Poland became a State by the union of a number of Slavonic tribes settled in the basins of the Vistula, the Warta and the Oder. The earliest chronicled history goes back to the latter half of the tenth century when Mieszko I, together with the whole nation, was converted to Christianity in a.D. 966. Poland reached the height of her power in the period between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries under the rule of the Jagiellon dynasty. On the extinction of that line, a system of elective successive Kings was introduced and this, leading to an overgrowth of special rights granted to the nobility and gentry, led to the weakening of the central authority.
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