Schultz and Italian-born Marcello Bacciarelli had the privilege of being recognized abroad.
Within historically-orientated circles, Henryk Siemiradzki dominated with his monumental Academic Art and ancient Roman theme. Since the inter-war years, Polish art and documentary photography has enjoyed worldwide fame and in the s the Polish School of Posters was formed.
Although not Polish, the work had a strong influence on Polish culture and has been often associated with Polish identity. Polish cities and towns reflect a whole spectrum of European architectural styles.
Romanesque architecture is represented by St. Nonetheless, a number of ancient structures has survived: The centre of Kazimierz Dolny on the Vistula is a good example of a well-preserved medieval town.
The second half of the 17th century is marked by baroque architecture. The profuse decorations of the Branicki Palace in Warsaw are characteristic of the rococo style.
Traditional folk architecture in the villages and small towns scattered across the vast Polish countryside is characterized by its extensive use of wood as the primary building material.
Some of the best preserved and oldest structures include wooden churches , and tserkvas primarily located across southern Poland in the Beskids and Bieszczady regions of the Carpathian mountains.
Within Polish literary customs, it is appropriate to highlight the published works concerning Poland not written by ethnic Poles.
The most vivid example is Gallus Anonymus , a foreign monk and the first chronicler who described Poland and its territories.
The first documented phrase in the Polish language reads " Day ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai " "Let me grind, and you take a rest" , reflecting the culture of early Poland.
Most medieval records in Latin and the Old Polish language contain the oldest extant manuscript of fine Polish prose entitled the Holy Cross Sermons , as well as the earliest Polish-language bible, the so-called Bible of Queen Sophia.
A Polish writer who utilized Latin as his principal tool of expression was Klemens "Ianicius" Janicki , one of the most renowned Latin poets of his time, who was laureled by the Pope.
Throughout this period Poland also experienced the early stages of Protestant Reformation. During the Polish Baroque era, the Jesuits greatly influenced Polish literature and literary techniques, often relying on God and religious matters.
Jan Chryzostom Pasek , also a respected baroque writer, is mostly remembered for his tales and memoirs reflecting sarmatian culture in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Procesy reprywatyzacji i prywatyzacji lasow. Czechy, Slowacja, Wegry i Niemcy. Assign yourself or invite other person as author. It allow to create list of users contirbution.
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