Between the ice ages, the memorial and the rice, perhaps
more than 350,000 years ago, lived Neanderthal people in
southern Poland. From about 130,000 years ago, there are
several traces of settlement in caves, among other things.
near Cracow, and from a cave near Zakopane comes a boomerang
of mammoth bones, dated to 25,000 BC During the Late
Paleolithic (c. 40,000–10,000 BC), central Poland's then
tundra landscape was populated; from about 14,000 BC
reindeer hunters moved further north and east. Gift
exchanges between people in southern Poland and western
Europe can be discerned during the gastro-valley (about
16,000-10,000 BC). Later, Mesolithic settlements are known
from all over the country; On the coast there was some
exchange of gifts with Southern Scandinavia.
From about 4500 BC The Neolithic peasant age seems to
have started: in the fertile loose soil areas in the south,
there are traces of communities with longhouses for 5–6
families and with wheat and rye cultivation and livestock
management as the main industries. In the lowlands a slow
neolithic process is visible; remnants include tall piles,
long, trapezoidal houses and flint mines (eg in Góry
Świętokrzyskie). See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Poland. From central Poland mass burials of people
and animals are known and from individual south burials
(Złota, Sandọmierz). In eastern Poland there were neolithic
Metal objects existed during the Neolithic period but
occurred during the Bronze Age (c. 2000–700 BC) to an
increasing extent. From about 1200 BC settlements were often
surrounded by palisades and ramparts, and victims of metal
objects in wetlands and rivers occurred. Bronze production
gradually became more homogeneous and contacts with southern
Scandinavia increased; in such contacts between different
social networks, the exchange of amber and salt played a
crucial role. The increasing complexity of society is
indicated by variations in the religious symbolism (sun
symbols, animal figures, etc.). The dead were burned and
buried in urns on expansive flatmark tomb fields (compare
the Lutzitz culture).
From the Iron Age (700 BC to 400 AD), many tombs and
settlements are known. In the south, a Scythian influence is
noticeable, in Pomerania occurred from about 600 BC. stone
coffins (often with facial urns) and in eastern Poland there
are tomb fields and pile-building settlements. The
introduction of community organization, local iron
production and changes in the cultivation system contributed
to the growth of centers with wide trade links; import finds
from about 120 BC to the 300s AD includes coins, objects of
gold, silver and glass as well as bronze wine cups and silks
from the Roman Empire. From Poland, for example, amber, and
transit trade between Italy and Northern Europe went, among
other things. via Wisła.
From the 14th century, the centers of iron production in
Góry Świętokrzyskie, increasing agricultural specialization
and trade contacts with France, Scandinavia and Russia
contributed to the consolidation of communities in central
Poland. Scandinavian contacts are visible in early medieval
trading centers from the 600–800s such as Truso (near
Elbląg) and Wolin. The growth of the Polish state at the end
of the 9th century is acknowledged, among other things. by
Ostrów Lednicki, a princely castle with church and city-like
buildings on a lake in northern Poland.
The Polish state has undergone major changes over time,
and the boundaries have many times shifted. From being a
mighty kingdom that stretched from the Baltic to the Black
Sea in the late Middle Ages, the country was divided by
long-standing internal disintegration between the
neighboring states of Russia, Austria and Prussia at the end
of the 18th century. When the imperial empires at the end of
the First World War dissolved, Poland was re-established as
a republic. Created at the expense of the great powers of
Russia and Germany, but also with its own superpower dreams
and with disputed borders to smaller neighbors such as
Lithuania and Czechoslovakia, Poland has also suffered
dramatic conversions during the 20th century.
Piast Dynasty (960s – 1370)
The name Polska (Poland) was adopted in the 9th
century in an area around the present Poznań. It was
inhabited by the West Slavic Poles, who were one of the many
Slavic, Celtic, Baltic and Germanic tribes living within the
vast plains east of the Oder (Greater Poland) which forms
the central part of modern Poland. How the Poles acquired a
dominant position in the ethnically diverse area is
Poland's political history is usually considered to begin
in the 960s with Duke Mieszko I of the Piast family, who,
according to the Chronicles, organized the empire by
conquering the Baltic coastal areas with its rich trading
locations, establishing international relations and adopting
Roman Christianity in 966. A bishopric was established in
Kraków, located in the rule of Czech princes in southern
Poland (the Lesser Poland), was annexed after Mieszko's
marriage with a Czech princess to the Greater Poland and
soon grew into a political center of power. Elder son
Boleslav I, who with papal approval was crowned Poland's
first king in 1025, moved in competition with the
German-Roman Empire of Poland far beyond the ethnic
boundaries of the Polish tribes. He established an
archbishopric in Gniezno in 1000, giving Poland a place in
the Western cultural sphere.
Domestic politics, a feudal nobility strengthened its
power, and from the early 1100s Poland was divided into a
large number of regional principals in the Greater Poland,
the Lesser Poland, Kujawia, Masovia and Silesia, whose
masters fought for power over Kraków. In the Silesian and
Pomeranian border areas in the west, the Poles quarreled
with a German warrior class about the dominion, and in the
Baltic area with German knights. In the east, both the
Mongols and the Lithuanians from the 1240s posed constant
threats to the Lesser Polish and Masovian princes. The only
unifying link was the Catholic Church.
A period of both external expansion and inner collection
took place after 1320. German pressure against the western
border and a power vacuum in the Slavic areas in the east
following the ravages of the Mongols made an eastern
expansion direction natural. Kasimir IIIThe conquest of
areas in the southeast in the mid-1300s gave Poland control
over the waterways to the Black Sea. Kasimir, the last king
of Piastetten, consolidated both kingdoms and state power,
the latter by homogenizing the judiciary, appointing
regionally responsible governors, building fortified cities,
and encouraging German and Dutch immigration and cultivating
previously unspoilt areas. In Krakow, a university was
created in 1364, which received an international mark. At a
time when Jews were to blame for the ravages of poaching
death elsewhere in Europe, they were given a sanctuary in
The Jagelons and the Staff Union (1370–1572)
After the death of Kasimir III, the royal power passed to
his sister, the Hungarian king Louis I, then with the
consent of the Polish aristocracy to his daughter Hedvig
(Polish Jadwiga), crowned in Kraków 1384. Faced with the
prospect of expanding Polish territory and protecting it
from invasions from the Mongols and the German Order, the
nobility was likewise well disposed to the marriage between
Hedvig and the Lithuanian Grand Duke Jagiello (King 1386
under the name of Vladislav II) which took place in 1385 and
founded a staff union between Poland and Lithuania.
The Grand Duchy had a territory four times larger than
Poland, including cities such as Kiev and Smolensk, and
partly pagan and partly Orthodox. The dynastic association
brought about dramatic changes, especially in the Lithuanian
region. Based on a newly established bishopric in Vilnius,
the population was baptized together with Jagiello.
Lithuania became Catholic and the Lithuanian Bojarat noble
The political, economic and cultural upswing that began
during Kasimir III also continued during the reign of the
Jagelons. The Samogitia was introduced into the state after
the decisive defeat of the German Order at the Battle of
Tannenberg in 1410, and a successful war against the Order
Knights 1454–66 restored Poland's influence over the
Pomeranian and Prussian Baltic areas. However, when the
threat from the state of disintegration ceased, new enemies
stood in line at the Polish borders: mosques, Ottomans and
The many wars left traces in domestic political and
social development. The royal power became increasingly
dependent on the services of the feudal nobility, which from
the 15th century afforded these opportunities to demand
increased political influence and privileges such as tax
exemption. In 1493, for the first time, a noble
congregation, the Sejm, met to assert the
nobility's interests against the royal power. The rest of
the population was severely affected by the tax burdens
imposed by the war through the noble privileges. The
peasants were at the same time driven by various statutes
into life traits and social misery.
In economic terms, the 16th century was a Polish golden
age. Enthusiastic nobles started large-scale production of
grain for an international market, products shipped via the
free, German-dominated trading town of Danzig (Polish
Gdańsk). During the Jagelons a Polish-language literature
was created, and the Polish Nicolaus Copernicus contributed
his revolutionary theory of the earth's movement around the
sun to a great extent to the scientific progress of the
Renaissance. In Poland, where various religious groups have
long lived in consensus, it was consequently true that the
Reformation also gained limited entrance, especially among
the German urban population. Calvinism found many followers
among Polish nobles, and in eastern Poland the prevailing
Catholicism was challenged by innovative Orthodox so-called
Nobility Republic (1569–1795)
Polish and Lithuanian noblemen, who feared growing
internal divisions and external threats, decided in Lublin
in 1569 to transform the personnel union between Poland and
Lithuania into a real union, where each part would retain
its respective laws and administrations but be governed by a
common, elected king and sejm. To mark the king's submission
to the unified nobility, szlachta, the real-
life union Rzeczpospolita ('the Republic') was
named, and Warsaw became a new capital. After the death of
the last Jagelon king in 1572, Poland became an electoral
kingdom, in which the king soon became the president.
Religious tolerance was guaranteed by law.
However, Adeln's hopes that a real union could work
together came to shame. From the end of the 16th century, on
the contrary, a process of fragmentation and weakening took
place, which manifested itself in foreign political
adversities, internal political chaos, increased social
tensions and religious contradictions. The many dynastic
wars of dominion over the Baltic Sea area, from the Lifelong
War of 1558–83 to the Great Nordic War of 1700–21, exhausted
Poland's resources. Recurring military conflicts against
Russia, Sweden (see Polish-Swedish War) and the Ottoman
Empire led to major territorial losses on the Baltic Sea and
History research has in particular traced the foreign
policy problems to Vasakungen Johan II Kasimir's reign
1648–68, when Poland was forced to give up parts of eastern
territory (Ukraine) after a Cossack rebellion in 1648–54 and
Prussia 1657. In addition, parts of Poland were occupied by
Sweden in 1655– 57th Frederica in Oliwa 1660 and Andrussovo
1667 with Sweden and Russia respectively suffered minor land
losses. In Oliwa, Poland was forced to write off the claims
on the Swedish krona that have been claimed since the
Swedish revolt in the 1590s against Sigismund III, son of
Johan III of Sweden and his Polish wife Katarina
Jagellonica. When Poland in addition under Johan
IIISobieski's reign in 1674–96 was forced to face a Turkish
expansion from the south, completely exhausted the country's
military resources. During the Great Nordic War, Poland was
severely devastated, especially by the Swedish troops who
used Poland as a base during the first half of the war. The
ruined country was transformed into a Russian protectorate
after the war.
The numerous wars tore apart the area's economic
infrastructure and contributed to the rapid decline of the
Baltic Sea trade after 1650. Many noblemen in the numerous
Szlachta group lost their wealth, while individual
aristocrats from powerful families such as Radziwiłł,
Potocki and Czartoryski were still able to gain large built
on living property, large estates and create their own
self-sufficient territories within Poland.
The widening social divisions within the nobility and
between landowners and the living increased significantly
the internal turmoil, but also the political fragmentation,
as the magnates, through bribery and client relationships,
could build their own power groups in the sejm. Since the
so-called liberal veto was applied for the first
time in 1652, the sejm became increasingly an arena for
bribery, tactics and anarchy. The right of veto was based on
the principle of the equality of all nobles in the assembly
and meant that all decisions were to be taken unanimously
and thus a personal veto of a proposal was sufficient to
make the same decision. As a result, political life was
paralyzed, all reform work stopped and foreign powers and
magnates through contacts with individual nobles could
prevent the adoption of unwelcome proposals for them.
Finally, to the internal turmoil also contributed the
Catholic counter-Reformation, which from the end of the 16th
century drastically reduced the religious tolerance in
Poland, including several massacres on Jews as a result.
Laws were enforced as limited non-Catholic rights. In
Orthodox eastern Poland, the Catholic recovery culminated
with the union in Brest-Litovsk in 1596. Then the Unitarian
Church, whose followers recognized the Pope as the head of
the Christian Church, was created on condition that they be
allowed to maintain the Orthodox doctrine.
Poland from the divisions to the First World War
During the 18th century, Russian, Prussian and Austrian
involvement in Poland's internal affairs increased. resulted
in the Polish war of succession. The internal divide was
actively maintained, especially by Catherine II of Russia,
who wanted to maintain Poland as a weak buffer zone against
competing European great powers. A Turkish-backed Polish
uprising against the Russian repression of 1768-72, the Bar
Confederation, gave Russia, Prussia and Austria a pretext to
intervene in 1772 according to a Prussian division plan.
Prussia during Frederick II took West Prussia with its
economically important trading cities, Austria under Maria
Teresia of Lesser Russian Galicia and Lodomeria, while
Catherine seized Belarusian territories adjacent to the
Following a new Polish uprising under General Tadeusz
Kościuszko, the division of Poland was completed in 1793 and
1795. Russia took all territories east of the Nemunas and
Bug rivers, including Lithuania, Austria took the whole of
the Lesser Poland and Prussia took the Greater Poland,
Masovia and Danzig. Poland ceased to exist as an independent
state, and the Poles became subjects of multinational
empires, governed by autocratic principles.
The institutions of the noble republic disappeared, while
its cultural foundations were preserved, not only in eastern
and central Europe but also in France, to which Polish
patriots moved, inspired by the ideal of freedom of the
French Revolution. Partly as a reward for the struggle of
the Polish exile legions on the French side in the
Revolutionary War, Napoleon established in 1807 parts of the
Polish Prussian duchy of Warsaw under French supremacy.
However, this came under Russian rule after Napoleon's
failed war against Russia in 1812, and the Vienna Congress
in 1814-15 confirmed the division of Poland.
The majority of the duchy was transformed into the
so-called Congress-Poland after the Napoleonic Wars, and the
area was given its own constitution, seam and army, but as
little as the Grand Duchy of Poznań (1815-48) and the
Republic of Kraków (1815-46) was an independent political
entity. The Russian tsar was king of Congress-Poland and,
after some initial liberal years, vigorously exercised his
autocratic rule, which drove two major Polish uprising
The first was the November Uprising of 1830, inspired by
the French July Revolution and Tsar Nicholas I's despotic
regime. The uprising, which grew into a general
Polish-Russian war in 1831, failed due to internal
fragmentation and lack of support from the oppressed
peasants. Internal self-government was reduced in the
so-called organic statute of 1832, and many Poles who
avoided Siberian deportation or forced enrollment in the
Russian army chose to emigrate.
The second uprising took place in January 1863 and was
based in part on the reform hopes that Tsar Alexander II's
rule aroused, partly a flourishing Polish nationalism with
roots in the ideas of romance. One of the leading figures
behind the idea of the country's restoration was
Lithuanian-born poet Adam Mickiewicz. In the absence of a
Polish army, the revolt was entirely based on hopes of
French support, which, however, failed. After the uprising
after more than a year, the Congress-Poland was incorporated
in Russia, and a hard-fought policy of reform took place.
However, the reform hopes were not completely met, as
Alexander abolished the peasants' livelihood in 1864, with
the result that Russian rule gained popularity among poor
Polish peasants. After the January uprising, many Poles in
Russia abandoned the method of rebellion and invested in
reform efforts for increased Polish self-government, while
revolutionary ideas had greater vitality among Poles in
Austria and in exile.
In the second half of the 19th century, modernization
began in the Polish parts of the empires. Warsaw and Łódź
developed into industrial cities, an industrial bourgeoisie
emerged and a working class was formed. Many Poles moved to
industrial centers in Germany. Both bourgeois
national-democratic and socialist Polish parties emerged
during the last decades of 19th century in Polish Russia.
During the 1905 wave of revolution, the latter were divided;
while a smaller group, led among others. by Rosa Luxemburg,
who supported the Russian social democracy, another larger
group developed in the reformist and nationalist direction.
A leading figure in this was Józef Piłsudski.
In Austria, where universal suffrage for men was
introduced in 1907, a Polish farmer's party was formed,
while the Polish minority in Prussia (Germany) was oppressed
both culturally and politically, with increasing
contradictions between Germans and Poles as a result.
Ethnically constructed parties showed the existence of a
Polish identity, but there was hardly any uniform political
goal for them.
World War I, the rebirth and the interwar period
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the Poles
were divided. The belligerent states outbid each other to
receive Polish military assistance. Anti-Russian Polish
legions led by Piłsudski actively fought on the part of the
central powers and, after German troops conquered all of
Poland, formally took over power in a newly established
so-called Polish kingdom in 1916. In fact, the area was
ruled by German military.
Other Polish groups pinned hopes on Russian autonomy
promises and struggles on the part of the Tsar army, and a
third exile group relied on the Western powers and formed a
Polish National Committee in Paris. It can hardly be argued
that any of these groups were directly behind the creation
of the so-called Second Polish Republic on the day of
wartime, November 11, 1918. Poland's rebirth was included in
the fourteen points launched by US President Wilson as the
basis for a general peace, and Piłsudski, who, after
contradictions with the Germans interned in Germany, could,
upon return, take possession of this state. Its real
boundaries were then established partly in the Paris Peace
1919-20, partly through referendums ordered by the
victorious powers, and also by territorial conquests from
surrounding newly formed states.
The most extensive war was fought against Bolshevik
Russia 1919-20 and ended with a border draw straight through
Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania (see the Polish-Russian war).
Vilnius was occupied by the Poles in 1922, which led to
tense relations between Poland and Lithuania throughout the
interwar period (see Polish-Lithuanian War). See also the
The new Polish society was heterogeneous. One third of
the residents were ethnic minorities. The ethnic and social
strata often went hand in hand; Germans and Jews dominated
among the bourgeois urban population, while Ukrainians and
Belarusians in the east were poor peasants. Anti-Semitism
Reconstruction after the First World War was made more
difficult by the undeveloped agricultural economy and by the
overpopulation. Land reform and industrialization received
insufficient support. In light of this dark social image and
the lack of experience of state and community building, the
political divide in postwar Poland appears almost natural.
Weak minority and coalition governments were common during
the first interwar years, and political life was polarized.
After Poland was given a constitution in 1921, Piłsudski
resigned as head of state, but in a bloodless coup in 1926
he regained power and led the country as a dictator during
the years of economic depression. The dictatorship can be
described as authoritarian, supported by the army, a
conservative aristocracy and a charismatic leadership, with
a non-communist but otherwise unclear political program.
After Piłsudski's death, the power was taken over by a
military junta. One of its members was Foreign Minister
Józef Beck, who in the 1930s tried to balance the Polish
foreign policy between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet
Union, both of which showed dissatisfaction with their
respective borders with Poland. German dissatisfaction was
reinforced by Nazi-influenced German groups in Poland. Beck
sought to maintain the 1921 alliance with France, which,
however, along with Britain, ran an appeasement policy
against Poland's aggressive neighbors. At the same time,
Poland itself showed aggressive foreign policy intentions by
taking in 1938, with the great powers of the great powers,
the rich Teschen area from Czechoslovakia.
Poland during World War II (1939–45)
The German army's attack on the militarily weak Poland.
September 1, 1939 meant that the Second World War broke out.
The attack was preceded by a non-attack agreement between
the Soviet Union and Germany, the so-called
Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which also included an agreement on
a division of Poland. In accordance with the agreement, the
Soviet Union also attacked Poland on 17 September. Large
areas were incorporated directly into the invading states,
both of which committed unbelievable atrocities against the
Two million Polish Jews were taken by the Germans to
barred areas, while the Soviet power deported hundreds of
thousands of Poles to Siberia. In Katyn near Smolensk, the
Soviet security service NKVD murdered over 4,000 Polish
officers in 1940. A Polish government and army were
constituted in Paris, but soon moved to London.
Following Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union in June
1941, the whole of Poland was ruled by the Germans, while
the exile government was approaching the Soviet Union.
According to a Nazi general plan, a campaign for cultural
Germanization of Poland, which had the status of German
general government, was initiated, and Polish population
groups began to move either east or to slave labor in
Germany to make room for German migrants. The planning also
included a number of extermination camps in the General
Government, which greatly contributed to the deaths of
approximately 6 million European Jews. In 1943, the Jews of
the Warsaw ghetto revolted. This was knocked down, and the
ghetto leveled with the ground by the Germans.
At the 1943 Peace Conference in Tehran, the Western
powers had accepted that Poland would fall within the Soviet
sphere of interest, and in January 1944, the Soviet
liberation of Poland began. By reliable communists, Stalin,
who after the revelations about Katyn in 1943, broke with
the Polish government, organized a new Polish army and set
up a national liberation committee, the so-called Lublin
government. In competition with the exile government in
London, it declared itself in connection with the Soviet
advance to Poland's only legal government, and non-communist
resistance groups were arrested. This is the background to
the tragic Warsaw uprising in 1944.
Prior to the Soviet army's expected conquest of Warsaw, a
large part of the residents stood up to the non-communist
resistance movement's call against the Germans. To show the
Poles' dependence on Soviet support and to remove parts of
the non-communist resistance, Stalin held back the Soviet
offensive, with the result that the Germans crushed the
uprising during the great blood spill. In June 1945, with
the approval of the Western powers, a unifying government
was established with a large communist dominance. Communist
Bolesław Bierut was appointed President of the Cabinet
(President). Poland lost large tracts of land to the east
(compare the Curzon Line), but was compensated in the west
by German territories up to the Oder – Neisse line, from
which millions of Germans had moved or forced to move.
After the war, a Sovietization started with Bierut as the
driving force. The pattern is recognizable from the rest of
Eastern Europe: guided elections led "the United Workers
Party" to power, Soviet ideology, Soviet culture and a
Soviet-like constitution were enforced, security services
were expanded, foreign and trade policy was coordinated with
Soviet, industrial planning regulated economic life and
regulated economic life. dramatically the entire
infrastructure of society. Many Poles fled to the West.
A unique feature of the Polish development was that the
collectivization of agriculture was carried out only to a
small extent. Another was the important role of the Catholic
Church as the bearer of the Polish cultural heritage and
thus as an active community force; In 1953 Cardinal Stefan
Wyszyński was interned after opposing worldly involvement in
church affairs. In connection with the stalinisation, in
1956 violent labor unrest arose in Poznań, which was
abolished with violence.
The regimes Władysław Gomułka, 1956-70, and Edward
Gierek, 1970-80, both made valiant efforts to gain popular
support and legitimacy by renouncing Poland's national
culture and, in Gomułka's case, by interrupting agricultural
collectivization. Both were forced into a difficult balance
in order not to simultaneously damage the communist regime.
In both cases, expectations of economic and political
liberalization soon changed into a strong and widespread
dissatisfaction with the negative economic development. The
similar result of Gomułka's uncompromisingly tough economic
line and Gierek's extravagant investment in foreign loans
and consumer goods became higher food prices, which led to
strikes, demonstrations and riots, which in turn met with
A further two events in the second half of the 1970s
contributed to weakening Gierek's and communism's
legitimacy. One was that in October 1978, Polish Cardinal
Karol Wojtyła, Archbishop of Kraków, was elected Pope under
the name of John Paul II. The event triggered a combined
religious and nationalist euphoria in the home country,
which was further reinforced when the Pope made visits to
Poland the following year. The second was that the workers
with their material demands and the intellectuals with their
nationalistic, cultural aspirations were approaching each
other and preparing for a unified political action against
the Polish communist regime. Opposition intellectuals formed
a committee of workers' defense (KOR) in 1976.
In August 1980, a strike broke out at the Lenin Yard in
Gdańsk. Led by electrician Lech Wałęsa, it spread quickly
and forced the government into negotiations. In September,
the independent trade union Solidarity (Polish
Solidarność) was formed to lead the workers' case, with
Wałęsa as chairman. Most occupational categories and social
classes joined up with the demands for economic and social
reforms driven by the ever stronger Solidarity, including
members of the Communist Party. A bond was formed between
church and trade union.
In order to put an end to the turmoil in Polish social
life and to satisfy Soviet demands for order, the
newly-appointed party and government general, Wojciech
Jaruzelski, introduced a state of emergency on December 13,
1981, which was not terminated until 1983. Real negotiations
between the government and Solidarity began in 1988 and the
following year. reaped the latter great successes in
partially free elections to the Sejm.
Poland after the fall of communism
In 1989, Poland's first non-communist government was
formed since the war, with the solidarity member Tadeusz
Mazowiecki as prime minister. In January 1990, the Communist
Party dissolved, and in December Lech Wałęsa was elected
president of an economically pressured and politically
divided Poland. The first completely free parliamentary
elections took place in 1991. The 1993 elections brought the
former Communist Party, now under the name Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD), to power.
The Leftist also stood in 1995. Socialist Aleksander
Kwaśniewski defeated Wałęsa in the presidential election. In
1997, a non-socialist coalition took power under the
leadership of Jerzy Buzek (born 1940). The new government
again included old Solidarity activists. After four years,
the pendulum swung back when the left won the elections in
2001. It swung again in 2005 when national conservative Lech
Kaczyński won the presidential power. Two weeks after the
presidential election, his twin brother Jarosław Kaczyński's
party, the conservative but economically neo-liberal PiS,
became the largest party in the parliamentary elections.
The following extra election in 2007 disappeared PiS's
two coalition partners, the ultra-conservative Polish family
delayed union (LPR) and the populist Somoobrona
(Self-defense), while PiS's competitor, Civic Platform (PO)
during kasjuben (kasjuberna is a small Slavic minority
around Gdansk) Donald Tusk became almost twice as large as
PiS. Tusk was appointed new prime minister and was able to
form a coalition government consisting of ministers from the
PO and the Polish People's Party (PSL).
The PO government was renewed in the autumn 2011
elections, which was the first time in Poland's democratic
history a sitting government was re-elected. Tusk's party
mate Bronisław Komorowski defeated Jarosław Kaczyński in an
early presidential election in June/July 2010, following
the tragic death of Lech Kaczyński in a plane crash. In the
2015 presidential election, PiS candidate Andrzej Duda
unexpectedly defeated incumbent President Komorowski. When
PiS also triumphed in the 2015 election, the party had great
opportunities to implement its policy.
Local self-government in Poland has been strengthened
compared to the communist era, which has accentuated
historically contingent regional differences in political
preferences and economic development. The metropolitan
region and the western regions are developing faster, while
peasant conservatism lives stronger in the economically less
developed former Russian areas in the east and south.
Poland's pervasive political and economic transformation and
good relations with neighboring countries have attracted
international respect, as confirmed by its accession to NATO
in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
Throughout the period since 1989, but especially since
Poland's accession to the EU in May 2004 (including the
European crisis year 2009), Poland has experienced strong
Poland supported the US-led interventions in Iraq and
Afghanistan, which, however, were challenged at home. An
unresolved controversy was whether Poland in 2003 lent an
airport with associated buildings to the US military for
capture and storage. Poland did not participate in Libya's
international efforts in 2011.
2015-19 was marked by Poland's prolonged and sharp
conflict with the EU regarding Jarosław Kaczyński and the
PiS government's reform of the judiciary, which was
considered to violate the EU rule of law criterion. The
consequences of Poland's laws were criticized by the EU for
threatening the independence of its courts in relation to
political power. Poland's media policy has also been
criticized by the EU for contravening the Union's democracy
criterion, which requires free media in general and public
service in particular. According to the EU, not having free
media becomes a threat to a functioning democracy because a
functioning democracy requires well-informed citizens.
However, there is no Polish endeavor to leave the EU, but
criticism of what is considered by PiS to be the Union's
supremacy, which runs counter to the Member State's own
The PiS government has wanted to strengthen ties with the
United States and pledged $ 2 billion to the country to
cover the costs of a permanent US military presence in
Secretary-General of the Polish Communist Party
|about 350,000 BC
||Neanderthal people in southern Poland.
|about 40,000-10,000 BC
||Central Poland is populated; from about 14,000
BC the northern parts are also beginning to be
populated. Contacts with Southern Scandinavia.
|about 4,500 BC
||Agriculture is introduced in the south.
|about 2,000–700 BC
||The Bronze Age. Long distance trade contacts.
|about 700 BC – 400 AD
||The Iron Age. From about 120 BC trade with the
|about 400–900 AD
||Poland is populated by Celtic, Germanic, Baltic
and Slavic groups. Technical advances in agriculture
and industry contribute to the emergence of
state-like societies. At the end of the period, the
West Slavic Poles begin to dominate the coastal
||Mieszko I of the Piast Dynasty organizes the
kingdom; Roman Christianity is assumed.
||Archdiocese of Gniezno approaches Poland to the
||Boleslav I becomes Poland's first king.
||Strong territorial expansion.
||Personnel union between Poland and Lithuania.
||German words are defeated at Tannenberg.
||The noble sejm meets for the first
||Economic and cultural golden age.
||The noble Republic, Rzeczpospolita, is
introduced; realunion is formed between Poland and
Lithuania. Internal fragmentation and military
||Election kingdoms are introduced.
||Parts of Ukraine are lost to Russia.
||The peace in Oliwa forces Poland to write off
claims on the Swedish krona.
||The influence of Russia, Prussia and Austria in
Poland's internal affairs is increasing.
||Polish Succession War.
||Poland's first division.
||Poland's second division.
||Poland's third division causes the state of
Poland to disappear.
||Duchy of Warsaw.
||Congress-Poland in personnel union with Russia.
||The November uprising leads into Polish-Russian
||Congress-Poland is incorporated in Russia.
||Poland resurfaces at the end of the First World
||Polish-Russian war on Poland's eastern border.
||Lithuanian Vilnius is occupied by Poland.
||The coup d'état gives Piłsudski dictatorial
||German attack on Poland September 1 begins World
War II; September 17, the Soviet Union also attacks
||The uprising in the Warsaw ghetto.
||The Soviet liberation of Poland begins and the
Lublin government is established. Warsaw Uprising.
||Strike at Lenin Yard in Gdańsk; Solidarity is
||An emergency permit prevails.
||A non-communist government is formed.
||Free parliamentary elections take place.
||Become a member of the EU.
||President Lech Kaczyński is killed in an air
crash in the Russian Federation along with several
other Polish dignitaries.