Poland is a Central European country. Poland is one of the largest countries in Europe, with an area of 312 685 km2. It is bathed in the north by the Baltic Sea and borders the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Lithuania in the northeast, Belarus and Ukraine in the east, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the south and Germany in the west. The most important cities are Warsaw, the capital, with 1 676 600 residents (2004), Lódz (776 400 residents), Kraków (757 800 residents), Poznan (636 800 residents) And Gdansk (462 000 residents).
With the exception of the southern area, which is mountainous, the Polish territory is flat, forming part of the Great European Plain, which, in the period of glaciations, was covered with ice and which, as they retreated, left behind countless lakes and very poor soils, very stony. More than 75% of the surface does not rise above 200 meters. The main rivers are the Vistula and the Oder.
Overall, Poland’s climate is temperate continental, with harsh winters, short, rainy summers and high annual temperature ranges. The river regime is conditioned by the climate, greatly increasing the flow during the thaw period or when the summer rains cause floods. On the coast, winters become milder and, inland, more severe.
The country is the third world producer of potatoes and the sixth of hard coal. The lignite extracted in the Turoszów basin provides 95% of the energy consumed. Since the early 1990s, the Polish economic system has been transitioning from a central planning structure to a market economy, with the conversion of public to private companies. After a drought in 1994, agriculture started to revive and provide products for export. Potato and sugar beet are the most important agricultural products, along with porcine cattle. Poland’s main trading partners are Germany, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 8.1.
Poland has a population of 38 536 869 residents (2006), which corresponds to a population density of 123.56 residents/km2. The birth rate is 9.85% and the mortality rate is 9.89%. Average life expectancy is 74.97 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.841 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.839 (2001). Ethnicly and linguistically, they are a homogeneous people, made up of Poles (99%) and Ukrainians. Catholics represent 91% of the population. The majority of the population practices Christianity. The official language is Polish.
Art and culture
Poland has produced many artists and intellectuals. Frédéric Chopin is the most famous Polish music composer. Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska received the Nobel Prize for Literature and the director Andrzej Wajda also stands out in the 20th century.
Populated by Germanic peoples in the 5th and 6th centuries, Poland was occupied in the 10th century by Slavic tribes who settled in the Oder and Vistula basins. Mieszko I, head of the Polans, has governed the territory since 960, but, after receiving baptism in 966, he opened the door to Christianity in Poland. The Mongols devastated the country in 1241. Germans and Jews followed, who took refuge there and encouraged the Slavic people to colonize the country. The first known parliament in Poland dates back to 1331. With the Jagelion dynasty (1386-1572), Poland joined Lithuania and increased its power. With the end of this dynasty, that power declined considerably. For Poland democracy and rights, please check intershippingrates.
In the middle of the 17th century, Poland became involved in war with Russia, Sweden and Brandenburg, and was defeated. The wars with the Ottoman Empire caused disagreements with the nobility, quarrels with the kings, the continuation of the existence of a servile class and the persecution of Protestants and Greek Orthodox Catholics. This whole situation has plagued the country and made it open to interference from other states, such as Austria, Russia and Prussia. In 1793 Russia and Prussia took over many areas of Poland. Two years later, the three countries ended up occupying the entire territory. Poland disappeared from the map of Europe between 1795 and 1918. With the Congress of Vienna in 1815, a new territorial division was made, and the Russian part was reconstituted and administered by tsars.
Poland returned to independence in 1918 with the leadership of Jozef Pilsudski, who, taking advantage of Russia’s internal instability, advanced on Lithuania and Ukraine. Later, the Red Army forced Poland to withdraw from these territories. The years between 1918 and 1926 were unstable, the country was governed by 14 multi-party coalitions.
In April 1939 the United Kingdom and France signed a military aid pact to Poland in the event of an attack. Germany’s invasion of the country on September 1, 1939, led to World War II. The Nazi occupation led to the extermination, in concentration camps, of 6 million people, half of whom were Jews. After the war, he had to hand over 181 350 km2 to Russia , but gained 101 000 km2to the western German area. In 1947 the People’s Republic was established, Poland joined Comecon in 1949 and joined the Warsaw Pact in 1955. The country was governed under a one-party regime with a governmental and administrative structure identical to that of the Soviet model until 1989 Polish society has never adapted very well to the policy of collectivizing production goods. There were uprisings in 1956 that caused 53 deaths and, in 1970, riots followed by an increase in the prices of essential goods. In 1979, the visit of Pope John Paul II to his country of origin, Poland, was received with great enthusiasm by the Catholic Church and caused the opposition to the regime to rise in tone. Lech Walesa, an electrician, founded, in 1980, the National Confederation of Trade Unions in Poland, known by the name of Solidarity. In August of that year, there were stoppages in Gdansk that quickly spread to other cities. The pressure of the Walesa movement increased and the government imposed, in December 1981, the martial law that lasted 18 months. The legal status of Solidarity had ended, and its leader was under arrest.
The economy stagnated in the following years and the discontent that still existed in 1988 led the head of government to change radically and return to sit at the same table with Solidarity, which in the meantime had survived in hiding. In April 1989, the negotiations resulted in reforms in the political system that made Poland the first republic to have a multiparty parliamentary system, within European countries that belonged to the Soviet bloc. This restructuring admitted opposition to the Communist Party and the Solidarity movement was allowed to participate in the elections, which resulted in victory, and subsequently to form a coalition with the Communist Party. Since 1991, there have been free and multiparty elections. In the 2001 parliamentary elections, Solidarity suffered a significant defeat, as it failed to elect any deputy to Parliament. Poland joined Nato in 1999 and the European Union on 1 May 2004 at a ceremony held in Dublin.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Poland, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Poland. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Poland
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Poland – Atlapedia Online
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Poland – Merriam-Webster
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Poland – Rec.org
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