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was fought between 1655 and 1660 by Second Northern War Sweden against the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Russia, Brandenburg-Prussia, the Habsburg Monarchy, and Denmark–Norway. In 1655, Charles X Gustav of Sweden invaded and occupied western Poland, the eastern part of which was already in Russian hands. The rapid Swedish advance became known in Poland as the Swedish Deluge. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania became a Swedish fief, Polish-Lithuanian regular armies surrendered, and King John Casimir of Poland fled to Silesia. Charles Gustav found allies in Frederick William of Brandenburg, whom he granted full sovereignty in the Polish fief of Ducal Prussia, and in George II of Transylvania, whom he promised the Polish throne. With the help of Polish Catholic guerillas of the Tyszowce Confederation, as well as Leopold I Habsburg, and Frederick William, who changed sides in return for the Polish recognition of his claim to Prussia, John Casimir was able to regain ground in 1656 and by the following year much of the fighting had moved to the Danish theater. Polish losses from the Swedish occupation, including a 40-percent drop in population, complete destruction of Warsaw and scores of other Polish towns, as well as plunder of the nation's riches and cultural artefacts, remained unmatched until World War II.
(1755–1818) was a Polish military officer and a national hero. He served in the Jan Henryk Dąbrowski Royal Saxon Army before joining the Polish–Lithuanian army in 1792, not long before the Second Partition of Poland. He was promoted to the rank of general in the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794. After the Third Partition of Poland he became actively involved in promoting the cause of Polish independence abroad. He founded the Polish Legions in Italy serving under Napoleon since 1797, and as a general in Italian and French service he contributed to the brief restoration of the Polish state in the form of the Duchy of Warsaw after the Greater Poland Uprising of 1806. He participated in subsequent Napoleonic Wars, including the Polish–Austrian War and the French invasion of Russia. After Napoleon's defeat, he accepted a senatorial position in the Russian-controlled "Congress" Kingdom of Poland, and helped organize the new kingdom's army. In 1797, Józef Wybicki wrote , a Poland Is Not Yet Lost mazurka to be sung by Polish legionnaires in Italy, with the chorus "March, march, Dąbrowski, from Italy to Poland!" The song later became Poland's national anthem.
, an ancient woodland straddling the Polish-Belarusian border, is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense Białowieża Forest primeval forest which once spread across the European Plain. It is home to the wisent (pictured), elk, wild boars, konik horses, and other animals. Its name, Puszcza Białowieska in Polish and Belavezhskaya Pushcha in Belarusian, comes from the village of Białowieża located in the forest. Historically it belonged to Polish kings and, later, Russian emperors who used it as royal hunting grounds or food reserve for the army. It has been protected since 1538 when King Sigismund I instituted death penalty for poaching the wisent. Today parts of the forest on both sides of the border are protected as national parks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve.
Holidays and observances in March 2017
(statutory public holidays in bold)
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