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PolandPoland's name originates with the western Slavic tribe called the Polanie. This tribe was likely named after the lands they occupied, which were large flat fields; the word for field being pole.



Poland stretches a great distance in Europe and due to the southern mountains, the northern plains of the country have been bypassed by people for centuries. This flat land made the region ideal for settlement, trade, and wars, but more importantly, an incredible variety of people over time. Eventually it was the Slavs who made the lands home.

The Slavic Poles have ruled the lands for some time, but the borders of Poland have also regularly changed. The similarities in all these regions is that in the south there are mountains and in the north the Baltic Sea reached by the plains. These plains meant historically the people made a living through agriculture and the raising of animals. However, the easy pathway east and west, meant trade soon took over.

Poland became a land of outside influences as thoughts, ideas, and technology swept across the lands, both originating in Poland and arriving there. Trade expanded as did communication and technology. One of these outside influences that has created the modern culture of Poland came in the form of Catholicism. This religion changed life and priorities in Poland, while also forging new allies. Even today Catholicism is incredibly important to the Pole as most people attend mass on a daily basis and refrain from eating meat on Fridays.

Another incredibly important outside influence came with the immigration of Jews to the country. Over time this population grew and introduced numerous cultural aspects to the people, from foods and lifestyle to business.

Over time the size and power of Poland grew and shrank, but the culture remained tied to their roots as many people lived off the land and Catholicism was perhaps the most important and central aspect of life. However, being lost politically as the country was taken over by the neighboring countries of Russia, Prussia, and Austria, Poland gained further outside influences and foods.

In more recently history the country has returned from political obscurity as it regained statehood, then was engulfed in World War II. WWII changed the culture forever as most of the country's Jewish population was killed or fled the country. After the war, the country fell under communist rule, again limiting the cultural growth. However, with the election of a Polish pope in Pope John Paul II, the country maintained ties to the west and their culture relied heavily dependent on Catholicism as the communist influences were rejected and few stuck after the fall of this government in 1989.

Today Poland remains tied to its past culturally as Catholicism remains at the core of the people. Many people are still dependent on the lands as farming and agriculture are popular throughout the country. However, the cities are surging in population as the youth are becoming more educated and urbanized, with many cities becoming, or continuing their role as cultural and creative hubs. The country's recent entry into the European Union has also changed the economy, education, and population as many young people are moving abroad for higher paying jobs, but domestic salaries are quickly rising to catch up.

Poland's flag colors come from the Polish emblem, which is a white eagle on a red background.

Name: Republic of Poland
Independence: November 11, 1918
Capital: Warsaw
Currency: Zloty
Population: 38,383,809 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Polish
Language: Polish
Religion: Roman Catholic

Information for Poland was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks