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maanantai 3. huhtikuuta 2017

Poland, Cool Facts #173

<= 172. Czech Republic                                                                                              174. Hungary =>

1. Casimir III the Great 

Casimir III the Great was the king of Poland between 1333-1370. He was born in 1310 and died in 1370. 

Facts of his rule: 

- Inherited a weakened kingdom and made it prosperous and wealthy
- Reformed the Polish army
- Doubled the size of the kingdom
- Founded the University of Krakow
- Introduced laws to end the overwhelming superiority of the nobility
- Allowed Jews to settle in Poland and introduced laws defending them
- The only king in Polish king to receive and retain the title "Great"
- Black Death (1347-1351) was a plague that ravaged in Europe, but it didn't affect Poland, because Casimir decided to quarantine the nation's borders

Death of Casimir III 

- Left no lawful male heirs
- With his death the Piast dynasty died out
- The nephew of Casimir III, King Louis I of Hungary, succeeded him as king of Poland in personal union with Hungary
- In 1386 Casimir's daughter Jadwiga married the Lithuanian Grand Duke Jogaila, which meant the beginning of the Polish-Lithuanian union

Casimir III the Great
Poland in 1370

2. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 

What ?
- A dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a monarch, who was both the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania
- One of the largest and most populous countries in Europe in the 1500s and 1600s
- At its peak in the 1600s it had an area of 1,2 million square kilometers and a population of 11 million

- Since 1386 the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were in a de facto personal union with the marriage of the Polish queen Hedwig and Lithuania's Grand Duke Jogaila 
- In 1569 the union was formalized by the Union of Lublin 

End - The Polish partitions in 1772, 1793 and 1795 reduced the nation's size and after the last one the Commonwealth disappeared as an independent state 
- The Polish-Lithuanian was partitioned between Prussia, Austria and the Russian Empire in the 1700s

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at its maximum extent in 1619 after the Truce of Deulino 

3. Polish Partitions 

First partition 1772 
Austria, Prussia and Russia partitioned Poland to restore the regional balance of power in Central Europe. Poland was unable to defend itself and foreign troops were already inside the country so the Polish parliament (Sejm) had to ratify the partition in 1773. 

Second partition 1793 
The second partition was made by Russia and Prussia in the aftermath of the Polish-Russian War of 1792. 

Third partition 1795 The last partitioned was made by Russia, Prussia and Austria and it ended the existence of an independent Poland for the next 123 years.

Partitions of Poland

4. Polish-Soviet War 1919-1921 

Polish independence 
In November 1918 Poland had regained independence as the Second Polish Republic. It managed to became independent after 123 years, because the Austrian, German and Russian Empires surrounding it fell in World War I.

War against Soviet Union 
Soviet troops tried to occupy Poland, but Poland managed to prevent this. Poland inflicted a crushing defeat on the Red Army at the Battle of Warsaw. This event was very important as it's considered to have halted the advance of Communism into Europe and forced Vladimir Lenin to reconsider his goal  of achieving global socialism. This event is often referred to as the "Miracle at the Vistula". 

Territorial changes
Poland took control of Western Ukraine and West Belarus.

Polish-Russian War 1919-1921

5. How Poland became part of the Eastern Bloc

- In 1944 Stalin had made guarantees to Churchill and Roosevelt, that he would maintain Poland's sovereignty and allow democratic elections to be held 
- In 1945 the elections, organized by the occupying Soviet authorities, were falsified
- The Soviet Union instituted a new communist government in Poland 
- The Soviet occupation of Poland met with armed resistance like elsewhere in Communist Europe
- The new Polish government accepted the Soviet annexation of the pre-war eastern regions of Poland despite widespread objections 
- The new Polish government also agreed to the permanent garrisoning of Red Army units on Poland's territory 
- In 1952 the People's Republic of Poland was officially proclaimed 

Poland's old and new borders in 1945


400s Slavic tribes that would form Poland migrated to these areas
966 Mieszko I, who is considered the creator of the Polish state, converted into Christianity
1030 Pagan reaction in Poland, a series of uprisings and rebellions caused by the dissatisfaction with the process of Christianization
1038 The capital was transferred to Krakow, because of the pagan unrest
1109 Prince Boleslaw III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany and stopped the German march into Poland
1138 Poland fragmented into several smaller duchies when Boleslaw divided his lands among his sons
1238-1241 Henry I the Beaded and Henry III the Pious almost succeeded to unite Polish lands, but the Mongols invaded the country from the east and defeated the Polish forces
1320 Wladyslaw I took the throne and became the first king of a reunified Poland
1347-1351 The Black Death, a plague that ravaged didn't affect Poland much because Casimir the Great decided to quarantine the nation's borders
1370 The Piast dynasty came to an end, when Casimir the Great died leaving no legitimate male heir
1386 The Polish-Lithuanian union was established after Casimir's daughter Jadwiga married the Lithuanian Grand Duke Jogaila
1410 Battle of Grunwald, a decisive victory for the Polish-Lithuanian army over the Teutonic Knights, allowing Poland-Lithuania's territorial expansion to the north 
1505 The state was ruled by the "free and equal" Polish nobility after the Polish Sejm (parliament) transferred most of the legislative power from the monarch to the Sejm
1543 The Polish astronomer, Nicholaus Copernicus published his work about the heliocentric theory 
1569 The Union of Lublin established the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
1573 The Warsaw Confederation confirmed the religious freedom to all the inhabitants of Poland, which was a very important decision for the stability of the multiethnic society of Poland
1588 Serfdom was banned
1655-1660 Deluge, a series of campaigns in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by Sweden and other nations, causing the death of four million people in famines and epidemics out of the population of eleven million people
1667 East Ukraine was annexed to Russia and Sweden conquered Poland's provinces in the Baltics
1764 Stanislaw II August, the last King of Poland, took the throne after the royal election
1772 First Partition of Poland by Russia, Prussia and Austria
1793 Second Partition of Poland by Russia and Prussia, ended the existence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
1795 After the failed Kościuszko Uprising Poland was partitioned the third time by Russia, Prussia and Austria
1807 During the Napoloenic Wars, Napoleon I of France recreated the Polish state as the satellite Duchy of Warsaw
1815 In the Congress of Vienna, Poland was partitioned between Prussia and Russia
1830 November uprising against the Russians
1846 During the Spring of Nations in Europe, the Prussians suppressed the Greater Poland Uprising and ended the autonomy of Grand Duchy of Posen
1863-1864 The failed January Uprising against the Russians
1918-1919 Great Poland Uprising against the German rule 
1918-1939 Second Republic of Poland
1919-1921 Polish-Soviet War, which Poland won and halted the advance of Communism into Europe
1926 May Coup by Józef Klemens Piłsudski, who continued his authoritarian rule until his death in the year 1935 
1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland and started the Second World War, Poland was divided into two zones, the other controlled by Germany and the other by Soviet Union 
1945 Soviet troops occupied Poland and after the war Poland's territory was reduced by 20% 
1952 The People's Republic of Poland was officially proclaimed 
1955 Warsaw Pact was established 
1978 Polish Karol Wojtyla became the first non-Italian pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI, who had been a pope in 1522-1523 
1980 Labour turmoil led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity"
1981-1983 Martial law in Poland as the authoritarian communist government attempted to crush political opposition 
1989 Solidarity won Poland's first partially free and democratic parliamentary elections after which Poland became a republic
1990 Lech Walesa won the presidential elections
1991 Poland joined the Visegrad Group and Nato
2004 Poland became a full member of European Union
2010 President Lech Kaczynski, along with 89 high-ranking Polish officials died in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia

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