Poland

Article

January 27, 2022

The Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska) is a Central European state on the shores of the Baltic Sea. On land it borders Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east, and Russia to the north (through an exclave called the Kaliningrad region). It is separated from Denmark and Sweden by a maritime border. The capital is Warsaw (Warsaw, pronounced [varˈʂava]). The official language is Polish. The Polish state is more than a thousand years old. In the 16th century, during the Jagiellonian dynasty, Poland was one of the strongest states in Europe. On May 3, 1791, the Polish-Lithuanian Union adopted the Constitution of Poland in May, which was the first written constitution in Europe and the second in the world. A few years later, in 1795, Poland was divided by its neighbors (Russia, Austria, and Prussia). After 123 years, Poland regained its statehood in 1918 with the end of the First World War. After the Second World War it belonged to the zone of influence of the Soviet Union. In 1989, the first partially free elections in the country's post-World War II history ended the Solidarity movement's aspirations for freedom. Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999 and of the European Union since 2004.

Origin of the country name

Poland is called Polska in Polish. The official name of the country is Rzeczpospolita Polska, meaning the Republic of Poland. The name of the country and the name of the people polak, polski have the same origin. According to the most common opinion, the names Polska and polak are derived from the name of a Slavic tribe called Polan. According to another view, the name comes from the name of the Goplan tribe, which lived around Lake Gopło and around 845 owned approximately 400 forts in what is now Poland. According to the accepted etymology, the final root of the name is the word pole (“field”), or the polanie derived from it, which means “inhabitants of the fields”. This conclusion can be easily reached by comparing it with words with similar meanings in other Slavic languages. The origin of the words “Polish” and “Poland” used in the Hungarian language may have been a derivative of the Old Russian Lendo (“land of extermination”, “virgin land”) (ie “man living in the land of extermination”), which was still in Polish in Old Hungarian.

Geography

Terrain

Most of Poland is a plain, with an average altitude of 173 meters, rising only above 300 meters in some places and part of which has been shaped by past glaciation. Going from north to south, the shores of the Baltic Sea are first covered with glacial, marine and river sediments, and the shoreline is dotted with turfs and lagoons. To the south lies the diverse landscape of the Polish Great Plain, divided by ancient valleys, in the central part of which there are already older, fertile soil moraine areas formed by the last, quarterly glaciation - these two landscapes are the Pomeranian and Mazury lakes. Further south are plains with more fertile soils consisting of sediments from early glaciation. The ancient Polish mountains, located in the interior of the country, are joined by fertile, rain-covered ridges. The mountain ranges on the southern border include the Sudety (highest point in Śnieżka 1603 m - "Snowy Peak") and the Carpathians (Karpaty), which includes the Tatras, where the highest point in Poland is the Sea Eye. -peak (Rysy, 2499 m) rises. Its deepest point is located west of the village of Raczki Elblągskie (1.8 m below sea level). Nearly one-fifth of Poland's territory is arable and meadow, and more than 28% is covered by forest.

Hydrography

The largest rivers are the Vistula (

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