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A History Of Poland Essay

1060 words - 4 pages

Poland is located in Central Europe, to the east of Germany. It is slightly smaller than New Mexico. Poland is named after the Slavic tribe, Polane. The word polane in Slavic means field or plane. This describes Poland's terrain. Most of Poland is covered with small planes and gently rolling hills. Towards the south Poland is covered in mountains. Historically, Poland was an area of conflict because of its flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain.Polish is the official language of Poland. It contains a number of dialects, in between Polish and German or Ukrainian. The Polish language is written using the Latin alphabet.In Poland during the mid 1900's more than forty Polish cities had a population of over 100,000 inhabitants. Five major cities have a population of over 500,000. Warsaw is Poland's capital and by far has the largest population.During most of Poland's history, Poland was a highly multiethnic society which included Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Jews and Germans. Territorial changes after World War II however, changed the countries ethnic makeup. Today Poland has a relatively small ethnic diversity. 97.6% of Poland's citizens are Poles, 0.6% are Ukrainians, 0.5% are Byelorussians, and 1.3% are German. There are also small communities of Slovaks, Czechs, Lithuanians and Russians. There are 10 million Poles living outside of Poland. The United States has the largest number of Polish citizens. However, Russia, Germany, France, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the United Kingdom, and countries of the former Soviet Union also have sizable Polish communities.Before World War II there were 3 million Jewish people living in Poland. However, the amount of Jewish residents in Poland communities decreased after World War II ended. The Nazis killed more than 90% of Jewish Poles that lived in Poland at the time. Those who survived left Poland and moved to Israel or to the west. In the early 1990's it has been estimated that there were 10,000 Jew living in Poland.Before World War II Poland was mostly agricultural and most of the population lived in rural areas. It was transformed into an industrial nation in 1945 when communists took control of Poland's government. Today Poland produces agricultural and industrial products. Poland exports potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat, poultry, eggs, pork, beef, milk, cheese, manufactured goods, chemicals, machinery and equipment, livestock, mineral fuels and many other products. Poland exports all of these products to Germany, Russia, Ukraine, the Netherlands and France.Soccer is a favorite pastime for Poles. Other favorite pastimes of Poles include camping, hiking, skiing, sailing, swimming, canoeing, hunting, fishing and the ancient tradition of horseback riding. Poland is known for breeding horses.About 95% of Poles are Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church exerts an important influence on many aspects of Polish Life. Church attendance levels are high, especially in rural areas....

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