Poland–Spain relations are cultural and political relations between Poland and Spain. Their history dates to Late Middle Ages. Currently, both countries are often found to be political partners in the European Union.
First contact between the Kingdoms of Poland and Spain date to Late Middle Ages, where merchants, travelers and priests (Jesuits) traveled between both countries. Early Polish diplomats in Spain in the 16th century included Johannes Dantiscus and Piotr Dunin-Wolski.
While the Polish and Spanish forms of governments evolved in a different direction, the diplomacy of both countries was more likely to support one another than not. Spain was the only country to express a protest over the First Partition of Poland, and in 1795, following the final Third Partition of Poland, Spanish diplomat Don Domingo de Yriarte was one of last foreign diplomats to vacate his post in Warsaw.
During the Peninsular War (1809–1814) in Spain, a number of Polish soldiers fought on the side of Napoleon. The Vistula Legion gained fame at the Battle of Zaragoza. The Polish Chevau-léger regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Somosierra in 1808
In the early 20th century a number of Polish volunteers participated in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side, with the most famous unit being the Dabrowski Battalion.
Current foreign relations
In 1919, Poland and Spain established diplomatic relations in the aftermath of World War I. After World War II, full diplomatic relations were established only in 1977, as the government of the People's Republic of Poland refused to recognize the Falangist government of General Francisco Franco.
After the Autumn of Nations, and formation of a new, non-communist government of Poland, both countries signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in 1992. In 1998, both countries signed a Common Polish-Spanish Declaration. Since 2003, irregular bilateral conferences between prime ministers of both nations take place; as of 2012 eight such meetings have taken place.
Certain ties in Polish and Spanish cultures can be explained by the fact that Poland and Spain had the highest percentage of petty nobility in Europe (hidalgos, szlachta), which encouraged ties between educated elites, and mutual references. Even more importantly, both countries also shared a strong Catholic history, on the frontier of struggles against the Muslims (Antemurale Christianitatis, Reconquista).
Spain had a significant influence on Polish culture, particularly literature. Spanish works have been translated into Polish, Spain was a setting of some famous Polish works such as The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, and influenced major Polish literary figures, such as Juliusz Słowacki.
In the 21st century both governments promoted their partners culture at home, with the Polish Year in Spain in 2002 and the Spanish Year in Poland in 2003. Spain is a popular tourist destination for Poles, with about half a million of Poles visiting Spain ever year. Spanish language is a popular foreign language to learn in Poland.
At the end of 2011, biltateral trade relations between both countries amounted to 6.15 billions euro. Spain is the 11th biggest foreign investor in Poland, with investment value of 4 billion Euro.
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