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Republic of Poland
Rzeczpospolita Polska
Flag Coat of arms
MottoNone1
AnthemMazurek Dąbrowskiego
(Dąbrowski's Mazurka)
Location of  Poland  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (light green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
(and largest city)
Warsaw
52°13′N 21°02′E / 52.217°N 21.033°E / 52.217; 21.033
Official language(s) Polish2
Demonym Pole/Polish
Government Parliamentary republic
 -  President Lech Kaczyński
 -  Prime Minister Donald Tusk
Formation
 -  Christianisation4 966 
 -  First Republic July 1, 1569 
 -  Second Republic November 11, 1918 
 -  People's Republic December 31, 1944 
 -  Third Republic January 30, 1990 
EU accession 1 May 2004
Area
 -  Total 312,679 km2 (69th3)
120,726 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 3.07
Population
 -  Jan 2010 estimate 38,163,895[1] (34th)
 -  December 2007 census 38,116,000[2] (34th)
 -  Density 122/km2 (83rd)
319.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $668.551 billion[3] (21st)
 -  Per capita $17,536[3] (50th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $527.866 billion[3] (18th)
 -  Per capita $13,846[3] (50th)
Gini (2002) 34.5 
HDI (2007) 0.880[4] (high) (41st)
Currency Złoty (PLN)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .pl
Calling code 48
1 See, however, Unofficial mottos of Poland.
2 Although not official languages, Belarusian, Kashubian, Lithuanian and German are used in 20 communal offices.
3 The area of Poland according to the administrative division, as given by the Central Statistical Office, is 312,679 km2 (120,726 sq mi) of which 311,888 km2 (120,421 sq mi) is land area and 791 km2 (305 sq mi) is internal water surface area.[2]
4 The adoption of Christianity in Poland is seen by many Poles, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, as one of the most significant national historical events; the new religion was used to unify the tribes in the region.
.Poland en-us-Poland.ogg /ˈpoʊlənd/ (Polish: Polska), officially the Republic of Poland (Rzeczpospolita Polska), is a country in Central Europe [5][6] 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 Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north.^ Polen ), (see Poland, Russian , below), a country of Europe which till the end of the 18th century was a kingdom extending (with Lithuania) over the basins of the Warta, Vistula , Dwina, Dnieper and upper Dniester , and had under its dominion, besides the Poles proper and the Baltic Sla y s, the Lithuanians , the White Russians and the Little Russians or Ruthenians .

^ In foreign affairs a policy of drift prevailed which encouraged all the enemies of the Republic to raise their heads, while the dependent states of Prussia in the north and Moldavia in the south made strenuous efforts to break away from Poland.

^ Petersburg, petitioning Catherine to guarantee the liberties of the Republic, and allow the form of the Polish constitution to be settled by the Russian ambassador at Warsaw.

The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi),[2] making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. .Poland has a population of over 38 million people,[2] which makes it the 34th most populous country in the world[7] and one of the most populous members of the European Union.^ The extremely valuable Prince Repnin in Poland by Aleksander Kraushar (Warsaw, 1900), one of the most thorough of contemporary Polish historians.

^ In fine, Poland lost about one-fifth of her population and one-fourth of her territory.

^ One of his most celebrated pieces was Zofjowka, written on the country seat of Felix Potocki, a Polish magnate, for this was the age of descriptive as well as didactic poetry .

.The establishment of a Polish state is often identified with the adoption of Christianity by its ruler Mieszko I, in 966, when the state covered territory similar to that of present-day Poland.^ The Vistulan state held extensive territory in southern Poland around Krakow, Tyniec and Wislica.
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^ After her arrival in Poland, she converted Prince Mieszko to Christianity and was instrumental in the conversion of the whole country in 966 [60] .
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^ Mieszko had been content to be received on almost any terms into the Christian community, Boleslaus aimed at securing the independence of the Polish Church as an additional guarantee of the independence of the Polish nation.

.The Kingdom of Poland was formed in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a long association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.^ Over the course of the following twenty years, Moscow temporarily captured Polotsk in 1563 but in 1582 was forced to agree a truce with Poland-Lithuania, united since the Union of Lublin of 1569 [517] .
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^ The first symptom of this lawlessness was the separation of Poland and Lithuania, the Lithuanians proceeding to elect Alexander, Casimir's fourth son, as their grand-duke, without even consulting the Polish senate, in flagrant violation of the union of Horodlo.

^ But the diet, with almost incredible short-sightedness, refused to waste a penny on an undertaking which, they argued, concerned only Lithuania, and it was not as king of Poland, but as grand-duke of Lithuania, and with purely Lithuanian troops, that Sigismund, in 1561, occupied Livonia.

.The commonwealth collapsed in 1795, and Poland's territory was partitioned among the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria.^ They refused to consent to the annexation of Saxony by Prussia, and other territorial arrangements which would have enabled him to unite all Poland in his - own hand.

^ By the third treaty of partition Austria had to be Poland, content with Western Galicia and Southern Masovia; 1796.

^ On the 24th of October 1795 Prussia acceded to the Austro-Russian partition compact of the 3rd of January, and the distribution of the conquered provinces Third Par- was finally regulated on the 10th of October 1796.

.Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic in 1918, after World War I, but was later occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II.^ It was the second Turkish War of Catherine II. which gave patriotic Poland her last opportunity of re-establishing her independence.

^ So successful was their prudential abstention that no regular war occurred between Turkey and Poland during the two centuries of their sway.

^ In 1000, Emperor Otto III visited Gniezno, recognised Polish independence, and established the archbishopric of Gniezno as an independent church metropolis covering the whole of Poland, on the authority of a special bull issued by Pope Sylvester II [80] .
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.Poland lost over six million citizens in World War II, emerging several years later as the People's Republic of Poland within the Eastern Bloc under Soviet influence.^ Within three years of his accession he compelled the Muscovites (Treaty of Polyankova, May 28, 1634) to retrocede Smolensk and the eastern provinces lost by Sigismund II., overawed the Porte by a military demonstration in October of the same year, and, by the Truce of Stumdorf (Sept.

^ It was the second Turkish War of Catherine II. which gave patriotic Poland her last opportunity of re-establishing her independence.

^ Livonia was incorporated with Lithuania in much the same way as Prussia had been incorporated with Poland thirty-six years previously.

.During the Revolutions of 1989, communist rule was overthrown and Poland became what is constitutionally known as the "Third Polish Republic". Poland is a unitary state, made up of sixteen voivodeships (Polish: województwo).^ In foreign affairs a policy of drift prevailed which encouraged all the enemies of the Republic to raise their heads, while the dependent states of Prussia in the north and Moldavia in the south made strenuous efforts to break away from Poland.

^ For a time Poland proper became a smoking wilderness, and wild beasts made their lairs in the ruined and desecrated churches.

^ This partitional period, as Polish historians generally call it, lasted from 1138 to 1305, during which Poland lost all political significance, and became an easy prey to her neighbours.

Poland is a member of the European Union, NATO, United Nations, World Trade Organization, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Contents

History

Prehistory

.Historians have postulated that throughout Late Antiquity, many distinct ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now known as Poland.^ Poland was now reduced to one-third of her original dimensions, with a population of about three and a half millions.

The ethnicity and linguistic affiliation of these groups has been hotly debated; in particular the time and route of the original settlement of Slavic peoples in these regions has been the subject of much controversy.
The most famous archeological find from Poland's prehistory and protohistory is the Biskupin fortified settlement (now reconstructed as a museum), dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.

Piast dynasty

.Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty.^ We possess no certain historical data relating to Poland till the end of the 10th century.

^ The Vistulan state held extensive territory in southern Poland around Krakow, Tyniec and Wislica.
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^ A German-Russian coalition defeated King Mieszko in 1030, conquered territory, divided what remained of Poland between members of the Piast dynasty and forced the king to send his crown to Germany.
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.Poland's first historically documented ruler, Mieszko I, was baptized in 966, adopting Catholic Christianity as the nation's new official religion, to which the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next centuries.^ The conversion of Poland to Christianity in 966 reinforced the unity of the new nation state.
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^ We possess no certain historical data relating to Poland till the end of the 10th century.

^ The edict of Wielun (1424), remarkable as the first anti-heretical decree issued in Poland, crushed the new sect in its infancy .

In the 12th century, Poland fragmented into several smaller states. .In 1320, Władysław I became the King of a reunified Poland.^ KINGS of POLAND 1320-1370 (PIAST) .
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^ KINGS of POLAND 1320-1370 .
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^ Poland was reunited in the early 14th century when Władysław Prince of Kujavia reasserted control over all the Polish territories, with the exception of Silesia, in the early 14th century and was crowned king of Poland as Władysław I in 1320.
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.His son, Casimir III, is remembered as one of the greatest Polish kings.^ John Albert , the third son of Casimir, had Albert , been elected king on the death of his father.

^ The Vasa period of Polish history which began with the election of Sigismund, son of John III ., king of Sweden, was the Sigis- epoch of last and lost chances.

^ This was Wladislaus's second son, already grandduke of Lithuania, who ascended the Polish throne as Casimir IV .

Mongol invasion of Poland (late 1240–1241) culminated in the battle of Legnica.
Poland was also a centre of migration of peoples. .The Jewish community began to settle and flourish in Poland during this era (see History of the Jews in Poland).^ A study of the history of the Jewish community in postwar Poland.
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^ Volume 2 of the 7-volume Poland Series, a sub-set of the larger Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities series.
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^ Volume 3 of the 7-volume Poland Series, a sub-set of the larger Pinkas Hakehillot: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities series.
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The Black Death which affected most parts of Europe from 1347 to 1351 did not reach Poland.[8]

Jagiellon dynasty

.Under the Jagiellon dynasty Poland forged a union with its neighbour, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.^ Poland and Lithuania under one monarch.

^ The union of Poland and Lithuania as separate states under one king had been brought about by their common fear of the Teutonic Order.

^ The first symptom of this lawlessness was the separation of Poland and Lithuania, the Lithuanians proceeding to elect Alexander, Casimir's fourth son, as their grand-duke, without even consulting the Polish senate, in flagrant violation of the union of Horodlo.

.In 1410, a Polish-Lithuanian army inflicted a decisive defeat on the Teutonic Knights, both countries' main adversary, in the battle of Grunwald.^ Polish forces defeated the Teutonic Knights at Płowce 27 Sep 1331, but lost Brześć and Inowrocław in 1332 [457] .
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^ The issue was fought out on the field of Tannenberg, or Griinewald (July 15, 1410), when the Knights sustained a crushing defeat, which shook their political organization to its very foundations.

.After the Thirteen Years' War, the Knight's state became a Polish vassal.^ The war thus begun, and known in Russian history as the The Rus- Thirteen Years' War, far exceeded even the Thirty sians invade Years' War in grossness and brutality.

.The Jagiellons at one point also established dynastic control over the kingdoms of Bohemia (1471 onwards) and Hungary (from 1490 onwards).^ By this time, he had reasserted control over all of Poland except Greater Poland and Silesia, and on one occasion styled himself "heir to the kingdom of Poland" [451] .
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[9]
.Polish culture and economy flourished under the Jagiellons, and the country produced such figures as astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and poet Jan Kochanowski.^ Jan Kochanowski 1 (1530-1584), called the prince of Polish poets, came of a poetical family, having a brother, a cousin and a nephew who all enriched the literature of their country with some productions.

^ About this time also flourished Nicholas Copernicus, a native of Thorn, one of the few Poles who have made themselves known beyond the limits of their country.

.Compared to other European nations, Poland was exceptional in its tolerance of religious dissent, allowing the country to avoid the religious turmoil that spread over Western Europe at that time.^ Poland, as has been said before, is not rich in national songs and legendary poetry, in which respect it cannot compare with its sister Slavonic countries Russia and Servia .

^ Such a system would be sure to stifle all national outgrowth, and accordingly we have among the Poles none of those early monuments of the language which other countries boast.

^ Ile rejected a petition for a national The pacificatory synod as unnecessary, inasmuch as the Counter - council of Trent had already settled all religious questions, and at the same time consented to the 1° Poland.

Seventy-five Tatar raids were recorded into Poland and Lithuania between 1474–1569.[10] Some historians estimate that Crimean Tatar slave-raiding cost Poland one million of its population from 1494 to 1694.[11]

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

The greatest extent of Poland in 1635
.A golden age ensued during the sixteenth century after the Union of Lublin which gave birth to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.^ During the earlier part of the 1 th P g P 5 century the Lithuanian princes had successfully contested Muscovite influence even in Pskov and Great Novgorod.

.The szlachta (nobility) of Poland, far more numerous than in Western European countries, took pride in their freedoms and parliamentary system.^ To begin with, Lithuania was a far less composite state than Poland.

^ It consisted almost entirely of the noble militia, and was tricked out with a splendour more befitting a bridal pageant than a battle array .

^ All the .more disquieting was the internal condition of the country, due mainly to the invasion of Poland by the Reformation , and the coincidence of this invasion with an internal revolution of a quasi-democratic character, which aimed at substituting the rule of the szlachta for the rule of the senate.

.During the Golden Age period, Poland expanded its borders to become the largest country in Europe, covering most of what today is Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and some parts of modern Russia.^ It is not too much to say that the condition of the Catholic Church in Poland was almost as bad as it was in Scotland during the same period.

^ But a fatal change had come over the country during the age of the Vasas.

^ Vincent Zakrzewski, professor of history at Cracow, has written some works which have attracted considerable attention, such as On the Origin and Growth of the Reformation in Poland, and After the Flight of King Henry, in which he describes the condition of the country during the period between that king's departure from Poland and the election of Stephen Batory.

.In the mid-seventeenth century, a Swedish invasion ("The Deluge") and the Cossacks' Chmielnicki Uprising which ravaged the country marked the end of the golden age.^ But towards the end of his reign the energy of Wladislaus revived, and he began to occupy himself with another scheme for regenerating his country, in its own despite, by means of the Cossacks.

Famines and epidemics followed hostilities, and the population dropped from roughly 11 to 7 million.[12]
.Numerous wars against Russia coupled with government inefficiency caused by the Liberum veto—a right which had allowed any member of the parliament to dissolve it and to veto any legislation it had passed—marked the steady deterioration of the Commonwealth from a European power into a near-anarchy controlled by its neighbours.^ A deputy, by interposing his individual veto, could at any time dissolve the diet, when all measures previously passed had to be re-submitted to the consideration of the following diet.

^ It was a struggle of ill-armed partisans, who were never even numerous, against regular troops, and was marked by no real battle.

^ The liberum veto and all the other ancient abuses were now declared unalterable parts of the Polish constitution, which was placed under the guarantee of Russia.

Despite the erosion of its power, the Commonwealth was able to deal a crushing defeat to the Ottoman Empire in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna.
.The reforms, particularly those of the Great Sejm, which passed the Constitution of May 3, 1791—the world's second modern constitution and the first in Europe—were thwarted with the three partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, and 1795) which culminated in Poland's being erased from the map of Europe and its territories being divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria.^ On his death, the territory of Mazovia was divided between his three sons.
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^ First Partition of Poland, 1772.

^ The greed of the three partitioning powers very nearly led to a rupture between Austria and Prussia; but the tact and statesmanship of the empress of Russia finally adjusted all difficulties.

Partitions of Poland

.Poles rebel several times against the partitioners, particularly near the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the nineteenth century.^ For a long time the cultivation of Polish philology was in a low state, owing to the prevalence of Latin in the 17th century and French in the 18th.

^ The end of the 18th century was not the period for a court poet in Poland.

.One of the most famous and successful battle for Poland was at Racławice where Tadeusz Kosciuszko lead peasants and some polish armies into battle against Russia, in 1794. In 1807, Napoleon I of France recreated a Polish state, the Duchy of Warsaw, but after the Napoleonic Wars, Poland was again divided in 1815 by the victorious Allies at the Congress of Vienna.^ By the final act of the Congress of gress of Vienna, signed on the 9th of June 1815, Poland was divided between Prussia, Austria and Russia, with one trifling exception: Cracow with its population of 61,000 was erected into a republic embedded in Galicia.

^ King Kazimierz arranged the integration of Mazovia into the Polish state in 1355, confirmed in 1356 at the Congress of Prague under which the king also accepted the eventual succession of Karl I King of Bohemia to Schweidnitz and Jauer, the last Silesia territories not under Bohemian control [479] .
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^ The Polish army had no stantine share in the Turkish War of 1829, largely, it is said, at the request of Constantine, who loved parades and thought that war was the ruin of soldiers.

.The eastern portion was ruled by the Russian tsar as a Congress Kingdom which possessed a liberal constitution.^ When the Congress Kingdom had been reconquered it was immediately reduced to the position of a Russian province.

^ The remnant was constituted as the so-called Congress Kingdom under the emperor of Russia as king (tsar) of Poland.

However, the tsars soon reduced Polish freedoms, and Russia eventually de facto annexed the country. .Later in the nineteenth century, Austrian-ruled Galicia, particularly the Free City of Kraków, became a centre of Polish cultural life.^ At Lemberg, the capital of Austrian Galicia, there is an active Polish press.

Reconstitution of Poland

Poland between 1922 and 1938
.During World War I, all the Allies agreed on the reconstitution of Poland that United States President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed in Point 13 of his Fourteen Points.^ Poland seem to all the world before the war was half over.

^ He founded the Joint Boycott Council in 1933 to boycott German materials before and during World War II (Gottlieb, EJ) .
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^ Drewkowski specifically cites this work as an example of "plays...written during the war" (in LITERATURE ON THE HOLOCAUST: POLAND in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE HOLOCAUST, p.884) .
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.Shortly after the armistice with Germany in November 1918, Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic (II Rzeczpospolita Polska).^ It was the second Turkish War of Catherine II. which gave patriotic Poland her last opportunity of re-establishing her independence.

^ In 1000, Emperor Otto III visited Gniezno, recognised Polish independence, and established the archbishopric of Gniezno as an independent church metropolis covering the whole of Poland, on the authority of a special bull issued by Pope Sylvester II [80] .
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^ MARIA Iurievna , daughter of IURII II Levovich King of Galich & his second wife Euphemia of Poland (before 1293-11 Jan 1341).
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.It reaffirmed its independence after a series of military conflicts, the most notable being the Polish–Soviet War (1919–1921) when Poland inflicted a crushing defeat on the Red Army.^ The extremely valuable Prince Repnin in Poland by Aleksander Kraushar (Warsaw, 1900), one of the most thorough of contemporary Polish historians.

^ The Polish army had no stantine share in the Turkish War of 1829, largely, it is said, at the request of Constantine, who loved parades and thought that war was the ruin of soldiers.

^ Swedish Crown involved Poland in a quite unnecessary series of wars with Charles IX. and Gustavus Adolphus , when her forces were sorely needed elsewhere.

.
Grave of Polish fighter killed during the Warsaw Uprising.
^ THE EXTERMINATION AND THE RESISTANCE OF THE POLISH JEWS DURING THE PERIOD 1939-1944.; Warsaw, Jewish Historical Institute, 1955.
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In the battle, which lasted 63 days, more than 200,000 people died.
The 1926 May Coup of Józef Piłsudski turned rule of the Second Polish Republic over to the Sanacja movement.

World War II

.The Sanacja movement controlled Poland until the start of World War II in 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded on 1 September and the Soviet invasion of Poland followed by breaking the Soviet–Polish Non-Aggression Pact on 17 September.^ World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements.
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^ Contains documents concerning German-Polish relations and the outbreak of hostilities between Great Britain and Germany on September 3, 1939., & the final report by the Right Honourable Sir Nevile Henderson.
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^ Poland was reunited in the early 14th century when Władysław Prince of Kujavia reasserted control over all the Polish territories, with the exception of Silesia, in the early 14th century and was crowned king of Poland as Władysław I in 1320.
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.Warsaw capitulated on 28 September 1939. As agreed in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Poland was split into two zones, one occupied by Germany while the eastern provinces fell under the control of the Soviet Union.^ The transformation of the pagan Lithuanian chieftain Jagiello into the catholic king of Poland, Wladislaus II., was an event of capital importance in the history of eastern Europe.

^ He was forced into exile in early 1300 after King Vclav occupied Greater Poland, Pomorze and Kujavia and was crowned King of Poland in Sep 1300 [450] .
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^ The union of Poland and Lithuania as separate states under one king had been brought about by their common fear of the Teutonic Order.

.Of all the countries involved in the war, Poland lost the highest percentage of its citizens: over six million perished, half of them Polish Jews.^ Poland seem to all the world before the war was half over.

^ This partitional period, as Polish historians generally call it, lasted from 1138 to 1305, during which Poland lost all political significance, and became an easy prey to her neighbours.

^ Poland was now reduced to one-third of her original dimensions, with a population of about three and a half millions.

Poland made the fourth-largest troop contribution to the Allied war effort, after the Soviets, the British and the Americans. The Polish expeditionary corps played an important role in the Italian Campaign, particularly at the Battle of Monte Cassino.
At the war's conclusion, Poland's borders were shifted westwards, pushing the eastern border to the Curzon Line. Meanwhile, the western border was moved to the Oder-Neisse line. The new Poland emerged 20% smaller by 77,500 square kilometres (29,900 sq mi). The shift forced the migration of millions of people, most of whom were Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, and Jews.

Postwar communist Poland

At the end of World War II, the gray territories were transferred from Poland to the Soviet Union, and the pink territories from Germany to Poland
At High Noon, June 4, 1989 - political poster featuring Gary Cooper to encourage votes for the Solidarity party in the 1989 elections.
"The 4th of June, 1989 marked a decisive victory for democracy in Poland and, ultimately, across Eastern Europe."
.The Soviet Union instituted a new communist government in Poland, analogous to much of the rest of the Eastern Bloc.^ Poland was the great land of eastern Europe, and owing to the universal toleration encouraged by the government, Protestantism was widely spread.

^ Nothing indeed did so much to popularize the new doctrines in Poland as this beneficial revival of the long-negle-ted vernacular by the reformers.

^ Published by the American Representation of General Jewish Workers' Union (The Jewish Bund in Poland) of Poland Looks at historical and current Anitsemitism in Poland, and includes much on immigration and hopes for a new, liberated, Socialist Poland, built by Poles and Jews together.
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.Military alignment within the Warsaw Pact throughout the Cold War was also part of this change.^ November 1830, a military revolt took place in Warsaw accompanied by the murder of the minister of war, Hauke, himself a Pole, and other loyal officers.

The People's Republic of Poland (Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa) was officially proclaimed in 1952.
.In 1956, the régime of Władysław Gomułka became temporarily more liberal, freeing many people from prison and expanding some personal freedoms.^ She did some time at Auschwitz before escaping from a different prison camp, and became a Red Army officer before becoming disillusioned with the Communists.
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A similar situation repeated itself in the 1970s under Edward Gierek, but most of the time persecution of communist opposition persisted.
Labour turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" ("Solidarność"), which over time became a political force. Despite persecution and imposition of martial law in 1981, it eroded the dominance of the Communist Party and by 1989 had triumphed in parliamentary elections. Lech Wałęsa, a Solidarity candidate, eventually won the presidency in 1990. The Solidarity movement heralded the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe.

Present day Poland

.A shock therapy programme of Leszek Balcerowicz during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into a market economy.^ A further step must be taken - the two independent countries must be transformed into a single state.

^ Simultaneously with the transformation into a great power of the petty principalities which composed ancient Poland, another and equally momentous political transformation was proceeding within the country itself.

.As with all other post-communist countries, Poland suffered temporary slumps in social and economic standards, but it became the first post-communist country to reach its pre-1989 GDP levels, which it achieved by 1995 because of its booming economy.^ Such a system would be sure to stifle all national outgrowth, and accordingly we have among the Poles none of those early monuments of the language which other countries boast.

^ Material on inter-racial work & war-relief work in France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Russia (pre and post 1917) .
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^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[14][15]
.Most visibly, there were numerous improvements in other human rights, such as the freedom of speech.^ The poets of this period are, as may be imagined, in most cases mere rhymesters; there are, however, a few whose names are worth recapitulating, such as Waclaw Potocki ( c.

.In 1991, Poland became a member of the Visegrád Group and joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance in 1999 along with the Czech Republic and Hungary.^ But Masovia to the north, and Great Poland to the north-west, refused to recognize the supremacy of Little Poland, while Silesia soon became completely germanized.

Poles then voted to join the European Union in a referendum in June 2003, with Poland becoming a full member on 1 May 2004.

Geography

Poland’s topography
Poland’s territory extends across several geographical regions. .In the northwest is the Baltic seacoast, which extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdansk.^ The dynasty failed to extend its control to western Pomerania which had developed autonomously to the north-west, but its authority was accepted by eastern or Vistulan Pomerania, centred on Gdansk [11] .
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This coast is marked by several spits, coastal lakes (former bays that have been cut off from the sea), and dunes. The largely straight coastline is indented by the Szczecin Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, and the Vistula Lagoon. The center and parts of the north lie within the North European Plain.
Rising gently above these lowlands is a geographical region comprising the four hilly districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age. These lake districts are the Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District. .The Masurian Lake District is the largest of the four and covers much of northeastern Poland.^ The Masurian Lake District is the largest of the four and covers much of northeastern Poland.
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^ Damski This smoked cheese comes from Mragowo, the northeastern-most part of Poland, home to the Mazurian Lake district.
  • Poland: Buy Cheese By Country Online at igourmet.com 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.igourmet.com [Source type: General]

^ Rising gently above these lowlands is a geographical region comprising the four hilly districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age.
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.The lake districts form part of the Baltic Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.^ The lake districts form part of the Baltic Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.
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^ Damski This smoked cheese comes from Mragowo, the northeastern-most part of Poland, home to the Mazurian Lake district.
  • Poland: Buy Cheese By Country Online at igourmet.com 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.igourmet.com [Source type: General]

^ Sea fishing is conducted in the Baltic and North seas and in the Atlantic (Labrador, Newfoundland, and African waters), and there are inland fisheries in lakes, ponds, and rivers.
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South of the Northern European Lowlands lie the regions of Silesia and Masovia, which are marked by broad ice-age river valleys. .Farther south lies the Polish mountain region, including the Sudetes, the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, and the Carpathian Mountains, including the Beskids.^ The Polish princes opposed a valiant but ineffectual resistance; the towns of Sandomir and Cracow were reduced to ashes, and all who were able fled to the mountains of Hungary or the forests of Moravia .

The highest part of the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains, along Poland’s southern border.

Geology

Granite outcrops at Silesian Stones Mountain in southwestern Poland
.The geological structure of Poland has been shaped by the continental collision of Europe and Africa over the past 60 million years, on the one hand, and the Quaternary glaciations of northern Europe, on the other.^ Throughout the Great Northern War (see Sweden : History ), which wasted northern and central Europe for twenty years (1700-1720), all the belligerents treated Poland as if she had no political existence.

^ Poland was now reduced to one-third of her original dimensions, with a population of about three and a half millions.

Both processes shaped the Sudetes and the Carpathian Mountains. The moraine landscape of northern Poland contains soils made up mostly of sand or loam, while the ice age river valleys of the south often contain loess. The Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, the Pieniny, and the Western Tatras consist of limestone, while the High Tatras, the Beskids, and the Karkonosze are made up mainly of granite and basalts. The Polish Jura Chain is one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth.

Rivers

.The longest rivers are the Vistula (Polish: Wisła), 1,047 kilometres (651 mi) long; the Oder (Polish: Odra) which forms part of Poland’s western border, 854 kilometres (531 mi) long; its tributary, the Warta, 808 kilometres (502 mi) long; and the Bug, a tributary of the Vistula, 772 kilometres (480 mi) long.^ OPERATION REINHARD--MASS EXTERMINATION OF THE JEWISH POPULATION IN POLAND. Poznan, Polish Western Affairs, 1962.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The Vistula and the Oder flow into the Baltic Sea, as do numerous smaller rivers in Pomerania.
The Łyna and the Angrapa flow by way of the Pregolya to the Baltic, and the Czarna Hańcza flows into the Baltic through the Neman. .While the great majority of Poland’s rivers drain into the Baltic Sea, Poland’s Beskids are the source of some of the upper tributaries of the Orava, which flows via the Váh and the Danube to the Black Sea.^ Simultaneously with the transformation into a great power of the petty principalities which composed ancient Poland, another and equally momentous political transformation was proceeding within the country itself.

The eastern Beskids are also the source of some streams that drain through the Dniester to the Black Sea.
.Poland’s rivers have been used since early times for navigation.^ The beneficial influence of the Church of Poland in these early times was incalculable.

^ He was also the author of a kind of play - a mystery we may term it, and productions of this sort seem to have been common in Poland from a very early time - entitled Life of Joseph in Egypt .

The Vikings, for example, traveled up the Vistula and the Oder in their longships. .In the Middle Ages and in early modern times, when the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was the breadbasket of Europe; the shipment of grain and other agricultural products down the Vistula toward Gdańsk and onward to Western Europe took on great importance.^ The transformation of the pagan Lithuanian chieftain Jagiello into the catholic king of Poland, Wladislaus II., was an event of capital importance in the history of eastern Europe.

^ The Poles, like many of the other nations of Europe, had religious plays at an early period .

^ The style of poetry in vogue in the Polish parts of Europe at the present time is chiefly lyrical.

Lakes

Kurtkowiec, oligotrophic lake in southeastern Poland
.With almost ten thousand closed bodies of water covering more than 1 hectare (2.47 acres) each, Poland has one of the highest number of lakes in the world.^ Poland, as the next neighbour of Hungary, was more seriously affected than any other European power by this catastrophe , but her politicians differed as to the best way of facing it.

^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
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^ Henceforth the kingdom of Poland and the grand duchy of Lithuania were to constitute one inseparable and indivisible body politic, under one1569.

In Europe, only Finland has a greater density of lakes. The largest lakes, covering more than 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi), are Lake Śniardwy and Lake Mamry in Masuria, and Lake Łebsko and Lake Drawsko in Pomerania.
In addition to the lake districts in the north (in Masuria, Pomerania, Kashubia, Lubuskie, and Greater Poland), there is also a large number of mountain lakes in the Tatras, of which the Morskie Oko is the largest in area. The lake with the greatest depth—of more than 100 metres (328 ft)—is Lake Hańcza in the Wigry Lake District, east of Masuria in Podlaskie Voivodeship.
Lake in Gołdap
.Among the first lakes whose shores were settled are those in the Greater Polish Lake District.^ Anyone whose Polish origin has been confirmed in accordance with statute may settle permanently in Poland.
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^ After 1848 the Polish districts in Prussia and Austria received the Constitution, as did the other districts subject to those Governments.
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^ But from the very beginning a difference was apparent in the treatment accorded to districts whose inhabitants were Poles and those in which the population was mixed.
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.The stilt house settlement of Biskupin, occupied by more than one thousand residents, was founded before the seventh century BC by people of the Lusatian culture.^ That glorious epithet belonged of right to Hungary,which g p g g had already borne the brunt of the struggle with the Ottoman power for more than a century.

^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The ancestors of today’s Poles, the Polanie, built their first fortresses on islands in these lakes. The legendary Prince Popiel is supposed to have ruled from Kruszwica on Lake Gopło. .The first historically documented ruler of Poland, Duke Mieszko I, had his palace on an island in the Warta River in Poznań.^ (Apr 1369) as his second wife, KASIMIR von Pommern , son of BOGISLAW V Duke of Pomerania in Hinterpommern & his first wife Elźbieta of Poland ([1351]-2 Jan 1377).
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.For the most important lakes of Poland, see the Category:Lakes of Poland.^ His most important poem is Wladystaus IV., King of Poland, in which he sings in a very bombastic strain the various expeditions of the Polish monarch.

Mountains

Hala Gąsienicowa in the High Tatras
Poland has 21 mountains over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) in elevation, all in the High Tatras. The Polish Tatras, which consist of the High Tatras and the Western Tatras, is the highest mountain group of Poland and of the entire Carpathian range. In the High Tatras lies Poland’s highest point, the northwestern peak of Rysy, 2,499 metres (8,199 ft) in elevation. At its foot lies the mountain lake Morskie Oko.
The second highest mountain group in Poland is the Beskids, whose highest peak is Babia Góra, at 1,725 metres (5,659 ft). The next highest mountain group is the Karkonosze, whose highest point is Sněžka, at 1,602 metres (5,256 ft). .Among the most beautiful mountains of Poland are the Bieszczady Mountains in the far southeast of Poland, whose highest point in Poland is Tarnica, with an elevation of 1,346 metres (4,416 ft).^ Perhaps the most popular modern writer in Poland is Eliza Orszeszko, of whose novels a complete " Jubilee " edition has appeared.

Tourists also frequent the Gorce Mountains in Gorce National Park, with elevations around 1,300 metres (4,265 ft), and the Pieniny in Pieniny National Park, with elevations around 1,000 metres (3,281 ft). The lowest point in Poland—at 2 metres (6.6 ft) below sea level—is at Raczki Elbląskie, near Elbląg in the Vistula Delta.
.For a list of the most important mountain ranges of Poland, see the Category:Mountain ranges of Poland.^ His most important poem is Wladystaus IV., King of Poland, in which he sings in a very bombastic strain the various expeditions of the Polish monarch.

Coast

Bay of Puck (Zatoka Pucka) in Poland
.The Polish Baltic coast is approximately 528 kilometres (328 mi) long and extends from Świnoujście on the islands of Usedom and Wolin in the west to Krynica Morska on the Vistula Spit in the east.^ Hotel Amber Baltic, Miedzyzdroje, Wolin Island .
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.For the most part, Poland has a smooth coastline, which has been shaped by the continual movement of sand by currents and winds from west to east.^ Damski This smoked cheese comes from Mragowo, the northeastern-most part of Poland, home to the Mazurian Lake district.
  • Poland: Buy Cheese By Country Online at igourmet.com 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.igourmet.com [Source type: General]

^ A term used in an almost mythical fashion to describe the lands which were once part of Poland and lay between the Bug and Narew rivers to the west and the Dnepr and Dvina rivers to the east.
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^ Most of Poland has fertile soil, although towards the east and north-east it becomes poor and sandy, sometimes broken up by marshes and by constellations of lakes.
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This continual erosion and deposition has formed cliffs, dunes, and spits, many of which have migrated landwards to close off former lagoons, such as Łebsko Lake in Słowiński National Park.
The largest spits are Hel Peninsula and the Vistula Spit. .The largest Polish Baltic island is Wolin.^ Hotel Amber Baltic, Miedzyzdroje, Wolin Island .
  • Poland Conferences, Conventions, Trade Shows and Meetings 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.allconferences.com [Source type: News]

The largest port cities are Gdynia, Gdańsk, Szczecin, and Świnoujście. The main coastal resorts are Sopot, Międzyzdroje, Kołobrzeg, Łeba, Władysławowo, and the Hel Peninsula.

Desert

Błędów Desert is a desert located in southern Poland in the Silesian Voivodeship and stretches over the Zagłębie Dąbrowskie region. It has a total area of 32 square kilometres (12 sq mi). It is the only desert located in Poland. It is one of only five natural deserts in Europe. It is the warmest desert that appears at this latitude.
.It was created thousands of years ago by a melting glacier.^ At present, since the Allied leaders in 1945 decided to shift it bodily to the west, Poland is roughly where it was when it began a thousand years ago, in the time of the Piast dynasty.
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The specific geological structure has been of big importance. .The average thickness of the sand layer is about 40 metres (131 ft), with a maximum of 70 metres (230 ft), which made the fast and deep drainage very easy.^ Dzieciol says that the traditional view of Polish historians is that Mieszko was aged about 70 when he died [40] .
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The sea’s activity in Słowiński National Park created sand dunes which in the course of time separated the bay from the Baltic Sea. As waves and wind carry sand inland the dunes slowly move, at a speed of 3 to 10 metres (9.8 to 32.8 ft) meters per year. Some dunes are quite high - up to 30 metres (98 ft). The highest peak of the park — Rowokol (115 metres / 377 feet above sea level) — is also an excellent observation point.

Land use

The patchwork landscape of Masuria
Forests cover 28.8% of Poland’s land area. .More than half of the land is devoted to agriculture.^ Could any nation have done more than the Poles on their flat land without fortresses, than the Poles did and died for.

^ The Augustinian Hermits were introduced into Poland in the second half of the thirteenth century, and at one time had more than thirty-five convents there.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Poland 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Collectivization of agriculture was halted, and the Poles were given far more freedom than under the previous regime.
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  • Poland News - Breaking World Poland News - The New York Times 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC topics.nytimes.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.While the total area under cultivation is declining, the remaining farmland is more intensively cultivated.^ Farmland occupies 51.7 percent of the total surface area of Poland (16.2 million hectares) and is mainly owned by the private sector (94.8 percent).

^ There are some 9,300 Polish lakes with areas of more than 2 1/2 acres (1 hectare), and their total area is about 1,200 square miles, or 1 percent of the national territory.
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^ The largest area of cultivated land is found in the Central Lowlands, but much of the best farmland is in the low plateaus and foothills of S Poland.
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.More than 1% of Poland’s territory, 3,145 square kilometres (1,214 sq mi), is protected within 23 national parks.^ Oddly enough the selfish prudence of Sigismund's rapacious consort, Queen Bona, did more for the national defence than the Polish state could do.

^ Poland, as the next neighbour of Hungary, was more seriously affected than any other European power by this catastrophe , but her politicians differed as to the best way of facing it.

^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.In this respect, Poland ranks first in Europe.^ We offer students the opportunity to see the rapidly-changing world of Central Europe at first hand while studying at Poland's oldest and most prestigious university.
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^ Mazowiecki became the first non-communist prime minister in Poland since 1945 and the first anywhere in Eastern Europe for 40 years.
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^ Poland was the first former centrally planned economy in central Europe to end its recession and return to growth in the early 1990s.
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Three more national parks are projected for Masuria, the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, and the eastern Beskids. .Most Polish national parks are located in the southern part of the country.^ One of his most celebrated pieces was Zofjowka, written on the country seat of Felix Potocki, a Polish magnate, for this was the age of descriptive as well as didactic poetry .

^ A glimpse Beginnings of the Polish here and there of the political development of the Constitu- country is the utmost that the most diligent scrutiny tion.

In addition, wetlands along lakes and rivers in central Poland are legally protected, as are coastal areas in the north. There are over 120 areas designated as landscape parks, along with numerous nature reserves and other protected areas.

Flora and fauna

.Phytogeographically, Poland belongs to the Central European province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom.^ Even when, after the peace of Tilsit , the independent grand-duchy of Warsaw was constructed out of the central provinces of Prussian Poland, his distrust of Napoleon proved to be invincible.

.According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the territory of Poland can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Baltic mixed forests, Central European mixed forests and Carpathian montane conifer forests.^ At the Paris Peace Conference, he helped draft anti-discrimiation clauses for insertion into the treaties with Poland, Rumania and other Eastern European countires.
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.Many animals that have since died out in other parts of Europe still survive in Poland, such as the wisent in the ancient woodland of the Białowieża Forest and in Podlachia.^ The liberum veto and all the other ancient abuses were now declared unalterable parts of the Polish constitution, which was placed under the guarantee of Russia.

^ The Poles, like many of the other nations of Europe, had religious plays at an early period .

Other such species include the brown bear in Białowieża, in the Tatras, and in the Beskids, the gray wolf and the Eurasian Lynx in various forests, the moose in northern Poland, and the beaver in Masuria, Pomerania, and Podlachia.
Family of White Stork, a national bird in Poland [16]
In the forests, one also encounters game animals, such as Red Deer, Roe Deer and Wild Boars. .In eastern Poland there are a number of ancient woodlands, like Białowieża, that have never been cleared by people.^ However, rejection of the E.U. constitution by France and the Netherlands was seen as backlash to cheap labor from Eastern European countries like Poland.
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^ There are no people in Poland and it is understood that the uninhabited country is populated solely by field mice and their president of course.
  • Poland - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC uncyclopedia.wikia.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Grow up, educate yourself and take a look at history and hope that people like you never get into power of a country!
  • Auschwitz Poland | Oswiecim 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.cracow-life.com [Source type: Original source]

There are also large forested areas in the mountains, Masuria, Pomerania, Lubusz Land and Lower Silesia.
.Poland is the most important breeding ground for European migratory birds.^ The most important moment in Poland history came in 1939 , when Polish ( Kazimierz the Small ) and German ( Otto the Idiot ) leader repeated the old bet.
  • Poland - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC uncyclopedia.wikia.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Today, as the 6th most populated member state of the European Union, Poland is a liberal democracy made up of sixteen voivodeships (Polish: wojew?dztwo).
  • Fwicki | Poland 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.fwicki.com [Source type: News]

^ Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural and artistic life, and is one of Poland's most important economic centres.

.Out of all of the migratory birds who come to Europe for the summer, one quarter breed in Poland, particularly in the lake districts and the wetlands along the Biebrza, the Narew, and the Warta, which are part of nature reserves or national parks.^ All publicity was suppressed, and one whole district was disfranchised because it persisted in electing candidates who were disapproved of at court.

^ It must, however, be noted that one class of the measures taken to punish the old governing part of the population of Poland has been very favourable to the majority.

^ Presently reformers of every shade of opinion, even those who were tolerated nowhere else, poured into Poland, which speedily became the battle-ground of all the sects of Europe.

Climate

The average daytime summer temperature at sea level along the south coast is 22 °C (71.6 °F)[17]
The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country. The climate is oceanic in the north and west and becomes gradually warmer and continental towards the south and east. Summers are generally warm, with average temperatures between 20 °C (68 °F) and 27 °C (80.6 °F). Winters are cold, with average temperatures around 3 °C (37.4 °F) in the northwest and −8 °C (17.6 °F) in the northeast. Precipitation falls throughout the year, although, especially in the east; winter is drier than summer.
.The warmest region in Poland is Lesser Poland located in southern Poland where temperatures in the summer average between 23 °C (73.4 °F) and 30 °C (86 °F) but can go as high as 32 °C (89.6 °F) to 38 °C (100.4 °F) on some days in the warmest month of July.^ GERTRUD von Schlesien , daughter of HEINRICH II Duke of Lower Silesia, Krakow and Lesser Poland & his wife Anna of Bohemia ([1218/20]-[23/30] Apr [1244/47]).
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The warmest city in Poland is Tarnów. The city is located in Lesser Poland. The average temperatures being 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer and 4 °C (39.2 °F) in the winter. .Tarnów also has the longest summer in Poland spreading from mid May to mid-September.^ A few words may be said here about the spread of Protestantism in Poland, which is so intimately mixed up with the development of the national language.

.It also has the shortest winter in Poland which often lasts from January to March, less than the regular three-month winter.^ To begin with, Lithuania was a far less composite state than Poland.

The coldest region of Poland is in the northeast in the Podlaskie Voivodeship near the border of Belarus. The climate is affected by cold fronts which come from Scandinavia and Siberia. The average temperature in the winter in Podlachian ranges from −15 °C (5.0 °F) to −4 °C (24.8 °F).

Government

The Sejm building in Warsaw
.Poland is a democracy, with a president as a head of state, whose current constitution dates from 1997. The government structure centres on the Council of Ministers, led by a prime minister.^ In a word constitutional government had practically ceased, and Poland had become an arena in which contesting clans strove together for the mastery.

^ He left everything to his omnipotent minister, Count Heinrich Briihl, and Briihl entrusted the government of Poland to the Czartoryscy, who had intimate relations of long standing with the court of Dresden .

^ In Poland itself the tsar left much of the current civil administration in the hands of the nobles, whose power over their peasants was hardly diminished and was misused as of old.

The president appoints the cabinet according to the proposals of the prime minister, typically from the majority coalition in the Sejm. The president is elected by popular vote every five years. The current president is Lech Kaczyński, the current prime minister is Donald Tusk.
.Polish voters elect a bicameral parliament consisting of a 460-member lower house (Sejm) and a 100-member Senate (Senat).^ He was now declared to be the equal of the Polish king, and his successor could be elected only by the senates of Poland and Lithuania in conjunction.

The Sejm is elected under proportional representation according to the d'Hondt method, a method similar to that used in many parliamentary political systems. The Senat, on the other hand, is elected under a rare plurality bloc voting method where several candidates with the highest support are elected from each constituency.
.With the exception of ethnic minority parties, only candidates of political parties receiving at least 5% of the total national vote can enter the Sejm.^ The sejm of 1766 not only rejected the dissident bill, but repealed all the Czartoryscian reforms and insisted on the retention of the liberum veto as the foundation of the national liberties.

^ The only way of saving the Republic from disintegration was to concentrate all its political factors into a sejm-walny or general diet.

When sitting in joint session, members of the Sejm and Senat form the National Assembly (the Zgromadzenie Narodowe). .The National Assembly is formed on three occasions: when a new President takes the oath of office; when an indictment against the President of the Republic is brought to the State Tribunal (Trybunał Stanu); and when a president's permanent incapacity to exercise his duties because of the state of his health is declared.^ This he calculated would bring about a retaliatory invasion of Poland by the Turks, which would justify him in taking the field against them also with all the forces of the Republic.

To date only the first instance has occurred.
The judicial branch plays an important role in decision-making. Its major institutions include the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland (Sąd Najwyższy); the Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Poland (Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny); the Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Poland (Trybunał Konstytucyjny); and the State Tribunal of the Republic of Poland (Trybunał Stanu). .On the approval of the Senat, the Sejm also appoints the ombudsman or the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection (Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich) for a five-year term.^ Every year the senate was to appoint sixteen of its number to be in constant attendance upon the king in rotas of four, which sedecimvirs were to supervise all his actions.

.The ombudsman has the duty of guarding the observance and implementation of the rights and liberties of Polish citizens and residents, of the law and of principles of community life and social justice.^ He was justly considered the founder of the historiography of Polish Jewry, especially of its communal life.
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^ Individual liberty, the use of the Polish language in the law courts, and the exclusive employment of Poles in the civil government were secured by the constitution.

Administrative divisions

Poland's current voivodeships (provinces) are largely based on the country's historic regions, whereas those of the past two decades (to 1998) had been centred on and named for individual cities. The new units range in area from less than 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) for Opole Voivodeship to more than 35,000 square kilometres (14,000 sq mi) for Masovian Voivodeship. Administrative authority at voivodeship level is shared between a government-appointed voivode (governor), an elected regional assembly (sejmik) and an executive elected by that assembly.
.The voivodeships are subdivided into powiats (often referred to in English as counties), and these are further divided into gminas (also known as communes or municipalities).^ In the meantime the Patriotic Society had divided into a White or Moderate party and a Red or Extreme party, which was subdivided into the Academics or Republicans and the Military or Terrorists.

Major cities normally have the status of both gmina and powiat. .Poland currently has 16 voivodeships, 379 powiats (including 65 cities with powiat status), and 2,478 gminas.^ Discussions of Italy, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, and the city of Danzig in regards to Nazi policies against Jews are also included.
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Voivodeship Capital city or cities
in English in Polish
Greater Poland Wielkopolskie Poznań
Kuyavian-Pomeranian Kujawsko-Pomorskie Bydgoszcz / Toruń
Lesser Poland Małopolskie Kraków
Łódź Łódzkie Łódź
Lower Silesian Dolnośląskie Wrocław
Lublin Lubelskie Lublin
Lubusz Lubuskie Gorzów Wielkopolski / Zielona Góra
Masovian Mazowieckie Warsaw
Opole Opolskie Opole
Podlaskie Podlaskie Białystok
Pomeranian Pomorskie Gdańsk
Silesian Śląskie Katowice
Subcarpathian Podkarpackie Rzeszów
Świętokrzyskie
(Holy Cross)
Świętokrzyskie Kielce
Warmian-Masurian Warmińsko-Mazurskie Olsztyn
West Pomeranian Zachodniopomorskie Szczecin

Military

The Polish armed forces are composed of four branches: Land Forces (Wojska Lądowe), Navy (Marynarka Wojenna), Air Force (Siły Powietrzne) and Special Forces (Wojska Specjalne).
The most important mission of the Armed Forces is the defence of Polish territorial integrity and Polish interests abroad.[18] Poland's national security goal is to further integrate with NATO and European defence, economic, and political institutions through the modernization and reorganization of its military.[18] Polish military doctrine reflects the same defensive nature as that of its NATO partners. Poland is also playing an increasing role as a peacekeeping power through various United Nations peacekeeping missions.[18]

Demographics

Poland, with 38,116,000 inhabitants,[2] has the eighth-largest population in Europe and the sixth-largest in the European Union. .It has a population density of 122 inhabitants per square kilometer (328 per square mile).^ Thus Russia received 8500 square miles and 6,500,000 inhabitants; Prussia, 2700 square miles and 3,000,000 inhabitants; Austria, 2100 square miles and 4,275,000 inhabitants.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Poland 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]
  • Poland - Catholic Encyclopedia - Catholic Online 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.catholic.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In 2003 it was estimated at 38,587,000, yielding an overall population density of 123 persons per sq km (320 per sq mi).
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^ This small state had an area of 1860 square miles, with 2,400,000 inhabitants.
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Long Market in Gdańsk filled with picturesque Dutch style tenements is a favourite meeting place in the Kashubian capital.
Poland historically contained many languages, cultures and religions on its soil. .The country had a particularly large Jewish population prior to World War II, when the Nazi Holocaust caused Poland's Jewish population, estimated at 3 million before the war, to drop to just 300,000. The outcome of the war, particularly the westward shift of Poland's borders to the area between the Curzon Line and the Oder-Neisse line, coupled with post-war expulsion of minorities, significantly reduced the country's ethnic diversity.^ Jewish children in the Holocaust--Poland.
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^ Jewish partisan's memoirs of resistance against the Nazis in Poland Good Solid condition.
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^ On Jewish religious education in pre-war Poland.
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According to the 2002 census, 36,983,700 people, or 96.74% of the population, consider themselves Polish, while 471,500 (1.23%) declared another nationality, and 774,900 (2.03%) did not declare any nationality. The largest minority nationalities and ethnic groups in Poland are Silesians (about 200,000), Germans (152,897 according to the census, 92% in Opole Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship), Belarusians (c. 49,000), Ukrainians (c. .30,000), Lithuanians, Russians, Roma, Jews, Lemkos, Slovaks, Czechs, and Lipka Tatars.^ "The German liberators have totally ruined the Lithuanian Jews, both morally & economically in a manner unparalleled by the Russians themselves.
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[19] Among foreign citizens, the Vietnamese are the largest ethnic group, followed by Greeks and Armenians.
Main Market Square in Kraków is a heart of cultural capital of southern Poland.
The Polish language, part of the West Slavic branch of the Slavic languages, functions as the official language of Poland. .Until recent decades Russian was commonly learned as a second language but has been replaced by English and German as the most common second languages studied and spoken.^ Text and captions in Polish, Russian, English, and German.
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^ In Polish with summaries in English, Russian, French, and German.
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^ Text is in Polish, Yiddish, English Russian & French (not German!
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[20]
.In recent years, Poland's population has decreased because of an increase in emigration and a sharp drop in the birth rate.^ Poland will play an increasingly prominent role in the next decades, if only because it is one of the few European countries with surging birth rates.
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^ Average life expectancy at birth was 75 years for women and 66 for men; the infant mortality rate was 13.8 per 1000 live births.
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^ In the year 1000 Poland had five bishoprics ; this number increased to thirty-three in 1818.
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.Since Poland's accession to the European Union, a significant number of Poles have emigrated to Western European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland in search of work.^ Over the course of the following twenty years, Moscow temporarily captured Polotsk in 1563 but in 1582 was forced to agree a truce with Poland-Lithuania, united since the Union of Lublin of 1569 [517] .
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^ Material on inter-racial work & war-relief work in France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Russia (pre and post 1917) .
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Some organizations have stated that Polish emigration is primarily caused by Poland's high unemployment rate (10.5% in 2007), with Poles searching for better work opportunities abroad. In April 2007, the Polish population of the United Kingdom had risen to approximately 300,000, and estimates place the Polish population in Ireland at 65,000. Some sources claim that the number of Polish citizens who emigrated to the UK after 2004 is as high as 2 million.[21] .This, however, is contrasted by a recent trend that shows that more Poles are leaving the country than coming in.^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
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[22]
Polish minorities are still present in the neighboring countries of Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, as well as in other countries (see Poles for population numbers). Altogether, the number of ethnic Poles living abroad is estimated to be around 20 million.[23] The largest number of Poles outside of Poland can be found in the United States.[24]

Metropolitan areas

The largest metropolitan areas that lie in Poland are the Silesian metropolitan area centred on Katowice and other cities of Upper Silesian Coal Basin (over 5 million inhabitants: ~4 million in Poland, ~1 million in Czech Republic); the capital, Warsaw (~3 million); Kraków (~1.3 million), Łódź (~1.2 million); the Tricity of GdańskSopotGdynia, Poznań and Wrocław (each about 1 million). The largest urban area is Katowice urban area (~2.7 million inhabitants). For an overview of Polish cities, see List of cities and towns in Poland.

Religion

.Because of the Holocaust and the post-World War II flight and expulsion of German and Ukrainian populations, Poland has become almost uniformly Roman Catholic.^ Material on inter-racial work & war-relief work in France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Russia (pre and post 1917) .
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^ JEWISH LIFE & JEWISH DEATH IN POLAND A Selection of over 200 antiquarian publications from our stock on Jewish life in Poland before and during the Holocaust, in Polish, English, Yiddish, Hebrew, & German Including many rare early post-war publications of the Jewish Historical Commission in Poland .
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^ Drewkowski specifically cites this work as an example of "plays...written during the war" (in LITERATURE ON THE HOLOCAUST: POLAND in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE HOLOCAUST, p.884) .
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Most Poles—approximately 88.4% in 2007 down 0.4% compared to 2006—are members of the Roman Catholic Church.[25] Though rates of religious observance, with 52%[26] to 60%[27] weekly mass attendance in 2008 are currently lower than they have been in the past, Poland remains one of the most devoutly religious countries in Europe.[28]
Holy Spirit Orthodox Church in Białystok.
Religious minorities include Polish Orthodox (about 506,800),[2] various Protestants (about 150,000),[2] Jehovah's Witnesses (126,827),[2] Eastern Catholics, Mariavites, Polish Catholics, Jews, and Muslims (including the Tatars of Białystok). Members of Protestant churches include about 77,500 in the largest Evangelical-Augsburg Church,[2] and a similar number in smaller Pentecostal and Evangelical churches.
Freedom of religion is now guaranteed by the 1989 statute of the Polish constitution,[29] enabling the emergence of additional denominations.[30] However, because of pressure from the Polish Episcopate, the exposition of doctrine has entered the public education system as well.[31][32] According to a 2007 survey, 72% of respondents were not opposed to religious instruction in public schools; alternative courses in ethics are available only in one percent of the entire public educational system.[33]

Economy and tourism

Financial centre of Warsaw
Poland is considered to have one of the healthiest economies of the post-communist countries and is currently one of the fastest growing countries within the EU. Since the fall of the communist government, Poland has steadfastly pursued a policy of liberalising the economy and today stands out as a successful example of the transition from a centrally planned economy to a primarily capitalistic market economy. Poland is the only member of the European Union to have avoided a decline in GDP during the late 2000s recession. In 2009 Poland has had the greatest GDP growth in the EU. As of November 2009 the Polish economy has not entered the global recession of the late 2000s nor has it even contracted.[34][35]
The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms have allowed the development of an aggressive private sector. As a consequence, consumer rights organizations have also appeared. Restructuring and privatisation of "sensitive sectors" such as coal, steel, rail transport and energy has been continuing since 1990. Between 2007 and 2010, the government plans to float twenty public companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, including parts of the coal industry. The biggest privatisations have been the sale of the national telecoms firm Telekomunikacja Polska to France Télécom in 2000, and an issue of 30% of the shares in Poland's largest bank, PKO Bank Polski, on the Polish stockmarket in 2004.
Unemployment by voivodeship, September 2008
Poland has a large number of private farms in its agricultural sector, with the potential to become a leading producer of food in the European Union. Structural reforms in health care, education, the pension system, and state administration have resulted in larger-than-expected fiscal pressures. Warsaw leads Central Europe in foreign investment.[36] GDP growth had been strong and steady from 1993 to 2000 with only a short slowdown from 2001 to 2002.
The economy had growth of 3.7% annually in 2003, a rise from 1.4% annually in 2002. In 2004, GDP growth equaled 5.4%, in 2005 3.3% and in 2006 6.2%.[37] According to Eurostat data, Polish PPS GDP per capita stood at 57% of the EU average in 2008.[38]
Gdynia, situated at Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea, is an important seaport of Poland.
Although the Polish economy is currently undergoing economic development, there are many challenges ahead. The most notable task on the horizon is the preparation of the economy (through continuing deep structural reforms) to allow Poland to meet the strict economic criteria for entry into the Eurozone. According to the minister of finance Jacek Rostowski, Poland is likely to adopt the euro in 2012[39] or 2013.[40] Some businesses may already accept the euro as payment.
Average salaries in the enterprise sector in April 2008 were 3137 PLN (925 euro or 1434 US dollars)[41] and growing sharply.[42] Salaries vary between the regions: the median wage in the capital city Warsaw was 4,600 PLN (1,200 euro or 2,000 US dollars) while in Białystok it was only 2,400 PLN (670 euro or 1,000 US dollars).[43]
Since joining the European Union, many workers have left to work in other EU countries (particularly Ireland and the UK) because of high unemployment, which was the second-highest in the EU (14.2% in May 2006).[44] However, with the rapid growth of the salaries, booming economy, strong value of Polish currency, and quickly decreasing unemployment (6.7% in August 2008)[45] exodus of Polish workers seems to be over. In 2008 people who came back outnumbered those leaving the country.[46]
The city of Zamość is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the main tourist attractions of Lublin Voivodeship.
Commodities produced in Poland include: electronics, cars (including the luxurious Leopard car), buses (Autosan, Jelcz SA, Solaris, Solbus), helicopters (PZL Świdnik), transport equipment, locomotives, planes (PZL Mielec), ships, military engineering (including tanks, SPAAG systems), medicines (Polpharma, Polfa), food, clothes, glass, pottery (Bolesławiec), chemical products and others.
Poland is a part of the global tourism market with constantly increasing number of visitors, particularly after joining the European Union.[47] Tourism in Poland contributes to the country's overall economy. .The most popular cities are Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Lublin, Toruń, including the historic site of the Auschwitz concentration camp near Oświęcim.^ This publication offers "The most comprehensive survey of Germany's treatment of Jews and other minorities within Germany, including conditions in concentration camps.
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^ Donat survived the Warsaw Ghetto and concentration camps.
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Popular destinations include northeast Poland's Mazury lake district and Białowieża Forest. .Poland's main tourist offers are sightseeing within cities and out-of-town historical monuments, business trips, qualified tourism, agrotourism, and mountain hiking, among others.^ This publication offers "The most comprehensive survey of Germany's treatment of Jews and other minorities within Germany, including conditions in concentration camps.
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Poland is the 17th most visited country by foreign tourists in 2008.[48]

Education, science and technology

Education and science

Collegium Maius is the oldest building of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.
.The education of Polish society was a goal of rulers as early as the 12th century, and Poland soon became one of the most educated European countries.^ Poland will play an increasingly prominent role in the next decades, if only because it is one of the few European countries with surging birth rates.
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^ The second was the exceptionally strong position of the Polish nobility and gentry, which became the dominant class in society in the late Middle Ages and which prevented the development of an absolute monarchy.
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^ Poland was reunited in the early 14th century when Władysław Prince of Kujavia reasserted control over all the Polish territories, with the exception of Silesia, in the early 14th century and was crowned king of Poland as Władysław I in 1320.
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.The library catalogue of the Cathedral Chapter of Kraków dating back to 1110 shows that in the early 12th century Polish intellectuals had access to the European literature.^ Poland was reunited in the early 14th century when Władysław Prince of Kujavia reasserted control over all the Polish territories, with the exception of Silesia, in the early 14th century and was crowned king of Poland as Władysław I in 1320.
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.In 1364 in Kraków, Jagiellonian University, founded by King Casimir III, became one of Europe's great early universities.^ He succeeded his father in 1333 as KAZIMIERZ III "Wielki/the Great" King of Poland .
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^ He succeeded his father in 1333 as KAZIMIERZ III "Wielki/the Great" King of Poland , crowned [24/25] Apr 1333 in Gniezno Cathedral [472] .
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In 1773 King Stanisław August Poniatowski established his Commission of National Education (Komisja Edukacji Narodowej), the world's first state ministry of education.
Maria Skłodowska-Curie. In 1925 she established the first Radium Institute in Poland.[49]
.In the 19th and 20th centuries many Polish scientists worked abroad.^ Dzieciol dismisses the theory, prevalent among 19th century Polish historians, that the Piast family were of Norman origin [10] .
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^ ZYDOWSCY MIESZKANCY KROTOSZYNA, W XIX I XX W. / JEWISH INHABITANTS OF KROTOSZYN (KROTOSCHIN) IN THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY. Poznan: Wydwnictwo Bograf, 2004.
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The greatest was Maria Skłodowska-Curie, a physicist and chemist living in France. .In the first half of the 20th century, Poland was a flourishing center of mathematics.^ Poland, composed of all these areas and united under its Piast rulers, emerged as a stable political entity in the second half of the 10th century.
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^ SUBJECT(S): Jews -- Poland -- History -- 20th century.
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Outstanding Polish mathematicians formed the Lwów School of Mathematics and Warsaw School of Mathematics.
.Today Poland has more than a hundred tertiary education institutions; traditional universities to be found in its major cities, as well as technical, medical, and economic institutions, employing around 61,000 workers.^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
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^ His studies were based on a wealth of source material found in government and municipal archives, as well as in the archives of the Jewish communities...When the Nazis overran Poland, Balaban refused to flee.
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There are around 300 research and development institutes, with about 10,000 researchers. .In total, there are around 91,000 scientists in Poland today.^ PEOPLE Poland today is ethnically almost homogeneous (98% Polish), in contrast with the World War II period, when there were significant ethnic minorities--4.5 million Ukrainians, 3 million Jews, 1 million Belarusians, and 800,000 Germans.
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^ Of a population totaling about 8,900,000 in the German areas assigned to Poland, more than 7 million were Germans.
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Research and development

Technical University of Łódź is one of the scientific institutions that developed the Technology Transfer Centre.
According to Frost & Sullivan's Country Industry Forecast the country is becoming an interesting location for research and development investments.[50] Multinational companies such as: ABB, Delphi, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Hewlett–Packard, IBM, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola, Siemens and Samsung have set up research and development centres in Poland.[51] .Over 40 research and development centers and 4,500 researchers make Poland the biggest research and development hub in Central and Eastern Europe.^ Knoll, P. W. (1972) The Rise of the Polish Monarchy: Piast Poland in East Central Europe 1320-1370 (University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London), p.
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[50] .Companies chose Poland because of the availability of highly qualified labor force, presence of universities, support of authorities, and the largest market in Central Europe.^ Rowell, S. C. (1994) Lithuania Ascending: A Pagan Empire within East-Central Europe (Cambridge University Press), p.
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^ Knoll, P. W. (1972) The Rise of the Polish Monarchy: Piast Poland in East Central Europe 1320-1370 (University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London), p.
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[50]
According to KPMG report[52] 80% of Poland's current investors are contented with their choice and willing to reinvest. In 2006, Intel decided to double the number of employees in its research and development centre in Gdańsk.[51]
TP S.A. headquarters in Warsaw.
The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Poland's education as the 23rd best in the world, being neither significantly higher nor lower than the OECD average.[53]

Communications

The share of the telecom sector in the GDP is 4.4% (end of 2000 figure), compared to 2.5% in 1996. Nevertheless, despite high expenditures for telecom infrastructure (the coverage increased from 78 users per 1,000 inhabitants in 1989 to 282 in 2000).
The value of the telecommunication market is zl 38.2bn (2006), and it grew by 12.4% in 2007 PMR.[54] The coverage mobile cellular is over 1000 users per 1000 people (2007). Telephones—mobile cellular: 38.7 million (Onet.pl & GUS Report, 2007), telephones—main lines in use: 12.5 million (Telecom Team Report, 2005).

Culture

Famous people

Nicolaus Copernicus, astronomer
Polish culture has been influenced by both Eastern world and Western world influences. Today, these influences are evident in Polish architecture, folklore, and art. .Poland is the birthplace of some world famous individuals, including Pope John Paul II, Marie Skłodowska Curie,[55] Tadeusz Kościuszko, Kazimierz Pułaski, Józef Piłsudski, Nicolaus Copernicus[56] and Frederick Chopin.^ As soon as World War II ended and some forms of organized Jewish life were resumed in Poland, a series of historical societies sprang up in Lodz, Cracow, Bialystok, and Lublin.
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^ After the death in 1024 of Emperor Heinrich II, with whom Prince Bolesław had always had poor relations, Pope John XIX agreed to grant Bolesław a royal crown and he was crowned King of Poland in 1024.
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[57][58]
Frederick Chopin, composer
The character of Polish art has reflected world trends. Painter Jan Matejko included many significant historical events in his paintings. Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz was an example of a Polish Renaissance Man, along with the playwright, painter and poet Stanisław Wyspiański.

Music

Artists from Poland, including famous composers like Chopin or Penderecki and traditional, regionalized folk musicians, create a lively and diverse music scene, which even recognizes its own music genres, such as poezja śpiewana and disco polo. .As of 2006, Poland is one of the few countries in Europe where rock and hip hop dominate over pop music, while all kinds of alternative music genres are encouraged.^ By this time, he had reasserted control over all of Poland except Greater Poland and Silesia, and on one occasion styled himself "heir to the kingdom of Poland" [451] .
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Cuisine

A plateful of pierogi topped with fried onions.
Polish cuisine has both influenced and been influenced by the cuisines of surrounding countries. For centuries the Polish kitchen has been the arena for competing influences from France and Italy, while it also borrowed extensively from more exotic tables: Tartar, Armenian, Lithuanian, Cossack, Hungarian and Jewish.[61] It is rich in meat, especially chicken and pork, and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices, as well as different kinds of noodles the most notable of which are the pierogi. It is related to other Slavic cuisines in usage of kasza and other cereals. Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty. The traditional cuisine generally is demanding and Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to prepare and enjoy their festive meals, with some meals (like Christmas eve or Easter breakfast) taking a number of days to prepare in their entirety.
Notable foods in Polish cuisine include kiełbasa, barszcz, pierogi, flaczki (tripe soup), gołąbki, oscypek, pork chops, bigos, various potato dishes, a fast food sandwich (zapiekanka) and many more.[61] Traditional Polish desserts include pączki, gingerbread and others.

Architecture

Renaissance City Hall in Poznań
Polish cities and towns reflect the whole spectrum of European styles. Romanesque architecture is represented by St. Andrew's Church in Kraków, and characteristic for Poland Brick Gothic by St. Mary's Church in Gdańsk. Richly decorated attics and arcade loggias are the common elements of the Polish Renaissance architecture,[62][63] like in City Hall in Poznań. For some time the late renaissance, so called mannerism, most notably in Bishop’s Palace in Kielce, coexisted with the early baroque like in Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Kraków.
The second half of the 17th century is marked by baroque architecture. Side towers, visible in Branicki Palace in Białystok are typical for Polish baroque. The classical Silesian baroque is represented by the University in Wrocław. Profuse decorations of Branicki Palace in Warsaw are characteristic of rococo style. .The center of Polish classicism was Warsaw under the rule of the last Polish king Stanisław August Poniatowski.^ Polish Jews under Soviet rule, by B. D. Weinryb.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

[64] The Palace on the Water is the most notable example of Polish neoclassical architecture. Lublin Castle represents the Gothic Revival style in architecture, while the Izrael Poznański Palace in Łódź is an example of eclecticism.

Sports

Many sports are popular in Poland. Football (soccer) is the country's most popular sport, with a rich history of international competition. Track and field, basketball, boxing, ski jumping, fencing, handball, ice hockey, swimming, volleyball, and weightlifting are other popular sports. .The golden era of football in Poland occurred throughout the 1970s and went on until the early 1980s when the Polish national football team achieved their best results in any FIFA World Cup competitions finishing 3rd place in the 1974 and 1982 editions.^ Poland was reunited in the early 14th century when Władysław Prince of Kujavia reasserted control over all the Polish territories, with the exception of Silesia, in the early 14th century and was crowned king of Poland as Władysław I in 1320.
  • POLAND 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC fmg.ac [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Before Bolesław III Prince of Poland died in 1138, he arranged a division of his lands between his five surviving sons, which marked the dissolution of the centralised Polish state which was to persist until the early 14th century.
  • POLAND 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC fmg.ac [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The team won a gold medal in Football at the Summer Olympics and also won two silver medals in 1976 and 1992. Poland, along with Ukraine, will host the UEFA European Football Championship in 2012.
The Polish men's national volleyball team is ranked 5th in the world and the women's volleyball team is ranked 10th. .Mariusz Pudzianowski is a highly successful strongman competitor and has won more World's Strongest Man titles than any other competitor in the world, winning the event in 2008 for the fifth time.^ Please use our on-line search engine to browse the more than 5000 titles we have listed on line at DanWymanBooks.com where you will also find other lists of unusual Judaica titles.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The first Polish Formula One driver, Robert Kubica, has brought awareness of Formula One Racing to Poland. Poland has made a distinctive mark in motorcycle speedway racing thanks to Tomasz Gollob, a highly successful Polish rider. The national speedway team of Poland is one of the major teams in international speedway and is very successful in various competitions.
The Polish mountains are an ideal venue for hiking, skiing and mountain biking and attract millions of tourists every year from all over the world. Baltic beaches and resorts are popular locations for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and a broad-range of other water-themed sports.

International rankings

The following are links to international rankings of Poland.
Index Rank Countries reviewed
Human Development Index 2007 37th 177
OECD Working time 2nd 27
Index of Economic Freedom 2008 83rd 157
Privacy International Yearly Privacy ranking of countries, 2007 19th 45
Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2009 37th 175
UNICEF Child Well-being league table 14th 21
Networked Readiness Index 2008–2009 69th 134
OICA Automobile Production 18th 53

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ "Total population – At 1 January". Eurostat. 2009-01-01. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&language=en&pcode=tps00001&tableSelection=1&footnotes=yes&labeling=labels&plugin=1. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland, 2008" (PDF). Central Statistical Office (Poland). 28 July 2008. http://www.stat.gov.pl/cps/rde/xbcr/gus/PUBL_maly_rocznik_statystyczny_2008.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Poland". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=964&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=66&pr.y=16. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ [1]. The United Nations. Retrieved 05 October 2009.
  5. ^ http://unstats.un.org/unsd/geoinfo/gegn23wp48.pdf
  6. ^ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pl.html
  7. ^ NationMaster.com 2003–2007, Poland, Facts and figures
  8. ^ Teeple, J. B. (2002). Timelines of World History. Publisher: DK Adult.
  9. ^ "Jagiellon dynasty (European history)". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  10. ^ Davies (2007). Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe,1500–1700.. p.17.
  11. ^ "The Crimean Tatars and their Russian-Captive Slaves" (PDF). Eizo Matsuki, Mediterranean Studies Group at Hitotsubashi University.
  12. ^ "Poland – The 17th-century crisis". Britannica Online Encyclopedia.
  13. ^ (English) "Merkel honours Polish freedom struggle and Tiananmen victims". www.thelocal.de. AFP. http://www.thelocal.de/politics/20090604-19717.html. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  14. ^ "Real GDP growth in CEECs". Transitioneconomies.blogspot.com. 2006-05-28. http://transitioneconomies.blogspot.com/2006/05/real-gdp-growth-in-ceecs.html. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  15. ^ /chapt1.pdf "WHY POLAND?" (PDF). http://polisci.lsa.umich.edu/documents/jjackson /chapt1.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  16. ^ "Poland.pl - White Stork - About White Stork". Storks.poland.pl. http://storks.poland.pl/about_stork/index.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  17. ^ (Polish) "Wybrzeże Morza Bałtyckiego". www.zalewszczecinski.net. http://zalewszczecinski.net/akweny/wybrzeze-morza-baltyckiego. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  18. ^ a b c (Polish) "Strategia Bezpieczeństwa Narodowego RP" (PDF). www.wp.mil.pl. http://www.wp.mil.pl/pliki/File/zalaczniki_do_stron/SBN_RP.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  19. ^ A Short History of the Lipka Tatars of the White Horde Jakub Mirza Lipka
  20. ^ [2] The situation of modern language learning and teacing in Europe: Poland
  21. ^ UK lets in more Poles than there are in Warsaw
  22. ^ Tide turns as Poles end great migration
  23. ^ Polish Diaspora (Polonia) Worldwide
  24. ^ Centers of Polish Immigration in the World - USA and Germany
  25. ^ "Maly Rocznik Statystyczny Polski 2009" (in (Polish)) (PDF). http://www.stat.gov.pl/cps/rde/xbcr/gus/PUBL_oz_maly_rocznik_statystyczny_2009.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  26. ^ 94% Polaków wierzy w Boga
  27. ^ Weekly Mass Attendance of Catholics in Nations with Large Catholic Populations, 1980-2008 – World Values Survey (WVS)
  28. ^ (Polish) Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej (Centre for Public Opinion Research (Poland) CBOS). Komunikat z badań; Warszawa, Marzec 2005. Co łączy Polaków z parafią? Preface. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  29. ^ (Polish) Dr Zbigniew Pasek, Jagiellonian University, "Wyznania religijne". http://www.religioznawstwo.uj.edu.pl/syllabusy/pasek-wrwp.rtf. Retrieved 2007-09-15.  Further reading: Ustawa o gwarancjach wolności sumienia i wyznania z dnia 17 V 1989 z najnowszymi nowelizacjami z 1997 roku.
  30. ^ (Polish) Michał Tymiński, "Kościół Zielonoświątkowy". http://www.kz.pl/index.php?p=13&id=3&i=8. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  31. ^ (Polish) Dr. Paweł Borecki, "Opinia prawna dotycząca religii w szkole". Kateda Prawa Wyznaniowego Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. http://www.racjonalista.pl/kk.php/s,5534. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  32. ^ (Polish) Wirtualna Polska, Wiadomości. "Polacy przeciwni wliczaniu ocen z religii do średniej". http://wiadomosci.wp.pl/kat,9911,wid,9125933,wiadomosc.html?ticaid=1478d. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  33. ^ (Polish) Olga Szpunar, "„Dorośli chcą religii w szkole”". Gazeta Wyborcza Kraków. http://miasta.gazeta.pl/krakow/1,35798,4360977.html. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  34. ^ "Central Europe Risks Downgrades on Worsening Finances (Update1)". Bloomberg.com. 2009-09-21. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=apz_BEuHrNpI. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  35. ^ "Zloty to Gain, Says LBBW, Most Accurate Forecaster (Update1)". Bloomberg.com. 2009-10-09. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a7k1g_PkuROs#. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  36. ^ "Poland in the Lead", The Warsaw Voice, September 2002. Retrieved on August 11, 2007.}}
  37. ^ "Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency. News". www.paiz.gov.pl. http://www.paiz.gov.pl/nowosci/?id_news=1297&lang_id=12. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  38. ^ "GDP per capita in PPS". Eurostat. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/2-25062009-BP/EN/2-25062009-BP-EN.PDF. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  39. ^ Gazeta Wyborcza, "Szejnfeld: Wejście do strefy euro korzystne dla przedsiębiorców
  40. ^ Jan Cienski, "Poland Alters Stance on Euro
  41. ^ OECD Economic Outlook No. 82 - Poland
  42. ^ OECD Economic Outlook No. 82 - Poland
  43. ^ Zarobki w Warszawie w 2007 roku
  44. ^ Eurostat September 2007 - Euro area and EU27 unemployment down to 7.3%, 31 October, 2007
  45. ^ Eurostat February 2008 - Euro area unemployment stable at 7.1%
  46. ^ The Times: Tide turns as Poles end great migration
  47. ^ (English) "Travel And Tourism in Poland". www.euromonitor.com. http://www.euromonitor.com/Travel_And_Tourism_in_Poland. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  48. ^ (English) "UNTWO World Tourism Barometer, Vol.5 No.2". www.tourismroi.com. http://www.tourismroi.com/Content_Attachments/27670/File_633513750035785076.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  49. ^ (English) Richard Francis Mould (1993). A century of X-rays and radioactivity in medicine: with emphasis on photographic records of the early years. p. 19. ISBN 07-50302-24-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=IXPz7bVR7g0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=A+century+of+x-rays+and+radioactivity+in+medicine:&hl=En#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  50. ^ a b c Newswire Poland Emerges as the European R&D Hub Despite Favorable Conditions in Asia Pacific
  51. ^ a b Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency Poland - R&D centre
  52. ^ KPMG, Why Poland?
  53. ^ (English) "Range of rank on PISA 2006 science scale" (PDF). www.oecd.org. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/8/39700724.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  54. ^ (English) "Key data on IT and telecoms market in Poland, 2004-2006". www.itandtelecompoland.com. Archived from the original on 2006-11-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20061108212651/http://www.sat.org.au/reviews/articles_pl_middle_ages.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  55. ^ (French) "Maria Sklodowska. La jeunesse". mariecurie.science.gouv.fr. http://mariecurie.science.gouv.fr/portrait/portrait1_1.php. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  56. ^ (English) "Nicolaus Copernicus". www.britannica.com. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/136591/Nicolaus-Copernicus. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  57. ^ (French) Rey Alain (1993). Le petit Robert 2 : ( dictionnaire universel des noms propres, alphabétique et analogique ). INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : L 22712: Le Robert, Paris, FRANCE. ISBN 2-85036-210-7. 
  58. ^ (English) Michael Kennedy, ed (2004). The Concise Oxford dictionary of music. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860884-5.  p. 141
  59. ^ (Polish) Koca, B. (2006). "Polish Literature - The Middle Ages (Religious writings)". Archived from the original on 2006-11-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20061108212651/http://www.sat.org.au/reviews/articles_pl_middle_ages.htm. Retrieved 10 December 2006. 
  60. ^ (English) Zdzislaw Najder (1998). "Profiles - Joseph Conrad". www.culture.pl. http://www.culture.pl/en/culture/artykuly/os_conrad_joseph. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  61. ^ a b (English) "Polish regional table". www.pl-info.net. http://www.pl-info.net/poland/culture/cuisine/. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  62. ^ (English) "Szydłowiec". www.szydlowiec.pl. p. 9. http://www.szydlowiec.pl/grafika/index/szydl1.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  63. ^ Many designs imitated the arcaded courtyard and arched loggias of the Wawel palace. (English) Michael J. Mikoś. "RENAISSANCE CULTURAL BACKGROUND". www.staropolska.pl. p. 9. http://www.staropolska.pl/ang/renaissance/Mikos_renaissance/Cultural_r.html. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  64. ^ (English) John Stanley (March-June 2004). "Literary Activities and Attitudes in the Stanislavian Age in Poland (1764–1795): A Social System?". findarticles.com. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3763/is_200403/ai_n9363971/?tag=content;col1. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 

External links

General
Culture
Travel

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Poland – that is to say, nowhere.
— Alfred Jarry
Poland is a country in Central Europe.

Sourced

  • Quant à l'action qui va commencer, elle se passe en Pologne, c’est-à-dire nulle part.
    • As to the action which is about to begin, it takes place in Poland – that is to say, nowhere.
    • Introduction to the premier of Ubu Roi in Paris in 1896. Quoted in Jarry, Alfred; transl. Beverly Keith and Gershon Legman (2003). Ubu Roi. Dover Publications.  
  • Un polonais – c'est un charmeur; deux polonais – une bagarre; trois polonais, eh bien, c'est la question polonaise.
    • One Pole is a charmer; two Poles – a brawl; three Poles – well, this is the Polish Question.
    • Voltaire, quoted in Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford University Press.  
  • We shall soon have the scenes of the Polish Diets and elections re-acted here, and in not many years the fate of Poland may be that of United America.
    • Charles Pinckney, speech to the U.S. Congress in 1800 about presidential elections. Quoted in Vile, John R. (2005). The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America's Founding. ABC-CLIO.  
  • With respect to us, Poland might be, in fact, considered as a country in the moon.
    • Edmund Burke, in a parliamentary debate about Britain's war against France. Quoted in Cobbett, William; John Wright, Thomas Curson Hansard (1817). The parliamentary history of England, from the earliest period to the year 1803. T.C. Hansard for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown.  
  • Через труп белой Польши лежит путь к мировому пожару.
    • (Cherez trup beloy Pol'shi lezhit put' k mirovomu pozharu.)
    • Over the corpse of White Poland lies the road to world-wide conflagration.
    • Mikhail Tukhachevsky, order of Russian invasion of Poland in 1920. Quoted in Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford University Press.  

Unsourced

  • I judged the Poles by their enemies. And I found it was an almost unfailing truth that their enemies were the enemies of magnanimity and manhood. If a man loved slavery, if he loved usury, if he loved terrorism and all the trampled mire of materialistic politics, I have always found that he added to these affections the passion of a hatred of Poland. She could be judged in the light of that hatred; and the judgment has proved to be right.

See also

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Poland (disambiguation).
The Old Market Square in Poznan
Location
noframe
Flag
Image:Pl-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Warsaw
Government Republic
Currency Złoty (PLN)
Area 312,685 km²
Population 38,636,000 (2006 est.)
Language Polish
Religion Roman Catholic 93%, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and other
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code +48
Internet TLD .pl
Time Zone UTC+1
Poland [1] (Polish: Polska), is a large country in Central Europe. It has a long Baltic Sea coastline and is bordered by Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast), Slovakia, and Ukraine.

Understand

History

The first cities in today's Poland, Kalisz and Elbląg on the Amber Route to the Baltic Sea, were mentioned by Roman writers in the first century AD, but the first Polish settlement in Biskupin dates even further back to the 7th century BC.
Poland was first united as a country in the first half of the 10th century, and officially adopted Catholicism in 966 AD. The first capital was in the city of Gniezno, but a century later the capital was moved to Kraków, where it remained for half a millenium.
Poland experienced its golden age from 14th till 16th century, under the reign of king Casimir the Great, and the Jagiellonian dynasty, whose rule extended from the Baltic to the Black and Adriatic seas. In the 16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the largest country in Europe; the country attracted significant numbers of foreign migrants, including Germans, Jews, Armenians and the Dutch, thanks to the freedom of confession guaranteed by the state and the atmosphere of religious tolerance (rather exceptional in Europe at the time of the Holy Inquisition).
Under the rule of the Vasa dynasty, the capital was moved to Warsaw in 1596. During the 17th and the 18th centuries, the nobility increasingly asserted its independence of the monarchy; combined with several exhausting wars, this greatly weakened the Commonwealth. Responding to the need for reform, Poland was the 1st country in Europe (and the 2nd in the world, after the US) to pass a constitution. The constitution of May 3rd, 1791 was the key reform among many progressive but belated attempts to strengthen the country during the second half of the 18th century.
With the country in political disarray, various sections of Poland were subsequently occupied by its neighbors, Russia, Prussia and Austria, in three coordinated "partitions" of 1772 and 1793, and 1795. After the last partition and a failed uprising, Poland ceased to exist as a country for 123 years.
However, this long period of foreign domination was met with fierce resistance. During the Napoleonic Wars, a semi-autonomous Duchy of Warsaw arose, before being erased from the map again in 1813. Further uprisings ensued, such as the 29 November uprising of 1830-1831 (mainly in Russian Poland), the 1848 Revolution (mostly in Austrian and Prussian Poland), and 22 January 1863. Throughout the occupation, Poles retained their sense of national identity, and kept fighting the subjugation of the three occupying powers.
Warsaw in 1900s
Warsaw in 1900s
Poland returned to the map of Europe with the end of World War I, officially regaining its independence on November 11th, 1918. Soon, by 1920-21, the newly-reborn country got into territorial disputes with Czechoslovakia and, especially, newly Soviet Russia. This was further complicated by a hostile Weimar Germany to the west that strongly resented the forced annexation of portions of Prussian territories, (such as West Prussia), and the detachment of Danzig (G'dansk) as a free city, in the west and north. This put Poland in a precarious position with potential enemies facing her from all three sides. However, the Soviet onslaught was defeated outside of Warsaw on August 10-15, 1920, in what is remembered today as the Miracle at the Vistula (Polish: Cud nad Wisłą) - effectively ending major warfare and the spread of the communism into the rest of Europe for several decades until after the end of the Second World War.

World War II

World War II officially began with a coordinated attack on Poland's borders by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Only a few weeks prior to the start of WWII, the Soviet Union and Germany had signed a pact of non-aggression, which described the division of independent central and eastern European nations. Germany attacked Poland from the west on September 1, 1939, and the Soviet Union attacked Poland from the east on September 17, 1939, effectively starting the fourth partition, causing the recently-reestablished Polish Republic to cease to exist. Hitler used the issue of Danzig (modern day G'dansk) and German nationalism to try to trigger a war with Poland in much same way he used the Sudetenland to conquer the Czechs.
Many of WWII's most infamous war crimes were committed by both the Soviets and Nazis on Polish territory, with the latter committing the vast majority of them. Polish civilians opposed to either side's rule were rounded up, tortured, and executed. The Nazis established concentration and death camps on Polish soil, where many millions of Europeans were ruthlessly murdered; of these Auschwitz is perhaps the most infamous.
The Soviets rounded up and executed the cream of the crop of Polish leadership in the Katyń Massacre of 1940. About 22,000 of Polish military and political leaders, business owners, and intelligentsia were murdered in the mass massacre, approved by the Soviet Politburo, including Stalin and Beria.
Due to WWII, Poland lost about 20% of its population, and the Polish economy was completely ruined. Nearly all major cities were destroyed and with them the history of centuries was gone. After the war Poland was forced to become a Soviet satellite country, following the Yalta and Potsdam agreements between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. To this day these events are viewed by many Poles as an act of betrayal by the Allies. Poland's territory was significantly reduced and shifted westward at the expense of Germany. Thus the native Polish populations from the former Polish territories in the east, now annexed by the Soviet Union, were expelled by force and replaced the likewise expelled German populations in the west and in the north of the country. this resulted in uprooting of over 10 million people.

Communism (People's Republic of Poland)

The Communist era (1945-1989) is a controversial topic. After World War II, Poland officially became a Socialist Republic, and adopted a strong pro-Soviet posture from its inception. Between 1945-1953, pro-Stalinist leaders conducted periodical purges.
After the bloody Stalinist era of 1945-1953, Poland was comparatively tolerant and progressive in comparison to other Eastern Bloc countries. But strong economic growth in the post-war period alternated with serious recessions in 1956, 1970, 1976, resulting in labour turmoil over dramatic inflation as well as shortages of goods. Ask older Poles to tell you about communism and you'll often hear stories of empty store shelves where sometimes the only thing available for purchase was vinegar. You'll hear stories about backroom deals to get meat or bread, such as people trading things at the post office just to get ham for a special dinner.
In 1980, the anti-communist trade union "Solidarity" (Polish: Solidarność) [2] became a strong force of opposition to the government, organizing labor strikes, and demanding freedom of press and democratic representation. The communist government responded by organizing a military junta, led by general Wojciech Jaruzelski, and imposing martial law on December 13, 1981; it lasted until July 22, 1983. During this time, thousands of people were detained. Phone calls were monitored by the government, independent organizations not aligned with the Communists were deemed illegal and members were arrested, access to roads were restricted, the borders were sealed, ordinary industries were placed under military management, and workers who failed to follow orders faced the threat of a military court. Solidarity was the most famous organization to be de-legalized, and its members faced losing their jobs and imprisonment.
But this internecine conflict, and ensuing economic disaster, greatly weakened the role of the communist party. Solidarity was legalized again, and soon led the country to the first free elections in 1989, in which the communist government was finally removed from power. This inspired a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions throughout the Warsaw Pact block.

Contemporary Poland (Third Republic of Poland)

Nowadays, Poland is a democratic country with a stable, robust economy, a member of NATO since 1999 and the European Union since 2004. There has also been considerable progress at reconciliation with neighboring economic giant Germany but much ground needs to be covered in terms of attitudes towards former Soviet-Russia. Poland has also successfully joined the border-less Europe Agreement with an open frontier to Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia and is on track to adopt the Euro currency in a few years time. Poland's seemingly century long dream of rejoining Central Europe as a respected independent nation at peace with all its neighbors has finally been achieved!

Holidays

Note that Catholic religious holidays are widely observed in Poland. Stores, malls, and restaurants are likely to be closed or have very limited business hours on Easter, All Saints Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas.
  • Easter (Wielkanoc, Niedziela Wielkanocna), a moveable feast that happens in March or April. Like Christmas, it is primarily a meaningful Christian holiday. On the Saturday before Easter, churches offer special services in anticipation of the holiday, including blessing of food; children especially like to attend these services, bringing small baskets of painted eggs and candy to be blessed. On Easter Sunday itself, practicing Catholics go to the morning mass, followed by a celebratory breakfast made of foods blessed the day before. On Easter Sunday, shops, malls, and restaurants are commonly closed.
  • Lany Poniedziałek, or Śmigus Dyngus, is the Monday after Easter, and also a holiday. It's the day of an old tradition with pagan roots: groups of kids and teens wandering around, looking to soak each other with water. Often groups of boys will try to catch groups of girls, and vice versa; but innocent passers-by are not exempt from the game, and are expected to play along. Common 'weapons' include water guns and water baloons, but children, especially outdoors and in the countryside, like to use buckets and have no mercy on passers-by.
  • Constitution Day falls on May 3rd, in rememberance of the Constitution of May 3rd, 1791. The document itself was a highly progressive attempt at political reform, and it was Europe's first constitution (and world's second, after the US). Following the partitions, the original Constitution became a highly poignant symbol of national identity and ideals. Today, May 3rd is a national holiday, often combined with the May 1 (Labor Day) into a larger celebration.
  • All Saints Day (Wszystkich Świętych), 1st of November. In the afternoon and evening, people visit graves of their relatives and light candles. After dusk cemeteries glow with thousands of lights and offer a very picturesque scene. If you have the chance, be sure to visit a cemetery to witness the holiday. Many restaurants, malls, and stores will either be closed or close earlier than usual on this holiday.
  • National Independence Day (Narodowe Święto Niepodległości) is a public holiday celebrated every year on 11 November to commemorate the anniversary of Poland's assumption of independent statehood in 1918 after 123 after being partitioned by Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia. As with most other holidays, many businesses will be closed on this day.
  • Christmas Eve (Wigilia), December 24th. One of the most important days of the year, and the most important feast. This is the day when everything closes down as people go home to celebrate Christmas with friends and family. It's also one of the most interesting holidays due to the customs. Typically, Poles will prepare a twelve (representing the twelve apostles) course vegetarian meal and will begin eating after they see the first star in the night sky. Rest assured, even if the sky is cloudy, Poles will find a star. They also leave an extra chair and place set at the table just in case anyone (even a stranger) stops by for dinner. In Poland, Wigilia is more important than Christmas Day, but also a working day - shops are usually open till early afternoon.
  • New Year's Eve (Sylwester) December 31st. One of the party nights of the year. Consider yourself extremely lucky if you can get into even a decent club as most clubs will be packed. Most clubs will sell tickets in advance, but you'll probably have to dish out at least 150 PLN, and that's just for entrance and maybe a couple of drinks. If you're a little more flexible, you might be able to get into non-club parties. Otherwise, there are always the firework displays to entertain you.

Regions

Poland's administrative regions are called województwa, abbreviated "woj.". The word is roughly equivalent to a duchy or a district. Some English dictionaries use the word voivodship to describe them, but the word is exceedingly rare, and likely not to be understood.
Polish regions
Polish regions
Central Poland (Łódzkie, Mazowieckie, Wielkopolskie, and Kujawsko-Pomorskie)
A varied landscape and the location of Europe's largest natural forest, profusion of wildlife, bird-watcher's paradise, inland dunes, the enormous cityscapes of Warsaw and Łódź.
Northern Poland (Pomeranian (Pomorskie), Warmian-Masurian (Warmińsko-Mazurskie), and West Pomeranian (Zachodnipomorskie))
Home to Poland's attractive seaside; sandy beaches with dunes and cliffs; lakes, rivers and forests.
Western Poland (Lubuskie, Lower Silesian (Dolnośląskie), and Opolskie)
Eastern Poland (Podlaskie and Lublin (Lubelskie))
Unique primeval forests and picturesque backwaters (e.g. Biebrza river) with protected bird species make the region increasingly interesting for tourists.
Southern Poland (Małopolskie, Silesian (Śląskie), Subcarpathian (Podkarpackie), and Świętokrzyskie)
Home to spectacular mountain ranges, the world's oldest operating salt mines, fantastic landscapes, caves, historical monuments and cities. The magnificent medieval city of Kraków is a major metropolitan center.

Countryside

The countryside throughout Poland is lovely and relatively unspoiled. Poland has a variety of regions with beautiful landscapes and small-scale organic and traditional farms. Travellers can choose different types of activities such as bird watching, cycling or horseback riding.
Culturally, you can visit and/or experience many churches, museums, ceramic and traditional basket-making workshops, castle ruins, rural centers and many more. A journey through the Polish countryside gives you a perfect opportunity to enjoy and absorb local knowledge about its landscape and people.

Cities

There are a lot of big cities in Poland that are worth seeing. Most of them have a flourishing medieval history.
  • Warszawa - the biggest city and capital of Poland, and one of the EU's thriving new business centers. The old town, demolished during World War II, has been rebuilt in a style inspired by classicist paintings of Canalletto.
  • Gdańsk - one of the old, beautiful European cities, right on the Baltic coast. Although it was destroyed in World War II, it has been perfectly rebuilt. The city is a good departure point to the many sea resorts along the north coast.
  • Kraków - the "cultural capital" of Poland, and its historical capital during its formative years in the Middle Ages. In modern times Krakow became one of the largest tourism centers in Europe. The historical center is filled with old churches and many monuments, the largest European medieval market-place, and plenty of magical pubs and cafes; all attract millions of visitors from around the world each year. Its location is a great starting point for trips of any kind.
  • Łódź - once renowned for its textile industries, the "Polish Manchester" has the longest walking street in Europe, the Piotrkowska Street, full of picturesque 19th-century architecture.
  • Poznań - the merchant city, considered to be the birthplace of the Polish nation and church (along with Gniezno). Presents a mixture of architecture from all epoques : from pre-romanesque to modern buildings. Vibrant night life and many historical monuments make it an interesting stop for tourists.
  • Szczecin - one of the most important cities in Pomerania since the Middle Ages. An enormous harbour, monuments and old parks in the centre, museums, etc.
  • Toruń - one of the capitals of Kujawsko-Pomorskie and after Kraków the city with the most sites to visit in Poland. It is famous for its son Nicolaus Copernicus and the its medival gingerbread called katarzynki.
  • Wrocław - the old Silesian city; it was also destroyed during World War II and successfully rebuilt. Placed on 12 islands, it has more bridges than any other European town except Venice, Amsterdam and Hamburg (which has more than the other two combined).
Map of Poland
Map of Poland

Visas

Poland is a member of the Schengen Agreement. For EU, EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Swiss citizens, an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. In no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Others will generally need a passport for entry.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: Not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union.
Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration and Customs at the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks. Travel between a Schengen member and a non-Schengen country will result in the normal border checks. Note that regardless of whether you travelling within the Schengen area or not, some airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.
Keep in mind that the counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa.
As of January 2010 only the citizens of the following non-EU/EEA/Swiss countries do not need a visa for entry into the Schengen Area; note that they must not stay longer than three months in half a year and must not work while in the EU: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.
Note that
  • while British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore eligible for unlimited access to the Schengen Area,
  • British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom as well as British Overseas citizens and British protected persons in general do require visas.
However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.
Further note that
(*) Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian citizens need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel and
(**) Serbian citizens with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (Serbs residing in Kosovo) still do need a visa.
Regular visas are issued for travellers going to Poland for tourism and business purposes. Regular visas allow for one or multiple entries into Polish territory and stay in Poland for maximum up to 90 days and are issued for the definite period of stay. When applying for a visa, please indicate the number of days you plan to spend in Poland and a date of intended arrival. Holders of regular visas are not authorized to work.
Ukrainian citizens do not require a separate visa for transit through Poland if they hold a Schengen or UK visa.

By plane

Most of Europe's major airlines fly to and from Poland. Poland's national carriers are LOT Polish Airlines [3]. Besides there are several low cost airlines that fly to Poland including WizzAir [4], EasyJet [5], Germanwings [6], Norwegian [7] and Ryanair [8].
Apart from direct air connections from many European cities, there are also direct flights from United States and Canada: LOT operates direct flights from Toronto, New York and Chicago, as well as non-direct flights from other cities through the Star Alliance program.
International airlines fly mainly to Warsaw (WAW) [9]. Other major airports in Poland are: Kraków (KRK) [10], Katowice (KTW) [11], Gdańsk (GDN) [12], Poznań (POZ) [13], Wrocław (WRO) [14], Szczecin (SZZ) [15], Rzeszów (RZE) [16], Bydgoszcz (BZG) [17] and Łódź (LCJ) [18].
As the number of flights and passengers has significantly increased since 1990, new terminal has been opened at the Warsaw Chopin airport which will significantly increase the airport's capacity. Also airports in Katowice, Kraków, Poznań, Wrocław and Łódź have been expanded to increase their standards and capacity.

By train

Direct connections [19] with:
  • Berlin, EuroCity "Berlin-Warszawa-Express (BWE)", 3 trains per day, 6 hours + 1 train per day Berlin - Poznan, 3 hours, EuroCity "Wawel" to Krakow, every day, 10 hours
  • Hamburg, EuroNight "Jan Kiepura", everyday, 15 hours
  • Vilnius, Night Train "Balti", 10 hours - temporarily operated by bus
  • Kiev, Night Train, 16 hours
  • Vienna, Night Train "Chopin", every day, 9 hours, EuroCity "Sobieski", everyday, 6 hours, EuroCity "Polonia", every day, 8 hours
  • Prague, Night Train "Chopin", EuroCity "Praha", every day, 9.5 hours
  • Moscow, Night Train "Ost-West", every day, 20.5 hours

By car

You can enter Poland by one of many roads linking Poland with the neighboring countries. Since Poland's entry to the Schengen Zone, checkpoints on border crossings with other EU countries have been removed.
However, the queues on the borders with Poland's non-EU neighbors, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, are still large and in areas congested with truck traffic it can take up to several hours to pass. You can check the current waiting times on Polish Border Guard page [20] (wjazd - entry, wyjazd - exit, osob. - passenger cars, autobus. - coaches, ciężar. - lorries).

By bus

There are many international bus lines that connect major Polish cities, with most of major European ones.
  • PEKAES [21] part of Eurolines [22] (from: A, BY, B, HR, CZ, DK, GB, EST, F, D, GR, NL, I, LV, LT, N, RUS, E, S, CH, UA), +48 22 6269352, +48 22 6522321, online reservation
  • Orbis [23] (from: B, BG, F, GR, E, NL, D, CH, GB), +48 22 6227356, +48 22 5001500, +48 22 5001550 See also [24]
  • Polka Service [25] (from: F), +48 22 8275050
  • Gullivers [26] (from: D), D +49 30 31102110, Intl +80048554837
  • Visitor [27] from London (their buses feature numbered seats)
  • PPKS Warszawa [28] +48 22 7208383 (from: BG, D, LT, S, UA)
  • Certain routes are operated under the EuroLines [29] brand
  • Inter-bus [30]
  • From Sweden: Ystad (7-9 hours, 215 zł) by Unity Line [31]; Karlskrona (10 hours, 140-220 zł) by Stena Line [32]; Nynäshamn (18 hours, 230-270 zł), Visby (13.5 hours, 170 zł), Ystad (9.5 hours, 230 zł) by Polferries [33]

By yacht

There are more and more ports along Polish coast, at least at every river mouth. Bigger marinas are located in Szczecin, Łeba, Hel, Gdynia and Gdańsk. Gdansk, has two yacht docks one next to the old time which is usally quick overloaded and one in the national sailing center 17 km. next to the city center close to the baltic sea. The newest yacht dock will be located on the longest woeden peer in Sopot and will be ready in 2011. Although there are many sailors in Poland, there is still room for improvement which has been seen by the regional government.

By thumb

If you are an adventurous and open-minded person, you can get very quick with the thumbs. The fastest places to be taken at are the main roads between Gdansk - Warsaw- Poznan and Crakow.

Get around

Polish road infrastructure is well-developed but poorly maintained and lacks badly-needed highways. Public transport is quite plentiful, both buses and trains.

By train

In Poland, the national railway carrier is PKP (Polskie Koleje Państwowe) [35].
Tickets are quite economical, but travel conditions reflect the fact that majority of railworks and wagons are from couple of years ago. You can expect a fast, clean and modern connection on the new IC (InterCity) routes, such as Warszawa - Katowice, Warszawa - Kraków, Warszawa - Poznań and Poznań - Szczecin. Because the price diffrent between the second and first class is not so big, but it is a big jump in the comfort so it is advisable to pay this extra par procent.

Train types

  • Ex (Express) / IC (InterCity) / EC (EuroCity) - express trains between metro areas, and major tourist destinations. Reservation usually required.
  • TLK (Tanie Linie Kolejowe) - discount tourism trains, slower but cheaper than the above. Not many routes, but very good alternative for budget travellers. Reservation usually required.
  • Pospieszny - long distance, priority trains, stop only in cities and large towns. You can also buy a weekend Bilet Podróżnika
  • Osobowy - ordinary passenger train; usually slow, stops everywhere. You can also buy a weekend turystyczny ticket, or a week-long pass.
  • Podmiejski - suburban commuter train.
  • Narrow guage - Poland still retains a number of local narrow-gauged railways. Some of them are oriented towards tourism, and operate only in summer or on weekends, while others remain active as everyday municipal rail.

Tickets

It's probably easiest to buy InterCity / Express tickets online (see links below).
Tickets for any route can generally be purchased at any station. For a foreigner buying tickets this can prove to be a frustrating experience, since only cashiers at international ticket offices (in major cities) can be expected to speak multiple languages. It is recommended that you buy your train tickets at a travel agency or online to avoid communication difficulties and long queues.
It may be easier to buy in advance during peak seasons (eg. end of holiday period, New Year, etc.) for those trains where place reservation is obligatory.
Please note, that ticket valid for IC/EC/express/etc. trains are not valid for local/regional trains. If you change trains between InterCity and Regional you have to buy two tickets. It connects all major cities, but it is also good choice to get to many small towns on internal routes.
  • PKP timetable search [36] (in English, but station names of course in Polish)
  • PKP [37] information: +48 22 9436, international information +48 22 5116003
  • PKP Intercity [38] serves express connections (tickets can be bought online [39] but you'd need to carry the ticket printout with you on the train)
  • Polrail Service [40] offers a guide to rail travel in Poland and online purchase of tickets and rail passes for Polish and international trains to neighboring countries.
Travellers under 26 years are entitled to 26% discount on travel fare on Intercity's TLK, EX and IC-category trains, excluding the price of seat reservation.
In some Ex and IC trains(but not on main routes to Warsaw) you can buy cheap "Last Minute" ticket (30 min. before departure time). Prices from 13 PLN.

By bus

Poland has a very well developed network of private charter bus companies, which tend to be cheaper, faster, and more comfortable than travel by rail. For trips under 100km, charter buses are far more popular than trains. However, they are more difficult to use for foreigners, because they are definitely oriented towards locals.
Each city and town has a central bus station (formerly known as PKS), where the various bus routes pick up passengers; you can find their schedules there. Tickets are usually purchased directly from the driver, but sometimes it's also possible to buy them at the station.
Buses are also a viable choice for long-distance and international travel; however, be aware that long-distance schedules are usually more limited than for trains.
Speed limits in Poland
Speed limits in Poland
Polish road network contains fewer highways, and more standard two-lane roads, than is common in western European countries; some of these roads are far below capacity for the volume of travel they're experiencing.
Travel between large cities is usually quite comfortable; as long as you keep by the main roads, you should get to where you want fairly easy. When travelling between smaller cities or towns, not on the main highways, you will routinely encounter slow moving vehicles, and will have to overtake them.
Poles drive aggressively: they assert their right-of-way, routinely disrespect speed limits, and overtake at less-than-safe distances. When driving in the countryside, other drivers may expect you to facilitate overtaking, by evading slightly towards the edge of the pavement (whether they're overtaking you, or sometimes when approaching from the opposite direction). This is a custom, not a law, so you are not obliged to follow it. Before you do it, make sure there is a hard shoulder and it is safe to do so.
Some peculiarities of driving in Poland include:
  • Speed limits are: 50km/h in city (60 km/h 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.), 90 km/h outside city, 100 km/h if directions are separated, 100 km/h on single carriage way car-only roads (white car on the blue sign), 110 km/h on dual carriageway car-only roads, and 130 km/h on highways (autostrada).
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence. BAC limits are: up to 0.02% - not prosecuted by law, up to 0.05% - an offence, above 0.05% - criminal offence (up to 2 years in jail). Despite the strict laws, DUI's are a serious problem in Poland. Be especially careful during (and after) national holidays and on the small roads in the countryside.
  • There is no right turn at a red light. Exception is when there is green arrow signal in which case you still have to come to a complete stop and yield to pedestrians and cross traffic (although the stop rule is seldom respected by Polish drivers). All above does not apply if right turning traffic has separate (red-yellow-green) signals.
  • On T-crossing or crossroads without traffic signs, traffic at the right always has right-of-way unless your road is a priority route, shown by a road sign displaying a yellow diamond with a white outline.
  • Driving with lights on is obligatory at all times.
Some drivers flash their headlights to warn those approaching from the opposite direction of a police control nearby (you are likely to encounter this custom in many other countries). So if you see somebody flashing their headlights, it doesn't necessarily mean there is something wrong with your car. A "thank you" between drivers can be expressed by waving your hand or, when the distance is too great, by turning on blinkers or hazard lights for one or two blinks.
Hazard lights can be used to indicate failures, but also as a way of showing that the vehicle is rapidly slowing down, or alredy stopped in a traffic jam on a highway.
On the gas stations PB means unleaded gasoline and ON diesel.

By taxi

Use only those that are associated in a "corporation" (look for phone number and a logo on the side and on the top). The unaffiliated drivers are likely to cheat and charge you much more. Be especially wary of these taxis near international airports and train stations (but then, shouldn't one be wary of them everywhere?). They are called the "taxi mafia".
Because of travellers advice like this (and word of mouth), taxis with fake phone numbers can be seen on the streets, although recently this seems to have decreased, possibly the police have taken notice. Fake phone numbers are easily detected by locals and cater for the unsuspecting traveller. The best advice is to ask your Polish friends or your hotel concierge for the number of the taxi company they use and call them 10-15 minutes in advance (there's no additional cost). That's why locals will only hail taxis on the street in an emergency.
You can also find phone numbers for taxis in any city on the Internet, on municipal and newspaper websites. Some taxi companies, particularly in larger towns provide for a cab to be ordered online or with a text message. There are also stands, where you can call for their particular taxi for free, often found at train stations.
If you negotiate the fare with the driver you risk ending up paying more than you should. Better make sure that the driver turns the meter on and sets it to the appropriate fare (taryfa):
  • Taryfa 1: Daytime within city limits
  • Taryfa 2: Nights, Sundays and holidays within city limits
  • Taryfa 3: Daytime outside city limits
  • Taryfa 4: Nights, Sundays and holidays outside city limits
The prices would vary slightly between the taxi companies and between different cities, and there is a small fixed starting fee added on top of the mileage fare.
When crossing city limits (for example, when traveling to an airport located outside the city), the driver should change the tariff at the city limit.
Every taxi driver is obliged to issue a receipt when asked (at the end of the ride). You can inquire driver about a receipt (rachunek) before you get into cab, and resign if his reaction seems suspicious or if he refuses.

By bicycle

Bicycling is a good method to get a good impression of the scenery in Poland. The roads can sometimes be in quite a bad state, but mostly they are ok. The car drivers are not as careless as they are said to be. Especially in the south you can find some nice places for bicycling; e.g. along the rivers Dunajec (from Zakopane to Szczawnica) or Poprad (Krynica to Stary Sacz) or Lower Silesia (Zlotoryja - Swierzawa - Jawor).

By thumb

Hitchhiking in Poland is (on average) OK. Yes, it's slower than its Western (Germany) and Eastern (Lithuania) neighbors, but your waiting times will be quite acceptable!
Not necessarily a thumb but waving an extended hand is a much better recognized sign that you need a lift in Poland. Use a cardboard sign and write the city name on it.
Do not try to catch a lift where it is forbidden to stop. Look on the verge of the road and there should be a dashed line painted there, not a solid one.
As in any country, you should be careful, there are several reports of Polish hitchhiking trips gone awry, so take basic precautions and you should be as right as rain.

Talk

The official language of Poland is Polish.
Foreign visitors should be aware that virtually all official information will usually be in Polish only. Street signs, directions, information signs, etc. are routinely monolingual, as are schedules and announcements at train and bus stations (airports seem to be an exception to this). When it comes to information signs in museums, churches, etc., signs in multiple languages are typically found only in popular tourist destinations.
Most of the young people and teenagers know English well enough. Since English is taught at a very young age (some start as early as 4 years old), only Poles who grow up in isolated towns or communities will not be given English lessons. Older Poles, however, especially those outside the main cities, will speak little or no English at all. However, it's highly possible that they speak either German or Russian which were taught in schools as the main foreign languages until the 1990s. Russian has now largely been abandoned, but German is still taught in many schools throughout the country.
A few phrases go a long way in Poland. Contrary to some other tourist destinations where natives scoff at how bad a foreigner's use of the native language is, Polish people generally love it when foreigners learn Polish, even if it's only a few phrases. Younger Poles will also jump at the chance to practice their English. Be advised that if you are heard speaking English in a public setting you will be glanced; people will listen in to practice their understanding of English.
Do your homework and try to learn how to pronounce the names of places. Polish has a very regular pronunciation, so this shouldn't be a problem. Although there are a few sounds unknown to most English speakers, mastering every phoneme is not required to achieve intelligibility; it's rather about catching the spirit.
Poland's history has made it a very homogenous society today, in stark contrast to its long history of ethnoreligious diversity; almost 99% of the population today is ethnic Polish; before World War II it was only 69% with large minorities, mainly Ukrainians, Belorussians, and Germans and less than two-thirds Roman Catholic with large Orthodox and Protestant minorities as well as having the largest Jewish community in Europe that composed 10% of Poland's population at the time. Outside of the very touristy areas of the major cities, you'll find that there are few, if any, foreigners. Most of the immigrants in Poland (notably Ukrainians and Vietnamese) stay in the major cities for work.

Learn

Studying in Poland can be an incredible experience for foreigners. Foreign students can finance a B.A. education for as low as 24,000 zł and a M.A. education for as low as 20,000 zł.
There are many international schools and great universities in Poland and of them the Jagiellonian University [41] in particular is renowned as member of the Coimbra Group and is also a core member of the Europaeum. The University of Warsaw is the top ranked public university in Poland. National Film School in Łódź is the most notable academy.
Private universities are a recent invention, but have been successful enough where several private schools are competing with the major public universities in terms of quality. Private schools may actually be cheaper for foreign students, who are not entitled to a free education at one of Poland's public universities.

Work

At the moment Poland is one of the best places around the world to find a job as an English teacher. TEFL courses (that's Teaching English as a Foreign Language) are run in many cities across Poland. The demand for TEFL teachers is enormous and teaching language is a brilliant way to fund your travel and earn as you go.
Polish 100 zł banknote
Polish 100 zł banknote

Paying

The legal tender in Poland is the Polish złoty (zł, international abbreviation: PLN). The złoty divides into 100 grosze. Poland is expected to adopt the Euro (€) sometime after 2012, but those plans are still tentative.
Private currency exchange offices (Polish: kantor) are very common, and offer Euro or USD exchanges at rates that are usually comparable to commercial banks. Be aware that exchanges in tourist hot-spots, such as the train stations or popular tourist destinations, tend to overcharge.
Cash
Linguistic note: Polish has two types of plural numbers, which you are likely to encounter when dealing with currency. Here are the noun forms to expect:
  • Singular: 1 złoty, 1 grosz
  • Nominative plural: 2 - 4 złote, grosze, then 22 - 24, 32 - 34, etc.
  • Genitive plural: 5 - 21 złotych, groszy, then 25 - 31, 35 - 41, etc.
There is also an extensive network of cash machines or ATMs (Polish: bankomat). The exchange rate will depend on your particular bank, but usually ends up being pretty favorable, and comparable to reasonably good exchange offices.
Credit cards can be used to pay almost everywhere in the big cities. Popular cards include Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard and Maestro. AmEx and Diners' Club can be used in a few places (notably the big, business-class hotels) but are not popular and you should not rely on them for any payments.
Cheques were never particularly popular in Poland and they are hardly used nowadays.

Goods

It is illegal to export goods older than 55 years that are of ANY historic value. If you intend to do so you need to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage [42].

Shopping

Super and hypermarkets

Hypermarkets are dominated by western chains: Carrefour, Tesco, Auchan, Real. Usually located in shopping malls or suburbs.
However Poles shop very often at local small stores for bread, meat, fresh dairy, vegetables and fruits - goods for which freshness and quality is essential.
Prices in Poland are one of cheapest in Europe.
Tipping
For the most part, Polish restaurants and bars do not include gratuity in the total of the check, so your server will be pleased if you leave them a tip along with the payment. On average, you should tip 10% of the total bill. If you tip 15% or 20%, you probably should have received excellent service. Also, saying "Dziękuję" ("thank you") after paying means you do not expect any change back, so watch out if you're paying for a 10 zł coffee with a 100 zł bill. With all that said, many Poles may not leave a tip, unless service was exceptional.
Poles take their meals following the standard continental schedule: a light breakfast in the morning (usually some sandwiches with tea/coffee), then a larger lunch (or traditionally a "dinner") at around 1PM or 2PM, then a supper at around 7PM.
It is not difficult to avoid meat, with many restaurants offering at least one vegetarian dish. Most major cities have some exclusively vegetarian restaurants, especially near the city center. Vegan options remain extremely limited, however.

Traditional Local Food

Traditional Polish cuisine tends to be hearty, rich in meats, sauces, and vegetables; sides of pickled vegetables are a favorite accompaniment. Modern Polish cuisine, however, tends towards greater variety, and focuses on healthy choices.
A dinner commonly includes the first course of soup, followed by the main course. Among soups, barszcz czerwony (red beet soup, a.k.a. borsch) is perhaps the most recognizable: a spicy and slightly sour soup, served hot. It's commonly poured over dumplings (barszcz z uszkami or barszcz z pierogami), or served with a fried pate roll (barszcz z pasztetem). Other uncommon soups include zupa ogórkowa, a cucumber soup made of a mix of fresh and pickled cucumbers; zupa grzybowa, typically made with wild mushrooms; also, flaki or flaczki, a kind of spicy tripe.
Pierogi are, of course, an immediately recognizable Polish dish. They are often served along side another dish (for example, with barszcz), rather than as the main course. Gołąbki are also widely known: they are large cabbage rolls stuffed with a mix of grains and meats, steamed and served hot.
Bigos is another unique, if less well-known, Polish dish: a "hunter's stew" that includes various meats and vegetables, on a base of pickled cabbage. Bigos tends to be very thick and hearty. Similar ingredients can also be thinned out and served in the form of a cabbage soup, called kapuśniak. Some Austro-Hungarian imports have also become popular over the years, and adopted by the Polish cuisine. These include gulasz, a local version of goulash that's less spicy than the original, and sznycel po Wiedeńsku, which is a traditional shnitzel, often served with potatoes and a selection of vegetables.
When it comes to food-on-the-go, foreign imports tend to dominate (such as kebab or pizza stands, and fast-food franchises). An interesting Polish twist is a zapiekanka, which is an open-faced baguette, covered with mushroooms and cheese (or other toppings of choice), and toasted until the cheese melts. Zapiekanki can be found at numerous roadside stands and bars.
Poland is also known for two unique cheeses, both made by hand in the [Podhale] mountain region in the south. Oscypek is the more famous: a hard, salty cheese, made of unpasteurized sheep milk, and smoked. It goes very well with alcoholic beverages such as beer. The less common is Bryndza, a soft cheese, also made with sheep milk (and therefore salty), with a consistency similar to spreadable cheeses. It's usually served on bread, or baked potatoes. Both cheeses are covered by the EU Protected Designation of Origin (like the French Roquefort, or the Italian Parmegiano-Reggiano).

Milk bars

If you want to eat cheaply, you should visit a milk bar (bar mleczny). A milk bar is very basic sort of fast food restaurant that serves cheap Polish fare. Nowadays it has become harder and harder to find one. It was invented by the communist authorities of Poland in mid-1960s as a means to offer cheap meals to people working in companies that had no official canteen. Its name originates from the fact that until late 1980s the meals served there were mostly dairy-made and vegetarian (especially during the martial law period of the beginning of the 1980s, when meat was rationed). The milk bars are usually subsidized by the state. Eating there is a unique experience - it is not uncommon that you will encounter people from various social classes - students, businessmen, university professors, elderly people, sometimes even homeless, all eating side-by-side in a 1970s-like environment. Presumably, it is the quality of food at absolutely unbeatable price (veggie main courses starting from just a few złotych!) that attracts people. However, a cautionary warning needs to be issued - complete nut jobs do dine at milk bars too, so even if you're going to for the food, you'll end up with dinner and a show. Curious as to what the show will entail? Well, each show varies, but most of them will leave you scratching head and require the suspension of reality.

Drink

Poland is on the border of European "vodka" and "beer culture". Poles enjoy alcoholic drinks at least as much as other Europeans. You can buy beer, vodka and wine. Although Poland is known as the birthplace of vodka, local beer seems to have much more appeal to many Poles. Another traditional alcoholic beverage is mead. Polish liqueurs and nalewka (alcoholic tincture) are a must.
Officially, in order to buy alcohol one should be over 18 years old and be able to prove it with a valid ID (which is strictly enforced).

Beer

Poland's brewery tradition began in the Middle Ages. Today Poland is one of top beer countries in Europe.
Although not well known internationally, Poland traditionally sports some of the best pilsner-type lagers worldwide. The most common brands include:
  • Lech (pronounced LEH)
  • Żywiec (pronounced ZHIV-y-ets)
  • Tyskie (pronounced TIS-kee)
  • Okocim (pronounced oh-KO-cheem)
  • Warka (pronounced VAR-kah)
  • Łomża (pronounced Uom-zha)
  • Tatra
  • Żubrówka (Zhe-BROOF-ka) - vodka with flavors derived from Bison Grass, from eastern Poland.
  • Żołądkowa Gorzka (Zho-want-KO-va GORZH-ka) - vodka with "bitter" (gorzka) in the name, but sweet in the taste. Just like Żubrówka, it's an unique Polish product and definitely a must-try.
  • Żytnia (ZHIT-nea) - rye vodka
  • Wyborowa (Vi-bo-RO-va) - One of Poland's most popular potato vodkas. This is also one of the most common exported brands. Strong and pleasant.
  • Biała Dama (Be-AH-wa DAH-ma)
  • Luksusowa (Look-sus-OH-vah) "Luxurious" - Another popular brand, and a common export along with Wyborowa.
Deluxe (more expensive) brands include Chopin and Belvedere. Expect to pay about 100 złoty a bottle (2007 prices). Most Poles consider these brands to be "export brands", and usually don't drink them.
  • Starka "Strong" - A vodka traditionally aged for years in oak casks.

Wine

Poland does make a few quality wines around Zielona Góra in Dolnośląskie, Małopolskie and Podkarpackie in the Beskids with the most famous Polish wineyard in of the Dionisos of Jasło ([43] website only in Polish) and Świętokrzyskie in central Poland. They used to be only available from the manufacturer or at wine festivals, like in Zielona Góra. But with a new law passed in 2008 this has changed, and Polish wines will also be available in retail starting in 2009.
As for imported wine, apart from the usual old and new world standards, there is usually a choice of decent table wines from central and eastern Europe, such as Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, the Balkans, and Georgia.
It the winter time, many Poles drink grzaniec (mulled wine), made of red wine heated with spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. A similar drink can be made with beer, although wine is the most popular method.

Mead

Mead - Miód Pitny is a traditional and historical alcohol drink in Poland. Mead is brewed from honey and has excellent unusual taste similar to wine. Original Polish mead contain 13-20% alcohol. Sometimes it can be very sweet.

Cocktails

Poles are very keen on beer and vodka, and you'll find that cocktails are often expensive but can be found in most bars in most major cities.

Tea and coffee

Throw stereotypes out the door. For Poles, one of the most important staples to quench their thirst is not wódka or beer, but rather tea and coffee.
When ordering a coffee, you'll find that it is treated with respect reminiscent of Vienna, rather than, say, New York. Which is to say: you'll get a fresh cup prepared one serving at a time, with table service that assumes you'll sit down for a while to enjoy it. Mass-produced to-go coffee remains highly unpopular, although chains such as Coffee Heaven have been making inroads.
Ordering a tea, on the other hand, will usually get you a cup or kettle of hot water, and a tea bag on the side, so that the customer can put together a tea that's as strong or as weak as they like. This is not uncommon in continental Europe, but may require some adjustment for visitors.
For the most part, a good coffee can be had for 5 - 10 zł a cup, while a cup of tea can be purchase for the same, unless you happen to order a small kettle, in which case you'll probably pay something between 20 - 30 zł.

Water

Drinking water with a meal is not a Polish tradition; having a tea or coffee afterwards is much more common. If you want water with a meal, you might need to ask for it - and you will usually get a choice of carbonated or still bottled water, rather than a glass of tap water.
Carbonated mineral waters are popular, and several kinds are available. Poland was known for its mineral water health spas (pijalnie wód) in the 19th century, and the tradition remains strong - you can find many carbonated waters that are naturally rich in minerals and salts. You can also travel to the spas such as Szczawnica or Krynica, which are still operational.
As for tap water, it's no different than anywhere else in Europe: tap water should be okay, but to stay on the safe side, boil it first and make a tea.

Sleep

Lodging prices are no longer the bargain they used to be several years ago; now they're comparable to standard European prices. For the bargain hunter, standard tactics apply: if hotel prices are too much, look on the Internet for private rooms, pensions, or apartments for rent, which can sometimes be found for a very reasonable price. Best deals are usually offered off-season.
Hostels affiliated with the national hostelling association are often horrid options for backpackers because of imposed curfews. Additionally, Hostelling International (HI) affiliated hostels are frequently used by large school groups, which means young children may very well be screaming their heads off and running around the halls. Some private Hostels are clean and welcoming, but others can be even more dangerous than HI hostels.

Stay safe

The European unified emergency number 112 is being deployed in Poland. By now, it certainly works for all mobile-phone calls and most landline calls. There are also three "old" emergency numbers that are still in use. These are:
  • Ambulance: 999 (Pogotowie, dziewięć-dziewięć-dziewięć)
  • Firefighters: 998 (Straż pożarna, dziewięć-dziewięć-osiem)
  • Police: 997 (Policja, dziewięć-dziewięć-siedem)
  • City guards: 986 (Straż Miejska dziewięć-osiem-sześć) it is a kind of auxilary Police force found only in large cities.

Theft

Poland is overall a fairly safe country. In general, just use common sense and be aware of what you're doing.
In cities, follow standard city travel rules: don't leave valuables in the car in plain sight; don't display money or expensive things needlessly; know where you're going; be suspicious of strangers asking for money or trying to sell you something.
Pickpockets operate, pay attention to your belongings in crowds, at stations, in crowded trains/buses, and clubs.

LGBT

LGBT issues remain very controversial, still very much taboo (although decreasingly so), and routinely exploited by conservative politicians. Polish culture also has a long tradition of chivalry and strong, traditional gender roles. That said, in larger, cosmopolitan areas, gays and lesbians shouldn't have a hard time fitting in, although trans visitors will immediately attract attention.

Respect

Etiquette

Some men, particularly older men, may kiss a woman's hand when greeting or saying goodbye. Kissing a woman's hand is considered to be chivalrous, but you will not go wrong shaking hands. For a more heartfelt greeting or goodbye, close friends of either sex will kiss three times, alternating cheeks.
A fairly common practice is for people to greet each other with a dzień dobry (Good day) when entering elevators, or, at the very least, saying do widzenia (Good bye) when exiting the elevator.
It is usual to bring a gift when invited to someone's home. Flowers are always a good choice. Florists' kiosks are ubiquitous; be sure to get an odd number of flowers, as an even number is associated with funerals.
It is customary to hold doors and chairs for women. Poles are generally old-fashioned about gender etiquette.
Men should not wear hats indoors. Most restaurants, museums and other public buildings have a cloakroom, and people are expected to leave bags and outerwear there.

The Holocaust

There's much more to Poland than just the German concentration camps and World War II monuments. However, the war and its consequences remain a raw wound that refuses to heal.
The Holocaust, as many historians note, is the genocide of European Jewry. However, it's also a particularly painful time for Poland. Among the victims, 3 million were Polish Jews. Additionally, over 3 million Polish Catholics were also murdered, mostly by the Germans. Many other members of minority groups, intelligentsia, and political philosophies were murdered. Between census of 1938 and census of 1946 population of Poland had been reduced by over 30% from 35 million to 23 million.

Contact

Landline phones

There is the de facto monopoly operator for landline phones - TP (Polish: Telekomunikacja Polska), a subsidiary of France Telecom, renowned for its leaving-much-to-be-desired services. There is also a number of smaller, often regional operators (Dialog, Netia, NOM, Energis). They are mainly serving the business market.

Mobile phones

There are four mobile phone operators in Poland: Plus GSM [44] (code 260 01), Era [45] (260 02), Orange [46] (260 03) and Play [47]. The last one is mainly using Plus GSM [48] coverage network. About 98% of the country's surface is covered by the standard European GSM 900/1800 MHz network, the remaining 2% are wildlife reserves or high mountains. UMTS is available in some bigger cities. Due to the introduction of virtual brands, some operators now have two names for their pre-paid services: Plus has Sami Swoi and Simplus, Era has Heyah and Tak Tak, while Orange operates Pop and Orange Go. Domestic call rates are roughly the same across all services.

Polish telephone numbers

All telephone numbers in Poland are 10 digits long and start with 0, though many numbers are written the old way, that is often only the last 7 digits are listed, in which case you need to prefix the number with 0 and the area code.
  • When calling from a landline telephone, the number starts with zero (except the emergency numbers).
  • When calling from a mobile phone, the number never starts with zero. Just omit it.
There are some special numbers, notably:
  • 0 800 xxxxxx - toll-free call from a landline phone and from a phone booth, but may still cost something from a mobile phone
  • 0 801 xxxxxx - reduced fare, costs as much as a local call from a landline phone at most (but will cost more from a mobile phone)
  • 0 70x xxxxxx - premium fare, can be very expensive - read the fine print in that advert you've got the number from :) On the other hand, cheap international calls can often be made through special numbers beginning with 0 708.
Also, texting (= sending SMSes) to:
  • 7xxx - Premium SMS, 2nd digit is cost in Zloty plus 22% tax, eg 72xx costs 2.44zł, 70xx is less than one Zloty.
  • 7xxxx - can cost quite much (again, read the fine print)
  • 8xxx - is toll-free

International calls

To call abroad from Poland:
  • From a landline phone: 00 Your Country Code The Number Abroad
  • From a mobile phone: + Your Country Code The Number Abroad
To call to Poland from abroad, dial the Polish country code,48, then the number without the leading 0, as if calling from a domestic mobile phone.
International and roaming calls are expensive. To reduce your bill you can:
  • buy "phone cards" for international calls
  • activate a Polish pre-paid account to make or receive calls (the cost can be as little as 20 zł)
  • talk over the Internet

Internet

If you're bringing a laptop, Wireless LAN Hot-Spots are available in distinct places, sometimes free, otherwise not very cheap. Best chances of finding one are at airports, railway stations, in cafés, shopping malls and universities. You can ask in your hotel, but be prepared to pay. For those who need to connect at an internet cafe, fear not, because Poland's major cities have internet cafes.
With your mobile phone you can use: CSD, HSCSD, GPRS or EDGE, but the cost may be unattractive. UMTS/HSPA is available in almost every big and mid-size cities. If your phone is not SIM-locked, you may consider purchasing a pre-paid SIM card designed for data access. Every mobile operator offering his own pre-paid internet offer. You may purchase Era Blueconnect Starter, iPlus Simdata, Orange Free na kartę or Play Online na kartę. Internet service from Era, Plus and Orange covers all country area with GPRS/EDGE technology. In almost every big, medium and some small size cities it's possible to recive 3G/3.5G signal.
  • Era - Blueconnect Starter - cost: 25 PLN - 83MB data included - 0,30 PLN / 1MB [49]
  • Plus - iPlus simdata - cost: 20 PLN - 67MB data included - 0,30 PLN / 1MB [50]
  • Orange - Orange free na kartę - cost: 20 PLN - 65MB data included - 0,30 PLN / 1MB [51]
  • Play - Play Online na kartę - cost: 19 PLN - 1GB data included [52] NOTE: Play network NOT cover all country. You can use internet service only in cities listed on this map [53]. Despite this, voice services are still available in whole country. Play Internet is only 3G capable. It means, that you need modem or phone that supports 3G technology. Play also limits speed of his internet up to 1Mb/s to provide satisfactory speed connestion for reasonable price.
You can refill your Play account with 30 or 50 PLN
  • Top-up for 30 PLN - 2GB data traffic valid for 28 days
  • Top-up for 50 PLN - 4GB data traffic valid for 56 days
You can also consider buying a wireless 3G modem from Play
  • Starter kit with HSDPA modem + 1GB data traffic valid for 14 days costs 269 PLN
  • Starter kit with HSDPA modem + 31GB data traffic valid for 365 days costs 499 PLN
If you want to communicate with Poles, you'll need two programs - Gadu-Gadu [54], a Polish language instant messenger program, or Skype [55]. Gadu-Gadu will be difficult to use for non-Polish speaking people, but alternatives such as Adium [56] (Mac OSX), Kadu [57] (Mac OSX/Linux), and Pidgin [58] (Linux, Windows), all of which can be used in English, can be helpful.

Euro 2012

Euro 2012 category.
  • Be aware that in Poland the comma is used as decimal point, and the space to group numbers. eg. 10 500,46 zł is ten thousand five hundred zlotych and 46 groszy. Occasionally a dot is also used as grouping character.
  • It is illegal to drink alcoholic beverages in public, though it's often done by the locals, especially in parks, on some buses, and some of the more congested city streets.

Toilets

Most public toilets have turned to pay-per-use schemes; expect to pay 1 - 2 zł to use a public restroom, eg. at a bus station or at a fast-food place.
Toilets for women are marked with a circle on the door, and toilets for men are marked with a triangle.
All restaurants and bars are forced by law to have toilets inside (but not all comply). It's not a common practice to use their toilet without ordering (at least coffee), but if you ask a waiter, he wouldn't mind in most cases. Sometimes you have to get a key to the toilet at the counter. If there seems to be a lack of public toilets you may want to try to visit McDonald's (or another fast food place) just to use the toilet.
In case of larger events, organizers provide so called toi-toi toilets (from one of companies that service them). They are narrow plastic booths, usually blue, not very comfortable, often not very clean, and hardly ever with water or paper.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

POLAND (Polish Polska, Ger. Polen), (see Poland, Russian, below), a country of Europe which till the end of the 18th century was a kingdom extending (with Lithuania) over the basins of the Warta, Vistula, Dwina, Dnieper and upper Dniester, and had under its dominion, besides the Poles proper and the Baltic Sla y s, the Lithuanians, the White Russians and the Little Russians or Ruthenians.
We possess no certain historical data relating to Poland till the end of the 10th century. It would seem, from a somewhat obscure passage in the chronicle compiled from older the progenitors of the Poles, originally established on the Danube, were driven from thence by the Romans to the still wilder wilderness of central Europe, settling finally among the virgin forests and impenetrable morasses of the basin of the upper waters of the Oder and the Vistula. Here the Lechici, as they called themselves (a name derived from the mythical patriarch, Lech), seemed to have lived for centuries, in loosely connected communities, the simple lives of huntsmen, herdsmen and tillers of the soil, till the pressure of rapacious neighbours compelled them to combine for mutual defence. Of this infant state, the so-called kingdom of the Piasts (from Piast its supposed founder), we know next to nothing. Its origin, its territory, its institutions are so many insoluble riddles. The earliest Polish chroniclers, from Gallus in the early 12th century to Janko of Czarnkow 1 in the 14th, are of little help to us. The only facts of importance to be gleaned from them are that Prince Ziemovit, the great-grandfather of Mieszko (Mieczyslaw) I. (962-992), wrested from the vast but tottering Moravian Empire the province of Chrobacyja (extending from the Carpathians to the Bug), and that Christianity was first preached on the Vistula by Greek Orthodox missionary monks. Mieszko himself was converted by Jordan, the chaplain of his Bohemian consort, Dobrawa or Bona, and when Jordan became the first bishop of Posen, the people seem to have followed the example of their prince. But the whole movement was apparently the outcome not of religious conviction, but of political necessity. The Slavonic peoples, whose territories then extended to the Elbe, and embraced the whole southern shore of the Baltic, were beginning to recoil before the vigorous impetus of the Germans in the West, who regarded their pagan neighbours in much the same way as the Spanish Conquistadores regarded the Aztecs and the Incas. To accept Christianity, at least formally, was therefore a prudential safeguard on the part of the Slavonians. This was thoroughly understood by Mieszko's son Boleslaus I. (992-1025), who went a considerable step farther than his father. Mieszko had been content to be received on almost any terms into the Christian community, Boleslaus aimed at securing the independence of the Polish Church as an additional guarantee of the independence of the Polish nation. 'to' Christi- It was Boleslaus who made the church at Gnesen in Great Poland a national shrine by translating thither the relics of the martyred missionary, St Adalbert of Prague. Subsequently he elevated Gnesen into the metropolitan see of Poland, with jurisdiction over the bishoprics of Cracow, Breslau and Kolberg, all three of these new sees, it is important to notice, being in territory conquered by Boleslaus; for hitherto both Cracow and Breslau had been Bohemian cities,-while Kolberg was founded to curb the lately subjugated Pomeranians. Boleslaus was also the first Polish prince to bear the royal title, which seems to have been conferred upon him by Otto III. in 1000, though as Boleslaus crownedKjn,. himself king a second time in 1025, it is evident that he regarded the validity of his first coronation as somewhat doubtful. He was primarily a warrior, whose reign, an almost uninterrupted warfare, resulted in the formation of a vast kingdom extending from the Baltic to the Carpathians, and from the Elbe to the Bug. But this imposing superstructure rested on the flimsiest of foundations. In less than twenty years after the death of its founder, it collapsed before a combined attack of all Poland's enemies, and simultaneously a terrible pagan reaction swept away the poor remnants of Christianity and civilization. For a time Poland proper became a smoking wilderness, and wild beasts made their lairs in the ruined and desecrated churches. Under Boleslaus II. (1058-1019) and Boleslaus III. (1102-1139) some of the lost provinces, notably Silesia and Pomerania, were recovered and Poland was at least able to maintain her independence against the Germans. Boleslaus III., moreover, with the aid of St Otto, bishop of Bamberg, succeeded in converting the heathen Pomeranians (1124-1128), and making head against paganism generally.
The last act of Boleslaus III. was to divide his territories among his sons, whereby Poland was partitioned into no fewer than four, and ultimately into as many as eight, principalities, many of which (Silesia and Great Poland, for instance) in process of time split up into still smaller fractions all of them more or less bitterly hostile to each other. .This partitional period, as Polish historians generally call it, lasted from 1138 to 1305, during which Poland lost all political significance, and became an easy prey to her neighbours.^ A bibliography listing 184 works in Polish published in 1947 or earlier dealing with German atrocities in Poland during WW II. "Tydzien ziem odzyskanych.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ THE EXTERMINATION AND THE RESISTANCE OF THE POLISH JEWS DURING THE PERIOD 1939-1944.; Warsaw, Jewish Historical Institute, 1955.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The duke of Little Poland, 1 Archdeacon of Gnesen 1367: vice-chancellor of Poland; d. c. 1387.
HISTORY]
sources by Nestor, a monk of Kiev (d. .c. 1115), that 3' who generally styled himself duke of Poland, or dux totius Poloniae, claimed a sort of supremacy among these little states, a claim materially strengthened by the wealth and growing importance of his capital, Cracow, especially after Little Poland had annexed the central principality of Sieradia (Sieradz).^ His studies were based on a wealth of source material found in government and municipal archives, as well as in the archives of the Jewish communities...When the Nazis overran Poland, Balaban refused to flee.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

But Masovia to the north, and Great Poland to the north-west, refused to recognize the supremacy of Little Poland, while Silesia soon became completely germanized. It was at the beginning of this period too, between 1216 and 1224, that Pomerania, under an energetic native dynasty, freed herself from the Polish suzerainty. Nearly a generation for the first time on the confines of Poland. The Polish princes opposed a valiant but ineffectual resistance; the towns of Sandomir and Cracow were reduced to ashes, and all who were able fled to the mountains of Hungary or the forests of Moravia. Pursuing his way to Silesia, Batu overthrew the confederated Silesian princes at Liegnitz (April 9), and, after burning all the Silesian towns, invaded Hungary, where he routed King Bela IV. on the banks of the Sajo. But this marked the limit of his triumph. Exhausted and diminished by the stout and successful opposition of the Moravians at Olmiitz, the Tatars vanished as suddenly as they had appeared, leaving a smoking wilderness behind them.
Batu's invasion had an important influence upon the social and political development of Poland. The only way of filling up the gaps in the population of the ravaged land was to invite foreign immigrants of a superior class, chapmen and handicraftsmen, not only given to peace ful pursuits and accustomed to law and order, but Cities. capable of building and defending strong cities. Such immigrants could naturally be obtained only from the civilized west, and on their own terms. Thus it came about that the middle class element was introduced into Polish society for the first time. Immediately dependent upon the prince, from whom they obtained their privileges, the most important of which were self-government and freedom from taxation, these traders soon became an important factor in the state, counterpoising, to some extent, the influence of the gentry, enriching the land by developing its resources, and promoting civilization by raising the standard of comfort.
.Most of these German citizens in process of time were absorbed by the Polish population, and became devoted, heart and soul, to their adopted country; but these were not the only Germans with whom the young Polish state depressed the land, and, at this very time, another enemy appeared in the east - the Lithuanians.^ Paper Wrappers, Very Good Condition; 8vo; 20 pages; In English, Polish & German, with a French translation laid in.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ [Also] the Nazi Party is mainly south German and not Prussian, but its danger to Europe and world peace only became a reality once it became harnessed to the army--and the army is Prussian.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

This interesting people, whose origin is to this day the most baffling of ethnographical puzzles, originally d welt amidst the forests and marshes of the Upper Niemen. Thanks to the impenetrability of their fastnesses, they preserved their original savagery longer than any of their neighbours, and this savagery was coupled with a valour so tenacious and enterprising as to make them formidable to all who dwelt near them. The Russians fled at the sight of them, "like hares before hunters." The Livs and Letts were as much the prey of the Lithuanians "as sheep are the prey of wolves." The German chroniclers describe them as the most terrible of all the barbarians. The Lithuanians first emerge into the light of history at the time of the settlement of the Teutonic Order in the North. Rumours of the war of extermination conducted against their kinsmen, the wild Prussians, by the Knights, first woke the Lithuanians to a sense of their own danger, and induced them to abandon their loose communal system in favour of a monarchical form of government, which concentrated the whole power of the state in a single hand. Fortunately, too, at this crisis of their history, the Lithuanians were blessed with an altogether exceptional series of great rulers, who showed themselves fully capable of taking care of themselves. .There was, for instance, Mendovg (1240-1263), who submitted to baptism for purely political reasons, checkmated the Teutonic Knights by adroitly seeking the protection of the Holy See, and annexed the principality of Plock to his ever-widening grand duchy, which already included Black Russia, and formed a huge wedge extending southwards from Courland, thus separating Poland from Russia.^ Despite the machinations of the evil Popoloff, Kasimir Hernani the banker and his wife Sara manage to flee Russia-separately-to a little town in Poland, where they are reunited.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

A still greater prince was Gedymin (1315-1342) who did his utmost to civilize Lithuania by building towns, introducing foreigners, and tolerating all religions, though he himself remained a pagan for political reasons. Gedymin still further extended the limits of Lithuania by annexing Kiev, Chernigov and other old Russian principalities.
At the very time when Lithuania was thus becoming a compact, united, powerful state, Poland seemed literally to be dropping to pieces. Not even the exhortations of the popes could make her score of princes unite for mutual defence against the barbarians who en vironed them. .For a time it seemed highly probable that Poland would be completely germanized, like Silesia, or become a part of the new Bohemian Empire which Wenceslaus II. (crowned king of Poland in 1300) had inherited from his father, Ottakar II.^ A nearly complete run of this seldom seen Polish exile serial on life in Poland under German & Soviet occupation & prospects for the future.
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^ A bibliography listing 184 works in Polish published in 1947 or earlier dealing with German atrocities in Poland during WW II. "Tydzien ziem odzyskanych.
  • Jewish Life and Jewish Death in Poland from Dan Wyman Books 28 January 2010 0:40 UTC www.danwymanbooks.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

From this fate she was saved by the valour of Wladislaus Lokietek, duke of Great Poland (1306-1333), who reunited Great and Little Poland, revived the royal dignity in 1320, and saved the kingdom from annihilation by his great victory over the Teutonic Knights at Plowce in 1332. The whole reign of Wladislaus I. was indeed an unceasing struggle against all the forces of anarchy and disintegration; but the fruits of his labours were richly reaped by his son Casimir III. the .Great (1333-1370), Poland's first great statesman in the modern sense of the word, who, by a most skilful system of matrimonial alliances, reintroduced isolated Poland Casimir III. into the European system, and gave the exhausted country an inestimably beneficial breathing space 1333-4370. of thirty-seven years.^ At the Paris Peace Conference, he helped draft anti-discrimiation clauses for insertion into the treaties with Poland, Rumania and other Eastern European countires.
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A born ruler, Casimir introduced a whole series of administrative and economical reforms. He was the especial protector of the cities and the peasants, and, though averse from violent measures, punished aristocratic tyranny with an iron hand. Casimir's few wars were waged entirely for profit, not glory. It is to him that Poland owed the important acquisition of the greater part of Red Russia, or Galicia, which enabled her to secure her fair share of the northern and eastern trade. In default of male issue, Casimir left the Polish throne to his nephew, Louis of Hungary, who ruled the country (1370-1382) through his mother, Queen Elizabeth, Wladislaus Lokietek's daughter. Louis well deserved the epithet of "great" bestowed upon him by his contemporaries; later (1241) the Tatar hordes, under Batu, appeared Sword. had now to deal. In the first year of the 13th century, the Knights of the Sword, one of the numerous orders of crusading military monks, had been founded in Livonia to "convert" the pagan Letts, and, in 1208, the still more powerful Teutonic order was invited by Duke Conrad of Masovia to settle in the district of Kulm (roughly corresponding to modern East Prussia) to protect his territories against the incursions of the savage Prussians, a race closely akin to the Lithuanians. Conrad has been loudly blamed by Polish historians for introducing this foreign, and as it ultimately proved, dangerous element into Poland. But the unfortunate prince had to choose between dependence and extermination, for his unaided resources were powerless against the persistent attacks of the unconquerable The Prussians. The Teutonic Order, which had just been expelled from Hungary by Andrew II., joyfully accepted this new domicile, and its position in the north was definitely established by the compact of Kruschwitz in 1230, whereby it obtained absolute possession of the maritime district between Pomerania and Courland, and southwards as far as Thorn. So far were the Poles from anticipating any danger from the Teutonic Order, that, from 1243 to 1255, they actually assisted it to overthrow the independent Pomeranian princes, the most formidable opponents of the Knights in the earlier years of their existence. A second Tatar raid in 1259, less dangerous, perhaps, but certainly more ruinous, than the first invasion - for the principalities of Little Poland and Sandomir were systematically ravaged for three months - still further but Poland formed but a small portion of his vast domains, and Poland's interests were subordinated to the larger demands of an imperial policy which embraced half Europe within its orbit On the death of Louis there ensued an interregnum of two years marked by fierce civil wars, instigated by duke Ziemovit of Masovia, the northernmost province of Poland, the daughter of Louis the Great and the granddaughter of Wladislaus Lokietek, had an equal right, by inheritance, to the thrones of Hungary and Poland. By an agreement with the queen mother of Hungary at Kassa in 1383, the Poles finally accepted Jadwiga as their queen, and, on the 18th of February 1386, greatly against her will, the young princess, already betrothed to William of Austria, was wedded to Jagiello, grand duke of Lithuania, who had been crowned king of Poland at Cracow, three days previously, under the title of Wladislaus II.
The union of Poland and Lithuania as separate states under one king had been brought about by their common fear of the Teutonic Order. Five years after the death of Gedymin, Olgierd, the most capable of his seven sons, had been placed upon the throne of Lithuania by his devoted brother Kiejstut, and for the next two-and-thirty years (1345-1377) the two princes still further extended the sway of Lithuania, principally at the expense of Muscovy and the Tatars. Kiejstut ruled the western portion of the land where the Teutonic Knights were a constant menace, while Olgierd drove the Tatar hordes out of the southeastern steppes, and compelled them to seek a refuge in the Crimea. During Olgierd's reign the southern boundaries of Lithuania touched the Black Sea, including the whole tract of land between the mouth of the Bug and the mouth of the Dnieper. Olgierd was succeeded by his son Jagiello as grand duke in 1377, while Kiejstut was left in possession of Samogitia, Troki and Grodno; but the Teutonic Order, alarmed at the growth of Lithuania, succeeded in estranging uncle and nephew, and Kiejstut was treacherously assassinated by Jagiello's orders, at Krewo, on the 15th of August 1382. Three weeks later Jagiello was compelled to cede Samogitia, as far as the Dubissa, to the Knights, and, in the following year they set up against him Kiejstut's son Witowt. The eyes of Jagiello were now opened to the fact that the machiavellian policy of the Knights aimed at subjugating Lithuania by dividing it. .He at once made peace with his cousin; restored him his patrimony; and, to secure Lithuania against the future vengeance of the Knights, Jagiello made overtures to Poland for the hand of Jadwiga, and received the Polish crown along with it, as already mentioned Before proceeding to describe the Jagiellonic period of Polish history, it is necessary to cast a rapid glance at the social and political condition of the country in the preceding Piast period.^ Welcome to this sampling of over 200 titles from our stock in Polish Jewish History and the Holocaust in Poland.
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^ Cloth, Very Good Condition; 8vo; ca 450 pages; Single volume from this important serial on Polish-Jewish history.
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^ Poland -- History -- Periodicals.
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The paucity and taciturnity of our sources make it impossible to give anything like an adequate picture of Old Poland during the first four centuries of its existence. A glimpse Beginnings of the Polish here and there of the political development of the Constitu- country is the utmost that the most diligent scrutiny tion. can glean from the scanty record of the early chronicles. External pressure, here as elsewhere, created a patriotic military caste, and the subsequent partitional period, when every little prince had his own separate court, still further established the growing influence of the szlachta, or gentry, who were not backward in claiming and obtaining special privileges in return for their services. The first authentic pacta conventa made between the Polish nobility and the Crown dates from the compact of Kassa (September 17, 137 4), when Louis of Hungary agreed to exempt the szlachta from all taxation, except two Polish groschen per hide of land, and to compensate them for the expenses of all military service rendered beyond the confines of the realm. The clergy received their chief privileges much earlier. It was at the synod of Leczyca, nearly a century before the compact of Kassa, that the property of the Church was first safeguarded against the encroachments of the state. The beneficial influence of the Church of Poland in these early times was incalculable. To say nothing of the labours of the Cistercians as colonists, pioneers and churchbuilders, or of the missions of the Dominicans and Franciscans (the former of whom were introduced into Poland by Ivo, bishop of Cracow,' the personal friend of Dominic), the Church was the one stable and unifying element in an age of centrifugal particularism. .The frequent synods represented the whole of Poland, and kept alive, as nothing else could, the idea of national solidarity.^ Tenenbaum was born in Sasov, Poland and in 1919 represented the Jewish National Council of Poland at the Paris Peace Conference.
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The Holy See had also a considerable share in promoting the political development of the land. .In the 13th century alone no fewer than forty-nine papal legates visited Poland, and thirty provincial synods were held by them to regulate church affairs and promote good government.^ Paper Wrappers, Slight browning to paper, Very Good Condition; 8vo; 47 pages; Reprint from Polish Western Affairs, Vol III, No.
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Moreover the clergy, to their eternal honour, consistently protected the lower from the tyranny of the upper classes.
The growth of the towns was slower. During the heroic Boleslawic period there had been a premature outcrop of civil life. As early as the 11th century Kruschwitz, Growth the old Polish capital, and Gnesen, the metropolitan of the see, were of considerable importance, and played a Towns. leading part in public life. But in the ensuing anarchic period both cities were utterly ruined, and the centre of political gravity was transferred from Great Poland to Little Poland, where Cracow, singularly favoured by her position, soon became the capital of the monarchy, and one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. At the end of the 14th century we find all the great trade gilds established there, and the cloth manufactured at Cracow was eagerly sought after, from Prague to Great Novgorod. So wealthy did Cracow become at last that Casimir the Great felt it necessary to restrain the luxury of her citizens by sumptuary ordinances. .Towards the end of the 14th century the Polish towns even attained some degree of political influence, and their delegates sat with the nobles and clergy in the king's councils, a right formally conceded to them at Radom in March 1384. Even the peasants, who had suffered severely from the wholesale establishment of prisoners of war as serfs on the estates of the nobles, still preserved the rights of personal liberty and free transit from place to place, whence their name of lazigi. The only portion of the community which had no privileges were the Jews, first introduced into Poland by Boleslaus the Pious, duke of Great Poland, in 1264, when bitter persecutions had driven them northwards from the shores of the Adriatic.^ SUBJECT(S): Jews -- Persecutions -- Poland -- Ldz.
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^ Jews -- Persecutions -- Poland.
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^ Jews -- Persecutions -- Poland -- Warsaw.
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Casimir the Great extended their liberty of domicile over the whole kingdom (1334). From the first they were better treated in Poland than elsewhere, though frequently exposed to outbreaks of popular fanaticism.
.The transformation of the pagan Lithuanian chieftain Jagiello into the catholic king of Poland, Wladislaus II., was an event of capital importance in the history of eastern Europe.^ At the Paris Peace Conference, he helped draft anti-discrimiation clauses for insertion into the treaties with Poland, Rumania and other Eastern European countires.
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Its immediate and inevitable consequence was the laus H. formal reception of the Lithuanian nations into the and the fold of the Church. What the Teutonic Order had Teutonic vainly endeavoured to bring about by fire and sword, Order. for two centuries, was peacefully accomplished by Jagiello within a single generation, the Lithuanians, for the most part, willingly yielding to the arguments of a prince of their own blood, who promptly rewarded his converts with peculiar and exclusive privileges. The conversion of Lithuania menaced the very existence of the Teutonic Knights. .Originally planted on the Baltic shore for the express purpose of christianizing their savage neighbours, these crusading monks had freely exploited the wealth and the valour of the West, ostensibly in the cause of religion, really for the purpose of founding a dominion of their own which, as time went on, lost more and more of its religious character, and was now little more than a German military forepost, extending from Pomerania to the Niemen, which deliberately excluded the Sla y s from the sea and thrived 'Archbishop of Gnesen 1219-1220. Died at Modena 1229, wlaais- which continued to exist as an independent rinci laus ll. p p Jagiello. pality alongside of the kingdom of Poland.^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
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Ziemo Union of vit aimed at the Polish crown, proposing to marry Poland and the infant princess Jadwiga of Hungary, who, as Lithuania. at their expense. The mere instinct of self-preservation had, at last, drawn the Poles and Lithuanians together against these ruthless and masterful intruders, and the coronation of Jagiello at Cracow on the 15th of February 1386, was both a warning and a challenge to the Knights. But if the Order had now become a superfluous anachronism, it had still to be disposed of, and this was no easy task. For if it had failed utterly as a mission in partibus, it had succeeded in establishing on the Baltic one of the strongest military organizations in Europe. In the art of war the Knights were immeasurably superior to all their neighbours. The pick of the feudal chivalry composed their ranks; with all Europe to draw upon, their resources seemed inexhaustible, and centuries of political experience made them as formidable in diplomacy as they were valiant in warfare. And indeed, for the next twenty years, the Teutonic Order more than held its own. Skilfully taking advantage of the jealousies of Poland and Lithuania, as they were accentuated by the personal antagonism of Jagiello and Witowt (q.v.), with the latter of whom the Knights more than once contracted profitable alliances, they even contrived (Treaty of Salin, 1378) to extend their territory by getting possession of the province of Samogitia, the original seat of the Lithuanians, where paganism still persisted, and where their inhuman cruelties finally excited the horror and indignation of Christian Europe. By this time, however, the prudent Jagiello had become convinced that Lithuania was too strong to be ruled by or from Poland, and yet not strong enough to stand alone, and by the compact of Vilna (January 18, 1401,1401, confirmed by the compact of Radowo, March 10) he surrendered the whole grand duchy to Witowt, on the understanding that the two states should have a common policy, and that neither of them should elect a new prince without the consent of the other. The wisdom of this arrangement was made manifest in 1410, when Jagiello and Witowt combined their forces for the purpose of delivering Samogitia from the intolerable tyranny of the Knights. The issue was fought out on the field of Tannenberg, or Griinewald (July 15, 1410), when the Knights sustained a crushing defeat, which shook their political organization to its very foundations. A few weeks after the victory the towns of Thorn, Elbing, Braunsberg and Danzig submitted to the Polish king; and all the Prussian bishops voluntarily offered to render him homage. But the excessive caution of Jagiello gave the Knights time to recover from the blow; the Polish levies proved unruly and incompetent; Witowt was suddenly recalled to Lithuania by a Tatar invasion, and thus it came about that, when peace was concluded at Thorn, on the 1st of February 1411, Samogitia (which was to revert to the Order on the death of Jagiello and Witowt), Dobrzyn, and a war indemnity of 10o,000 marks payable in four instalments, were the best terms Poland could obtain from the Knights, whose territory practically remained intact. Jagiello's signal for the attack at the battle of Griinewald, "Cracow and Vilna" (the respective capitals of Poland and Lithuania) had 'eloquently demonstrated the solidarity of the two states. This solidarity was still further strengthened by the Union of Horodlo (October 2, 1413) which enacted that henceforth Lithuania was to have the same order of dignitaries' as Poland, as well as a council of state, or senate, similar to the Polish senate. The power of the grand-duke was also greatly increased. He was now declared to be the equal of the Polish king, and his successor could be elected only by the senates of Poland and Lithuania in conjunction. The Union of Horodlo also established absolute parity between the nobility of Poland and Lithuania, but the privileges of the latter were made conditional upon their profession of the Roman Catholic faith, experience having shown that difference of religion in Lithuania meant difference of politics, and a tendency Moscow-wards, the majority of the Lithuanian boyars being of the Greek Orthodox Confession.
1 All the chief offices of state were consequently duplicated, e.g. the hetman wielki koronny, i.e. " grand hetman of the crown," as the Polish commander-in-chief was called, had his counterpart in Lithuania, who bore the title of wielki hetman litewski, i.e. " grand hetman of Lithuania," and so on.
During the remainder' of the reign of Wladislaus II. the Teutonic Order gave Poland much trouble, but no serious anxiety. The trouble was due mainly to the repeated efforts of the Knights to evade the fulfilment of the obligations of the Treaty of Thorn. In these endeavours they were materially assisted by the emperor Sigismund, who was also king of Hungary. Sigismund, in 1422, even went so far as to propose a partition of Poland between Hungary, the empire and the Silesian princes, a scheme which foundered upon Sigismund's impecuniosity and the reluctance of the Magyars to injure the Poles. More than once Wladislaus II. was even obliged to renew the war against the Knights, and, in 1422, he compelled them to renounce all claims upon Samogitia; but the long struggle, still undecided at his death, was fought mainly with diplomatic weapons at Rome, where the popes, generally speaking, listened rather to the victorious monarch who had added an ecclesiastical province to the Church than to the discomfited and turbulent Knights.
Had Wladislaus II. been as great a warrior as Witowt he might, perhaps, have subdued the Knights altogether. But by nature he was pre-eminently a diplomatist, and it must in fairness be admitted that his diplomacy in every direction was distinctly beneficial to Poland. He successfully thwarted all the schemes of the emperor Sigismund, by adroitly supporting the revolutionary party in Bohemia. In return Hussite mercenaries fought on the Polish side at Tannenburg, and Czech patriots repeatedly offered the crown of Bohemia to Wladislaus. The Polish king was always ready enough to support the Czechs against Sigismund; but the necessity of justifying his own orthodoxy (which the Knights were for ever impugning) at Rome and in the face of Europe prevented him from accepting the crown of St Wenceslaus from the hands of heretics.
Wladislaus II. died at Lemberg in 1434, at the age of eightythree. During his long reign of forty-nine years Poland had gradually risen to the rank of a great power, a result due in no small measure to the insight and sagacity of the first Jagiello, who sacrificed every other consideration to the vital necessity of welding the central Sla y s into a compact and homogeneous state. The next ten years severely tested the stability of his great work, but it stood the test triumphantly. .Neither a turbulent minority, nor the neglect of an absentee king; neither the revival of separatist tendencies in Lithuania, nor the outbreaks of aristocratic lawlessness in Poland, could do more than shake the superstructure of the imposing edifice.^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
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After the death at Varna, in 1444, of Jagiello's eldest son and successor, Wladislaus III. .(whose history belongs rather to Hungary than to Poland), another great statesman, in no wise inferior to Wladislaus II., completed and consolidated his work.^ A bibliography listing 184 works in Polish published in 1947 or earlier dealing with German atrocities in Poland during WW II. "Tydzien ziem odzyskanych.
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This was Wladislaus's second son, already grandduke of Lithuania, who ascended the Polish throne as Casimir IV. in 1447, thus reuniting Poland and Lithuania under one monarch.
Enormous were the difficulties of Casimir IV. He instinctively recognized not only the vital necessity of the maintenance of the union between the two states, but also the fact that the chief source of danger to the union lay Gas;m11 IV., g y in Lithuania, in those days a maelstrom of conflicting political currents. To begin with, Lithuania was a far less composite state than Poland. Two-thirds of the grandduchy consisted of old Russian lands inhabited by men who spoke the Ruthenian language and professed the Orthodox Greek religion, while in the north were the Lithuanians proper, semisavage and semi-catholic, justly proud of their heroic forefathers of the house of Gedymin, and very sensitive of the pretensions of Poland to the provinces of Volhynia and Podolia, the fruits of Lithuanian valour. A Lithuanian'himself, Casimir strenuously resisted the attempts of Poland to wrest these provinces from the grandduchy. Moreover, during the earlier years of his reign, he was obliged to reside for the most part in Lithuania, where his tranquilizing influence was needed. His supposed preference for Lithuania was the real cause of his unpopularity in Poland, where, to the very end of his reign, he was regarded xxi. 29 a with suspicion, and where every effort was made to thwart his far-seeing and patriotic political combinations, which were beyond the comprehension of his self-seeking and narrowminded contemporaries. This was notably the case as regards his dealings with the old enemy of his race, the Teutonic Order, whose destruction was the chief aim of his ambition.
The Teutonic Order had long since failed as a religious institution; it was now to show its inadequacy as a political organization. In the domain of the Knights the gentry, parochial clergy and townsmen, who, beneath its protection, had attained to a high degree of wealth and civilization, for long remained without the slightest political influence, though they bore nearly the whole burden of taxation. In 1414, however, intimidated by the growing discontent, which frequently took the form of armed rebellion, the Knights consented to the establishment of a diet, which was re-formed on a more aristocratic basis in 1430. But the old abuses continuing to multiply, the Prussian towns and gentry at last took their affairs into their own hands, and formed a so-called Prussian League, which demanded an equal share in the government of the country. .This league was excommunicated by the pope, and placed under the ban of the empire almost simultaneously in 1453, whereupon it placed itself beneath the protection of its nearest powerful neighbour, the king of Poland, who (March 6, 1454) issued a manifesto incorporating all the Prussian provinces with Poland, but, at the same time, granting them local autonomy and free trade.^ According to his own testimony, Loebel was granted an audience with Emperor Francis II at Vienna in early 1799, as a result of which public meetings of Hasidim were prohibited in all the provinces of Poland which had then come under Austrian rule.
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^ In 1968 the official anti-Semitic campaign in Poland induced almost all the workers of the Institute to emigrate, and the publication of the quarterly was impaired.
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.But provinces are not conquered by manifestoes, and Casimir's acceptance of the homage of the Prussian League at once involved him in a war with the desperate Teutonic Knights, which lasted twelve years, but might easily have been concluded in a twelvemonth had he only been loyally supported by his own subjects, for whose benefit he had embarked upon this great enterprise.^ [Also] the Nazi Party is mainly south German and not Prussian, but its danger to Europe and world peace only became a reality once it became harnessed to the army--and the army is Prussian.
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But instead of support, Casimir encountered obstinate obstruction at every point. No patriotic Pole, we imagine, can read the history of this miserable war without feeling heartily ashamed of his countrymen. The acquisition of the Prussian lands was vital to the existence of Poland. It meant the excision of an alien element which fed like a cancer on the body politic; it meant the recovery, at comparatively little cost, of the command of the principal rivers of Poland, the Vistula and the Niemen; it meant the obtaining of a seaboard with the corollaries of sea-power and world-wide commerce. Yet, except in the border province of Great Poland, which was. interested commercially, the whole enterprise was regarded with such indifference that the king, in the very crisis of the struggle, could only with the utmost difficulty obtain contributions for war expenses from the half-dozen local diets of Poland, which extorted from the helplessness of their distracted and impecunious sovereign fresh privileges for every subsidy they grudgingly granted. Moreover Casimir's difficulties were materially increased by the necessity of paying for Czech mercenaries, the pos polite ruszenie, or Polish militia, proving utterly useless at the very beginning of the war. Indeed, from first to last, the Polish gentry as a body took good care to pay and fight as little as possible, and Casimir depended for the most part upon the liberality of the Church and the Prussian towns, and the valour of the Hussite infantry, 17c,000 of whom, fighting on both sides, are said to have perished. Not till the victory of Puck (September 17, 1462), one of the very few pitched battles in a war of raids, skirmishes and sieges, did fortune incline decisively to the side of the Poles, who maintained and improved their advantage till absolute exhaustion compelled the Knights to accept the mediation of a papal legate, and the second peace of Thorn (October 14, 1466) concluded a struggle which had reduced the Prussian provinces to a wilderness.' .By the second peace of Thorn, Poland recovered the provinces of Pomerelia, Kulm and Michalow, with the bishopric of Ermeland, numerous cities and fortresses, including Marien 18,000 of their 21,000 villages were destroyed, moo churches were razed to the ground, and the population was diminished by more than a quarter of a million.^ "Except for Poland and Greeece, Belgium has sufferd more than any other country occupied by the Nazis" (from the Jacket) .
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^ Discussions of Italy, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, and the city of Danzig in regards to Nazi policies against Jews are also included.
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burg, Elbing, Danzig and Thorn. The territory of the Knights was now reduced to Prussia proper, embracing, roughly speaking, the district between the Baltic, the lower Vistula and the lower Niemen, with Konigsberg as its capital. For this territory the grand-masters, within nine months of their election, were in future to render homage to the Polish king; but, on the other hand, the king undertook not to make war or engage in any important enterprise without the consent of the Prussian province, and vice versa. .Thus Prussia was now confederated with Poland, but she occupied a subordinate position as compared with Lithuania, inasmuch as the grand-master, though filling the first place in the royal council, was still a subject of the Polish crown.^ Interesting for the snapshot it gives of Polish finance on the eve of the Holocaust, and also showing the (many) positions occupied by Jews in the management of the Bank.
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Thus the high hopes entertained by Casimir at the beginning of the war had not been realized. The final settlement with the Poles was of the nature of a compromise. Still the Knights had been driven beyond the Vistula, and Poland had secured a seaboard; and it was due entirely to the infinite patience and tenacity of the king that even as much as this was won at last.
The whole foreign policy of Casimir IV. was more or less conditioned by the Prussian question, and here also his superior diplomacy triumphantly asserted itself. At the beginning of the war both the empire and the pope were against him, but he neutralized their hostility by allying himself with George of Podvebrad, 'whom the Hussites had placed on the throne of Bohemia. On the death of George, Casimir's eldest son Wladislaus was elected king of Bohemia by the Utraquist party, despite the determined opposition of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, whose ability and audacity henceforth made him Casimir's most dangerous rival. Sure of the support of the pope, Matthias (q.v.) deliberately set about traversing all the plans of Casimir. .He encouraged the Teutonic Order to rebel against Poland; he entertained at his court antiPolish embassies from Moscow; he encouraged the Tatars to ravage Lithuania; he thwarted Casimir's policy in Moldavia.^ Discussions of Italy, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, and the city of Danzig in regards to Nazi policies against Jews are also included.
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The death of the brilliant adventurer at Vienna in 1490 came therefore as a distinct relief to Poland, and all danger from the side of Hungary was removed in 1490 when Casimir's son Wladislaus, already king of Bohemia, was elected king of Hungary also.
It was in the reign of Casimir IV. that Poland first came into direct collision with the Turks. The Republic was never, indeed, the "Buckler of Christendom." That glorious epithet belonged of right to Hungary,which g p g g had already borne the brunt of the struggle with the Ottoman power for more than a century. It is true that Wladislaus II. of Poland had fallen on the field of Varna, but it was as a Magyar king at the head of a Magyar army that the young monarch met his fate. Poland, indeed, was far less able to cope with the Turks than compact, wealthy Hungary, which throughout the 15th century was one of the most efficient military monarchies in Europe. The Jagiellos, as a rule, prudently avoided committing themselves to any political system which might irritate the still distant but much-dreaded Turk, but when their dominions extended so far southwards as to embrace Moldavia, the observance of a strict neutrality became exceedingly difficult. Poland had established a sort of suzerainty over Moldavia as early as the end of the 14th century; but at best it was a loose and vague overlordship which the Hospodars repudiated whenever they were strong enough to do so. The Turks themselves were too much occupied elsewhere to pay much attention to the Danubian principalities till the middle of the 15th century. In 1478 Mahomet H. had indeed attempted their subjugation, with but indifferent success; but it was not till 1484 that the Ottomans became inconvenient neighbours to Poland. In that year a Turkish fleet captured the strongholds of Kilia and Akkerman, commanding respectively the mouths of the Danube and Dniester. This aggression seriously threatened the trade of Poland, and induced Casimir IV. to accede to a general league against the Porte. In 1485, after driving the Turks out of Moldavia, the Polish king, at the head of 20,000 men, proceeded to Kolomea on the Pruth, where Bayezid II., then embarrassed by the Egyptian war, offered peace, but as no agreement concerning the captured fortresses could be arrived at, hostilities were suspended by a truce. During the remainder of his reign the Turks gave no trouble.
It was a fortunate thing for Poland that, during the first century of her ascension to the rank of a great power, political exigencies compelled her to appropriate almost more territory than her primitive and centrifugal government could properly assimilate; it was fortunate that throughout this period of expansion her destinies should, with one brief interval, have been controlled by a couple of superior statesmen, each of whom ruled for nearly fifty years. During the fourteen years (1492-1506) which separate the reigns of Casimir IV. and Sigismund I. she was not so lucky. The controlling hand of Casimir IV. was no sooner withdrawn than the unruly elements, ever present in the Republic, and ultimately the casue of its ruin, at once burst forth. The first symptom of this lawlessness was the separation of Poland and Lithuania, the Lithuanians proceeding to elect Alexander, Casimir's fourth son, as their grand-duke, without even consulting the Polish senate, in flagrant violation of the union of Horodlo. The breach, happily, was of no very long duration. A disastrous war with Ivan III., the first Muscovite tsar, speedily convinced the Lithuanians that they were not strong enough to stand alone, and in 1499 they voluntarily renewed the union. Much more dangerous was the political revolution proceeding simultaneously in Poland, John !.!. where John Albert, the third son of Casimir, had Albert, been elected king on the death of his father. The 1492-1501. nature of this revolution will be considered in detail when we come to speak of the growth of the Polish constitution. Suffice it here to say that it was both antimonarchical and anti-democratic, tending, as it did, to place all political authority in the hands of the szlachta, or gentry. The impecunious monarch submitted to the dictation of the diet in the hope of obtaining sufficient money to prosecute his ambitious designs. With his elder brother Wladislaus reigning over Bohemia and Hungary the credit of the Jagiellos in Europe had never been so great as it was now, and John Albert, bent upon military glory, eagerly placed himself at the head of what was to have been a great anti-Turkish league, but ultimately dwindled down to a raid upon Moldavia which ended in disaster. The sole advantage which John Albert reaped from his championship of the Christian cause was the favour of the Curia, and the ascendancy which that favour gave him over the Teutonic Knights, whose new grand-master, Albert of Saxony, was reluctantly compelled to render due homage to the Polish king.
Under Alexander (q.v.), who succeeded his brother 1501-1506. in 1501, matters went from bad to worse. Alexander's election cemented, indeed, once for all, the union between Poland and Lithuania, inasmuch as, on the eve of it (Oct. 3, 1501) the senates of both countries agreed that, in future, the king of Poland should always be grand-duke of Lithuania; but this was the sole benefit which the Republic derived from the reign of Alexander, under whom the Polish government has been well described as a rudderless ship in a stormy sea, with nothing but the grace of God between it and destruction. In Lithuania the increasing pressure of the Muscovite was the chief danger. Till the accession of Ivan III. in 1462 Muscovy had been a negligible factor in P olish politics. During the earlier part of the 1 th P g P 5 century the Lithuanian princes had successfully contested Muscovite influence even in Pskov and Great Novgorod. Many Russian historians even maintain that, but for the fact that Witowt had simultaneously to cope with the Teutonic Order and the Tatars, that energetic prince would certainly have extinguished struggling Muscovy altogether. But since the death of Witowt (1430) the military efficiency of Lithuania had sensibly declined; single-handed she was no longer a match for her ancient rival. This was owing partly to the evils of an oligarchic government; partly to the weakness resulting from the natural attraction of the Orthodox-Greek element in Lithu ania towards Muscovy, especially after the fall of Constantinople, but chiefly to the administrative superiority of the highly centralized Muscovite government. During the reign of Alexander, who was too poor to maintain any adequate standing army in Lithuania, the Muscovites and Tatars ravaged the whole country at will, and were prevented from conquering it altogether only by their inability to capture the chief fortresses. In Poland, meanwhile, something very like anarchy prevailed. Alexander had practically surrendered his authority to an incapable aristocracy, whose sole idea of ruling was systematically to oppress and humiliate the lower classes. In foreign affairs a policy of drift prevailed which encouraged all the enemies of the Republic to raise their heads, while the dependent states of Prussia in the north and Moldavia in the south made strenuous efforts to break away from Poland. Fortunately for the integrity of the Polish state the premature death of Alexander in 1506 brought upon the throne his capable brother Sigismund, the fifth son of Casimir IV., whose long reign of gismundl., forty-two years was salutary, and would have been so 6-1548.
altogether recuperative, had his statesmanship only been loyally supported by his subjects. Eminently practical, Sigismund recognized that the first need of Poland was a standing army. The miserable collapse of the Polish chivalry during the Bukovinian campaign of 1497 had convinced every one that the ruszenie pospolite was useless for serious military purposes, and that Poland, in order to hold her own, must in future follow the example of the West, and wage her warfare with trained mercenaries. But professional soldiers could not be hired without money, and the difficulty was to persuade the diet to loose its purse-strings. All that the gentry contributed at present was two pence (groschen) per hide of land, and this only for defensive service at home. If the king led the ruszenie pospolite abroad he was obliged to pay so much per pike out of his own pocket, notwithstanding the fact that the heavily mortgaged crown lands were practically valueless. At the diet of 151o the chancellor and primate, Adam Laski, proposed an income-tax of 50% at once, and 5% for subsequent years, payable by both the lay and clerical estates. In view of the fact that Poland was the most defenceless country in Europe, with no natural boundaries, and constantly exposed to attacks from every quarter, it was not unreasonable to expect even this patriotic sacrifice from the privileged classes, who held at least two-thirds of the land by military tenure. Nevertheless, the diet refused to consider the scheme. In the following year a more modest proposal was made by the Crown in the shape of a capitation of six gulden, to be levied on every nobleman at the beginning of a campaign, for the hiring of mercenaries. This also 'was rejected. In 1512 the king came forward with a third scheme. He proposed to divide the country into five circles, corresponding to the five provinces, each of which was to undertake to defend the realm in turn should occasion arise. Moreover, every one who so desired it might pay a commutation in lieu of personal service, and the amount so realized was to be re-used to levy troops. To this the dietines, or local diets, of Great Poland, and Little Poland, agreed, but at the last moment the whole project foundered on the question who was the proper custodian of the new assessment rolls, and the king had to be content with the renewal of former subsidies, varying from twelve to fifteen groats per hide of land for three years. Well might the disappointed monarch exclaim: "It is vain to labour for the welfare of those who do not care a jot about it themselves." Matters improved somewhat in 1527, when the szlachta, by a special act, placed the mightiest magnates on the same level as the humblest squire as regards military service, and proposed at the same time a more general assessment for the purpose, the control of the money so realized to be placed in the hands of the king. In consequence of this law the great lords were compelled to put forces in the field proportioned to their enormous fortunes, and Sigismund was able in 1529 to raise 300 foot and 3200 horse from the province of Podolia alone. But though the treasury was thus temporarily replenished and the army increased, the gentry who had been so generous at the expense of their richer neighbours would hear of no additional burdens being laid on themselves, and the king only obtained what he wanted by sacrificing his principles to his necessities, and helping the szlachta to pull down the magnates. This fatal parsimony had the most serious political consequences, for it crippled the king at every step. Strive and scheme as he might, his needs were so urgent, his enemies so numerous, that, though generally successful in the end, he had always to be content with compromises, adjustments and semi-victories. Thus he was obliged, in 1525, to grant local autonomy to the province of Prussia instead of annexing it; he was unable to succour his unfortunate nephew, Louis of Hungary, against the Turkish peril; he was compelled to submit to the occupation of one Lithuanian province after the other by the Muscovites, and look on helplessly while myriads of Tatars penetrated to the very heart of his domains, wasting with fire and sword everything they could not carry away with them.
Again, it should have been the first duty of the Republic adequately to fortify the dzikie pola, or "savage steppe," as the vast plain was called which extended from Kiev to the Black Sea, and some feeble attempts to do so were at last made. Thus, in the reign of Alexander, the fugitive serfs whom tyranny or idleness had driven into this wilderness (they were subsequently known as Kazaki, or Cossacks, a Tatar word meaning freebooters) were formed into companies (c. 1504) and placed at the disposal of the frontier starostas, or lord marchers, of Kaniev, Kamenets, Czerkask on the Don and other places. But these measures proved inadequate, and in 1533 the lord marcher, Ostafi Daszkiewicz, the hero of Kaniev, which he had successfully defended against a countless host of Turks and Tatars, was consulted by the diet as to the best way of defending the Ukraine permanently against such inroads. The veteran expert advised the populating and fortifying of the islands of the Dnieper. Two thousand men would suffice, he said, and the Cossacks supplied excellent military material ready to hand. The diet unanimously approved of this simple and inexpensive plan; a special commission examined and approved of its details, and it was submitted to the next diet, which rejected it. So nothing at all was done officially, and the defence of the eastern Ukraine was left to providence. Oddly enough the selfish prudence of Sigismund's rapacious consort, Queen Bona, did more for the national defence than the Polish state could do. Thus, to defend her immense possessions in Volhynia and Podolia, she converted the castles of Bar and Krzemieniec into first-class fortresses, and placed the former in the hands of her Silesian steward, who acquitted himself so manfully of his charge r that "the Tatars fell away from the frontier all the days of Pan Pretficz," and a large population settled securely beneath the walls of Bar, henceforth known as "the bastion of Podolia." Nothing, perhaps, illustrates so forcibly the casual character of the Polish government in the most vital matters as this single incident.
The most important political event during the reign of Sigismund was the collapse of the ancient Hungarian monarchy at Mohacs in 1526. Poland, as the next neighbour of Hungary, was more seriously affected than any other European power by this catastrophe, but her politicians differed as to the best way of facing it. Immediately after the death of King Louis, who fell on the field of battle, the emperor Ferdinand and John Zapolya, voivode of Transylvania, competed for the vacant crown, and both were elected almost simultaneously. In Poland Zapolya's was the popular cause, and he also found powerful support in the influential and highly gifted Laski family, as represented by the Polish chancellor and his nephews John and Hieronymus. Sigismund, on the other hand, favoured Ferdinand of Austria. Though bound by family ties with both competitors, he regarded the situation from a purely political point of view. He argued that the best way to keep the Turk from Poland was for Austria to incorporate Hungary, in which case the Austrian dominion would be a strong and permanent barrier against a Mussulman invasion of Europe. History has 1 Pretficz won no fewer than 70 engagements over the Tatars.
more than justified him, and the long duel which ensued between Ferdinand and Zapolya (see Hungary: History) enabled the Polish monarch to maintain to the end a cautious but observant neutrality. More than once, indeed, Sigismund was seriously compromised by the diplomatic vagaries of Hieronymus Laski, who entered the service of Zapolya (since 1529 the protege of the sultan), and greatly alarmed both the emperor and the pope by his disturbing philo-Turk proclivities. It was owing to Laski's intrigues that the new hospodar of Moldavia, Petrylo, after doing homage to the Porte, intervened in the struggle as the foe of both Ferdinand and Sigismund, and besieged the Grand Hetman of the Crown, Jan Tarnowski, in Obertyn, where, however, the Moldavians (August 22, 1531) sustained a crushing defeat, and Petrylo was slain. Nevertheless, so anxious was Sigismund to avoid a collision with the Turks, that he forbade the victorious Tarnowski to cross the Moldavian frontier, and sent a letter of explanation to Constantinople. On the death of John Zapolya, the Austro-Polish alliance was still further cemented by the marriage of Sigismund's son and heir, Sigismund Augustus, with the archduchess Elizabeth. In the reign of Sigismund was effected the incorporation of the duchy of Masovia with the Polish crown, after an independent existence of five hundred years. In 1526 the male line of the ancient dynasty became extinct, and on the 26th of August Sigismund received the homage of the Masovians at Warsaw, the capital of the duchy and ere long of the whole kingdom. Almost every acre of densely populated Masovia was in the hands of her sturdy, ultra-conservative squires, in point of culture far below their brethren in Great and Little Poland. The additional revenue gained by the Crown from Masovia was at first but 14,000 gulden per annum. The four and twenty years of Sigismund II.'s reign was a critical period of Polish history. Complications with the Turk were avoided by the adroit diplomacy of the king, while the superior discipline and efficiency of the Polish armies under the great Tarnowski (q.v.) and his pupils overawed the Tatars and extruded the Muscovites, neither of whom were so troublesome as they had been during the last reign. All the .more disquieting was the internal condition of the country, due mainly to the invasion of Poland by the Reformation, and the coincidence of this invasion with an internal revolution of a quasi-democratic character, which aimed at substituting the rule of the szlachta for the rule of the senate.
Hitherto the Republic had given the Holy See but little anxiety. Hussite influences, in the beginning of the 15th century, had been superficial and transitory. The Polish government had employed Hussite mercenaries, but rejected Hussite propagandists. The edict of Wielun (1424), remarkable as the first anti-heretical decree issued in Poland, crushed the new sect in its infancy. Lutheranism, moreover, was at first regarded with grave suspicion by the intensely patriotic Polish gentry, because of its German origin. Nevertheless, the extremely severe penal edicts issued during the reign of Sigismund I., though seldom applied, seem to point to the fact that heresy was spreading widely throughout the country. For a time, therefore, the Protestants had to be cautious in Poland proper, but they found a sure refuge in Prussia, where Lutheranism was already the established religion, and where the newly erected university of Konigsberg became a seminary for Polish ministers and preachers.
While Lutheranism was thus threatening the Polish Church from the north, Calvinism had already invaded her from the west. Calvinism, indeed, rather recommended itself to the Poles as being of non-German origin, and Calvin actually dedicated his Commentary on the Mass to the young krolewicz (or crown prince) Sigismund Augustus, from whom protestantism, erroneously enough, expected much in the future. Meanwhile conversion to Calvinism, among the higher classes in Poland, became more and more frequent. We hear of crowded Calvinist conventicles in Little Poland from 1545 onwards, and Calvinism continued to spread throughout the kingdom during the latter years of Sigismund I. Another sect, which ultimately found even more favour in Poland than the Calvinists, was that of the Bohemian Brethren. We first hear of them in Great Poland in 1548. A royal decree promptly banished them to Prussia, where they soon increased so rapidly as to be able to hold their own against the Lutherans. The death of the uncompromising Sigismund I. came as a great relief to the Protestants, who entertained high hopes of his son and successor. He was known to be familiar with the works of the leading reformers; he was surrounded by Protestant counsellors, and he was actually married to Barbara, daughter of Prince Nicholas Radziwill, "Black Radziwill," the all-powerful chief of the Lithuanian Calvinists. It was not so generally known that Sigismund II. was by conviction a sincere though not a bigoted Catholic; and nobody suspected that beneath his diplomatic urbanity lay a patriotic firmness and statesmanlike qualities of the first order. Moreover, they ignored the fact that the success of the Protestant propaganda was due rather to political than to religious causes. The Polish gentry's jealousy of the clerical estate, whose privileges even exceeded their own, was at the bottom of the whole matter. Any opponent of the established clergy was the natural ally of the szlachta, and the scandalous state of the Church herself provided them with a most formidable weapon against her. It is not too much to say that the condition of the Catholic Church in Poland was almost as bad as it was in Scotland during the same period. The bishops were, for the most part, elegant triflers, as pliant as reeds, with no fixed principles and saturated with a false humanism. Some of them were notorious evillivers. "Pint-pot" Latuski, bishop of Posen, had purchased his office for 12,000 ducats from Queen Bona; while another of her creatures, Peter, popularly known as the "wencher," was appointed bishop of Przemysl with the promise of the reversion of the still richer see of Cracow. Moreover, despite her immense wealth (in the province of Little Poland alone she owned at this time 26 towns, 83 landed estates and 772 villages), the Church claimed exemption from all public burdens, from all political responsibilities, although her prelates continued to exercise an altogether disproportionate political influence. Education was shamefully neglected, the masses being left in almost heathen ignorance - and this, too, at a time when the upper classes were greedily appropriating the ripe fruits of the Renaissance and when, to use the words of a contemporary, there were "more Latinists in Poland than there used to be in Latium." The university of Cracow, the sole source of knowledge in the vast Polish realm, still moved in the vicious circle of scholastic formularies. The provincial schools, dependent upon so decrepit an alma mater, were suffered to decay. This criminal neglect of national education brought along with it its own punishment. The sons of the gentry, denied proper instruction at home, betook themselves to the nearest universities across the border, to Goldberg in Silesia, to Wittemberg, to Leipzig. Here they fell in with the adherents of the new faith, grave, earnest men who professed to reform the abuses which had grown up in the Church; and a sense of equity as much as a love of novelty moved them, on their return home, to propagate wholesome doctrines and clamour for the reformation of their own degenerate prelates. Finally the poorer clergy, neglected by their bishops, and excluded from all preferment, took part with the szlachta against their own spiritual rulers and eagerly devoured and imparted to their flocks, in their own language, the contents of the religious tracts which reached them by divers ways from Goldberg and Konigsberg. Nothing indeed did so much to popularize the new doctrines in Poland as this beneficial revival of the long-negle-ted vernacular by the reformers.
Such was the situation when Sigismund II. began his reign. The bishops at once made a high bid for the favour of the new Sigis- king by consenting to the coronation of his Calvinist munddl., consort (Dec. 7, 1550) and the king five days l.,48-1572. afterwards issued the celebrated edict in which he pledged his royal word to preserve intact the unity of the Church and to enforce the law of the land against heresy. Encouraged by this pleasing symptom of orthodoxy the bishops, instead of first attempting to put their own dilapidated house in order, at once proceeded to institute pr e osecutions for heresy against all and sundry. This at once led to an explosion, and at the diet of Piotrkow, 1J52, the szlachta accepted a proposition of the king, by way of compromise, that the jurisdiction of the clerical courts should be suspended for twelve months, on condition that the gentry continued to pay tithes as heretofore. Then began a religious interim, which was gradually prolonged for ten years, during which time Protestantism in Poland flourished exceedingly. Presently reformers of every shade of opinion, even those who were tolerated nowhere else, poured into Poland, which speedily became the battle-ground of all the sects of Europe. Soon the Protestants became numerous enough to form ecclesiastical districts of their own. The first Calvinist synod in Poland was held at Pinczow in 1550. The Bohemian Brethren evangelized Little Poland, but ultimately coalesced with the Calvinists at the synod of Kozminek (August 1555). In the diet itself the Protestants were absolutely supreme, and invariably elected a Calvinist to be their marshal. At the diet of 1555 they boldly demanded a national synod, absolute toleration, and the equalization of all the sects except the Antitrinitarians. But the king intervened and the existing interim was indefinitely prolonged. At the diet of Piotrkow, 1558-1559, the onslaught of the szlachta on the clergy was fiercer than ever, and they even demanded the exclusion of the bishops from the senate. The king, however, perceiving a danger to the constitution in the violence of the szlachta, not only supported the bishops, but quashed a subsequent reiterated demand for a national synod. The diet of1558-1559indicates the high-water mark of Polish Protestantism. From this time forward it began to subside, very gradually but unmistakably. The chief cause of this subsidence was the division among the reformers themselves. From the chaos of creeds resulted a chaos of ideas on all imaginable subjects, politics included. The Anti-trinitarian proved to be the chief dissolvent, and from 1560 onwards the relations between the two principal Protestant sects, the Lutherans and the Calvinists, were fratricidal rather than fraternal. An auxiliary cause of the decline of Protestantism was the beginning of a Catholic reaction. The bulk of the population still held persistently, if languidly, to the faith of its fathers; the new bishops were holy and learned men, very unlike the creations of Queen Bona, and the Holy See gave to the slowly reviving zeal of both clergy and laity the very necessary impetus from without. For Poland, unlike Scotland, was fortunately, in those days of difficult inter-communication, not too far off, and it is indisputable that in the first instance it was the papal nuncios, men like Berard of Camerino and Giovanni Commendone, who reorganized the scattered and faint-hearted battalions of the Church militant in Poland and led them back to victory. At the diet of Piotrkow in 1562, indeed, the king's sore need of subsidies induced him, at the demand of the szlachta, to abolish altogether the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts in cases of heresy; but, on the other hand, at the diet of 1564 he accepted from Commendone the Tridentine decrees and issued an edict banishing all foreign, and especially Anti-trinitarian, heretics from the land. At the diet of 1565 Sigismund went still farther. Ile rejected a petition for a national The pacificatory synod as unnecessary, inasmuch as the Counter - council of Trent had already settled all religious questions, and at the same time consented to the 1° Poland. introduction into Poland of the most formidable adversaries of the Reformation, the Jesuits. These had already been installed at Poltusk, and were permitted, after the diet rose, to found establishments in the dioceses of Posen, Ermeland and Vilna, which henceforth became centres of a vigorous and victorious propaganda. Thus the Republic recovered her catholicity and her internal harmony at the same time.
With rare sagacity Sigismund II. had thus piloted the Republic through the most difficult internal crisis it had yet encountered. In purely political matters also both initiative and fulfilment came entirely from the Crown, and to the last of the Jagiellos Poland owed the important acquisition of Livonia and the welding together of her loosely connected component parts into a single state by the Union of. Lublin.
In the middle of the 16th century the ancient order of the I(nights of the Sword, whose territory embraced Esthonia, Livonia, Courland, Semgallen and the islands of Dagii and Oesel, was tottering to its fall. All the Baltic powers were more or less interested in the apportionment of this vast tract of land, whose geographical position made it not only the chief commercial link between east and west, but also the emporium whence the English, Dutch, Swedes, Danes and Germans obtained their corn, timber and most of the raw products of Lithuania and Muscovy. Matters were complicated by the curious political intricacies of this long-coveted domain, where the grand-master, the archbishop of Riga, and the estates of Livonia possessed concurrent and generally conflicting jurisdictions. Poland and Muscovy as the nearest neighbours of this moribund state, which had so long excluded them from the sea, were vitally concerned in its fate. After an anarchic period of suspense, lasting from 1546 to 1561, during which Sweden secured Esthonia, while Ivan the Terrible fearlessly ravaged Livonia, in the hope of making it valueless to any other potentate, Sigismund II., to whom both the grand-master and the archbishop had appealed more than once for protection, at length intervened decisively. Both he and his chancellor, Piotr Myszkowski (d. 1591), were well aware of the importance of securing a coast-land which would enable Poland to become a naval power. But the diet, with almost incredible short-sightedness, refused to waste a penny on an undertaking which, they argued, concerned only Lithuania, and it was not as king of Poland, but as grand-duke of Lithuania, and with purely Lithuanian troops, that Sigismund, in 1561, occupied Livonia. At his camp before Riga the last grand-master, Gotthard von Ketteler, who had long been at the head of the Polish party in Livonia, and William of Brandenburg, archbishop of Riga, gladly placed themselves beneath his protection, and by a subsequent convention signed at Vilna (Nov. 28, 1561), Livonia was incorporated with Lithuania in much the same way as Prussia had been incorporated with Poland thirty-six years previously. Ketteler, who had adopted Lutheranism during a visit to Germany in 1553, now professed the Augsburg Confession, and became the first duke of a new Protestant duchy, which he was to hold as a fief of the Polish crown, with local autonomy and absolute freedom of worship. The southern provinces of the ancient territory of the Order, Courland and Semgallen, had first been ceded on the 24th of June 1559 to Lithuania on similar conditions, the matter being finally adjusted by the compact of March 1562.
The apathy of Poland in such a vital matter as the Livonian question must have convinced so statesmanlike a prince as Sigismund II. of the necessity of preventing any possibility of cleavage in the future between the two halves of his dominions whose absolute solidarity was essential to their existence as a great power. To this patriotic design he devoted the remainder of his life. A personal union, under one monarch, however close, had proved inadequate. A further step must be taken - the two independent countries must be transformed into a single state. The great obstacle in the way of this, the only true solution of the difficulty, was the opposition of the Lithuanian magnates, who feared to lose the absolute dominancy they possessed in the grand-duchy if they were merged in the szlachta of the kingdom. But, at the last moment, the dread of another Muscovite invasion made them more pliable and, at a Polish diet held at Warsaw from November 1563 to June 1564, which the Lithuanians attended, the question of an absolute union was hotly debated. When things came to a deadlock the king tactfully intervened and voluntarily relinquished his hereditary title to Lithuania, thus placing the two countries on a constitutional equality and preparing the way for fresh negotiations in the future. The death, in 1565, of Black Radziwill, the chief opponent of the union, still further weakened the Lithuanians, and the negotiations were reopened with more prospect of success at the diet which met at Lublin on the 10th of January 1569. But even now the Lithuanians were indisposed towards a complete union, and finally they quitted the diet, leaving two commissioners behind to watch their interests. Then Sigismund executed his master stroke. Knowing the sensitiveness of the Lithuanians as regards Volhynia and Podolia, he suddenly, of his own authority, formally incorporated both these provinces with the kingdom of Poland, whereupon, amidst great enthusiasm, the Volhynian and Podolian deputies took their places on the same benches as their Polish brethren. The hands of the Lithuanians were forced. Even a complete union on equal terms was better than mutilated independence. Accordingly they returned to the diet, and the Complete union was unanimously adopted on the 1st of July of 1569. Henceforth the kingdom of Poland and the grand duchy of Lithuania were to constitute one inseparable and indivisible body politic, under one1569. sovereign, elected in common, with one diet and one currency. All dependencies and colonies, including Prussia and Livonia, were to belong to Poland and Lithuania in common. The retention of the old duality of dignities was the one reminiscence of the original separation. No decision, however, could be come to as to the successor of the childless king, partly because of the multiplicity of candidates, partly because of Austrian intrigue, and this, the most momentous question of all, was still unsettled when Sigismund II. expired on the 6th of July 1572.
The Jagiellonic period (1386-1572) is the history of the consolidation and fusion into one homogeneous, political whole of numerous national elements, more or less akin ethnologically, but differing immensely in language, religion and, above all, in degrees of civilization. Jagiellonic Out of the ancient Piast kingdom, mutilated by the Period, loss of Silesia and the Baltic shore, arose a republic 1386-1572. consisting at first of various loosely connected entities, naturally centrifugal, but temporarily drawn together by the urgent need of combination against a superior foe, who threatened them separately with extinction. Beneath the guidance of a dynasty of princes which, curiously enough, was supplied by the least civilized portion of this congeries of nationalities, ,the nascent republic gradually grew into a power which subjugated its former oppressors and, viewed externally, seemed to bear upon it the promise of empire. It is dangerous to prophesy, but all the facts and circumstances before us point irresistibly to the conclusion that had the Jagiellonic dynasty but endured this promise of empire might well have been realized. The extraordinary thing about the Jagiellos was the equable persistency of their genius. Not only were five of the seven great statesmen, but they were statesmen of the same stamp. We are disturbed by no such sharp contrasts as are to be found among the Plantagenets, the Vasas and the Bourbons. The Jagiellos were all of the same mould and pattern, but the mould was a strong one and the pattern was good. Their predominant and constant characteristic is a sober sagacity which instinctively judges aright and imperturbably realized its inspirations. The Jagiellos were rarely brilliant, but they were always perspicacious. Above all, they alone seem to have had the gift of guiding the most difficult of nations properly. Two centuries of Jagiellonic rule made Poland great despite her grave external difficulties. Had that dynasty been prolonged for another century, there is every reason to suppose that it would also have dealt satisfactorily with Poland's still more dangerous internal difficulties, and arrested the development of that anarchical constitution which was the ruling factor in the ruin of the Republic. Simultaneously with the transformation into a great power of the petty principalities which composed ancient Poland, another and equally momentous political transformation was proceeding within the country itself.
HISTORY]
The origin of the Polish constitution is to be sought in the wiece or councils of the Polish princes, during the partitional period (c. 1279-1370). The privileges conferred upon the magnates of which these councils were composed, especially upon the magnates of Little Poland, who brought the Jagiellos to the throne, directed their policy, and grew rich upon their liberality, revolted the less favoured szlachta, or gentry, who, towards the end of the 14th century, combined for mutual defence in their sejmiki, or local diets, of which originally there were five, three in Great Poland, one in Little Poland and one in Posen-Kalisz.' In these sejmiki the deputies of the few great towns were also represented. The Polish towns, notably Cracow, had obtained their privileges, including freedom from tolls and municipal government, from the Crown in return for important services, such as warding off the Tatars, while the cities of German origin were protected by the Magdeburg law. Casimir the Great even tried to make municipal government as democratic as possible by enacting that one half of the town council of Cracow should be elected from the civic patriciate, but the other half from the commonalty. Louis the Great placed the burgesses on a level with the gentry by granting to the town council of Cracow jurisdiction over all the serfs in the extra-rural estates of the citizens. From this time forth deputies from the cities were summoned to the sejmiki on all important occasions, such, for instance, as the ratification of treaties, a right formally conceded to them by the sejmik of Radom in 1384. Thus at this period Poland was a confederation of half a dozen semiindependent states. The first general assembly of which we have certain notice is the zjazd walny which was summoned to Koszyce in November 1404, to relieve the financial embarrassments of Wladislaus, and granted him an extraordinary subsidy of twenty groats per hide of land to enable him to purchase Dobrzyn from the Teutonic Knights. Such subsidies were generally the price for the confirmation of ancient or the concession of new privileges. Thus at the diet of Brzesc Kujawski, in 1425, the szlachta obtained its first habeas corpus act in return for acknowledging the right of the infant krolewicz Wladislaus to his father's throne. The great opportunity of the szlachta was, of course, the election of a new king, especially the election of a minor, an event always accompanied and succeeded by disorders. Thus at the election of the infant Wladislaus III., his guardians promised in his name to confirm all the privileges granted by his father. If, on attaining his majority, the king refused to ratify these promises, his subjects were ipso facto absolved from their obedience. This is the first existence of the mischievous principle de prestanda obedientia, subsequently elevated into a statute. It is in this reign, too, that we meet with the first rokosz, or insurrection of the nobility against the executive. The extraordinary difficulties of Casimir IV. were freely exploited by the szlachta, who granted that ever impecunious monarch as little as possible, but got full value for every penny they grudgingly gave. Thus by the Articles of Cerekwica presented to him by the sejmik or dietine of Great Poland in 1 454 on the outbreak of the Teutonic War, he conceded the principle that no war should in future be begun without the consent of the local diets. A few months later he was obliged to grant the Privileges of Nieszawa, which confirmed and extended the operation of the Articles of Cerekwica. The sejmiki had thus added to their original privilege of self-taxation the right to declare war and control the national militia. 2 This was a serious political retrogression. A strongly centralized government had ever been Poland's greatest need, and Casimir the Great had striven successfully against all centrifugal tendencies. And now, eighty-four years after his death, Poland was once more split up into half a dozen loosely federated states in the hands of country gentlemen too ignorant and prejudiced to look beyond the boundaries of their own provinces. The only way of saving the Republic from disintegration was to concentrate all its political factors into a sejm-walny or general diet. But to this the magnates and the szlachta were equally opposed, the former because they feared the rivalry of a national assembly, the latter because they were of more importance in their local diets than they could possibly hope to be in a I The Red Russian sejmik was of later origin, c. 1433.
2 In view of the frequency of the Tatar inroads, the control of the militia was r'-transferred to the Crown in 1501.
general diet. The first sejm to legislate for the whole of Poland was the diet of Piotrkow (1493), summoned by John Albert to grant him subsidies; but the mandates of its deputies were limited to twelve months, and its decrees were to have force for only three years. John Albert's second diet (1496), after granting subsidies the burden of which fell entirely on the towns and peasantry, passed a series of statutes benefiting the nobility at the expense of the other classes. Thus one statute permitted the szlachta henceforth to export and import goods duty free, to the great detriment of the towns and the treasury. Another statute prohibited the burgesses from holding landed property and enjoying the privileges attaching thereto. A third statute disqualified plebeians from being elected to canonries or bishoprics. A fourth endeavoured to bind the peasantry more closely to the soil by forbidding emigration. The condition of the serfs was subsequently (1520) still further deteriorated by the introduction of socage. In a word, this diet disturbed the equilibrium of the state by enfeebling and degrading the middle classes. Nevertheless, so long as the Jagiello dynasty lasted, the political rights of the cities were jealously protected by the Crown against the usurpations of the nobility. Deputies from the towns took part in the election of John Albert (1492), and the burgesses of Cracow, the most enlightened economists in the kingdom, supplied Sigismund I. with his most capable counsellors during the first twenty years of his reign (1506-1526). Again and again the nobility attempted to exclude the deputies of Cracow from the diet, in spite of a severe edict issued by Sigismund I. in 150 9, threatening to prosecute for treason all persons who dared to infringe the liberties of the citizens. During Sigismund's reign, moreover, the Crown recovered many of the prerogatives of which it had been deprived during the reign of his feeble predecessor, Alexander, who, to say nothing of the curtailments of the prerogative, had been forced to accept the statute nihil novi (1505) which gave the sejm and the senate an equal voice with the Crown in all executive matters. In the latter years of Sigismund I. (1 53 o - 1 54 8) the political influence of the szlachta grew rapidly at the expense of the executive, and the gentry in diet assembled succeeded in curtailing the functions of all the great officers of state. During the reign of Sigismund II. (1548-1572) they diverted their attention to the abuses of the Church and considerably reduced both her wealth and her privileges. In this respect both the Crown and the country were with them, so that their interference,if violent,was on the whole distinctly beneficial.
The childless Sigismund II. died suddenly without leaving any regulations as to the election of his successor. Fortunately for Poland the political horizon was absolutely - unclouded. The Turks, still reeling from the shock of Lepanto, could with difficulty hold their own 1572-4573. against the united forces of the pope, Spain and Venice; while Ivan the Terrible had just concluded a truce with Poland. Domestic affairs, on the other hand, were in an almost anarchical condition. The Union of Lublin, barely three years old, was anything but consolidated, and in Lithuania it continued to be extremely unpopular. In Poland proper the szlachta were fiercely opposed to the magnates; and the Protestants seemed bent upon still further castigating the clergy. Worst of all, there existed no recognized authority in the land to curb and control its jarring centrifugal political elements. It was nearly two hundred years since the Republic had suffered from an interregnum, and the precedents of 1382 were obsolete. The primate, on hearing of the demise of the Crown, at once invited all the senators of Great Poland to a conference at Lowicz, but passed over the szlachta altogether. In an instant the whole Republic was seething like a caldron, and a rival assembly was simultaneously summoned to Cracow by Jan Ferlej, the head of the Protestant party. Civil war was happily averted at the last moment, and a national convention, composed of senators and deputies from all parts of the country, assembled at Warsaw, in April 1573, for the purpose of electing a new king. Five candidates for the throne were already in the field. Lithuania favoured Ivan IV. In Poland the bishops and most of the Catholic magnates were for an Austrian archduke, while the strongly anti-German szlachta were inclined to accept almost any candidate but a German, so long as he came with a gift in his hand and was not a Muscovite. In these circumstances it was an easy task for the adroit and energetic French ambassador, Jean de Montl.uc (d. 1579), brother of the famous marshal, and bishop of Valence, to procure the election of the French candidate, Henry, duke of Anjou. Well provided with funds, he speedily bought over many of the leading magnates, and his popularity reached its height when he strenuously advocated the adoption of the mode of election by the gentry en masse (which the szlachta proposed to revive), as opposed to the usual and more orderly "secret election" by a congress of senators and deputies, sitting with closed doors. The religious difficulty, meanwhile, had been adjusted to the satisfaction of all parties by the compact of Warsaw (Jan. 28, 1573), which granted absolute religious liberty to all non-Catholic denominations (dissidentes de religiose, as they now began to be called) without exception, thus exhibiting a far more liberal intention than the Germans had manifested in the religious peace of Augsburg eighteen years before. Finally, early in April 1573, the election diet assembled at Warsaw, and on the 11th of May, in the midst of intrigue, corruption, violence and confusion, Henry of Valois was elected king of Poland.
The election had, however, been preceded by a correctura jurum, or reform of the constitution, which resulted in the Henry of famous "Henrican Articles" which converted Valois, king, Poland from a limited monarchy into a republic 1573-1574. with an elective chief magistrate. Henceforward the king was to have no voice in the choice of his successor. He was not to use the word haeres, not being an hereditary sovereign. He was to marry a wife selected for him by the senate. He was neither to seek for a divorce nor give occasion for one. He was to be neutral in all religious matters. He was not to lead the militia across the border except with the consent of the szlachta, and then only for three months at a time. Every year the senate was to appoint sixteen of its number to be in constant attendance upon the king in rotas of four, which sedecimvirs were to supervise all his actions. Should the king fail to observe any one of these articles, the nation was ipso facto absolved from its allegiance. This constitutional reform was severely criticized by contemporary political experts. Some strongly condemned the clause justifying renunciation of allegiance, as tending to treason and anarchy. Others protested against the anomalous and helpless position of the so-called king, who, if he 'could do no harm, was certainly powerless for good. But such Cassandras prophesied to heedless ears. The Republic had deliberately cast itself upon the downward grade which was to lead to ruin.
The reign of Henry of Valois lasted thirteen months. The tidings of the death of his brother Charles IX., which reached him on the 14th of June 1574, determined him to exchange a thorny for what he hoped would be a flowery throne, and at midnight on the 18th of June 1574 he literally fled from Poland, pursued to the frontier by his indignant and bewildered subjects. Eighteen months later (Dec. 14, 1575), mainly through the influence of Jan Zamoyski, Stephen Bathory, prince of Transylvania, was elected king of Poland by the szlachta in opposition to the emperor Maximilian, who had been elected two days previously by the senate, after disturbances which would have rent any other state but Poland to pieces.
The glorious career of Stephen Bathory (1575-1586) is dealt with elsewhere (see Stephen, King of Poland). His example Stephen demonstrates the superiority of genius and valour Bathory, over the most difficult circumstances. But his 157.5-1586. reign was too brief to be permanently beneficial.
The Vasa period of Polish history which began with the election of Sigismund, son of John III., king of Sweden, was the Sigis- epoch of last and lost chances. The collapse of the mend 111., Muscovite tsardom in the east, and the submersion 1587-1632. of the German Empire in the west by the Thirty Years' War, presented Poland with an unprecedented oppor tunity of consolidating, once for all, her hard-won position as the dominating power of central Europe. Everywhere circumstances were favourable to her, and in olkiewski, Chodkiewicz and Koniecpolski she possessed three of the greatest captains of that or any other age. With all the means at her disposal cheerfully placed in the hands of such valiant and capable ministers, it would have been no difficult task for the Republic to have wrested the best part of the Baltic littoral from the Scandinavian powers, and driven the distracted Muscovites beyond the Volga. Permanent greatness and secular security were within her reach at the commencement of the Vasa period; how was it, then, that at the end of that period, only fifty years later, Poland had already sunk irredeemably into much the same position as Turkey occupies now, the position of a moribund state, existing on sufferance simply because none was yet quite prepared to administer the coup de grace? There is only one answer; the principal cause of this complete and irretrievable collapse is to be sought for in the folly, egotism and selfishness of the Polish gentry, whose insane dislike of all discipline, including even the salutary discipline of regular government, converted Poland into something very like a primitive tribal community at the very time when every European statesman, including the more enlightened of the Poles themselves, clearly recognized that the political future belonged to the strongly centralized monarchies, which were everywhere rising on the ruins of feudalism. Of course there were other contributory causes. The tenacity with which Sigismund III. clung to his hereditary rights to the Swedish Crown involved Poland in a quite unnecessary series of wars with Charles IX. and Gustavus Adolphus, when her forces were sorely needed elsewhere. The adhesion of the same monarch to the League of the Catholic Reaction certainly added to the difficulties of Polish diplomacy, and still further divided the already distracted diet, besides alienating from the court the powerful and popular chancellor Zamoyski. Yet Sigismund III. was a far more clearsighted statesman than any of his counsellors or contradictors. For instance, he was never misled by the successes of the false Demetrius in Muscovy, and wisely insisted on recovering the great eastern fortress of Smolensk rather than attempting the conquest of Moscow. His much-decried alliance with the emperor at the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War was eminently sagacious. He perceived at once that it was the only way of counteracting the restlessness of the sultan's protégés, the Protestant princes of Transylvania, whose undisciplined hordes, scarcely less savage than their allies the Turks and Tatars, were a perpetual menace both to Austria and to Poland. Finally he was bent upon reforming the Polish constitution by substituting the decision of all matters by a plurality of votes for a unanimity impossible to count upon.
When we turn to the szlachta who absolutely controlled the diet, we find not the slightest trace, I will not say of political foresight - that they never possessed - but of common patriotism, or ordinary public spirit. The most urgent national necessities were powerless to stir their hearts or open their purses. The diets during the reign of Sigismund III. were even more niggardly than they had been under the Jagiellos, and on the single occasion when the terrors of an imminent Tatar invasion constrained them to grant extraordinary subsidies, they saw to it that such subsidies should rest entirely on the shoulders of the burgesses (who had in the meantime been deprived of the franchise) and the already overburdened peasantry. In_ the very crisis of the Swedish War, the diminutive army of the victorious Chodkiewicz was left unpaid, with the result that the soldiers mutinied, and marched off en masse. Both Chodkiewicz and olkiewski frequently had to pay the expenses of their campaigns out of their own pockets, and were expected to conquer empires and defend hundreds of miles of frontier with armies of 3000 or 4000 men at most. When they retreated before overwhelming odds they were publicly accused of cowardice and incompetence. The determination to limit still further the power of the executive was at the bottom of this fatal parsimony, with the inevitable consequence that, while the king and the senate were powerless, every great noble or lord-marcher was free to do what he chose in his own domains, so long as he flattered his "little brothers," the szlachta. Incredible as it may seem, the expedition to place the false Demetrius on the Muscovite throne was a private speculation of a few Lithuanian magnates, and similar enterprises on the part of other irresponsible noblemen on the Danube or Dniester brought upon unhappy Poland retaliatory Tatar raids, which reduced whole provinces to ashes. Every attempt to improve matters, by reforming the impossible constitution, stranded on the opposition of the gentry. Take, for instance, the typical and highly instructive case of Zebrzydowski's rebellion. Nicholas Zebrzydowski, a follower of the chancellor Zamoyski, was one of the wealthiest and most respectable magnates in Poland. As palatine of Cracow he held one of the highest and most lucrative dignities in the state, and was equally famous for his valour, piety and liberality. Disappointed in his hope of obtaining the great seal on the death of Zamoyski, he at once conceived that the whole of the nobility had been insulted in his person, and proceeded to make all government impossible for the next three years. On the 7th of March 1606 Sigismund summoned a diet for the express purpose of introducing the principle of decision by majority in the diet, whereupon Zebrzydowski summoned a counter-confederation to Stenczyn in Little Poland, whose first act was to open negotiations with the prince of Transylvania, Stephen Bocskay, with the view of hiring mercenaries from him for further operations. At a subsequent confederation, held at Lublin in June, Zebrzydowski was reinforced by another great nobleman, Stanislaus Stadnicki, called the Devil, who "had more crimes on his conscience than hairs on his head," and was in the habit of cropping the ears and noses of small squires and chaining his serfs to the walls of his underground dungeons for months at a time. This champion of freedom was very eloquent as to the wrongs of the szlachta, and proposed that the assembly should proceed in a body to Warsaw and there formally renounce their allegiance. The upshot of his oratory was the summoning of a rokosz, or national insurrection, to Sandomir, which was speedily joined by the majority of the szlachta all over the country, who openly proclaimed their intention of dethroning the king and chastising the senate, and sent Stadnicki to Transylvania to obtain the armed assistance of Stephen Bocskay. Only the clergy, naturally conservative, still clung to the king, and Sigismund III., who was no coward, at once proceeded to Cracow to overawe the rokoszanie, or insurrectionists, by his proximity, and take the necessary measures for his own protection. By the advice of his senators he summoned a zjazd, or armed convention, to Wislica openly to oppose the insurrection of Sandomir, which zjazd was to be the first step towards the formation of a general confederation for the defence of the throne. Civil war seemed inevitable, when the szlachta of Red Russia and Sieradz suddenly rallied to the king, who at once ordered his army to advance, and after defeating the insurrectionists at Janowiec (in October), granted them a full pardon, on the sole condition that they should refrain from all such acts of rebellion in future. Despite their promises, Zebrzydowski and his colleagues a few months later were again in arms. In the beginning of 1607 they summoned another rokosz to Jendrzejow, at the very time when the diet was assembling at Warsaw. The diet authorized the king to issue a proclamation dissolving the rokosz, and the rokosz retorted with a manifesto in which an insurrection was declared to be as much superior to a parliament as a general council was to a pope. In a second manifesto published at Jezierna, on the 24th of June, the insurrectionists again renounced their allegiance to the king. Oddly enough, the diet before dissolving had, apparently in order to meet the rokosz half-way, issued the famous edict De non praestanda obedientia, whereby, in case of future malpractices by the king and his subsequent neglect of at least two solemn warnings there-anent by the primate and the senate, he was to be formally deposed by the next succeeding diet. But even this was not enough for the insurrectionists. It was not the contingent but the actual deposition of the king that they demanded, and they had their candidate for the throne ready in the person of Gabriel Bethlen, the new prince of Transylvania. But the limits of even Polish complacency had at last been reached, and Zolkiewski and Chodkiewicz were sent against the rebels, whom they routed at Oransk near Guzow, after a desperate encounter, on the 6th of July 1607. But, though driven from the field, the agitation simmered all over the country for nearly two years longer, and was only terminated, in1609, by a general amnesty which excluded every prospect of constitutional reform.
Wladislaus IV., who succeeded his father in 1632, was the most popular monarch who ever sat on the Polish throne. The szlachta, who had had a "King Log" in SigisWladlsmund, were determined that Wladislaus should be laws " a King Bee who will give us nothing but honey" - 1632-1648. in other words they hoped to wheedle him out of even more than they had wrested from his predecessor. Wladislaus submitted to everything. He promised never to declare war or levy troops without the consent of the sejm, undertook to fill all vacancies within a certain time, and released the szlachta from the payment of income-tax, their one remaining fiscal obligation. This boundless complacency was due to policy, not weakness. The second Polish Vasa was a man of genius, fully conscious of his powers, and determined to use them for the benefit of his country. The events of the last reign had demonstrated the incompetence of the Poles to govern themselves. Any amelioration of the existing anarchy must be extra-parliamentary and proceed from the throne. But a reforming monarch was inconceivable unless he possessed the confidence of the nation, and such confidence, Wladislaus naturally argued, could only be won by striking and undeniable public services. On these principles he acted with brilliant results. Within three years of his accession he compelled the Muscovites (Treaty of Polyankova, May 28, 1634) to retrocede Smolensk and the eastern provinces lost by Sigismund II., overawed the Porte by a military demonstration in October of the same year, and, by the Truce of Stumdorf (Sept. 12, 1635), recovered the Prussian provinces and the Baltic seaboard from Sweden. But these achievements excited not the gratitude but the suspicion of the szlachta. They were shrewd enough to guess that the royal triumph might prejudice their influence, and for the next five years they deliberately thwarted the enlightened and far-reaching projects of the king for creating a navy and increasing the revenue without burdening the estates, by a system of tolls levied on the trade of the Baltic ports (see Wladislaus Iv.), even going so far as to refuse for nine years to refund the expenses of the Muscovite War, which he had defrayed out of his privy purse. From sheer weariness and disgust the king refrained from any intervention in public affairs for nearly ten years, looking on indifferently while the ever shorter and stormier diets wrangled perpetually over questions of preferment and the best way of dealing with the extreme dissenters, to the utter neglect of public business. But towards the end of his reign the energy of Wladislaus revived, and he began to occupy himself with another scheme for regenerating his country, in its own despite, by means of the Cossacks. First, however, it is necessary to describe briefly the origin and previous history of these romantic freebooters who during the second half of the 17th century were the determining factor of Polish and Muscovite politics.
[HISTORY
At the beginning of the 16th century the illimitable steppe of south-eastern Europe, extending from the Dnieper to the Urals, had no settled population. Hunters and fishermen frequented its innumerable rivers, returning home laden with rich store of fish and pelts, while runaway serfs occasionally settled in small communities beneath the shelter of the fortresses built, from time to time, to guard the 'southern frontiers of Poland and Muscovy. Obliged, for fear of the Tatars, to go about with arms in their hands, these settlers gradually grew strong enough to raid their raiders, selling the booty thus acquired to the merchants of Muscovy and Poland. Moreover, the Turks and Tatars being the natural enemies of Christendom, a war of extermination The Cossacks. against them was regarded by the Cossacks as a sacred duty. Curiously enough, these champions of orthodoxy borrowed the name, which has stuck to them ever since, from their "dogheaded" adversaries. The rank and file of the Tatar soldiery were known as Kazaki, or Cossacks, a word meaning "freebooters," and this term came to be applied indiscriminately to all the free dwellers in the Ukraine, or border-lands. As time went on the Cossacks multiplied exceedingly. Their daring grew with their numbers, and at last they came to be a constant annoyance to all their neighbours, both Christian and Mussulman, frequently involving Poland in dangerous and unprofitable wars with the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, it is not too much to say that, until the days of Sobieski, the Cossacks were invariably the chief cause of the breaches between the Porte and the Republic. We have seen how carefully the Jagiellos avoided participating in any of the crusades directed by the Holy See against the arch-enemies of the Cross. So successful was their prudential abstention that no regular war occurred between Turkey and Poland during the two centuries of their sway. The first actual collisions, the Cecora campaign of 1620 and the Khotin War of 1621 (for John Albert's Moldavian raid does not count), were due to the depredations of the Cossacks upon the dominions of the sultan by land and sea, and in all subsequent treaties between the two powers the most essential clause was always that which bound the Republic to keep its freebooters in order.
But in the meantime the Cossacks themselves had become a semi-independent community. The origin of the Cossack state is still somewhat obscure, but the germs of it are visible as early as the beginning of the 16th century. The union of Lublin, which led to the polonization of Lithuania, was the immediate occasion of a considerable exodus to the lowlands of the Dnieper of those serfs who desired to escape from the taxes of the Polish government and the tyranny of the Polish landlords. Stephen Bathory presently converted the pick of them into six registered regiments of 1000 each for the defence of the border. Ultimately the island of Hortica, just below the falls of the Dnieper, was fixed upon as their headquarters; and on the numerous islands of that broad river there gradually arose the famous Cossack community known as the Zaporozhskaya Syech, or Settlement behind the Falls, whence the Dnieperian Cossacks were known, generally, as Zaporozhians, or Backfallsmen. 1 The Cossack kosh, or commonwealth, had the privilege of electing its hetman, or chief, and his chief officers, the starshins. The hetman, after election, received from the king of Poland direct the insignia of his office, viz. the bulawa, or baton, the bunchuk, or horse-tail standard, and his official seal; but he was responsible for his actions to the kosh alone, and an inquiry into his conduct was held at the expiration of his term of office in the obschaya shkoda, or, general assembly. In time of peace his power was little more than that of the responsible minister of a constitutional republic; but in time of warfare he was a dictator, and disobedience to his orders in the field was punishable by death.
The Cossacks were supposed to be left alone as much as possible by the Polish government so long as they faithfully fulfilled their chief obligation of guarding the frontiers of the Republic from Tatar raids. But the relations between a community of freebooters, mostly composed of fugitive serfs and refugees, and a government of small squires who regarded the Cossacks as a mere rabble were bound to be difficult at the best of times, and political and religious differences presently supervened. The Cossacks, mostly of Lithuanian origin, belonged to the Orthodox religion, so far as they belonged to any religion at all, and the Jagiellos had been very careful to safeguard the religious liberties of their Lithuanian subjects, especially as the Poles themselves were indifferent on the subject. But, at the beginning of the 17th century, when the current of the Catholic reaction was running very strongly and the Jesuits, after subduing the Protestants, began to undermine the position of the Orthodox Church in Lithuania, a more intolerant spirit 1 Cf. American, Backwoodsmen.
began to prevail. The old Calvinist nobility of Lithuania were speedily reconverted; a Uniate Church in connexion with Rome was established; Greek Orthodox congregations, if not generally persecuted, were at least depressed and straitened; and the Cossacks began to hate the Pans, or Polish lords, not merely as tyrants, but as heretics. Yet all these obstacles to a good understanding might, perhaps, have been surmounted if only the Polish diet had treated the Cossacks with common fairness and common sense. In 161g the Polish government was obliged to prohibit absolutely the piratical raids of the Cossacks in the Black Sea, where they habitually destroyed Turkish property to the value of millions. At the same time, by the compact of Rastawica, the sejm undertook to allow the Cossacks, partly as wages, partly as compensation, 40,000 (raised by the compact of Kurukow to 60,000) gulden and 170 wagons of cloth per annum. These terms were never kept, despite the earnest remonstrances of the king, and the complaints of the aggrieved borderers. Parsimony prevailed, as usual, over prudence, and when the Cossacks showed unmistakable signs of restiveness, the Poles irritated them still further by ordering the construction of the strong fortress of Kudak at the confluence of the Dnieper and the Samara, to overawe the Zaporozhian community. This further act of repression led to two terrible Cossack risings, in 1635 and 1636, put down only with the utmost difficulty, whereupon the diet of 1638 deprived the Cossacks of all their ancient privileges, abolished the elective hetmanship, and substituted for it a commission of Polish noblemen with absolute power, so that the Cossacks might well declare that those who hated them were lords over them.
Such was the condition of affairs in the Ukraine when Wladislaus IV. proposed to make the Cossacks the pivot of his foreign policy and his domestic reforms. His far-reaching plans were based upon two facts, the absolute devotion of the Zaporozhians to himself personally, and the knowledge, secretly conveyed to him by Stanislaus Koniecpolski, that the whole of the Ukraine was in a ferment. He proposed to provoke the Tatars to a rupture by repudiating the humiliating tribute with which the Republic had so long and so vainly endeavoured to buy off their incessant raids. In case of such rupture he meant, at the head of 10o,000 Cossacks, to fall upon the Crimea itself, the seat of their power, and exterminate the Khanate. This he calculated would bring about a retaliatory invasion of Poland by the Turks, which would justify him in taking the field against them also with all the forces of the Republic. In case of success he would be able to impose the will of a victorious king upon a discredited diet, and reform the constitution on an English or Swedish model. Events seemed at first to favour this audacious speculation. Almost simultaneously a civil war broke out in the Crimea and the Porte declared war against the Venetian republic, with which Wladislaus at once concluded an offensive and defensive alliance (1645). He then bade the Cossacks prepare their boats for a raid upon the Turkish galleys, and secured the co-operation of the tsar in the Crimean expedition by a special treaty. Unfortunately, Venice, for her own safety's sake, insisted on the publication of Wladislaus's antiTurkish alliance; the Porte, well informed of the course of Polish affairs, remained strictly neutral despite the most outrageous provocations; and Wladislaus, bound by his coronation oath not to undertake an offensive war, found himself at the mercy of the diet which, full of consternation and rage, assembled at Warsaw on the 2nd of May 1647. It is needless to say that the Venetian alliance was repudiated and the royal power still further reduced. A year later Wladislaus died at his huntingbox at Merecz, at the very moment when the long-impending tempest which he himself had conjured up burst with overwhelming fury over the territories of the Republic.
The prime mover of the great rebellion of 1648, which shook the Polish state to its very foundations, was the Cossack Bohdan Chmielnicki (q.v.), who had been initiated in all the plans of Wladislaus IV. and, with good reason, feared to be the first victim of the Polish magnates when the king's designs were unmasked and frustrated. To save himself he hit upon the novel and terrible expedient of uniting the Tatars and the Cossacks Cossack in a determined onslaught upon the Republic, whose Rebellion of inward weakness, despite its brave outward show, 1648. he had been quick to discern. On the 18th of April 1648, at the general assembly of the Zaporozhians, he openly expressed his intention of proceeding against the Poles and was elected hetman by acclamation; on the Toth of May he annihilated a small detached Polish corps on the banks of the river Zheltndya Vodui, and seven days later overwhelmed the army of the Polish grand-hetman, massacring 850o of his 10,000 men and sending the grand-hetman himself and all his officers in chains to the Crimea. The immediate consequence of these victories was the outburst of a khlopskaya zloba, or "serfs' fury." Throughout the Ukraine the gentry were hunted down, flayed, burnt, blinded and sawn asunder. Every manor-house and castle was reduced to ashes. Every Uniate or Catholic priest who could be caught was hung up before his own high altar, along with a Jew and a hog. The panic-stricken inhabitants fled to the nearest strongholds, and soon the rebels were swarming over the palatinates of Volhynia and Podolia. Meanwhile the Polish army, 40,000 strong, with ioo guns, was assembling on the frontier. It consisted almost entirely of the noble militia, and was tricked out with a splendour more befitting a bridal pageant than a battle array. For Chmielnicki and his host these splendid cavaliers expressed the utmost contempt. "This rabble must be chased with whips, not smitten with swords," they cried. On the 23rd of September the two armies encountered near Pildawa, and after a stubborn three days' contest the gallant Polish pageant was scattered to the winds. The steppe for miles around was strewn with corpses, and the Cossacks are said to have reaped io,000,000 guldens worth of booty when the fight was over. All Poland now lay at Chmielnicki's feet, and the road to the defenceless capital was open John 11. before him; but he wasted two precious months in Casimir, vain before the fortress of Zamosc, and then the 1648-1668. newly elected king of Poland, John Casimir, Wladislaus IV.'s brother, privately opened negotiations with the rebel, officially recognized him by sending him the bulawa and the other insignia of the hetman's dignity, and promised his "faithful Zaporozhians" the restoration of all their ancient liberties if they would break off their alliance with the Tatars and await the arrival of peace commissioners at Pereyaslavl. But the negotiations at Pereyaslavl came to nothing. Chmielnicki's conditions of peace were so extravagant that the Polish commissioners durst not accept them, and in 1649 he again invaded Poland with a countless host of Cossacks and Tatars. Again, however, he made the mistake of attacking a fortress, which delayed his advance for a month, and gave John Casimir time to collect an army for the relief of the besieged. By the compact of Zborow (Aug 21, 1649) Chmielnicki was recognized as hetman of the Zaporozhians, whose registered number was now raised from 6000 to 40,000; a general amnesty was also granted, and it was agreed that all official dignities in the Orthodox palatinates of Lithuania should henceforth be held solely by the Orthodox gentry. For the next eighteen months Chmielnicki ruled the Ukraine like a sovereign prince. He made Chigirin, his native place, the Cossack capital, subdivided the country into sixteen provinces, and entered into direct relations with foreign powers. His attempt to carve a principality for his son out of Moldavia led to the outbreak of a third war between suzerain and subject in February 1651. But fortune, so long Bohdan's friend, now deserted him, and at Beresteczko (July I, 1651) the Cossack chieftain was utterly routed by Stephen Czarniecki. All hope of an independent Cossackdom was now at an end; yet it was not Poland but Muscovy which reaped the fruits of Czarniecki's victory.
Chmielnicki, by suddenly laying bare the nakedness of the Polish republic, had opened the eyes of Muscovy to the fact that her secular enemy was no longer formidable. Three years after his defeat at Beresteczko, Chmielnicki, finding himself unable to cope with the Poles single-handed, very reluctantly transferred his allegiance to the tsar, and the same year the tsar's armies invaded Poland, still bleeding from the all but mortal wounds inflicted on her by the Cossacks. The war thus begun, and known in Russian history as the The Rus- Thirteen Years' War, far exceeded even the Thirty sians invade Years' War in grossness and brutality. It resembled Poland. nothing so much as a hideous scramble of ravening beasts and obscene fowls for the dismembered limbs of a headless carcase,. for such did Poland seem to all the world before the war was half over. In the summer of 1655, moreover, while the Republic was still reeling beneath the shock of the Muscovite invasion,, Charles X. of Sweden, on the flimsiest 'of pretexts, Invasion of forced a war upon reluctant and inoffensive Poland, Charles X. simply to gratify his greed of martial glory, and of Sweden, before the year was out his forces had occupied the 1655. capital, the coronation city and the best half of the land. King John Casimir, betrayed and abandoned by his own subjects, fled .to Silesia, and profiting by the cataclysm which, for the moment, had swept the Polish state out of existence, the Muscovites, unopposed, quickly appropriated nearly everything which was not already occupied by the Swedes. At this crisis Poland owed her salvation to two events - the formation of a general league against Sweden, brought about by the apprehensive court of Vienna and an almost simultaneous popular outburst of religious enthusiasm on the part of the Polish people. The first of these events, to be dated from the alliance between the emperor Leopold and John Casimir, on the 2 7th of May 1657, led to a truce with the tsar and the welcome diversion of all the Muscovite forces against Swedish Livonia. The second event, which began with the heroic and successful defence of the monastery of Czenstochowa by Prior Kordecki against the Swedes, resulted in the return of the Polish king from exile, the formation of a national army under Stephen Czarniecki and the recovery of almost all the lost provinces from the Swedes,. who were driven back headlong to the sea, where with difficulty they held their own. On the sudden death of Charles X. (Feb. 13, 1660), Poland gladly seized the opportunity of adjusting all her outstanding differences with Sweden. By the peace of Oliva (May 3, 1660), made under French mediation, John Casimir ceded Livonia, and renounced all claim to the Swedish crown. The war with Muscovy was then prosecuted with renewed energy and extraordinary success. In the autumn of 1661 the Russian commanders were routed at Zeromsk, and nearly all the eastern provinces were recovered. In 1664 a peace congress was opened at Durovicha and the prospects of Poland seemed most brilliant; but at the very moment when she needed all her armed strength to sustain her diplomacy, the rebellion of one of her leading magnates, Prince Lubomirsky, involved her in a dangerous civil war, compelled her to reopen negotiations with the Muscovites, at Andrussowo, under far more unfavourable conditions, and after protracted negotiations practically to accept the Muscovite terms. By the truce of Andrussowo (Feb. 11, 1667) Poland received back The Truce from Muscovy Vitebsk, Polotsk and Polish Livonia, of Andrus- but ceded in perpetuity Smolensk, Syeversk, Cherni- sowo, 1667. gov and the whole of the eastern bank of the Dnieper, including the towns of Konotop, Gadyach, Pereyaslavl, Mirgorod, Poltava and Izyum. The Cossacks of the Dnieper were henceforth to be under the joint dominion of the tsar and the king of Poland. Kiev, the religious metropolis of western Russia, was to remain in the hands of Muscovy for two years.
The "truce" of And russowo proved to be one of the most permanent peaces in history, and Kiev, though only pledged for two years, was never again to be separated from the Orthodox Slavonic state to which it rightly belonged. But for the terrible and persistent ill-luck of Poland it is doubtful whether the "truce" of Andrussowo would ever have been signed. The war which it concluded was to be the last open struggle between the two powers. Henceforth the influence of Russia over Poland was steadily to increase, without any struggle at all, the Republic being already stricken with that creeping paralysis which ultimately left her a prey to her neighbours. Muscovy had done with Poland as an adversary, and had no longer any reason to fear her ancient enemy.
Poland had, in fact, emerged from the cataclysm of1648-1667a moribund state, though her not unskilful diplomacy had enabled her for a time to save appearances. Her territorial losses, though considerable, were, in the circumstances, not excessive, and she was still a considerable power in the opinion of Europe. But a fatal change had come over the country during the age of the Vasas. We have already seen how the ambition of the oligarchs and the lawlessness of the szlachta had reduced the executive to impotence, and rendered anything like rational government impossible. But these demoralizing and disintegrating influences had been suspended by the religious revival due to the Catholic reaction and the Jesuit propaganda, a revival which reached its height towards the end of the 16th century. This, on the whole, salutary and edifying movement permeated public life, and produced a series of great captains who cheerfully sacrificed themselves for their country, and would have been saints if they had not been heroes. But this extraordinary religious revival had wellnigh spent itself by the middle of the 17th century. Its last manifestation was the successful defence of the monastery of Czenstochowa by Prior Kordecki against the finest troops in Europe, its last representative was Stephen Czarniecki, who brought the fugitive John Casimir back from exile and reinstalled him on his tottering throne. The succeeding age was an age of unmitigated egoism, Growing in which the old ideals were abandoned and the old Corruption examples were forgotten. It synchronized with, and was partly determined by, the new political system which was spreading all over Europe, the system of dynastic diplomatic competition and the unscrupulous employment of unlimited secret service funds. This system, which dates from Richelieu and culminated in the reign of Louis XIV., was based on the secular rivalry of the houses of Bourbon and Habsburg, and presently divided all Europe into two hostile camps. Louis XIV. is said to have expended 50,000,000 livres a year for bribing purposes, the court of Vienna was scarcely less liberal, and very soon nearly all the monarchs of the Continent and their ministers were in the pay of one or other of the antagonists. Poland was no exception to the general rule. Her magnates, having already got all they could out of their own country, looked eagerly abroad for fresh El Dorados. Before long most of them had become the hirelings of France or Austria, and the value demanded for their wages was, not infrequently, the betrayal of their own country. To do them justice, the szlachta at first were not only free from the taint of official corruption, but endeavoured to fight against it. Thus, at the election diet of 1669, one of the deputies, Pieniaszek, moved that a new and hitherto unheard-of clause should be inserted in the agenda of the general confederation, to the effect that every senator .and deputy should solemnly swear not to take bribes, while another szlacic proposed that the ambassadors of foreign Powers should be excluded permanently from the Polish elective assemblies. But the flighty and ignorant szlachta not only were incapable of any sustained political action, but they themselves unconsciously played into the hands of the enemies of their country by making the so-called liberum veto an integral part of the Polish constitution. The liberum veto was based on the assumption of the absolute political equality of every Polish gentleman, with the inevitable corollary that every measure introduced into the Polish diet must be adopted unanimously. Consequently, if any single deputy believed that a measure already approved of by the rest of the house might be injurious to his constituency, he had the right to rise and exclaim nie pozwalam, " I disapprove," when the measure in question fell at once to the ground. Subsequently this vicious principle was extended still further. A deputy, by interposing his individual veto, could at any time dissolve the diet, when all measures previously passed had to be re-submitted to the consideration of the following diet. The liberum veto seems to have been originally devised to cut short interminable debates in times of acute crisis, but it was generally used either by highly placed criminals, anxious to avoid an inquiry into their misdeeds,' or by malcontents, desirous of embarrassing the executive. The origin of the liberum veto is obscure, but it was first employed by the deputy Wiadislaus Sicinski, who dissolved the diet of 1652 by means of it, and before the end of the 17th century it was used so frequently and recklessly that all business was frequently brought to a standstill. In later days it became the chief instrument of foreign ambassadors for dissolving inconvenient diets, as a deputy could always be bribed to exercise his veto for a handsome consideration.
The Polish crown first became an object of universal competition in 1573, when Henry of Valois was elected. In 1575, and again in 1587, it was put up for public auction, when the Hungarian Bathory and the Swede Sigismund respectively gained the prize. But at all three elections, though money and intrigue were freely employed, they were not the determining factors of the contest. The Polish gentry were still the umpires as well as the stake-holders; the best candidates generally won the day; and the defeated competitors were driven out of the country by force of arms if they did not take their discomfiture, after a fair fight, like sportsmen. But with the Election of election of Michael Wisniowiecki in 1669 a new era Michael began. In this case a native Pole was freely elected Wisnioby the unanimous vote of his countrymen. Yet a ieck;, 66 91673. few weeks later the Polish commander-in-chief formed a whole series of conspiracies for the purpose of dethroning his lawful sovereign, and openly placed himself beneath the protection of Louis XIV. of France, just as the rebels of the 18th century placed themselves under the protection of Catherine II. of Russia. And this rebel was none other than John Sobieski, at a later day the heroic deliverer of Vienna! If heroes could so debase themselves, can we wonder if men who were not heroes lent themselves to every sort of villainy ? We have come, in fact, to the age of utter shamelessness, when disappointed place-hunters openly invoked foreign aid against their own country. Sobieski himself, as John III. (he suc- III. ceeded Michael in 1674), was to pay the penalty Sobieski, of his past lawlessness, to the uttermost farthing. 1674-1696. Despite his brilliant military achievements (see John King Of Poland), his reign of twenty-two years was a failure. His victories over the Turks were fruitless so far as Poland was concerned. His belated attempts to reform the constitution only led to conspiracies against his life and crown, in which the French faction, which he had been the first to encourage, took an active part. In his later years Lithuania was in a state of chronic revolt, while Poland was bankrupt both morally and materially. He died a broken-hearted man, prophesying the inevitable ruin of a nation which he himself had done so much to demoralize.
It scarcely seemed possible for Poland to sink lower than she had sunk already. Yet an era was now to follow, compared with which even the age of Sobieski seemed to be an age of gold. This was the ' Saxon period which, with occasional violent interruptions, was to drag on for nearly seventy years. By the time it was over Poland was irretrievably doomed. It only remained to be seen how that doom would be accomplished.
On the death of John III. no fewer than eighteen candidates for the vacant Polish throne presented themselves. Austria supported James Sobieski, the eldest son of the lateArgustus ll ., king, France Francis Louis Prince of Conti (1664-1697-1704.
1709), but the successful competitor was Frederick Augustus, elector of Saxony, who cheerfully renounced Lutheranism for the coveted crown, and won the day because he happened to arrive last of all, with fresh funds, when the agents of his rivals had spent all their money. He was crowned, as Augustus II., on the 15th of September 1697, and his first act was to expel from the country the prince of Conti, the elect of a respectable minority, directed by the cardinal primate Michal Radziejowski (1645-1705), whom Augustus II. subsequently bought over for 75,000 thalers.
1 Thus the Sapiehas, who had been living on rapine for years, dissolved the diet of 1688 by means of the veto of one of their hirelings, for fear of an investigation into their conduct.
Good luck attended the opening years of the new reign. In 1699 the long Turkish War, which had been going on ever since 1683, was concluded by the peace of Karlowitz, whereby Podolia, the Ukraine and the fortress of Kamenets Podolskiy were retroceded to the Republic by the Ottoman Porte. Immediately afterwards Augustus was persuaded by the plausible Livonian exile, Johan Reinhold Patkul, to form a nefarious league with Frederick of Denmark and Peter of Russia, for the purpose of despoiling the youthful king of Sweden, Charles XII. (see Sweden: History). This he did as elector of Saxony, but it was War with the unfortunate Polish republic which paid for the hazardous speculation of its newly elected king. Throughout the Great Northern War (see Sweden: History), which wasted northern and central Europe for twenty years (1700-1720), all the belligerents treated Poland as if she had no political existence. Swedes, Saxons and Russians not only lived upon the country, but plundered it systematically. The diet was the humble servant of the conqueror of the moment, and the leading magnates chose their own sides without the slightest regard for the interests of their country, the Lithuanians for the most part supporting Charles XII., while the Poles divided their allegiance between Augustus and Stanislaus Leszczynski, whom Charles Leszczyn- placed upon the throne in 1704 and kept there till 1709. At the end of the war Poland was ruined materially as well as politically. Augustus attempted to indemnify himself for his failure to obtain Livonia, his covenanted share of the Swedish plunder, by offering Frederick William of Prussia Courland, Polish Prussia and even part of Great Poland, provided that he were allowed a free hand in the disposal of the rest of the country. When Prussia declined this tempting offer for fear of Russia, Augustus went a step farther and actually suggested that "the four 1 eagles" should divide the banquet between them. He died, however (Feb. 1, 1733) before he could give effect to this shameless design.
On the death of Augustus II., Stanislaus Leszczyfiski, who had, in the meantime, become the father-in-law of Louis XV., attempted to regain his throne with the aid of a small French army corps and 4,000,000 livres from Versailles. Some of the best men in Poland, including the Czartoryscy, were also in his favour, and on the 26th of August 1733 he was elected king for the second time. But there were many malcontents, principally among the Lithuanians, who solicited the intervention of Russia in favour of the elector of Saxony, son of the late king, and in October 1733 a Russian army appeared before Warsaw and compelled a phantom diet (it consisted of but 15 senators and Augustus 500 of the szlachta) to proclaim Augustus III. From IIL, 1733- the end of 1733 till the 30th of June 1734 Stanislaus 1763. and his partisans were besieged by the Russians in Danzig, their last refuge, and with the surrender of that fortress the cause of Stanislaus was lost. He retired once more to his little court in Lorraine, with the title of king, leaving Augustus III. in possession of the kingdom.
Augustus III. was disqualified by constitutional indolence from taking any active part in affairs. He left everything to his omnipotent minister, Count Heinrich Briihl, and Briihl entrusted the government of Poland to the Czartoryscy, who had intimate relations of long standing with the court of Dresden.
The Czartoryscy, who were to dominate Polish politics for the next half-century, came of an ancient Ruthenian stock which had intermarried with the Jagiellos at an early date, and had always been remarkable for their civic virtues and political sagacity. They had powerfully contributed to the adoption of the Union of Lublin; were subsequently received into the Roman Catholit Chtirch; and dated the beginning of their influence in Poland proper from the time (1674) when Florian Czartoryski became primate there. Florian's nephews, Fryderyk Michal and Augustus, were now the principal representatives of "the Family," as their opponents sarcastically called them. The former, through the influence of Augustus's minister and favourite Briihl, had become, in his twenty-eighth year, vice ' The fourth eagle was the White Eagle, i.e. Poland.
chancellor and subsequently grand chancellor of Lithuania, was always the political head of the family. His brother and Augustus, after fighting with great distinction against the Turks both by land and sea (Prince Eugene decorated him with a sword of honour for his valour at the siege of Belgrade), had returned home to marry Sophia Sieniawska, whose fabulous dowry won for her husband the sobriquet of "the Family Croesus." Their sister Constantia had already married Stanislaus Poniatowski, the father of the future king. Thus wealth, position, court influence and ability combined gave the Czartoryscy a commanding position in Poland, and, to their honour be it said, they had determined from the first to save the Republic, whose impending ruin in existing circumstances they clearly foresaw, by a radical constitutional reconstruction which was to include the abolition of the liberum veto and the formation of a standing army.
Unfortunately the other great families of Poland were obstinately opposed to any reform or, as they called it, any "violation" of the existing constitution. The Potoccy, whose possessions in south Poland and the Ukraine covered thousands of square miles, the Radziwillowie, who were omnipotent in Lithuania and included half a dozen millionaires`' amongst them, the Lubomirscy and their fellows, hated the Czartoryscy because they were too eminent, and successfully obstructed all their well-meant efforts. The castles of these great lords were the foci of the social and political life of their respective provinces. Here they lived like little princes, surrounded by thousands of retainers, whom they kept for show alone, making no attempt to organize and discipline this excellent military material for the defence of their defenceless country. Here congregated hundreds of the younger szlachta, fresh from their school benches, whence they brought nothing but a smattering of Latin and a determination to make their way by absolute subservience to their "elder brethren," the pans. These were the men who, a little later, at the bidding of their "benefactors," dissolved one inconvenient diet after another; for it is a significant fact that during the reigns of the two Augustuses every diet was dissolved in this way by the hirelings of some great lord or, still worse, of some foreign potentate. In a word constitutional government had practically ceased, and Poland had become an arena in which contesting clans strove together for the mastery.
It was against this primitive state of things that the Czartoryscy struggled, and struggled in vain. First they attempted to abolish the liberum veto with the assistance of the Saxon court where they were supreme, but fear of foreign complications and the opposition of the Potoccy prevented anything being done. Then they broke with their old friend Briihl and turned to Russia. Their chief intermediary was their nephew Stanislaus Poniatowski, whom they sent, as Saxon minister, to the Russian court in the suite of the English minister Hanbury Williams, in 1755. The handsome and insinuating Poniatowski speedily won the susceptible heart of the grand-duchess Catherine, but he won nothing else and returned to Poland in 1759 somewhat discredited. Disappointed in their hopes of Russia, the Czartoryscy next attempted to form a confederation for the deposition of Augustus III., but while the strife of factions was still at its height the absentee monarch put an end to the struggle by expiring, conveniently, on the 5th of October 1763.
The interregnum occurring on the death of Augustus III. befell at a time when all the European powers, exhausted by the Seven Years' War, earnestly desired peace. The position of Poland was, consequently, much more advantageous than it had been on every other similar occasion, and if only the contending factions had been able to agree and unite, the final catastrophe might, perhaps, even now, have been averted. The Czartoryscy, of all men, were bound by their principles and professions to set their fellow citizens an example of fraternal concord. Yet they rejected with scorn and derision the pacific overtures of their political opponents, the Potoccy, the Radziwillowie, and the Braniscy, Prince Michal openly declaring that of two tyrannies he preferred the tyranny of the Muscovite to the 2 Michal Kazimierz Radziwill alone was worth thirty millions.
A
[HISTORY
tyranny of his equals. He had in fact already summoned a Russian army corps to assist him to reform his country, which sufficiently explains his own haughtiness and the unwonted compliancy of the rival magnates.
The simplicity of the Czartoryscy was even more mischievous than their haughtiness. When the most enlightened statesmen of the Republic could seriously believe in the benevolent intentions of Russia the end was not far off. Their naïve expectations were very speedily disappointed. Catherine II. and Frederick II. had already determined (Treaty of St Petersburg, April 22, 1764) that the existing state of things in Poland must be maintained, and as early as the r8th of October 1763 Catherine had recommended the election of Stanislaus Poniatowski as "the individual most convenient for our common interests." The personal question did not interest Frederick: so long as Poland was kept in an anarchical condition he cared not who was called king. Moreover, the opponents of the Czartoryscy made no serious attempt to oppose the entry of the Russian troops. At least 40,000 men were necessary for the purpose, and these could have been obtained for 200,000 ducats; but a congress of magnates, whose collective fortunes amounted to hundreds of millions, having decided that it was impossible to raise this sum, there was nothing for it but to fight a few skirmishes and then take refuge abroad. The Czartoryscy now fancied themselves the masters of the situation. They at once proceeded to pass through the convocation diet a whole series of salutary measures. Four special commissions were appointed to superintend the administration of justice, the police and the finances. The extravagant powers of the grand hetmans and the grand marshals were reduced. All financial and economical questions before the diet were henceforth to be decided by a majority of votes. Shortly afterwards Stanislaus Poniatowski was elected king (Sept. 7, 1764) and crowned (Nov. 25). But at the beginning of 1766 Prince Nicholas Repnin was sent as Russian minister to Warsaw with instructions which can only be described as a carefully elaborated plan for destroying the Republic. The first weapon employed was the dissident question. At that time the population of Poland was, in round numbers, 11,500,000, of whom about r,000,000 were dissidents or dissenters. Half of these were the Protestants of the towns of Polish Prussia and Great Poland, the other half was composed of the Orthodox population of Lithuania. The dissidents had no political rights, and their religious liberties had also been unjustly restricted; but two-thirds of them being agricultural labourers, and most of the rest artisans or petty tradesmen, they had no desire to enter public life, and were so ignorant and illiterate that their new protectors, on a closer acquaintance, became heartily ashamed of them. Yet it was for these persons that Repnin, in the name of the empress, now demanded absolute equality, political and religious, with the gentlemen of Poland. He was well aware that an aristocratic and Catholic assembly like the sejm would never concede so preposterous a demand. He also calculated that the demand itself would make the szlachta suspicious of all reform, including the Czartoryscian reforms, especially as both the king and his uncles were generally unpopular, as being innovators under foreign influence. His calculations were correct. The sejm of 1766 not only rejected the dissident bill, but repealed all the Czartoryscian reforms and insisted on the retention of the liberum veto as the foundation of the national liberties. The discredit into which Stanislaus had now fallen encouraged the Saxon party, led by Gabriel Podoski (1719-1777), to form a combination for the purpose of dethroning the king. Repnin knew that the allied courts would never consent to such a measure; but he secretly encouraged the plot for his own purposes, with signal success. Early in 1767 the malcontents, fortified by the adhesion of the leading Catherine II. political refugees, formed a confederation at Radom, of Russia whose first act was to send a deputation to St and Poland. Petersburg, petitioning Catherine to guarantee the liberties of the Republic, and allow the form of the Polish constitution to be settled by the Russian ambassador at Warsaw. With this carte blanche in his pocket, Repnin proceeded to treat the diet as if it were already the slave of the Russian empress. But despite threats, wholesale corruption and the presence of Russian troops outside and even inside the izba, or chamber of deputies, the patriots, headed by four. bishops, Woclaw Hieronim Sierakowski (1699-1784) of Lemberg, Feliks Pawel Turski of Chelm (1729-1800), Kajetan Ignaty Soltyk of Cracow (1715-1788), and Jozef Jendrzej Zaluski of Kiev (1702-1774), offered a determined resistance to Repnin's. demands. Only when brute force in its extremest form had been ruthlessly employed, only when three senators and some deputies had been arrested in full session by Russian grenadiers and sent as prisoners to Kaluga, did the opposition collapse. The liberum veto and all the other ancient abuses were now declared unalterable parts of the Polish constitution, which was placed under the guarantee of Russia. All the edicts against the dissidents were, at the same time, repealed.
This shameful surrender led to a Catholic patriotic uprising, known as the Confederation of Bar, which was formed on the 29th of February 1768, at Bar in the Ukraine, by a handful of small squires. It never had a chance contedera- q tion of Bar. of permanent success, though, feebly fed by French subsidies and French volunteers, it lingered on for four years, till finally suppressed in 1772. But, insignificant itself, it was the cause of great events. Some of the Bar confederates, scattered by the Russian regulars, fled over the Turkish border, pursued by their victors. The Turks, already alarmed at the progress of the Russians in Poland, and stimulated by Vergennes, at that time French ambassador at Constantinople, at. once declared war against Russia. Seriously disturbed at the prospect of Russian aggrandizement, the idea occurred, almost simultaneously, to the courts of Berlin and Vienna that the best mode of preserving the equilibrium of Europe was for all three powers to readjust their territories at the expense of Poland. The idea of a partition of Poland was nothing new, but the vastness of the country, and the absence of sufficiently powerful and united enemies, had hitherto saved the Republic from spoliation. But now that Poland lay utterly helpless and surrounded by the three great military monarchies of Europe, nothing could save her. In February 1769 Frederick sent Count Rochus Friedrich Lynar (1708-1783) to St Petersburg to sound the empress as to the expediency of a partition, in August Joseph II. solicited an interview with Frederick, and in the course of the summer the two monarchs met, first at Neisse in Silesia and again at Neustadt in Moravia. Nothing definite as to Poland seems to have been arranged, but Prince Kaunitz, the Austrian chancellor, was now encouraged to take the first step by occupying, in 1770, the county of Zips, which had been hypothecated by Hungary to Poland in 1442 and never redeemed. This act decided the other confederates. In June 1770 Frederick surrounded those of the Polish provinces he coveted with a military cordon, ostensibly to keep out the cattle plague. Catherine's consent had been previously obtained by a special mission of Prince Henry of Prussia to the Russian capital. The first treaty of partition was signed at St Petersburg between Prussia and Russia on the 6-17th of February 1772; the second treaty, which admitted Austria also to a share of the spoil, on the 5-16th of August the same year. It is unnecessary to recapitulate the unheardof atrocities by which the consent of the sejm to this act of brigandage was at last extorted (Aug. 18, 1773). Russia obtained the palatinates of Vitebsk, Polotsk Mscislaw: 1586 sq. m. of territory, with a population of 550,000 and an annual revenue of 920,000 Polish gulden. Austria got the greater part of Galicia, minus Cracow: 1710 sq. m., with a population of 816,000 and an annual revenue of 1,408,000 gulden. Prussia received the maritime palatinate minus Danzig, the palatinate of Kulm minus Thorn, Great Poland as far as .the Nitza, and the palatinates of Marienburg and Ermeland: 629 sq. m., with a population of 378,000, and an annual revenue of 534,000 thalers. In fine, Poland lost about one-fifth of her population and one-fourth of her territory.
Stanislaus II. Ponia= towski, 1764-1795. First Partition of Poland, 1772. In return for these enormous concessions the partitioning powers presented the Poles with a constitution superior to anything they had ever been able to devise for themselves. The most mischievous of the ancient abuses, the elective monarchy and the liberum veto, were of course retained. Poland was to be dependent on her despoilers, but they evidently meant to make her a serviceable dependant. The government was henceforth to be in the hands of a redo nieustajaca, or permanent council of thirty-six members, eighteen senators and eighteen deputies, elected biennially by the sejm in secret ballot, subdivided into the five departments of foreign affairs, police, war, justice and the exchequer, whose principal members and assistants, as well as all other public functionaries, were to have fixed salaries. The royal prerogative was still further reduced. The king was indeed the president of the permanent council, but he could not summon the diet without its consent, and in all cases of preferment was bound to select one out of three of the council's nominees. The annual budget was fixed at 30,000,000 Polish gulden,' out of which a regular army of 30,000 2 men was to be maintained. Sentiment apart, the constitution of 1775 was of distinct benefit to Poland. It made for internal stability, order and economy, and enabled her to develop and husband her resources, and devote herself uninterruptedly to the now burning question of national education. For the shock of the first partition was so far salutary that it awoke the public conscience to a sense of the national inferiority; stimulated the younger generation to extraordinary patriotic efforts; and thus went far to produce the native reformers who were to do such wonders during the great quadrennial diet.
It was the second Turkish War of Catherine II. which gave patriotic Poland her last opportunity of re-establishing her independence. The death of Frederick the Great (Aug. 17, 1786) completely deranged the balance of power in Europe. The long-standing accord between Prussia and Russia came to an end, and while the latter drew nearer to Austria, the former began to look to the Western powers. In August 1787 Russia and Austria provoked the Porte to declare war against them both, and two months later a defensive alliance was concluded between Prussia, England and Holland, as a counterpoise to the alarming preponderance of Russia. In June 1788 Gustavus III. of Sweden also attacked Russia, with 50,000 men, while in the south the Turks held the Muscovites at bay beneath the walls of Ochakov, and drove back the Austrian invaders into Transylvania. Prussia, emboldened by Russia's difficulties, now went so far as to invite Poland also to forsake the Russian alliance, and placed an army corps of 40,000 men at her disposal.
It was under these exceptional circumstances that the "four years' diet" assembled (Oct. 6, 1788). Its leaders, Stanislaw Malachowski, Hugo Kollontaj and Ignaty Potocki, were men of character and capacity, and its measures were correspondingly vigorous. Within a few months 1788. of its assembling it had abolished the permanent council; enlarged the royal prerogative; raised the army to 65,00o men; established direct communications with the Western powers; rejected an alliance which Russia, alarmed at the rapid progress of events, had hastened to offer; declared its own session permanent; and finally settled down to the crucial task of reforming the constitution on modern lines. But the difficulties of the patriots were commensurate with their energies, and though the new constitution was drafted so early as December 1789, it was not till May 1791 that it could safely be presented to the diet. Meanwhile Poland endeavoured to strengthen her position by an advantageous alliance with Prussia. Frederick William II. stipulated, at first, that Poland should surrender Danzig and Thorn, and Pitt himself endeavoured to persuade the Polish minister Michal Kleophas Oginski (1765-1833) that the protection of Prussia was worth the sacrifice. But the Poles proving obstinate, and Austria simultaneously displaying a disquieting interest in the welfare of the Republic, Prussia, on 1 I Pol. gulden =5 silber groschen.
At the very next diet, 1776, the Poles themselves reduced the army to 18,000 men.
the 20th of March 1791, concluded an alliance with Poland which engaged the two powers to guarantee each other's possessions and render mutual assistance in case either were attacked.
But external aid was useless so long as Poland was hampered by her anarchical constitution. Hitherto the proceedings of the diet had not been encouraging. The most indispensable reforms had been frantically opposed, the debate on the reorganization of the army had alone lasted six months. It was only by an audacious surprise that Kollontaj and his associates contrived to carry through the new constitution. Taking advantage of the Easter recess, when most of the malcontents were out of town, they suddenly, on the 3rd of May, brought the whole question before the diet and demanded urgency for it. Before the opposition could remonstrate, the marshal of the diet produced the latest foreign despatches, which unanimously predicted another partition, whereupon, at the solemn adjuration of Ignaty Potocki, King Stanislaus exhorted the deputies to accept the new constitution as the last means of saving their country, and himself set the example by swearing to defend it.
The revolution of the 3rd .of May 1791 converted Poland into an hereditary 3 limited monarchy, with ministerial responsibility and duennial parliaments. The liberum veto and all the intricate and obstructive machinery of the anomalous old system were for ever abolished. All invidious class distinctions were done away with. The franchise was extended to the towns. Serfdom was mitigated, preparatorily to its entire abolition; absolute religious toleration was established, and every citizen declared equal before the law. Frederick William II. officially congratulated Stanislaus on the success of "the happy revolution which has at last given Poland a wise and regular government," and declared it should henceforth be his "chief care to maintain and confirm the ties which unite us." Cobenzl, the Austrian minister at St Petersburg, writing to his court immediately after the reception of the tidings at the Russian capital, describes the empress as full of consternation at the idea that Poland under an hereditary dynasty might once more become a considerable power. But Catherine, still in difficulties, was obliged to watch in silence the collapse of her party in Poland, and submit to the double humiliation of recalling her ambassador and withdrawing her army from the country. Even when the peace of Jassy (Jan. 9, 1792) finally freed her from the Turk, she waited patiently for the Polish malcontents to afford her a pretext and an opportunity for direct and decisive interference. She had not long to wait. The constitution of the 3rd of May had scarce been signed when Felix Potocki, Severin Rzewuski and Xavier Branicki, three of the chief dignitaries of Poland, hastened to St Petersburg, and there entered into a secret convention with the empress, whereby she undertook to restore the old constitution by force of arms, but at the same time promised to respect the territorial integrity of the Republic. On the 14th of May 1792 the conspirators formed a confederation, consisting, in the first instance, of only ten other persons, at the little town of Targowica in the Ukraine, protesting against the constitution of the 3rd of May as tyrannous and revolutionary, and at the same time the new Russian minister at Warsaw presented a formal declaration of war to the king and the diet. The diet met the crisis with dignity and firmness. The army was at once despatched to the frontier; the male population was called to arms, and Ignaty Potocki was sent to Berlin to claim the assistance stipulated by the treaty of the ,9th of March 1791. The king of Prussia, in direct violation of all his oaths and promises, declined to defend a constitution which had never had his "concurrence." Thus Poland was left entirely to her own resources. The little Polish army of 46,000 overthrows men, under Prince Joseph Poniatowski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko, did all that was possible under the circumstances. For more than three months they kept back the invader, and, after winning three pitched battles, retired in perfect order on the capital (see PoNIATOwsKI, and On the death of Stanislaus, the crown was to pass to the family of the elector of Saxony.
KoscruszKo). But the king, and even Kollontaj, despairing of success, now acceded to the confederation; hostilities were suspended; the indignant officers threw up their commissions; the rank and file were distributed all over the country; the reformers fled abroad; and the constitution of the 3rd of May was abolished by the Targowicians as "a dangerous novelty." The Russians then poured into eastern Poland; the Prussians, at the beginning of 1793, alarmed lest Catherine should appropriate the whole Republic, occupied Great Poland; and a diminutive, debased and helpless assembly met at Grodno in order, in the midst of a Russian army corps,"to come to an amicable understanding" with the partitioning powers. After second Par= every conceivable means of intimidation had been tition of unscrupulously applied for twelve weeks, the second treaty of partition was signed at three o'clock on the morning of the 23rd of September 1793. By this pactur subjectionis, as the Polish patriots called it, Russia got all the eastern provinces of Poland, extending from Livonia to Moldavia, comprising a quarter of a million of square miles, while Prussia got Dobrzyn, Kujavia and the greater part of Great Poland, with Thorn and Danzig. Poland was now reduced to one-third of her original dimensions, with a population of about three and a half millions.
The focus of Polish nationality was now transferred from Warsaw, where the Targowicians and their Russian patrons reigned supreme, to Leipzig, whither the Polish patriots, Kosciuszko, Kollontaj and Ignaty Potocki among the number, assembled from all quarters. From the first they meditated a national rising, but their ignorance, enthusiasm and simplicity led them to commit blunder after blunder. The first of such blunders was Kosciuszko's mission to Paris, in January 1794. He was full of the idea of a league of republics against the league of sovereigns; but he was unaware that the Jacobins themselves were already considering the best mode of detaching Prussia, Poland's worst enemy, from the anti-French coalition. With a hypocrisy worthy of the diplomacy of "the tyrants," the committee of public safety declared that it could not support an insurrection engineered by aristocrats, and Kosciuszko returned to Leipzig empty-handed. The next blunder of the Polish refugees was to allow themselves to be drawn into a premature rising by certain Polish officers in Poland who, to prevent the incorporation of their regiments in the Russian army, openly revolted and led their troops from Warsaw to Cracow. Kosciuszko himself condemned their hastiness; but, when the Russian troops began to concentrate, his feelings grew too strong for him, and early in April he himself appeared at Cracow. In an instant the mutiny became a revolution. The details of the heroic but useless struggle will be found else where (see KoscIuszKo, Kollontaj, Potocki, Ignaty, DOMBROwsKI). Throughout April the Polish arms were almost universally successful. The Russians were defeated in more than one pitched battle; three-quarters of the ancient territory was recovered, and Warsaw and Vilna, the capitals of Poland and Lithuania respectively, were liberated. Kosciuszko was appointed dictator, and a supreme council was established to assist him. The first serious reverse, at Szczekociny (June 5), was more than made up for by the successful defence of Warsaw against the Russians and Prussians (July 9 to Sept. 6); but in the meantime the inveterate lawlessness of the Poles had asserted itself, as usual, and violent and ceaseless dissensions, both in the supreme council and in the army, neutralized the superhuman efforts of the unfortunate but still undaunted dictator. The death-blow to the movement was the disaster of Maciejowice (Oct. to), and it expired amidst the carnage of Praga (Oct. 29), though the last Polish army corps did not capitulate till the 18th of November. Yet all the glory of the bitter struggle was with the vanquished, and if the Poles, to the last, had shown themselves children in the science of government, they had at least died on the field of battle like men. The greed of the three partitioning powers very nearly led to a rupture between Austria and Prussia; but the tact and statesmanship of the empress of Russia finally adjusted all difficulties. On the 24th of October 1795 Prussia acceded to the Austro-Russian partition compact of the 3rd of January, and the distribution of the conquered provinces Third Par- was finally regulated on the 10th of October 1796. tition of By the third treaty of partition Austria had to be Poland, content with Western Galicia and Southern Masovia; 1796. Prussia took Podlachia, and the rest of Masovia, with Warsaw; and Russia all the rest.
The immediate result of the third partition was an immense emigration of the more high-spirited Poles who, during] the next ten years, fought the battles of the French Republic and of Napoleon all over Europe, but principally against their own enemies, the partitioning powers. They were known as the Polish legions, and were commanded by the best Polish generals, e.g. Joseph Poniatowski and Dombrowski. Only Kosciuszko stood aloof. Even when, after the peace of Tilsit, the independent grand-duchy of Warsaw was constructed out of the central provinces of Prussian Poland, his distrust of Napoleon proved to be invincible. He was amply justified by the course of events. Napoleon's anxiety to conciliate Russia effectually prevented him from making Poland large and strong enough to be self-supporting. The grand-duchy of Warsaw originally consisted of about 1850 sq. m., to which Western Galicia and Cracow, about 900 sq. m. more, were added in 1809. The grand-duchy was, from first to last, a mere recruiting-ground for the French emperor. Its army was limited, on paper, to 30,000 men; but in January 1812 65,000, and in November the same year 97,000 recruits were drawn from it. The constitution of the little state was dictated by Napoleon, and, subject to the exigencies of war, was on the French model. Equality before the law, absolute religious toleration and local autonomy, were its salient features. The king of Saxony, as grand-duke, took the initiative in all legislative matters; but the administration was practically controlled by the French.
HISTORY]
I
(R.N.B.) The Congress Kingdom, 1813-186.3. - The Grand Duchy of Warsaw perished with the Grand Army in the retreat from Moscow in 1812. The Polish troops had taken a prominent part in the invasion of Russia, and their share in the plundering of Smolensk and of Moscow had intensified the racial hatred felt for them by the Russians. Those of them who survived or escaped the disasters of the retreat fled before the tsar's army and followed the fortunes of Napoleon in 1813 and 1814. The Russians occupied Warsaw on the 18th of February 1813 and overran the grand duchy, which thus came into their possession by conquest. Some of the Poles continued to hope Alexander!. that Alexander would remember his old favour for them, and would restore their kingdom under his own rule. Nor was the tsar unwilling to encourage their delusion. He himself cherished the desire to re-establish the kingdom for his own advantage. As early as the 13th of January 1813 he wrote to assure his former favourite and confidant, Prince Adam Czartoryski, that, "Whatever the Poles do now to aid in my success, will. at the same time serve to forward the realization of their hopes." But the schemes of Alexander could be carried out only with the co-operation of other powers. They refused to consent to the annexation of Saxony by Prussia, and other territorial arrangements which would have enabled him to unite all Poland in his - own hand. By the final act of the Congress of gress of Vienna, signed on the 9th of June 1815, Poland was divided between Prussia, Austria and Russia, with one trifling exception: Cracow with its population of 61,000 was erected into a republic embedded in Galicia. Posen and Gnesen, with a population of 810,000, were left to Prussia. Austria remained in possession of Galicia with its 1,500,000 inhabitants. Lithuania and the Ruthenian Palatinates, the spoil of former partitions, continued to be incorporated with Russia. The remnant was constituted as the so-called Congress Kingdom under the emperor of Russia as king (tsar) of Poland. It had been stipulated by the Final Act that the Poles under foreign rule should be endowed with institutions to preserve their national existence according to such forms of political existence as the governments to which they belong shall think fit to allow them.
Alexander, who had a sentimental regard for freedom, so long as it was obedient to himself, had promised the Poles a The New constitution in April 1815 in a letter to Ostrov- Polish Con- skiy, the president of the senate at Warsaw. His stitution, promise was publicly proclaimed on the 25th of 1815' May, and was reaffirmed in the Zamok or palace at Warsaw and the cathedral of St John on the 10th of June. The constitution thus promised was duly drafted, and was signed on the 30th of November. It contained 165 articles divided under seven heads. The kingdom of Poland was declared to be united to Russia, in the person of the tsar, as a separate political entity. The kingdom was the Congress Kingdom, for the vague promises of an extension to the east which Alexander had made to the Poles were never fulfilled. Lithuania and the Ruthenian Palatinates continued to be incorporated with Russia as the Western Provinces and were divided from the Congress Kingdom by a customs barrier till the reign of -Nicholas I. The kingdom of Poland thus defined was to have at its head a lieutenant of the emperor (namiestnik), who must be a member of the Imperial house or a Pole. The first holder of the office, General Zajonczek (1752-1826), was a veteran who had served Napoleon. Roman Catholicism was recognized as the religion of the state, but other religions were tolerated. Liberty of the Press was promised subject to the passing of a law to restrain its abuses. Individual liberty, the use of the Polish language in the law courts, and the exclusive employment of Poles in the civil government were secured by the constitution. The machinery of government was framed of a council of state, at which the Imperial government was represented by a commissioner plenipotentiary, and a diet divided into a senate composed of the princes of the blood, the palatines and councillors named for life, and a house of nuntii elected for seven years, 77 chosen by the "dietines" of the nobles, and 51 by the commons. The diet was to meet every other year for a session of thirty days, and was to be renewed by thirds every two years. Poland retained its flag, and a national army based on that which had been raised by and had fought for Napoleon. The command of the army was given to the emperor's brother Constantine, a man of somewhat erratic character, who did much to offend the Poles by violence, but also a good deal to please them by his marriage with Johanna Grudzinska, a Polish lady afterwards created Princess Lowicz, for whose sake he renounced his right to the throne of Russia (see Constantine PAvLovICH).
The diet met three times during the reign of Alexander, in 1818, in 1820 and in 1825, and was on all three occasions opened by the tsar, who was compelled to address his subjects in French, since he did not speak, and would not learn, their language. It is highly doubtful whether, with the best efforts on both sides, a constitutional government could have been worked by a Russian autocrat, and an assembly of men who inherited the memories and characters of the Poles. In fact the tsar and the diet soon quarrelled. The Poles would not abolish the jury to please the tsar, nor conform as he wished them to do to the Russian law of divorce. Opposition soon arose, and as Alexander could not understand a freedom which differed from himself, and would not condescend to the use of corruption, by which the ancient Polish diets had been managed, he was driven to use force. The third session of the diet-13th of May to 13th of June 1825 - was a mere formality. All publicity was suppressed, and one whole district was disfranchised because it persisted in electing candidates who were disapproved of at court. On the other hand, the Poles were also to blame for the failure of constitutional government. They would agitate by means of the so-called National Masonry, or National Patriotic Society as it was afterwards called, for the restoration of the full kingdom of Poland. The nobles who dominated the diet did nothing to remove the most crying evil of the country - the miserable state of the peasants, who had been freed from personal serfdom by Napoleon in 1807, but were being steadily driven from their holdings by the landlords. In spite of the general prosperity of the country due to peace, and the execution of public works mostly at the expense of Russia, the state of the agricultural class grew, if anything, worse.
Yet no open breach occurred during the reign of Alexander, nor for five years after his death in 1825. The Decembrist movement in Russia had little or no echo in Poland. On the death of Zajonczek in 1$26, the grand duke Constantine became Imperial lieutenant, and his administration, The Grand though erratic, was not unfavourable to displays nuke Con- of Polish nationality. The Polish army had no stantine share in the Turkish War of 1829, largely, it is said, at the request of Constantine, who loved parades and thought that war was the ruin of soldiers. No attempt was made to profit by the embarrassments of the Russians in their war with Turkey. A plot to murder Nicholas at his coronation on the 24th of May 1829 was not carried out, and when he held the fourth diet on the 30th of May 1830, the Poles made an ostentatious show of their nationality which Nicholas was provoked to describe as possibly patriotic but certainly not civil. Nevertheless, he respected the settlement of 1815. In the meantime the Patriotic Society had divided into a White or Moderate party and a Red or Extreme party, which was subdivided into the Academics or Republicans and the Military or Terrorists. The latter were very busy and were supported by the Roman Catholic Church, which did little for the Prussian Poles and nothing for the Austrian Poles, but was active in harassing the schismatical government of Russia.
The outbreak of the French Revolution in 1830 and the revolt of Belgium produced a great effect in Poland. The spread of a belief, partly justified by the language of Polish Nicholas, that the Polish army would be used to Rising of coerce the Belgians, caused great irritation. At last, 1830. on the 29th of November 1830, a military revolt took place in Warsaw accompanied by the murder of the minister of war, Hauke, himself a Pole, and other loyal officers. The extraordinary weakness of the grand duke allowed the rising to gather strength. He evacuated Warsaw and finally left the country, dying at Vitebsk on the 27th of June 1831 (see Constantine Pavlovich). The war lasted from January till September 1831. The fact that the Poles possessed a well-drilled army of 23,800 foot, 6800 horFe and 108 guns, which they were able to recruit to a total strength of 80,821 men with 158 guns, gave solidity to the rising. The Russians, who had endeavoured to overawe Europe by the report of their immense military power, had the utmost difficulty in putting 114,000 men into the field, yet in less than a year, under the leadership of Diebitsch, and then of Paskevich, they mastered the Poles. On the political and administrative side the struggle of the Poles was weakened by the faults which had been the ruin of their kingdom - f action pushed to the point of anarchy, want. of discipline, intrigue and violence, as shown by the abominable massacre which took place in Warsaw when the defeat of the army was known. The Poles had begun by protesting that they only wished to defend their rights against the tsar, but they soon proceeded to proclaim his deposition. Their appeal to the powers of Europe for protection was inevitably disregarded. When the Congress Kingdom had been reconquered it was immediately reduced to the position of a Russian province. No remnant of Poland's separate political existence Poland a remained save the minute republic of Cracow. Rassian Unable to acquiesce sincerely in its insignificance Province. and even unable to enforce its, neutrality, Cracow was a centre of disturbance, and, after Russia, Prussia, and Austria had in 1846 agreed to its suppression, was finally occupied by Austria on the 6th of November 1848, as a consequence of the troubles, more agrarian than political, which convulsed Galicia. The administration established by Nicholas I. in Russian Poland was harsh and aimed avowedly at destroying the nationality, and even the language of Poland. The Polish universities of Warsaw and Vilna were suppressed, and the students compelled to go to St Petersburg and Kiev. Polish recruits were distributed in Russian regiments, and the use of the Russian language was enforced as far as possible in the civil administration and in the law courts. The customs barrier between Lithuania and the former Congress Kingdom was removed, in the hope that the influence of Russia would spread more easily over Poland. A very hostile policy was adopted against the Roman Catholic Church. But though these measures cowed the Poles, they failed to achieve their main purpose. Polish national sentiment was not destroyed, but intensified. It even spread to Lithuania. The failure of Nicholas was in good part due to mistaken measures of what he hoped would be conciliation. He supported Polish students at Russian universities on condition that they then spent a number of years in the public service. It was the hope of the emperor that they would thus become united in interest with the Russians. But these Polish officials made use of their positions to aid their countrymen, and were grasping and corrupt with patriotic intentions. The Poles in Russia, whether at the universities or in the public service, formed an element which refused to assimilate with the Russians. In Poland itself the tsar left much of the current civil administration in the hands of the nobles, whose power over their peasants was hardly diminished and was misused as of old. The Polish exiles who filled Europe after 1830 intrigued from abroad, and maintained a constant agitation. The stern government of Nicholas was, however, so far effective that Poland remained quiescent during the Crimean War, in which many Polish soldiers fought in the Russian army. The Russian government felt safe enough to reduce the garrison of Poland largely. It was not till 1863, eight years after the death of the tsar in 1855, that the last attempt of the Poles to achieve independence by arms was made.
The rising of 1863 may without injustice be said to be due to the more humane policy of the tsar Alexander II. Exiles were allowed to return to Poland, the Church was Insurrection the weight of the Russian administration of 1863. propitiated,g was lightened, police rules as to passports were relaxed, and the Poles were allowed to form an agricultural society and to meet for a common purpose for the first time after many years. Poland in short shared in the new era of milder rule which began in Russia. In April 1856 Alexander II. was crowned king in the Roman Catholic cathedral of Warsaw, and addressed a flattering speech to his Polish subjects in French, for he too could not speak their language. His warning, "No nonsense, gentlemen" (Point de reveries, Messieurs), was taken in very ill part, and it was perhaps naturally, but beyond question most unhappily, the truth that the tsar's concessions only served to encourage the Poles to revolt, and to produce a strong Russian reaction against his liberal policy. As the Poles could no longer dispose of an army, they were unable to assail Russia as openly as in 1830. They had recourse to the so-called "unarmed agitation," which was in effect a policy of constant provocation designed to bring on measures of repression to be represented to Europe as examples of Russian brutality. They began in 1860 at the funeral of the widow of General Sobinski, killed in 1830, and on the 27th of February 1861 they led to the so-called Warsaw massacres, when the troops fired on a crowd which refused to disperse. The history of the agitation which culminated in the disorderly rising of 1863 is one of intrigue, secret agitation, and in the end of sheer terrorism by a secret society, which organized political assassination. The weakness of the Russian governor, General Gorchakov, in 1861 was a repetition of the feebleness of the Grand Duke Constantine in 1830. He allowed the Poles who organized the demonstration of the 27th of February to form a kind of provisional government. Alongside of such want of firmness as this were, however, to be found such measures of ill-timed repression as the order given in 1860 to the agricultural society not to discuss the question of the settlement of the peasants on the land. Concession and repression were employed alternately. The Poles, encouraged by the one and exasperated by the other, finally broke into the partial revolt of 1863-1864. It was a struggle of ill-armed partisans, who were never even numerous, against regular troops, and was marked by no real battle. The suppression of the rising was followed by a return to the hard methods of Nicholas. The Polish nobles, gentry and Church - the educated classes generally - were crushed. It must, however, be noted that one class of the measures taken to punish the old governing part of the population of Poland has been very favourable to the majority. The peasants were freed in Lithuania, and in Poland proper much was done to improve their position. The Russian government has benefited by their comparative prosperity, and by the incurable hatred they continue to feel for the classes which were once their oppressors. The national history of Poland closes with the rising of 1863. (D. H.) Bibliography. - The best general history of Poland is still Jozef S