Sunday, June 6, 2010

POLAND - Country profile

Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived
near the middle of the 10th century.
Its golden age occurred in the 16th century.
During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry
and internal disorders weakened the nation.
In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia,
and Austria partitioned Poland amongst 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
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,
but Poland still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment,
underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure,
and a poor rural underclass.
Solidarity suffered a major defeat in the 2001 parliamentary elections
when it failed to elect a single deputy to the lower house of Parliament,
and the new leaders of the Solidarity Trade Union
subsequently pledged to reduce the Trade Union's political role.
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.

Flag of POLAND

The flag of Poland consists of two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper one white and the lower one red. The two colors are defined in the Polish constitution as the national colors. A variant of the flag with the national coat of arms in the middle of the white stripe is legally reserved for official use abroad and at sea. A similar flag with the addition of a swallow-tail is used as the naval ensign of Poland.

White and red were officially adopted as national colors in 1831. They are of heraldic origin and derive from the tinctures (colors) of the coats of arms of the two constituent nations of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, i.e. the White Eagle of Poland and the Pursuer (Lithuanian : Vytis, Polish : Pogoń) of Lithuania, a white knight riding a white horse, both on a red shield. Prior to that, Polish soldiers wore cockades of various color combinations. The national flag was officially adopted in 1919. Since 2004, Polish Flag Day is celebrated on May 2.

The flag is flown continuously on the buildings of the highest national authorities, such as the parliament and the presidential palace. Other institutions and many Polish people fly the national flag on national holidays and other special occasions of national significance. Current Polish law does not restrict the use of the national flag without the coat of arms as long as the flag is not disrespected.

Horizontal bicolor of white and red being a relatively widespread design, there are several flags that are similar but unrelated to the Polish one, most notably that of Bohemia in the Czech Republic and two national flags with the red stripe above the white one: those of Indonesia and Monaco. In Poland, many flags based on the national design also feature the national colors.

National Anthem of POLAND

Mazurek Dąbrowskiego ("Dąbrowski's Mazurka") is the national anthem of Poland. It is also known by its original title, Pieśń Legionów Polskich we Włoszech ("Song of the Polish Legions in Italy"), or by its incipit, Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła ("Poland Is Not Yet Lost" or "Poland Has Not Yet Perished").

The song is a lively mazurka with lyrics penned by Józef Wybicki in Reggio nell'Emilia, Cisalpine Republic (now in Italy), around 16 July 1797, two years after the Third Partition of Poland erased the once vast country from the map. It was originally meant to boost the morale of Polish soldiers serving under General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski in the Polish Legions, which were part of the French Revolutionary Army led by General Napoléon Bonaparte in its conquest of Italy. The mazurka, expressing the idea that the nation of Poland, despite lack of political independence, had not disappeared as long as the Polish people were still alive and fighting in its name, soon became one of the most popular patriotic songs in Poland.

The song's popularity led to a plethora of variations, sung by Polish patriots on different occasions. It also inspired other peoples struggling for independence during the 19th century. One of the songs strongly influenced by Poland Is Not Yet Lost is Hey Slavs, a former national anthem of Yugoslavia. When Poland re-emerged as an independent state in 1918, Mazurek Dąbrowskiego became its de facto anthem. It was officially adopted as the national anthem of the Republic of Poland in 1926.

Polish lyrics

1. Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła
Kiedy my żyjemy.
Co nam obca przemoc wzięła,
Szablą odbierzemy.

Marsz, marsz, Dąbrowski,
Z ziemi włoskiej do Polski.
Za Twoim przewodem,
Złączym się z narodem.

2. Przejdziem Wisłę, przejdziem Wartę,
Będziem Polakami.
Dał nam przykład Bonaparte,
Jak zwyciężać mamy.


3. Jak Czarniecki do Poznania
Po szwedzkim zaborze
Dla ojczyzny ratowania
Wrócim się przez morze.


4. Już tam ojciec do swej Basi
Mówi zapłakany –
Słuchaj jeno, pono nasi
Biją w tarabany.


English translation

1. Poland has not yet perished.
As long as we live,
What foreign violence has seized,
With sabres in hand we will retrieve.

March! March, Dabrowski!
From Italy to Poland!

Under your command
Unite us as a people.

2. Cross the Vistula and Warta
We shall be Poles;
Bonaparte has shown us
The way to victory.


3. Like Czarniecki to Poznan,
After the war with the Swede,
To save our country,
We shall return by sea.


4. A father, in tears,
says to his Basia:
"Just listen, it seems that our people
are beating the drums."


Location :

Central Europe, east of Germany

Maps :

Area :

Total : 312 685 sq km
Land : 304 255
sq km
Water : 8 430 sq km

Coastline :

440 km

Elevation extremes :

Lowest point : near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
Highest point : Rysy 2 499 m

Terrain :

Mostly flat plain ; mountains along southern border.

Natural resources :

Coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land.

Climate :

Temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation ; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers.

Population :

38 482 919 (2010 estimation)

Nationality :

Demonym : Pole / Polish

Ethnic groups :

Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7% (2002 census).

Religions :

Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002).

Languages :
Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census).

Country name :

Conventional long form : Republic of Poland
Conventional short form : Poland
Local long form : Rzeczpospolita Polska
Local short form : Polska

ISO country code :


Government type :


Capital :

Warsaw (population of city : 1 711 466 -2009- Largest city of Poland)

Other major cities :

Lodz, Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk.

Administrative divisions :

16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular - wojewodztwo) ; Dolnoslaskie (Lower Silesia), Kujawsko-Pomorskie (Kuyavia-Pomerania), Lodzkie, Lubelskie (Lublin), Lubuskie (Lubusz), Malopolskie (Lesser Poland), Mazowieckie (Masovia), Opolskie, Podkarpackie (Subcarpathia), Podlaskie, Pomorskie (Pomerania), Slaskie (Silesia), Swietokrzyskie, Warminsko-Mazurskie (Warmia-Masuria), Wielkopolskie (Greater Poland), Zachodniopomorskie (West Pomerania).

Independance :
11 November 1918 (republic proclaimed).

National holiday :

Constitution Day, 3 May (1791).

Constitution :

Adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997 ; passed by national referendum 25 May 1997 ; effective 17 October 1997.

Executive branch :

Chief of state : President Bronislaw KOMOROWSKI (since 6 August 2010).

Head of government : Prime Minister Donald TUSK (since 16 November 2007) ; Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar PAWLAK (since 16 November 2007).

Cabinet : Council of Ministers responsible to the prime minister and the Sejm ; the prime minister proposes, the president appoints, and the Sejm approves the Council of Ministers.

Elections : president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) ; election last held on 20 June and 4 July 2010 (next to be held in 2015) ; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Sejm.

Election results : Bronislaw KOMOROWSKI elected president ; percent of popular vote - Bronislaw KOMOROWSKI 53%, Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI 47%.

Legislative branch :

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.

Judicial branch :

Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Council of the Judiciary for an indefinite period) ; Constitutional Tribunal (judges are chosen by the Sejm for nine-year terms).

Currency :

Zloty (PLN)

Agriculture products :

Grains, hogs, dairy, potatoes, horticulture, sugar beets, oilseed.

Industries :

Machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles.

Exports partners :

Germany 30%, Italy 6%, France 6%, UK 5.4%, Czech Republic 4.3%, Netherlands 4.3% (2004).

Imports partners :

Germany 24.4%, Italy 8%, Russia 7.2%, France 6.7%, China 4.6% (2004).

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