Poland: History

  1. 1025

    The Kingdom of Poland is proclaimed by Polish monarch Boleslaw I.

  2. 1772

    Following an anti-Russian revolt, Poland is subjected to the first of three major partitions by its neighbors Prussia, Russia, and Austria

  3. 1791

    Poland passes a new constitution which promises a series of social reforms including the granting of civil rights to urban and peasant populations. Both Russia and Prussia invade to prevent this liberal change and in turn carry out the second partition of Poland in 1793.

  4. 1795

    Reformers lead a failed attempt against the partitioning powers. The uprising ultimately fails and leads to the final partition of Poland in which the nation loses its independence and disappears entirely from the map of Europe.

  5. 1918

    Poland's independence is restored after the end of World War I.

  6. 1939

    Nazi Germany invades Poland, sparking the beginning of World War II. The Soviet Union then invades Poland from the east and Poland is eventually divided between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

  7. 1945

    The Soviet Union captures Warsaw, which in turns drives German forces out of Poland. Poland's official borders are set at the postwar Potsdam conference.

  8. 1947

    Poland becomes a Communist People's Republic after the completion of Soviet-run elections. 

  9. 1970s

    Edward Gierek becomes the first secretary of the communist party and attempts to modernize the nation's economy. He is initially successful in creating relative economic prosperity by securing large foreign loans and investments, however economic mismanagement coupled with the global oil crisis lead to massive budget deficits, which culminated in large scale price increases in 1976.

  10. 1990

    Lech Walesa becomes the first freely elected president of Poland's first non-communist government since World War II. The government institutes a "shock therapy" program aimed at converting Poland's communist economic model into a free-market system in order to reintegrate Poland into the global economy. This policy is eventually successful, but had a high social cost, particularly associated with the difficulties of redirecting trade previously linked to the Soviet bloc. 

  11. 1999

    Poland joins NATO.

  12. 2004

    Poland joins the European Union.


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