Poland's History

Poland’s identity begins with the adoption of Christianity by Duke Mieszko I in 966. Before this Poland’s past is a murky blur of legends and tales of warring tribes of various races and tongues. However the historic site at Biskupin, (now a fascinating museum)  testifies to a developed society as early as 700BC. In 1241 Poland repelled the Mongol onslaught and in 1569 the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was created which lasted until 1795 when neighbouring Russia, Austria and Prussia carved up the Polish cake. In 1807 Napoleon was lauded when he created the Duchy of Warsaw but Russia resumed control following Waterloo. Poland’s next chance for independence came at the end of WWI with the collapse of Tsarist Russia. Poland successfully defeated a determined Soviet Union against all odds in 1921. In 1939 Germany and the USSR invaded, triggering WWII which left six million Poles dead and the country ravished. Communist rule in Poland ended in 1989.

Our Pick


On a flying visit to Krakow? Strangely the city's most famous attraction is also its worst. A visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau is really a must-see! book-now

Right Now

Poland has a rich Catholic history and celebrated the elevation of Pope John Paul II, history’s first Polish Pope in 1978. In 1980 non Communists, encouraged by the Papal Father, confronted the establishment, but the authorities fearing a Soviet invasion cracked down on the Solidarity Union movement which simmered until 1989 when the Communist order finally crumbled. Poland initially experienced economic difficulties but eventually things improved and the country joined NATO and the European Union in 2004 enjoying favourable conditions until the downturn in 2008. Meanwhile many tourists are warming to Poland, due to its affordability and diversity of cultural and outdoor attractions which surprise many.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player