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Portal:Poland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Panorama of Kraków, former capital of Poland

Welcome to the Poland Portal
Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

Coat of arms of Poland
Map of Poland

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 People's Republic of Poland 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 is an increasingly active member of NATO and the European Union.

From Polish history

German soldiers dismantling a Polish border checkpoint
The Polish September Campaign was the conquest of Poland by the armies of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and a small contingent of Slovak forces during World War II. The campaign began on 1 September 1939 following a German-staged attack in Gleiwitz (Gliwice). This military operation, which saw the first use of Blitzkrieg tactics, marked the start of World War II in Europe as the invasion led Poland's allies, including the United Kingdom and France, to declare war on Germany on 3 September. On 17 September, the Soviet Red Army invaded the eastern regions of Poland. The Soviets were acting in coöperation with Germany, realizing the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact which envisaged division of Central Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence. The campaign ended on 6 October 1939 with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland.


Selected picture

Coffin in a brick-lined crypt beneath a church in Wola Gułowska
Credit: Marcin Białek

Coffin in a brick-lined burial vault beneath a 17th century Baroque Carmelite church in Wola Gułowska, a small village in the Lublin Voivodeship.

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From Wikipedia's new or recently improved articles about Poland:

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Selected biography

Casimir Pulaski
Casimir Pulaski (Kazimierz Pułaski; 1745–1779) was a Polish military commander who has been called "the father of American cavalry". He was one of the leading military commanders of the Bar Confederation, fighting against Russian domination of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. When this uprising failed, he was driven into exile and following Benjamin Franklin's endorsement he migrated to North America to aid the cause of the American Revolution. He distinguished himself throughout the revolutionary war, most notably when he saved George Washington's life, and when he created the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformed the American cavalry. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Savannah, while leading a daring charge against British forces. Pulaski has been remembered as a hero fighting for freedom both in Poland and in America and is one of few people to be awarded honorary citizenship of the United States. Pulaski Day is observed on October 11 as a U.S. federal holiday and on the first Monday of March as a state holiday in Illinois.


Selected location

Swoboda Lock on the Augustów Canal

The Augustów Canal is a summit-level canal which links the Biebrza River in northeastern Poland with the Neman River in Belarus. At over 100 km long, it comprises 18 locks (example pictured) and 22 sluice gates. Ever since the canal was built in 1823−1839 to provide a navigable waterway from the "Congress" Kingdom of Poland to the Baltic Sea bypassing Prussia, it has been described by experts as a technological marvel. It uses a post-glacial channel depression, forming the chain of Augustów Lakes, and the river valleys of the Biebrza, Netta, Czarna Hańcza, and Neman, which made it possible to perfectly integrate the canal with the surrounding elements of the natural environment. Although the project was never finalized, the completed part of the Augustów Canal remained an inland waterway of local significance used for commercial shipping to and from the Vistula and Neman Rivers until rendered obsolete by the regional railway network.

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Poland now

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Kamil Stoch

Holidays and observances in February 2018
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Fat Thursday doughnuts

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