Skip to Content


« Back to Glossary Index

**Historical Development**:
– Poland’s early origins trace back to the Polans tribe and the Latin name ‘Polonia’.
– The Kingdom of Poland was established in the 10th century under the Piast dynasty.
– The Golden Age under Casimir III the Great and the subsequent dynastic changes with the Jagiellonian dynasty.
– Poland’s battles, territorial changes, and the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
– The era of insurrections, partitions, and the impact of World War II on Poland.

**Political Evolution**:
– Establishment of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its significant role in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe.
– The decline of the Commonwealth, the era of insurrections, and the eventual partitions by neighboring powers.
– Post-war communism era marked by the establishment of a pro-Communist government and alignment with the Warsaw Pact.
– Transition to the Third Polish Republic with economic reforms, NATO and EU membership, and significant economic growth.
– Recent events including the rise of the Law and Justice Party, the influx of Ukrainian refugees, and political developments in 2023.

**Geographical and Environmental Features**:
– Poland’s diverse geography covering an area of 312,722km with a coastline along the Baltic Sea and mountain ranges in the south.
– The country’s temperate transitional climate characterized by warm summers and cold winters.
– Biodiversity with forests covering 31% of the land, notable species like the European bison and white stork, and the impact of climate change on the environment.
– Historical transformations in the economy from Soviet-style planned to market economy in the early 1990s.
– Achievement of pre-1989 GDP levels, NATO and EU membership, and the tragic plane crash in 2010.

**Cultural and Social Aspects**:
– Poland’s rich cultural heritage reflected in UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historical events like the Congress of Gniezno.
– Nobles’ rights, Polish-Swedish Union, and significant battles such as the Battle of Grunwald.
– Impact of the Holocaust on Poland, including the establishment of extermination camps and the loss of millions of lives.
– Formation of the independent trade union Solidarity and the erosion of communist dominance leading to democratic elections.
– Increased Euroscepticism and friction with the EU under the Law and Justice Party.

**Economic and International Relations**:
– Poland’s status as the sixth-largest economy in the EU by GDP and high standard of living.
– Membership in international organizations like the UN, WTO, NATO, OECD, and EU.
– Economic reforms in the Third Polish Republic and significant growth and development.
– The Law and Justice Party’s policies leading to increased Euroscepticism and political friction.
– The impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Poland, including the influx of Ukrainian refugees and the 2023 election results.

Poland (Wikipedia)

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative voivodeship provinces, covering an area of 312,696 km2 (120,733 sq mi). Poland has a population of over 38 million and is the fifth-most populous member state of the European Union. Warsaw is the nation's capital and largest metropolis. Other major cities include Kraków, Wrocław, Łódź, Poznań, and Gdańsk.

Republic of Poland
Rzeczpospolita Polska (Polish)
Anthem: Mazurek Dąbrowskiego
"Poland Is Not Yet Lost"
(Dąbrowski's Mazurka)
Location of Poland (dark green)

– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green)  –  [Legend]

and largest city
52°13′N 21°02′E / 52.217°N 21.033°E / 52.217; 21.033
Official languagePolish
Ethnic groups
  • 98% Poles
  • 2% other / undeclared
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
• President
Andrzej Duda
Donald Tusk
c. 960
14 April 966
18 April 1025
1 July 1569
24 October 1795
11 November 1918
17 September 1939
22 July 1944
31 December 1989
• Total
312,696 km2 (120,733 sq mi) (69th)
• Water (%)
1.48 (2015)
• 2022 census
Neutral increase 38,036,118 (38th)
• Density
122/km2 (316.0/sq mi) (75th)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.712 trillion (20th)
• Per capita
Increase $45,538 (39th)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $842.172 billion (21st)
• Per capita
Increase $22,393 (45th)
Gini (2020)Positive decrease 27.2
HDI (2022)Increase 0.881
very high (36th)
CurrencyZłoty (PLN)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Date (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+48
ISO 3166 codePL
Internet [a]
  1. Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Poland has a temperate transitional climate, and its territory traverses the Central European Plain, extending from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Sudetes and Carpathian Mountains in the south. The longest Polish river is the Vistula, and Poland's highest point is Mount Rysy, situated in the Tatra mountain range of the Carpathians. The country is bordered by Lithuania and Russia to the northeast, Belarus and Ukraine to the east, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to the south, and Germany to the west. It also shares maritime boundaries with Denmark and Sweden.

Prehistoric human activity on Polish soil dates to the Lower Paleolithic, with continuous settlement since the end of the Last Glacial Period. Culturally diverse throughout late antiquity, in the early medieval period the region became inhabited by the tribal Polans, who gave Poland its name. The process of establishing proper statehood, which began in 966, coincided with the conversion of a pagan ruler of the Polans to Christianity, under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church. The Kingdom of Poland emerged in 1025, and in 1569 cemented its long-standing association with Lithuania, thus forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. At the time, the Commonwealth was one of the great powers of Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first modern constitution in 1791.

With the passing of the prosperous Polish Golden Age, the country was partitioned by neighbouring states at the end of the 18th century. Poland regained its independence in 1918 as the Second Polish Republic and successfully defended it in the Polish–Soviet War from 1919 to 1921. In September 1939, the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union marked the beginning of World War II, which resulted in the Holocaust and millions of Polish casualties. Forced into the Eastern Bloc in the global Cold War, the Polish People's Republic was a founding signatory of the Warsaw Pact. Through the emergence and contributions of the Solidarity movement, the communist government was dissolved and Poland re-established itself as a democratic state in 1989.

Poland is a parliamentary republic, with its bicameral legislature comprising the Sejm and the Senate. It is a developed market and a high-income economy. Considered a middle power, Poland has the sixth-largest economy in the European Union by GDP (nominal) and the fifth-largest by GDP (PPP). It provides a very high standard of living, safety, and economic freedom, as well as free university education and a universal health care system. The country has 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 15 of which are cultural. Poland is a founding member state of the United Nations, as well as a member of the World Trade Organization, OECD, NATO, and the European Union (including the Schengen Area).

« Back to Glossary Index