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History >> Geography >> Europe >> Poland

Poland

Timeline and History Overview

Poland Timeline

BCE

King Boleslaw

CE
Brief Overview of the History of Poland

The history of Poland as a country begins with the Piast dynasty and Poland's first king Meisko I. King Meisko adopted Christianity as the national religion. Later, during the 14th century, the Polish kingdom reached its peak under the rule of the Jagiellonian dynasty. Poland united with Lithuania and created the powerful Polish-Lithuanian kingdom. For the next 400 years the Polish-Lithuanian union would be one of the most powerful states in Europe. One of the great battles of Poland occurred during this time when the Polish defeated the Teutonic Knights at the 1410 Battle of Grunwald. Eventually the dynasty ended and Poland was divided up in 1795 between Russia, Austria, and Prussia.


Pope John Paul II

After World War I, Poland became a country again. Polish independence was the 13th of United States President Woodrow Wilson's famous 14 points. In 1918 Poland officially became an independent country.

During World War II, Poland was occupied by Germany. The war was devastating to Poland. Around six million Polish people were killed during the war, including around 3 million Jewish people as part of the Holocaust. After the war, the Communist Party took control of Poland and Poland became a puppet state of the Soviet Union. Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union Poland began to work towards a democratic government and a free market economy. In 2004 Poland joined the European Union.

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