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currency: Zloty (PLN)
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Poland profile
historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain
Poland history
Poland's history as a state begins near the middle of the 10th century. By the mid-16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled a vast tract of land in central and eastern Europe. During the 18th century, internal disorders weakened the nation, and in a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland among themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force with over ten million members. Free elections in 1989 and 1990 won Solidarity control of the parliament and the presidency, bringing the Communist era to a close. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.
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Conventional long form: Republic of Poland

Conventional short form: Poland

Local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska

Local short form: Polska
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Poland's capital city is Warsaw
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Poland Constitution:

adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997;
passed by national referendum 25 May 1997;
effective 17 October 1997
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Poland population growth rate: -0.075%
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Poland highest point: Rysy 2,499 m
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Poland lowest point: near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
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About 40% of Poland's land is arable.
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Vistula (Wisla) is the Longest River in Poland
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Poland birth rate is 10 births/1,000 population
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Poland infant mortality rate is 6 deaths/1,000 live births
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Poland fertility rate is 1.32 children born/woman
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Poland climate:

temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation;
mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
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Top 10 cities of Poland with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Warsaw: 1,720,398
2. Kraków: 759,137
3. Łódź: 737,098
4. Wrocław: 631,235
5. Poznań: 551,627
6. Gdańsk: 456,967
7. Szczecin: 405,606
8. Bydgoszcz: 356,177
9. Lublin: 348,450
10. Katowice: 306,826
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Poland ethnic groups:

Polish - 96.7%
German - 0.4%
Belarusian - 0.1%
Ukrainian - 0.1%
other and unspecified - 2.7%
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Poland Exports:

machinery and transport equipment - 37.8%
intermediate manufactured goods - 23.7%
miscellaneous manufactured goods - 17.1%
food and live animals - 7.6%
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Poland Imports:

machinery and transport equipment - 38%
intermediate manufactured goods - 21%
chemicals - 15%
minerals, fuels, lubricants, and related materials - 9%
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bicameral legislature consists of an upper house, the Senate or Senat (100 seats; members elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis to serve four-year terms), and a lower house, the Sejm (460 seats; members elected under a complex system of proportional representation to serve four-year terms); the designation of National Assembly or Zgromadzenie Narodowe is only used on those rare occasions when the two houses meet jointly

Administrative Divisions:
16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular - wojewodztwo)
1. Dolnoslaskie (Lower Silesia)
2. Kujawsko-Pomorskie (Kuyavia-Pomerania)
3. Lodzkie
4. Lubelskie (Lublin)
5. Lubuskie (Lubusz)
6. Malopolskie (Lesser Poland)
7. Mazowieckie (Masovia)
8. Opolskie
9. Podkarpackie (Subcarpathia)
10. Podlaskie
11. Pomorskie (Pomerania)
12. Slaskie (Silesia)
13. Swietokrzyskie
14. Warminsko-Mazurskie (Warmia-Masuria)
15. Wielkopolskie (Greater Poland)
16. Zachodniopomorskie (West Pomerania)
Political parties and leaders:
Civic Platform (PO) - Donald TUSK, chairman; Rafal GRUPINSKI, parliamentary caucus leader
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) - Leszek MILLER, chairman, parliamentary caucus leader
Democratic Party (PD) - Andrzej CELINSKI, chairman
Democratic Party (SD) - Pawel PISKORSKI, chairman
German Minority of Lower Silesia (MNSO) - Ryszard GALLA, representative
Law and Justice (PiS) - Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI, chairman; Mariusz BLASZCZAK, parliamentary caucus leader
League of Polish Families (LPR) - Witold BALAZAK, chairman
Palikot's Movement (RP) - Janusz PALIKOT, chairman
Poland Comes First (PJN) - Pawel KOWAL, chairperson
Polish People's Party (PSL) - Janusz PIECHOCINSKI, chairman; Jan BURY, parliamentary caucus leader
Social Democratic Party of Poland (SDPL) - Wojciech FILEMONOWICZ, chairman
Union of Labor (UP) - Waldemar WITKOWSKI, chairman
United Poland (SP) (political grouping of former PiS members, not officially registered) - Arkadiusz MULARCZYK, chairperson; Patrick JAKI, parliamentary caucus leader