History of Poland

Flag of PolandMany books have been written on the history of Poland, this great nation known as Polska, and the articles on this website can only ever be a summary of what I learn from others who have taken the time and effort to research the past years of Poland.

This will, without a shadow of doubt, be for me an educational experience as I delve into the works of others to reveal the hidden secrets of Polska.

Poland's long history stretches back for thousands of years possible to 5,000 BC when the earliest Neolithic farming settlements were established on what is today polish territory.

The history of Poland and the nations geography are always closely connected with each other and in Poland's case, the different geographical periods of central Europe have played a full part in shaping the course and history of this land and its people.

A Brief History of Poland

Poland's borders have changed much over the course of its history and the origins of the nation go back to the 10th century, when the Slav tribes living in the area of Gniezno got together under the Piast dynasty ruling Poland until 1370.

The first ruler was Mieszko I, who converted to Christianity in 966 and so his kingdom joined Christian Europe. During the Piast dynasty reign there were many domestic quarrels that continued for some 150 years.

When the Piast dynasty died out a Lithuanian Prince named Jagiełło took over the Polish throne creating a new dynasty and in 1385 a treaty with the country of Lithuania was signed at a place called Krewo which began a long process of merging the two nations until in 1569 there was a Signing of the Union at Lublin. The 15th century saw the Jagiellonians consolidating their power base through military deployment and forming a powerful Republic of two nations (Rzeczpospolita Oboja Narodów).

After the Jagiellonian dynasty came to an end in 1572 the new authorities introduced what is known as, “elective Kings”, whereby the nobility were given the right to vote a monarch in. During this time Poland's military might weakened which lead to it being partitioned by Russia, Prussia and Austria and in 1795 Poland ceased to be a nation for the next 100 years.

A number of unsuccessful attempts were made through insurrection to regain political control but Poland did not exist as a sovereign nation until 1918 after World War I. The rebuilding of Poland was still incomplete at the outbreak of World War II in 1939 when it was came under the occupation of German and Soviet forces. Millions of Jews and Poles were murdered by the Nazis during the war and much of Poland was reduced to rubble.

The country's borders after the war left Poland with large territorial losses even though the Allies decided to move their border westwards. Poland became a satellite nation of the Soviet Union and did not fully regain it's independence until democracy arrived in 1989.

If you are from Poland or you have an interest in the history of Poland I would love to hear from you or even better to receive an article that I could place here on Poland Travel Guide. This is mainly an educational site about the country so your help in making it interesting will be much appreciated.

History of Poland - Poland Travel Guide
Tatra Mountains in southern Poland