Poland is a large central European nation that borders on the Baltic Sea.
Warsaw is Poland's capital and largest city.
Poland is named after the Polane, a Slavic tribe that lived more than a thousand
years ago in what is now Poland. The name Polane comes from a Slavic word that
means plain or field.
Flat plains and gently rolling hills cover most of the country. Rugged mountains
form part of the southern boundary of Poland, and thousands of small, scenic
lakes dot the northern regions of the country.
A Short Background
Poland gained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the
Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite country following the
war, but one that 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 and by 1990 had swept parliamentary
elections and the presidency.
A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to
transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, boosting
hopes for acceptance to the EU. Poland joined the NATO alliance in 1999.
||Central Europe, east of Germany
||52 00 N, 20 00 E
||38,633,912 (July 2001 est.)
||Polish 97.6%, German 1.3%,
Ukrainian 0.6%, Byelorussian 0.5% (1990 est.)
||Roman Catholic 95% (about 75%
practicing), Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and other 5%
||1 EURO to Polish Zloty: 4,784 (April