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Introduction: 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 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...

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Economic Overview: The global economic crisis did not affect Poland as seriously as its neighbours. Real GDP growth contracted to 1.7 per cent in 2009 (down from 5.0 per cent in 2008), though Poland was the only EU country to record positive growth in this year. The IMF forecasts real GDP growth to rise to 2.7 per cent in 2010. Inflation was at 3.5 per cent in 2009 and is forecast to increase to 2.3 per cent in 2010. Poland is one of the few emerging economies to still enjoy stable credit ratings.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows into Poland were close to €7 billion in 2009, down from €11.1 billion in ...

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History: Poland's written history begins with the reign of Mieszko I, who accepted Christianity for himself and his kingdom in AD 966. The Polish state reached its zenith under the Jagiellonian dynasty in the years following the union with Lithuania in 1386 and the subsequent defeat of the Teutonic Knights at Grunwald in 1410. The monarchy survived many upheavals but eventually went into decline, which ...

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International Relations: Poland joined the EU on 1 May 2004. The public voted in favour of accession in the referendum held on 8 June with 77% of the vote on a turnout of 59% of the electorate. It was during the Prime Minister's visit to Poland in October 2000 that he suggested in a speech in the Polish Stock Exchange, that 2004 be the target date for Enlargement of the European Union.

Poland joined NATO on 12 March 1999 and plays an active part in UN affairs and peacekeeping missions. It has played a solid role in Kosovo and more recently in Afghanistan, and supported the invocation of Article V in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the ...

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The Poles possess one of the richest and most venerable historical traditions of all European peoples. Convention fixes the origins of Poland as a nation near the middle of the tenth century, contemporaneous with the Carolingians, Vikings, and Saracens, and a full hundred years before the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066. Throughout the subsequent centuries, the Poles managed despite great ...

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Area Handbook Series
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