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Poland Facts for Kids


Poland is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine and Belarus to the east; and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north.

  • The total area of Poland is 120,726 sq mi, making it the 71st largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe.
  • With a population of over 38.5 million people, Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world, the sixth most populous member of the European Union, and the most populous post-communist member of the European Union.
  • The establishment of a Polish state can be traced back to 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of a territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity.
  • The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin.
  • The Commonwealth ceased to exist in the years 1772–1795, when its territory was partitioned among Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria.
  • In September 1939, World War II started with the invasions of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
  • In 1944, a Soviet-backed Polish provisional government was formed which, after a falsified referendum in 1947 took control of the country and Poland became a satellite state of the Soviet Union, as People’s Republic of Poland.
  • During the Revolutions of 1989, Poland’s Communist government was overthrown and Poland adopted a new constitution establishing itself as a democracy.
  • The source of the name Poland and the ethnonyms for the Poles include endonyms and exonyms.
  • In the Baltic Sea region Poland’s struggle with the Teutonic Knights continued and included the Battle of Grunwald (1410), where a Polish-Lithuanian army inflicted a decisive defeat on the Teutonic Knights, both countries’ main adversary, allowing Poland’s and Lithuania’s territorial expansion into the far north region of Livonia.
  • The Nihil novi act adopted by the Polish Sejm (parliament) in 1505, transferred most of the legislative power from the monarch to the Sejm, an event which marked the beginning of the period known as “Golden Liberty”, when the state was ruled by the “free and equal” Polish nobility.
  • The establishment of the Commonwealth coincided with a period of stability and prosperity in Poland, with the union thereafter becoming a European power and a major cultural entity, occupying approximately one million square kilometers of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as an agent for the dissemination of ‘Western culture’ through Polonization in modern-day Ukraine, Belarus and Western Russia.
  • This led to the formation of the 1768 Bar Confederation, a szlachta rebellion directed against Russia and the Polish king that fought to preserve Poland’s independence and the szlachta’s traditional privileges.
  • Throughout the period of the partitions, political and cultural repression of the Polish nation led to the organisation of a number of uprisings against the authorities of the occupying Russian, Prussian and Austrian governments.
  • Shortly after the armistice with Germany in November 1918, Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic.
  • By the 1930s Poland had become increasingly authoritarian; a number of ‘undesirable’ political parties, such as the Polish Communists, had been banned and following Piłsudski’s death, the regime, unable to appoint a new leader, began to show its inherent internal weaknesses and unwillingness to cooperate in any way with other political parties.
  • These lake districts are the Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District.
  • The outcome of the war, particularly the 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.
  • All medical service providers and hospitals in Poland are subordinate to the Polish Ministry of Health, which provides oversight and scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for the day-to-day administration of the healthcare system.