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Timeline and History Overview
- 2,300 - Early Bronze Age cultures settle in Poland.
- 700 - Iron is introduced into the region.
- 400 - Germanic tribes such as the Celts arrive.
Brief Overview of the History of Poland
- 1 - The region begins to come under the influence of the Roman Empire.
- 500 - Slavic peoples start to migrate into the area.
- 800s - The Slavic tribes are united by the Polanie peoples.
- 962 - Duke Mieszko I becomes leader and founds the Polish state. He establishes the Piast Dynasty.
- 966 - The Polish people under Mieszko I adopt Christianity as their state religion.
- 1025 - The Kingdom of Poland is established. Boleslaw I becomes the first King of Poland.
- 1385 - Poland and Lithuania unite and form the Polish-Lithuanian union. This is the end of the Piast dynasty and the start of the Jagiellonian dynasty.
- 1410 - The Polish defeat the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald. The Golden Age of Poland begins.
- 1493 - The first Polish parliament is established.
- 1569 - The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is formed by the Union of Lublin.
- 1573 - Religious toleration is guaranteed by the Warsaw Confederation. The Jagiellonian dynasty comes to an end.
- 1596 - The capital of Poland is moved from Krakow to Warsaw.
- 1600s - A series of wars (Sweden, Russia, Tatars, Turks) brings the Poland's Golden Age to an end.
Battle of Grunwald
- 1683 - King Sobieski defeats the Turks at Vienna.
- 1772 - A weakened Poland is divided between Prussia, Austria, and Russia in what is called the First Partition.
- 1791 - Poland establishes a new constitution with liberal reforms.
- 1793 - Russia and Prussia invade and once again divide Poland into the Second Partition.
- 1807 - Napoleon invades and conquers the region. He establishes the Duchy of Warsaw.
- 1815 - Poland comes under the control of Russia.
- 1863 - The Polish revolt against Russia, but they are defeated.
- 1914 - World War I begins. The Polish join Austria and Germany in the fight against Russia.
- 1917 - The Russian Revolution takes place.
- 1918 - World War I ends with Poland becoming an independent nation. Jozef Pilsudski becomes the leader of the Second Polish Republic.
World War II Troops
- 1926 - Pilsudski makes himself dictator of Poland in a military coup.
- 1939 - World War II begins when Germany invades Poland from the west. The Soviet Union then invades from the east. Poland is divided between Germany and the Soviet Union.
- 1941 - German concentration camps are built throughout Poland including Auschwitz and Treblinka. Millions of Jews are killed in Poland as part of the Holocaust.
- 1943 - Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto fight against the Nazis in an uprising.
- 1944 - The Polish resistance takes control of Warsaw. However, the Germans burn the city to the ground in response.
- 1945 - World War II comes to an end. Russians invade, pushing the German army out of Poland.
- 1947 - Poland becomes a communist state under the rule of the Soviet Union.
- 1956 - Protests and riots against Soviet rule occur in Poznan. Some reforms are granted.
- 1970 - People in Gdansk protest the price of bread. 55 protesters are killed in what is known as "Bloody Tuesday."
- 1978 - Karol Wojtyla is elected pope of the Catholic church. He becomes Pope John Paul II.
- 1980 - The Solidarity trade union is established by Lech Walesa. Ten million workers join.
- 1981 - The Soviet Union imposes martial law to put an end to Solidarity. Lech Walesa is imprisoned.
- 1982 - Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
- 1989 - Elections are held and a new government is formed.
- 1990 - Lech Walesa is elected President of Poland.
- 1992 - The Soviet Union begins removing troops from Poland.
- 2004 - Poland becomes a member of the European Union.
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.
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.
Pope John Paul II
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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