Rzeczpospolita Polska (Polish Republic)
  • Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


Poland takes its name from the Polanie (‘plain dwellers’), whose ruler Mieszko I had achieved a federation by 966, a date taken as that of the foundation of the Polish state. He placed Poland under the Roman Holy See around 990. His son Bolesław I (992–1025) continued his father’s territorial expansionism until by the time of his coronation in 1024 Poland’s boundaries were much as they are today. The tendency of this state to fragment under German pressure was formalized by Bolesław III (1102–38), whose sons divided the kingdom into three duchies. In the 13th century Poland was laid waste by pagan proto-Russians and Mongols. In 1320 Władysław of Kraków was crowned king of Poland. The work of unification was consolidated by his son, Kazimierz III (1333–70). A descendant of his married the pagan duke of Lithuania, Jagiełło, who was converted to Catholicism and became king of Poland in 1386, uniting Poland and Lithuania in a vast multi-ethnic empire. The Jagiełłonian period to 1572 is regarded as an economic and cultural ‘golden age’.


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Further Reading

  1. Central Statistical Office, Rocznik Statystyczny. Annual.—Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland.—Statistical Bulletin. Monthly.Google Scholar
  2. Lukowski, Jerzy and Zawadzki, Hubert, A Concise History of Poland. CUP, 2001Google Scholar
  3. Mitchell, K. D., (ed.) Political Pluralism in Hungary and Poland: Perspectives on the Reforms. New York, 1992Google Scholar
  4. Sanford, G. and Gozdecka-Sanford, A., Poland. [Bibliography] 2nd ed. ABC-Clio, Oxford and Santa Barbara (CA), 1993Google Scholar
  5. Sikorski, R., The Polish House: An Intimate History of Poland. London, 1997; US title: Full Circle. New York, 1997Google Scholar
  6. Slay, B., The Polish Economy: Crisis, Reform and Transformation. Princeton Univ. Press, 1994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Staar, R. F., (ed.) Transition to Democracy in Poland. New York, 1993Google Scholar
  8. Turner, Barry, (ed.) Central Europe Profiled. Macmillan, London, 2000Google Scholar
  9. Wedel, J., The Unplanned Society: Poland During and After Communism. Columbia Univ. Press, 1992Google Scholar
  10. National library: Biblioteka Narodowa, Rakowiecka 6, Warsaw.Google Scholar
  11. National statistical office: Central Statistical Office, Aleje Niepodległości 208, 00–925 Warsaw.Google Scholar
  12. Website:

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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