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   Poland Country Guide


Poland Country Guide 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 and with large investments in defense, energy, and other infrastructure, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.

Poland Full Name: Republic of Poland
Area: 312,685 sq km (land: 304,465 sq km, water: 8,220 sq km)
Population: 38,523,261 (July 2016 est.)38,523,261 (July 2016 est.)
Capital City: Warsaw


People: Polish 96.9%, Silesian 1.1%, German 0.2%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 1.7%
note: represents ethnicity declared first (2011 est.)
Language: Polish (official) 98.2%, Silesian 1.4%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.3%
Religion: Catholic 87.2% (includes Roman Catholic 86.9% and Greek Catholic, Armenian Catholic, and Byzantine-Slavic Catholic .3%), Orthodox 1.3% (almost all are Polish Autocephalous Orthodox), Protestant 0.4% (mainly Augsburg Evangelical and Pentacostal), other 0.4% (includes Jehovah's Witness, Buddhist, Hare Krishna, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon), unspecified 10.8% (2012 est.)

Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
Chief of State President Andrzej DUDA (since 6 August 2015)
Head of Government: Prime Minister Beata SZYDLO (since 16 November 2015); Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr GLINSKI (since 16 November 2015), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education Jaroslaw GOWIN (since 16 November 2015), and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Mateusz MORAWIECKI (since 16 November 2015)

GDP: $US 1.052 trillion (2016 est.)
GDP per Capita: $US 27,700 (2016 est.)
Inflation: -0.8% (2016 est.)
Unemployment: 9.6% (2016 est.)
Industries: Machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles
Currency: zloty (PLN)

Member of EU: Yes



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Info provided by the CIA World Factbook
Updated 2/2017
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