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Welcome to the Poland Portal — Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Coat of arms of Poland

Map Poland is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast to the north. It is an ancient nation whose history as a state began near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century when it united with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to form the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements in the late 18th century, Russia, Prussia and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. It regained independence as the Second Polish Republic in the aftermath of World War I only to lose it again when it was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. The nation lost over six million citizens in the war, following which it emerged as the communist Polish People's Republic under strong Soviet influence within the Eastern Bloc. A westward border shift followed by forced population transfers after the war turned a once multiethnic country into a mostly homogeneous nation state. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union called Solidarity (Solidarność) that over time became a political force which by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A shock therapy program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country completed, Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, but has experienced a constitutional crisis and democratic backsliding under the rule of the populist Law and Justice party since 2015.

From Polish history – show another

Street Demonstration by Władysław Skoczylas (1905)
Street Demonstration by Władysław Skoczylas (1905)
The Łódź Insurrection was an uprising by Polish workers in Łódź against the Russian Empire which took place between 21 and 25 June 1905. The Russian-controlled Congress Poland was one of the major centers of the Russian Revolution of 1905, and the Łódź Insurrection was a key incident in those events. For months prior to the uprising, workers in Łódź had been in a state of unrest, with several major strikes brutally quelled by the Russian police and military. Around 21–22 June, angry workers began building barricades and assaulting police and military patrols. The riots began spontaneously, without backing from any organized group; Polish revolutionary groups were taken by surprise and did not play a major role in the subsequent events. Authorities declared martial law and called in additional troops. No businesses operated in the city on 23 June as the police and military stormed dozens of workers' barricades. Eventually, by 25 June, the uprising was crushed, with estimates of several hundred dead and wounded. The events were reported in international press and recognized by socialist and communist activists worldwide. (Full article...)

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A Polish Nobleman is a widely accepted title of the portrait of a middle-aged man of uncertain identity, dressed in the garb of a Polish nobleman, painted by the Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn in 1637. The subject is depicted with a thick moustache, wearing a high fur cap and a reddish brown mantle with a broad fur collar, and holding a baton with a golden knob in his right hand. Gold chains studded with precious stones are wrapped around both his cap and collar, while a large pear-shaped pearl earring drops from his right ear.

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Konstanty Laszczka, with nude in clay

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King Vladislaus IV as painted by Peter Paul Rubens
King Vladislaus IV as painted by Peter Paul Rubens
Vladislaus IV (Władysław IV Waza; 1595−1648) was a Polish–Swedish prince of the House of Vasa. He reigned as king of Poland and grand duke of Lithuania from 1632, and also claimed the titles of king of Sweden and grand duke of Muscovy (Russia). He was the son of King Sigismund III of Poland and Sweden, and his wife, Queen Anna of Habsburg. The teen-aged Vladislaus was elected tsar by the Seven Boyars in 1610, but did not assume the Russian throne because of his father's opposition and a popular uprising in Russia. Following his father's death in 1632, he was elected king of Poland, with no serious contenders. Vladislaus was fairly successful in defending the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth against invasion, notably through his personal participation in the Smolensk War. He supported religious toleration, carried out military reforms, and was a renowned patron of the arts. The king failed, however, to realize his dreams of regaining the Swedish crown, conquering the Ottoman Empire, strengthening royal power, and reforming Polish internal politics. He died without a legitimate male heir and was succeeded by his half-brother, John Casimir. Vladislaus's death marked the end of relative stability in Poland. (Full article...)

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Słupsk town hall
Słupsk town hall
Słupsk is a city on the Słupia River, 18 km away from the Baltic Sea coast. It dates back to a medieval Slavic settlement on a ford along a trade route connecting eastern and western parts of Pomerania. Incorporated in 1265, the town gradually fell under Brandenburgian rule, becoming a German town known as Stolp. In Polish hands since the end of World War II, Słupsk is developing thanks to local footwear industry and a bus factory owned by Scania. With the election of Robert Biedroń in 2014, it became the first town in Poland with an openly gay mayor. (Full article...)

Poland now

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Constitutional crisis • Belarus–EU border crisis • Ukrainian refugee crisis

Holidays and observances in March 2023
(statutory public holidays in bold)

A bouquet of roses and carnations

  • Women's Day (bouquet of roses and carnations pictured), 8 March

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