The Info List - Poles

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   United Kingdom 630,000[11][12]

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   Australia 216,056[16]

   Lithuania 212,800[17]

   Ukraine 144,130[18]

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   Peru 7,000[33]

   Hungary 5,730[34]

   Moldova 4,174[35]

   Romania 3,671[36]

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   Finland 3,000[38]

   New Zealand 2,166[39]




Polish • Kashubian • Silesian


Christianity: Predominantly Roman Catholicism[41]

Related ethnic groups

Other West Slavs: Silesians, Kashubs, Czechs, Slovaks, Moravians, Sorbs, Hanoverian Wends(†), Obotrites(†), Veleti(†)

The Poles
(Polish: Polacy, pronounced [pɔˈlat͡sɨ]; singular masculine: Polak, singular feminine: Polka), commonly referred to as the Polish people, are a nation and West Slavic ethnic group native to Poland
who share a common ancestry, culture, history and are native speakers of the Polish language. The population of self-declared Poles in Poland
is estimated at 37,394,000 out of an overall population of 38,538,000 (based on the 2011 census),[2] of whom 36,522,000 declared Polish alone.[3][4][5] A wide-ranging Polish diaspora
Polish diaspora
(the Polonia) exists throughout Europe, the Americas, and in Australasia. Today the largest urban concentrations of Poles
are within the Warsaw
and Silesian metropolitan areas. Poland's history dates back over a thousand years, to c. 930-960 CE, when the Polans – an influential West Slavic tribe in the Greater Poland
region, now home to such cities as Giecz, Gniezno, and Poznań – united various Lechitic tribes under what became the Piast dynasty,[42] thus creating the Polish state. The subsequent Christianization of Poland, in 966 CE, marked Poland's advent to the community of Western Christendom. Poles
have made important contributions to the world in every major field of human endeavor. Notable Polish émigrés – many of them forced from their homeland by historic vicissitudes – have included physicists Marie Skłodowska Curie
Marie Skłodowska Curie
and Joseph Rotblat, mathematician Stanisław Ulam, pianists Fryderyk Chopin
Fryderyk Chopin
and Arthur Rubinstein, actresses Helena Modjeska
Helena Modjeska
and Pola Negri, novelist Joseph Conrad, military leaders Tadeusz Kościuszko
Tadeusz Kościuszko
and Casimir Pulaski, U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, politician Rosa Luxemburg, filmmakers Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn
and the Warner Brothers, cartoonist Max Fleischer, and cosmeticians Helena Rubinstein
Helena Rubinstein
and Max Factor.


1 Origins 2 Statistics 3 Culture

3.1 Language 3.2 Science and technology 3.3 Music

3.3.1 17th–18th centuries 3.3.2 Traditional music

3.4 Literature

3.4.1 Middle Ages 3.4.2 Renaissance 3.4.3 Baroque 3.4.4 Enlightenment 3.4.5 Romanticism 3.4.6 Positivism 3.4.7 Young Poland
(1890–1918) 3.4.8 Restored independence (1918–39) 3.4.9 After 1945

4 Theatre and cinema 5 Religion 6 Exonyms 7 Ethnography

7.1 Central Poles 7.2 Greater Poles 7.3 Kuyavians 7.4 Lesser Poles 7.5 Masovians 7.6 Northern Poles 7.7 Pomeranians 7.8 Silesians 7.9 Eastern Kresy 7.10 National minorities

8 See also 9 References 10 External links


Fragment of Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum
Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum
(1073) by Adam of Bremen, containing the name "Polans": "trans Oddaram sunt Polanos"

have been in the territory of modern Poland
for over 1500 years. They organized into tribal units, of which the larger ones were later known as the Polish tribes; the names of many tribes are found on the list compiled by the anonymous Bavarian Geographer
Bavarian Geographer
in the 9th century.[43] In the 9th and 10th centuries the tribes gave rise to developed regions along the upper Vistula
(the Vistulans
within the Great Moravian Empire sphere),[43] the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
coast and in Greater Poland. The last tribal undertaking resulted in the 10th century in a lasting political structure and state, Poland, one of the West Slavic nations.[44] The concept which has become known as the Piast
Idea, the chief proponent of which was Jan Ludwik Popławski, is based on the statement that the Piast
homeland was inhabited by so-called "native" aboriginal Slavs
and Slavonic Poles
since time immemorial and only later was "infiltrated" by "alien" Celts, Germans, Baltic peoples and others. After 1945 the so-called "autochthonous" or "aboriginal" school of Polish prehistory received official backing in Poland
and a considerable degree of popular support. According to this view, the Lusatian Culture
which archaeologists have identified between the Oder and the Vistula
in the early Iron Age, is said to be Slavonic; all non-Slavonic tribes and peoples recorded in the area at various points in ancient times are dismissed as "migrants" and "visitors". In contrast, the critics of this theory, such as Marija Gimbutas, regard it as an unproved hypothesis and for them the date and origin of the westward migration of the Slavs
is largely uncharted; the Slavonic connections of the Lusatian Culture
are entirely imaginary; and the presence of an ethnically mixed and constantly changing collection of peoples on the Middle European Plain is taken for granted.[45] Statistics[edit] Polish people are the sixth largest national group in the European Union.[46] Estimates vary depending on source, though available data suggest a total number of around 60 million people worldwide (with roughly 21 million living outside of Poland, many of whom are not of Polish ethnicity, but Polish nationals).[11] There are almost 38 million Poles
in Poland
alone. There are also Polish minorities in the surrounding countries including Germany, and indigenous minorities in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, northern and eastern Lithuania, western Ukraine, and western Belarus. There are some smaller indigenous minorities in nearby countries such as Moldova. There is also a Polish minority in Russia
which includes indigenous Poles
as well as those forcibly deported during and after World War II; the total number of Poles
in what was the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
is estimated at up to 3 million.[47]

The map depicts countries by number of citizens who reported Polish ancestry (based on sources in this article)   Poland   More than 1 million   More than 500 thousand   More than 100 thousand

The term "Polonia" is usually used in Poland
to refer to people of Polish origin who live outside Polish borders, officially estimated at around 10 to 20 million. There is a notable Polish diaspora
Polish diaspora
in the United States, Brazil, and Canada. France
has a historic relationship with Poland
and has a relatively large Polish-descendant population. Poles
have lived in France
since the 18th century. In the early 20th century, over a million Polish people settled in France, mostly during world wars, among them Polish émigrés fleeing either Nazi occupation or later Soviet rule. In the United States, a significant number of Polish immigrants settled in Chicago, Ohio, Detroit, New Jersey, New York City, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and New England. The highest concentration of Polish Americans
Polish Americans
in a single New England
New England
municipality is in New Britain, Connecticut. The majority of Polish Canadians
Polish Canadians
have arrived in Canada
since World War II. The number of Polish immigrants increased between 1945 and 1970, and again after the end of Communism in Poland in 1989. In Brazil
the majority of Polish immigrants settled in Paraná State. Smaller, but significant numbers settled in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Espírito Santo
Espírito Santo
and São Paulo (state). The city of Curitiba
has the second largest Polish diaspora
Polish diaspora
in the world (after Chicago) and Polish music, dishes and culture are quite common in the region. A recent large migration of Poles
took place following Poland's accession to the European Union
European Union
and opening of the EU's labor market; with an approximate number of 2 million, primarily young, Poles
taking up jobs abroad.[48] It is estimated that over half a million Polish people have come to work in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
from Poland. Since 2011, Poles
have been able to work freely throughout the EU and not just in the United Kingdom, Ireland
and Sweden
where they have had full working rights since Poland's EU accession in 2004. The Polish community in Norway
has increased substantially and has grown to a total number of 120,000, making Poles
the largest immigrant group in Norway. Culture[edit]

An ethnic highlander (Góral) with bagpipes in Lesser Poland

Main article: Culture
of Poland The culture of Poland
has a history of 1000 years.[49] Poland, located in Central Europe, developed a character that was influenced by its geography at the confluence of fellow Central European cultures (Austrian, Czech, German, Hungarian, and Slovak) as well as from Western European cultures (French, Spanish and Dutch), Southern European cultures (Italian and Greek), Baltic/Northeastern cultures (Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian), Eastern European cultures (Belarusian and Ukrainian) and Western Asian/Caucasian cultures (Ottoman Turkish, Armenian, and Georgian). Influences were also conveyed by immigrants (Hungarian, Slovak, Czech, Jewish, German and Dutch), political alliances (with Lithuania, Hungary, Saxony, France and Sweden), conquests of the Polish-Lithuanian state (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Romania
and Latvia) and conquerors of the Polish lands (the Russian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg monarchy, later to be known as the Austrian Empire or Austria-Hungary). Over time, Polish culture
Polish culture
has been greatly influenced by its ties with the Germanic, Hungarian, and Latinate
world and other ethnic groups and minorities living in Poland.[50] The people of Poland
have traditionally been seen as hospitable to artists from abroad (especially Italy) and open to cultural and artistic trends popular in other European countries. Owing to this central location, the Poles came very early into contact with both civilizations – eastern and western, and as a result developed economically, culturally, and politically. A German general Helmut Carl von Moltke, in his Poland. A historical sketch (1885), stated that " Poland
of the fifteenth century was one of the most civilised states of Europe." In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity, experiencing severe crises, especially during World War II and in the following years. These factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art, with all its complex nuances.[50] Poland
was for centuries a refuge to many Jews
from all over Europe; in the twentieth century, a large number emigrated to Israel. Several prominent Israeli statesmen were born in Poland, including Israel's founder David Ben-Gurion, former President of Israel
Shimon Peres, and Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
and Menachem Begin. Language[edit]

Book of Henryków. Highlighted in red is the earliest known sentence written in the Old Polish language

Knowledge of the Polish language
Polish language
within Europe

Main article: Polish language The Polish language
Polish language
(Polish: język polski) is a West Slavic language and the official language of Poland. Its written form uses the Polish alphabet, which is the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
with the addition of a few diacritic marks. Poland
is the most linguistically homogeneous European country; nearly 97% of Poland's citizens declare Polish as their mother tongue. Elsewhere, ethnic Poles
constitute large minorities in Germany, northern Slovakia
and the Czech Republic, Hungary, northeast Lithuania and western Belarus
and Ukraine. Polish is the most widely used minority language in Lithuania's Vilnius
County (26% of the population, according to the 2001 census results) and is found elsewhere in northeastern and western Lithuania. In Ukraine
it is most common in the western Lviv
and Volyn oblast (provinces), while in western Belarus
it is used by the significant Polish minority, especially in the Brest and Grodno
regions and in areas along the Lithuanian border. The geographical distribution of the Polish language
Polish language
was greatly affected by the border changes and population transfers that followed World War II. Poles
resettled in the "Recovered Territories" in the west and north. Some Poles
remained in the previously Polish-ruled territories in the east that were annexed by the USSR, resulting in the present-day Polish-speaking minorities in Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine, although many Poles
were expelled or emigrated from those areas to areas within Poland's new borders. Meanwhile, the flight and expulsion of Germans, as well as the expulsion of Ukrainians
and resettlement of Ukrainians
within Poland, contributed to the country's linguistic homogeneity. Polish-speakers use the language in a uniform manner throughout most of Poland, though numerous languages and dialects coexist alongside the standard Polish language. The most common dialects in Poland
are Silesian, spoken in Upper Silesia, and Kashubian, widely spoken in the north. Science and technology[edit] Education has been of prime interest to Poland
since the early 12th century. The catalog of the library of the Cathedral Chapter in Kraków
dating from 1110 shows that Polish scholars already then had access to literature from all over Europe. In 1364 King Casimir III the Great founded the Kraków
Academy, which would become Jagiellonian University, one of the great universities of Europe. The list of early famous scientists in Poland
begins with the 13th-century Vitello
and includes the polymath and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at its center; the publication of Copernicus' book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
(On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) just before his death in 1543 is considered a major event in the history of science, triggering the Copernican Revolution and making an important contribution to the Scientific Revolution. In 1773 King Stanisław August Poniatowski
Stanisław August Poniatowski
established the Commission of National Education, the world's first ministry of education. After the 1795 third partition of Poland, no free Polish state existed. The 19th and 20th centuries saw many Polish scientists working abroad. The greatest was Maria Skłodowska Curie (1867–1934), a physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win twice in multiple sciences, and was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. Another notable Polish expatriate scientist was Ignacy Domeyko
Ignacy Domeyko
(1802–89), a geologist and mineralogist who lived and worked in South America, in Chile. Kazimierz Funk
Kazimierz Funk
(1884–1967), whose name is commonly anglicized as "Casimir Funk", was a Polish biochemist, generally credited with being among the first to formulate (in 1912) the concept of vitamins, which he called "vital amines" or "vitamines". In the first half of the 20th century, Poland
was a world center of mathematics. Outstanding Polish mathematicians formed the Lwów School of Mathematics (including Stefan Banach, Hugo Steinhaus, Stanisław Ulam) and Warsaw
School of Mathematics (including Alfred Tarski, Kazimierz Kuratowski, Wacław Sierpiński). World War II
World War II
pushed many of them into exile; Benoit Mandelbrot's family left Poland
when he was still a child. An alumnus of the Warsaw
School of Mathematics was Antoni Zygmund, a shaper of 20th-century mathematical analysis.

(c. 1230 – c. 1314), philosopher and scientist specializing in optics, whose treatise Perspectiva influenced Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon
and made basic contributions to the psychology of vision.

Nicolaus Copernicus
Nicolaus Copernicus
(1473–1543), polymath and astronomer whose heliocentric model of the Solar System, placing the Sun rather than the Earth at the center, contributed to the advent of the Scientific Revolution.

Michael Sendivogius
Michael Sendivogius
(1566–1636), chemistry pioneer, who discovered oxygen and developed methods of extracting metals and synthesizing acids and other substances.

Ignacy Łukasiewicz
Ignacy Łukasiewicz
(1822–82), pharmacist and petroleum-industry pioneer who built the world's first oil refinery, invented the modern kerosene lamp, and introduced the first modern street lamp in Europe.

Ludwik Zamenhof
Ludwik Zamenhof
(1859–1917), ophthalmologist and creator of the international language, Esperanto.

Marie Skłodowska Curie
Marie Skłodowska Curie
(1867–1934), pioneer radioactivity (she coined the term) researcher, double Nobel laureate
Nobel laureate
(physics, chemistry), and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Wacław Sierpiński
Wacław Sierpiński
(1882–1969), mathematician noted for outstanding contributions to set theory (research on the axiom of choice and the continuum hypothesis), number theory, theory of functions, and topology.

Stefan Banach, one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century; a principal founder of modern functional analysis.

Tadeusz Reichstein, succeeded in synthesizing vitamin C in what is now called the Reichstein process
Reichstein process
and received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Marian Rejewski, mathematician and cryptologist who in 1932 reconstructed the German Enigma cipher machine and, with Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki, invented methods and machines to break the ciphers, jump-starting Britain's Ultra
operation that was crucial to winning World War II.

Joseph Rotblat, physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, then shared with the Pugwash Conferences that he headed, the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize "for efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international affairs and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms."

Stanisław Ulam, mathematician; he participated in America's Manhattan Project, originated the Teller–Ulam design of thermonuclear weapons, discovered the concept of cellular automaton, invented the Monte Carlo method of computation, and suggested nuclear pulse propulsion.

Hilary Koprowski, virologist and immunologist, and the inventor of the world's first effective live polio vaccine.

Leonid Hurwicz, the first economist to recognize the value of game theory and the oldest Nobel Laureate, having received the prize at the age of 90.

Benoit Mandelbrot, recognized for his contribution to the field of fractal geometry, as well as developing a theory of "roughness and self-similarity" in nature.

Alfred Tarski, logician and mathematician; known for work on the foundations of modern logic, and the formal notion of truth, regarded as one of the greatest logicians in history

Aleksander Wolszczan, astronomer, conducted pioneering astronomical observations and co-discovered the first extrasolar planets and pulsar planets.

Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, chemist, inventor of atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), a method of polymer synthesis that has revolutionized macromolecule production.

Marian Rejewski
Marian Rejewski
(1905–80), a Polish mathematician, in December 1932 solved the plugboard-equipped Enigma machine, the main cipher device used by Nazi Germany. The cryptologic successes of Rejewski and his mathematician colleagues Jerzy Różycki
Jerzy Różycki
and Henryk Zygalski, over six and a half years later, jump-started British reading of Enigma in the Second World War; the intelligence so gained, code-named Ultra, contributed, perhaps decisively, to the defeat of Germany.[51] Sir Józef Rotblat (1908–2005), a Polish physicist, who left the U.S. Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
on grounds of conscience. His work on nuclear fallout was a major contribution toward the ratification of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. A signatory of the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, he was secretary-general of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs from their founding until 1973. He shared, with the Pugwash Conferences, the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
for efforts toward nuclear disarmament.[52][53][54][55][56] Hilary Koprowski
Hilary Koprowski
(1916 – 2013) was a Polish virologist and immunologist, and the inventor of the world's first effective live polio vaccine. While in the United States, he authored or co-authored over 875 scientific papers and co-edited several scientific journals. Aleksander Wolszczan
Aleksander Wolszczan
(born 1946), a Polish astronomer, is the co-discoverer of the first extrasolar planets and pulsar planets. Today Poland
has over 100 institutions of post-secondary education – technical, medical, economic, as well as 500 universities – located in major cities such as Gdańsk, Kraków, Wrocław, Lublin, Łódź, Poznań, Rzeszów
and Warsaw. They employ over 61,000 scientists and scholars. Another 300 research-and-development institutes are home to some 10,000 researchers. There are also a number of smaller laboratories. Altogether, these institutions support some 91,000 scientists and scholars. Music[edit] Main article: Music of Poland

Józef Hofmann (1876–1957) Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937) Arthur Rubinstein (1887–1982) Krzysztof Penderecki (born 1933)

The origin of Polish music
Polish music
can be traced as far back as the 13th century, from which manuscripts have been found in Stary Sącz, containing polyphonic compositions related to the Parisian Notre Dame School. Other early compositions, such as the melody of Bogurodzica, may also date back to this period. The first known notable composer, however, Mikołaj z Radomia, lived in the 15th century. During the 16th century, mostly two musical groups—both based in Kraków
and belonging to the King and Archbishop of Wawel—led the rapid innovation of Polish music. Composers writing during this period include Wacław of Szamotuły, Mikołaj Zieleński, and Mikołaj Gomółka. Diomedes Cato, a native-born Italian who lived in Kraków from about the age of five, became one of the most famous lutenists at the court of Sigismund III, and not only imported some of the musical styles from southern Europe, but blended them with native folk music.[57] 17th–18th centuries[edit]

Pożegnanie Ojczyzny (Farewell to Country)

by Ogiński

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In the last years of the 16th century and the first part of the 17th century, a number of Italian musicians were guests at the royal courts of King Sigismund III Vasa
Sigismund III Vasa
and his son Władysław IV. These included Luca Marenzio, Giovanni Francesco Anerio, and Marco Scacchi. Polish composers from this period focused on baroque religious music, concertos for voices, instruments, and basso continuo, a tradition that continued into the 18th century. The best-remembered composer of this period is Adam Jarzębski, known for his instrumental works such as Chromatica, Tamburetta, Sentinella, Bentrovata, and Nova Casa. Other composers include Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki, Franciszek Lilius, Bartłomiej Pękiel, Stanisław Sylwester Szarzyński and Marcin Mielczewski. In addition, a tradition of operatic production began in Warsaw
in 1628, with a performance of Galatea (composer uncertain), the first Italian opera produced outside Italy. Shortly after this performance, the court produced Francesca Caccini's opera La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d’Alcina, which she had written for Prince Władysław three years earlier when he was in Italy. Another first, this is the earliest surviving opera written by a woman. When Władysław became king (as Władysław IV) he oversaw the production of at least ten operas during the late 1630s and 1640s, making Warsaw a center of the art. The composers of these operas are not known: they may have been Poles
working under Marco Scacchi[58] in the royal chapel, or they may have been among the Italians imported by Władysław. The late 17th century and the 18th century saw Poland
in sociopolitical decline, which hindered the development of music. Some composers (such as Jan Stefani and Maciej Kamieński) attempted to create a Polish opera; others imitated foreign composers such as Haydn and Mozart. The most important development in this time, however, was the polonaise, perhaps the first distinctively Polish art music. Polonaises for piano were and remain popular, such as those by Michał Kleofas Ogiński, Karol Kurpiński, Juliusz Zarębski, Henryk Wieniawski, Mieczysław Karłowicz, Józef Elsner, and, most famously, Fryderyk Chopin. Chopin remains very well known, and is regarded for composing a wide variety of works, including mazurkas, nocturnes, waltzes and concertos, and using traditional Polish elements in his pieces. The same period saw Stanisław Moniuszko, the leading individual in the successful development of Polish opera, still renowned for operas like Halka
and The Haunted Manor.

Michał Kleofas Ogiński
Michał Kleofas Ogiński
composed his polonaise Pożegnanie Ojczyzny (Farewell to My Homeland) on emigrating after the failure of the Kościuszko Uprising.

Frédéric Chopin, whose innovations in style, musical form and harmony, and his association of music with nationalism, were influential throughout the Romantic period.

Stanisław Moniuszko, wrote many popular art songs and operas, and his music is filled with patriotic folk themes of the peoples of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Henryk Wieniawski, violinist and composer.

Witold Lutosławski, one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians during his last three decades.

Andrzej Panufnik, one of the leading Polish composers responsible for the re-establishment of the Warsaw
Philharmonic orchestra after World War II.

Henryk Górecki, became a leading figure of the Polish avant-garde during the post-Stalin cultural thaw and achieved great commercial success.

Traditional music[edit]

in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4

Giorgi Latso, piano

in D-flat major, Op. 64, No. 1 (so-called Minute Waltz)

Muriel Nguyen Xuan, piano

Étude Op. 10, No. 12 (so-called Revolutionary)

Martha Goldstein
Martha Goldstein
playing an 1851 Érard piano

Prelude Op. 28, No. 15 in D-flat major

Giorgi Latso, piano

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Polish folk music was collected in the 19th century by Oskar Kolberg, as part of a wave of Polish national revival.[59] With the coming of the world wars and then the Communist state, folk traditions were oppressed or subsumed into state-approved folk ensembles.[60] The most famous of the state ensembles are Mazowsze and Śląsk, both of which still perform. Though these bands had a regional touch to their output, the overall sound was a homogenized mixture of Polish styles. There were more authentic state-supported groups, such as Słowianki, but the Communist sanitized image of folk music made the whole field seem unhip to young audiences, and many traditions dwindled rapidly. Polish dance music, especially the mazurka and polonaise, were popularized by Frédéric Chopin, and they soon spread across Europe and elsewhere.[60] These are triple time dances, while five-beat forms are more common in the northeast and duple-time dances like the krakowiak come from the south. The polonaise comes from the French word for Polish to identify its origin among the Polish aristocracy and nobility, who had adapted the dance from a slower walking dance called chodzony.[60] The polonaise then re-entered the lower-class musical life, and became an integral part of Polish music. Literature[edit] Main article: Polish literature Polish literature
Polish literature
is the literary tradition of Poland. Most Polish literature has been written in the Polish language, though other languages, used in Poland
over the centuries, have also contributed to Polish literary traditions, including German, Hungarian, Slovak, Czech, Latin, Yiddish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, and Esperanto. Middle Ages[edit]

Jan Długosz

Almost nothing remains of Polish literature
Polish literature
prior to the country's Christianization in 966. Poland's pagan inhabitants certainly possessed an oral literature extending to Slavic songs, legends and beliefs, but early Christian writers did not deem it worthy of mention in the obligatory Latin, and so it has perished.[61] The first recorded sentence in the Polish language
Polish language
reads: "Day ut ia pobrusa, a ti poziwai" ("Let me grind, and you take a rest") – a paraphrase of the Latin
"Sine, ut ego etiam molam." The work, in which this phrase appeared, reflects the culture of early Poland. The sentence was written within the Latin
language chronicle Liber fundationis from between 1269 and 1273, a history of the Cistercian monastery in Henryków, Silesia. It was recorded by an abbot known simply as Piotr (Peter), referring to an event almost a hundred years earlier. The sentence was supposedly uttered by a Bohemian settler, Bogwal ("Bogwalus Boemus"), a subject of Bolesław the Tall, expressing compassion for his own wife who "very often stood grinding by the quern-stone."[62] Most notable early medieval Polish works in Latin
and the Old Polish language
Polish language
include the oldest extant manuscript of fine prose in the Polish language
Polish language
entitled the Holy Cross Sermons, as well as the earliest Polish-language Bible of Queen Zofia and the Chronicle of Janko of Czarnków
Janko of Czarnków
from the 14th century, not to mention the Puławy
Psalter.[61] In the early 1470s, one of the first printing houses in Poland
was set up by Kasper Straube in Kraków
(see: spread of the printing press). In 1475 Kasper Elyan of Glogau (Głogów) set up a printing shop in Breslau (Wrocław), Silesia. Twenty years later, the first Cyrillic printing house was founded at Kraków
by Schweipolt Fiol
Schweipolt Fiol
for Eastern Orthodox Church hierarchs. The most notable texts produced in that period include Saint Florian's Breviary, printed partially in Polish in the late 14th century; Statua synodalia Wratislaviensia (1475): a printed collection of Polish and Latin
prayers; as well as Jan Długosz's Chronicle from the 15th century and his Catalogus archiepiscoporum Gnesnensium.[61] Renaissance[edit]

Jan Kochanowski

With the advent of the Renaissance, the Polish language
Polish language
was finally accepted in Poland
on an equal footing with Latin. Polish art and culture flourished under the Jagiellonian Dynasty, and many foreign poets and writers settled in Poland, bringing new literary trends with them. These writers included Kallimach
(Filippo Buonaccorsi) and Conrad Celtis. Mikołaj Rej
Mikołaj Rej
and Jan Kochanowski
Jan Kochanowski
laid the foundations for the Polish literary language and modern Polish grammar. The first book written entirely in the Polish language
Polish language
appeared in this period: a prayer-book by Biernat of Lublin
(ca. 1465 – after 1529), Raj duszny (Hortulus Animae, Eden of the Soul), printed in Kraków
in 1513 at one of Poland's first printing establishments, operated by Florian Ungler (originally from Bavaria). Many Polish writers studied abroad and at the Kraków
Academy (now Jagiellonian University), which became a melting pot for new ideas and currents. In this period (as she had had earlier, and would also have in the future), Poland
had notable philosophers, including Nicolaus Copernicus, Sebastian Petrycy, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski, Wawrzyniec Grzymała Goślicki, Jan Jonston
Jan Jonston
(a Briton), Jan Amos Komensky
Jan Amos Komensky
(a Czech), and Stanisław Leszczyński
Stanisław Leszczyński
(a Polish king). In 1488 the world's first literary society, the Sodalitas Litterarum Vistulana (the Vistula
Literary Society) was founded in Kraków. Notable members included Conrad Celtes, Albert Brudzewski, Filip Callimachus, and Laurentius Corvinus.[61] Baroque[edit]

Jan Andrzej Morsztyn

Polish Baroque
literature[63] (1620–1764) was influenced by the popularization of Jesuit
secondary schools, which offered an education based on Latin
classics as part of a preparation for a career in politics. The study of poetry required practical skill in writing both Latin
and Polish poems, and radically increased the numbers of poets and versifiers countrywide. Some exceptional writers grew up as well in the soil of humanistic education: Piotr Kochanowski (1566–1620) produced a translation of Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered; poet laureate Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski
Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski
became known throughout Europe, for his Latin
writings, as Horatius christianus ("the Christian Horace"); Jan Andrzej Morsztyn
Jan Andrzej Morsztyn
(1621–1693), epicurean courtier and diplomat, extolled in his sophisticated poems the value of earthly delights; and Wacław Potocki
Wacław Potocki
(1621–96), the most productive writer of the Polish Baroque, united typical Polish szlachta (nobility) views with deeper reflections and existential experiences. Notable Polish poets and prose writers of the period included:

Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński (1550–1581), Rymy Kasper Miaskowski (1550?–1622) Daniel Naborowski (1573–1640) Hieronim Morsztyn (1581–1623) Szymon Starowolski (1588–1656) Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski
Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski
(1595–1640) Józef Bartłomiej Zimorowic (1597–1677) Samuel Twardowski
Samuel Twardowski
(1600?–1661) Szymon Zimorowic (1608?–1629), Roksolanki Krzysztof Opaliński
Krzysztof Opaliński


Łukasz Opaliński (1612–1666) Jan Andrzej Morsztyn
Jan Andrzej Morsztyn
(1621–1693), leading Baroque
poet Wacław Potocki
Wacław Potocki
(1621–1696), Wojna Chocimska Zbigniew Morsztyn
Zbigniew Morsztyn
(Morstyn, 1628?–1689) Stanisław Grochowski (1633–1645) Jan Chryzostom Pasek
Jan Chryzostom Pasek
(1636–1701), Pamietniki (memoirs) Kasper Twardowski, "Lekcyje Kupidynowe" (church-banned erotica) Sebastian Grabowiecki (1543–1607) Piotr Kochanowski (1566–1620) Jan z Kijan (Dzwonowski?, early 1600s)[64]


Ignacy Krasicki

The period of Polish Enlightenment
Polish Enlightenment
began in the 1730s–40s and peaked in the second half of the 18th century during the reign of Poland's last king, Stanisław August Poniatowski.[65] It went into sharp decline with the Third and final Partition of Poland
(1795), followed by political, cultural and economic destruction of the country, and leading to the Great Emigration
Great Emigration
of Polish elites. The Enlightenment ended around 1822, and was replaced by Polish Romanticism
Polish Romanticism
at home and abroad.[61] The crowning achievements of Polish Enlightenment
Polish Enlightenment
include the adoption of the Constitution of May 3, 1791, Europe's oldest written constitution as well as the creation of the Commission of National Education, the world's first ministry of education. One of the leading Polish Enlightenment
Polish Enlightenment
poets was Ignacy Krasicki (1735–1801), known as "the Prince of Poets" and Poland's La Fontaine, author of Fables and Parables
Fables and Parables
as well as the first Polish novel called The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom
The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom
(Mikołaja Doświadczyńskiego przypadki); he was also a playwright, journalist, encyclopedist and translator from French and Greek. Another prominent writer of the period was Jan Potocki
Jan Potocki
(1761–1815), a Polish nobleman, Egyptologist, linguist, and adventurer, whose travel memoirs made him legendary in his homeland. Outside Poland
he is known chiefly for his novel, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, which has drawn comparisons to such celebrated works as the Decameron
and the Arabian Nights. Another notable literary figure from this period is Piotr Skarga, a Polish Jesuit, preacher, hagiographer, polemicist, and leading figure of the Counter-Reformation
in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. His greatest works include The Lives of the Saints
The Lives of the Saints
(Żywoty świętych, 1579), which was for several centuries one of the most popular books in the Polish language
Polish language
and the Sejm Sermons
Sejm Sermons
(Kazania Sejmowe, 1597), a political treatise, which became popular in the second half of the 19th century, when Skarga was seen as the "patriotic seer" who predicted the partitions of Poland. Romanticism[edit] Due to the three successive Partitions carried out by three adjacent empires—ending the existence of the sovereign Polish state in 1795—Polish Romanticism, unlike Romanticism
elsewhere in Europe, was largely a movement for independence from foreign occupation, and expressed the ideals and traditional way of life of the Polish people. The period of Romanticism
in Poland
ended with the Russian Empire's suppression of the January 1863 Uprising, culminating in public executions and deportations to Siberia.[66] The literature of Polish Romanticism
Polish Romanticism
falls into two distinct sub-periods, each ended by an insurgency: the first, circa 1820–30, ending with the November 1830 Uprising; and the second, 1830–64, giving rise to Polish Positivism. In the first Romantic sub-period, Polish Romantics were heavily influenced by other European Romantics: their work featured emotionalism and imagination, folklore, and country life, in addition to the aspiration for independence. The sub-period's most famous writers were Adam Mickiewicz, Seweryn Goszczyński, Tomasz Zan, and Maurycy Mochnacki. In the second Romantic sub-period, after the November 1830 Uprising, many Polish Romantics worked abroad, driven from Poland
by the occupying powers. Their work became dominated by the aspiration to regain their country's lost sovereignty. Elements of mysticism became more prominent. Also, the concept of the Three Bards
Three Bards
(trzej wieszcze) developed. The wieszcz functioned as spiritual leader to the suppressed people. The most notable poet of the Three Bards, so recognized in both Polish Romantic sub-periods, was Adam Mickiewicz. The other two national bards were Juliusz Słowacki
Juliusz Słowacki
and Zygmunt Krasiński.

Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, President of the Polish National Government during the November 1830 Uprising, and a romantic poet.

Aleksander Fredro, whose fables, prose, and especially plays belong to the canon of Polish literature.

Adam Mickiewicz, a principal figure in Polish Romanticism, widely regarded as one of the greatest Polish and European poets of all time.

Zygmunt Krasiński, one of the Three Bards
Three Bards
who influenced national consciousness during Poland's political bondage.

Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, author of An Ancient Tale, who produced over 200 novels and 150 novellas.

Juliusz Słowacki, a major figure of Polish Romanticism, and father of modern Polish drama. His most popular works include Kordian
and Balladyna.

Cyprian Kamil Norwid, a nationally esteemed poet, sometimes considered to be the "Fourth Bard".


Bolesław Prus

In the wake of the failed January 1863 Uprising against Russian occupation, a new period of thought and literature, Polish "Positivism", proceeded to advocate level-headedness, skepticism, the exercise of reason, and "organic work". "Positivist" writers argued for the establishment of equal rights for all members of society; for the assimilation of Poland's Jewish minority; and for defense of western Poland's population, in the German-occupied part of Poland, against the German Kulturkampf
and the displacement of the Polish populace by German colonization. Writers such as Bolesław Prus
Bolesław Prus
sought to educate the public about a constructive patriotism that would enable Polish society to function as a fully integrated social organism, regardless of external circumstances.[67] Another influential Polish novelist active in that period was Henryk Sienkiewicz who received the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
in 1905. The Positivist period lasted until the turn of the 20th century and the advent of the Young Poland
movement. Young Poland

Władysław Reymont

Joseph Conrad

The modernist period known as the Young Poland
movement in visual arts, literature and music, came into being around 1890, and concluded with the Poland's return to independence (1918). The period was based on two concepts. Its early stage was characterized by a strong aesthetic opposition to the ideals of its own predecessor (promoting organic work in the face of foreign occupation). Artists following this early philosophy of Young Poland
believed in decadence, symbolism, conflict between human values and civilization, and the existence of art for art's sake. Prominent authors who followed this trend included Joseph Conrad, Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Stanisław Przybyszewski and Jan Kasprowicz. Restored independence (1918–39)[edit] Literature of the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
(1918–1939) encompasses a short, though exceptionally dynamic period in Polish literary consciousness. The socio-political reality has changed radically with Poland's return to independence. In large part, derivative of these changes was the collective and unobstructed development of programs for artists and writers. New avant-garde trends had emerged. The period, spanning just twenty years, was full of notable individualities who saw themselves as exponents of changing European civilization, including Tuwim, Witkacy, Gombrowicz, Miłosz, Dąbrowska and Nałkowska (PAL). After 1945[edit]

Stanisław Lem

Much of Polish literature
Polish literature
written during the occupation of Poland appeared in print only after the end of World War II, including books by Nałkowska, Rudnicki, Borowski and others.[68] The Soviet takeover of the country did not discourage émigrés and exiles from returning, especially before the advent of Stalinism. Indeed, many writers attempted to recreate the Polish literary scene, often with a touch of nostalgia for the prewar reality, including Jerzy Andrzejewski, author of Ashes and Diamonds, describing the political and moral dilemmas associated with the anti-communist resistance in Poland. His novel was adapted into film a decade later by Wajda. The new emerging prose writers such as Stanisław Dygat and Stefan Kisielewski
Stefan Kisielewski
approached the catastrophe of war from their own perspective. Kazimierz Wyka
Kazimierz Wyka
coined a term "borderline novel" for documentary fiction.[68] In the second half of the 20th century a number of Polish writers and poets achieved international recognition including Stanisław Lem, Czesław Miłosz
Czesław Miłosz
(Nobel Prize in Literature, 1980), Zbigniew Herbert, Sławomir Mrożek, Wisława Szymborska
Wisława Szymborska
(Nobel Prize in Literature, 1996), Jerzy Kosiński, Adam Zagajewski, Andrzej Sapkowski, and Olga Tokarczuk. Theatre and cinema[edit] At present, the Polish theatre actor possibly best-known outside the country is Andrzej Seweryn, who in the years 1984–1988 was a member of the international group formed by Peter Brook
Peter Brook
to work on the staging of the Mahabharata, and since 1993 has been linked with the Comédie Française. The most revered actor of the second half of the twentieth century in Poland
is generally considered to be Tadeusz Łomnicki, who died in 1992 of a heart attack while rehearsing King Lear. During the second half of the nineties, there appeared in Polish dramatic theatre a new generation of young directors, who have attempted to create productions relevant to the experience and problems of a thirty-something generation brought up surrounded by mass culture, habituated to a fast-moving lifestyle, but at the same time ever more lost in the world of consumer capitalism. There is no strict division in Poland
between theatre and film directors and actors, therefore many stage artists are known to theatre goers from films of Andrzej Wajda, for example: Wojciech Pszoniak, Daniel Olbrychski, Krystyna Janda, Jerzy Radziwiłowicz, and from films of Krzysztof Kieślowski. Notable actors from Poland
include Jerzy Stuhr, Janusz Gajos, Jerzy Skolimowski
Jerzy Skolimowski
and Michał Żebrowski. Polish actors and actresses that achieved great success overseas, mostly in Hollywood, include Bella Darvi, Pola Negri, Ross Martin, Ingrid Pitt, Ned Glass, Lee Strasberg, Izabella Scorupco, Paul Wesley
Paul Wesley
and John Bluthal. Notable Hollywood
actors and actresses of Polish descent and/or Partial Polish descent include David Arquette, Caroll Baker
Caroll Baker
(born Karolina Piekarski), Christine Baranski, Maria Bello, Jack Benny, Charles Bronson, Mayim Bialik, Alex Borstein, David Burtka, Steve Carell, Anna Chlumsky, Jennifer Connelly, Estelle Getty, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, John Krasinski, Lisa Kudrow, Ben Stiller, Carole Landis, Téa Leoni, Paul Newman, Eli Wallach, Jared Padalecki, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Prosky, Maggie Q, William Shatner, Leelee Sobieski, Loretta Swit
Loretta Swit
and others.[69]

Helena Modjeska
Helena Modjeska
(Modrzejewska, 1840–1909) was the reigning diva of Polish theater before becoming a leading actress in the U.S.

Pola Negri, famous for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles

Lee Strasberg, co-founder of the New York Group Theatre, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective"

Ross Martin, portrayed Artemus Gordon on the CBS
Western series The Wild Wild West

Andrzej Wajda, recipient of a honorary Oscar and the Palme d'Or, he was possibly the most prominent member of the "Polish Film School"

Carroll Baker, earned her BAFTA
and Academy Award
Academy Award
nomination for Tennessee Williams's Baby Doll
Baby Doll

Roman Polanski, film director and Academy Award
Academy Award
winner. Known for Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown (1974), The Pianist (2002) and Oliver Twist (2005).

Andrzej Seweryn, one of the most successful Polish theatre actors, starred in over 50 films

Paul Wesley, known for playing Aaron Corbett in Fallen and Stefan Salvatore in the supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries

Krzysztof Kieślowski, an influential filmmaker, his most critically acclaimed films include Dekalog, The Double Life of Veronique
The Double Life of Veronique
and Three Colors trilogy

Pawel Pawlikowski, Academy Award-winning film director; his films include My Summer of Love and Ida

Jerzy Skolimowski, film director, recipient of Golden Bear
Golden Bear
Award and Golden Lion
Golden Lion
Award for Lifetime Achievement

Agnieszka Holland, film and television director, and screenwriter, best known for her political contributions to Polish cinema, Holland is one of Poland's most eminent filmmakers

Religion[edit] Main article: Religion in Poland

King Casimir III the Great
Casimir III the Great
welcomes the Jews
to Poland
(painting by Gerson, 1874).

have traditionally adhered to the Christian faith, with the majority belonging to the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church,[70] with 87.5% of Poles
in 2011 identifying as Roman Catholic.[41] The remaining part of the population consists mainly of Protestants (especially Lutherans), Orthodox Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses, those irreligious, and Judaism
(mostly from the Jewish populations in Poland
who have lived there prior to World War II).[71] In addition, many Polish Tatars
Polish Tatars
are Sunni Muslims. Roman Catholics live all over the country, while Orthodox Christians can be found mostly in north-east, in the area of Białystok, and Protestants (mainly Lutherans) in Cieszyn
and Warmia-Masuria. A growing Jewish population exists in major cities, especially in Warsaw, Kraków
and Wrocław. Over two million Jews
of Polish origin reside in the United States, Brazil, and Israel. According to Poland's Constitution freedom of religion is ensured to everyone. It also allows for national and ethnic minorities to have the right to establish educational and cultural institutions, institutions designed to protect religious identity, as well as to participate in the resolution of matters connected with their cultural identity. Religious organizations in the Republic of Poland
can register their institution with the Ministry of Interior and Administration creating a record of churches and other religious organizations who operate under separate Polish laws. This registration is not necessary; however, it is beneficial when it comes to serving the freedom of religious practice laws. Slavic Native Faith
Slavic Native Faith
(Rodzimowiercy) groups, registered with the Polish authorities in 1995, are the Native Polish Church
Native Polish Church
(Rodzimy Kościół Polski), which represents a pagan tradition going back to Władysław Kołodziej's 1921 Holy Circle of Worshippers of Światowid (Święte Koło Czcicieli Światowida), and the Polish Slavic Church (Polski Kościół Słowiański),[72] There is also the Native Faith Association (Zrzeszenie Rodzimej Wiary, ZRW) and the Association for Tradition and Culture
Niklot, founded in 1998. See also: Roman Catholicism in Poland, Polish National Catholic Church, Polish Orthodox Church, Polish Lutheran Church, Pentecostal Church in Poland, Baptist Union of Poland, and Polish Reformed Church Exonyms[edit] See also: Lechites

Entrance of the Polish delegation to Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, 1790. Poland
to the Turks and Arabic nations was known as Lahestān (Persian: لهستان), derived from Lechia, the original name of Poland, and Poles
were referred to as Lehs.

Among exonyms for "Pole", not native to the Polish people or language, is лях (lyakh), used in East Slavic languages. Today the word Lachy ("Poles") is used in Belorussian, Ukrainian (but now considered offensive and replaced by the neutral поляк, polyak), and Russian. Foreign exonyms also include: Lithuanian Lenkai; Hungarian Lengyelek; Turkish Leh; Armenian: Լեհաստան Lehastan; and Persian: لهستان‎ (Lahestān). Ethnography[edit] Main articles: Dialects of Polish, Polish historical regions, Culture of Poland, and Ethnic minorities in Poland Central Poles[edit] Main articles: Sieradz
Land, Łęczyca
Land, Wieluń Land, and Łódź Voivodeship Łęczycanie live between Greater Poland
and Mazovia, and are an intermediate group, originally closer to Greater Poles
but with significant Mazur influences. Sieradzanie on the other hand, are surrounded by Greater Poland, Lesser Poland
and Silesia, and have been under strong influences of all three provinces. They lost much of their original distinctness. The main city in this region is Łódź, but it originated during the Industrial Revolution, being just a small town before that. Greater Poles[edit] Main articles: Greater Poland, Pałuki, Polans (western), and Grand Duchy of Posen Greater Poles
(Wielkopolanie) inhabit more or less the original territory of the tribe of Polans (from which the names Poland
and Poles
are derived), as well as other areas where Wielkopolanie and their dialect expanded throughout history. Greater Poland
is where the Polish statehood emerged during the 9th and 10th centuries. With places such as Gniezno, Giecz
and Ostrów Lednicki, it is the oldest province of Poland. Poznań
is its main city. We can distinguish smaller ethnographic subdivisions among Greater Poles, for example the Pałuczanie, Biskupianie (near Krobia), Bambrzy
and Hanobrzy (descended from Polonized German settlers from the areas of Bamberg and Hanover), Kaliszacy, Wieleń
Mazurs, Szamotulanie, Gostynianie, and others. Due to past migrations and shifting borders of historical regions, also two Silesian ethnographic groups live in the territory of Wielkopolska - Hazacy, who inhabit the area of Rawicz; and Chwalimiacy, who live around Chwalim, Nowe Kramsko
Nowe Kramsko
and Stare Kramsko. Kuyavians[edit] Main articles: Kujawy, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, Goplans, and Duchy of Inowrocław Some linguists and ethnographers counted Cuiavians as a subdivision of Greater Poles, but most recognize their distinct culture and identity. They inhabit the areas from Lake Gopło
in the south to Noteć
River in the north-west, and to Vistula
River in the north-east. Toruń, listed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites
since 1997, is located on the border between Kujawy, Chełmno Land
Chełmno Land
and Dobrzyń Land. Other important cities include Bydgoszcz, Włocławek
and Inowrocław. See also: Cheese § Origins Lesser Poles[edit]

Men dressed as Krakowiacy
from Kraków

Main articles: Lesser Poland, Krakowiacy, Gorals, and Galicia (Eastern Europe) Małopolanie (Southern Poles) can be divided into several major subgroups - Krakowiacy
(in the historical Land of Kraków), Lasowiacy, Sandomirians, Górale (Gorals, Polish Highlanders), Lachy, Posaniacy, Vilamovians, Halcnovians,[73] Lubliniacy and inhabitants of Podkarpacie (Subcarpathia), such as Dolinianie, Rzeszowiacy, Polish Uplanders or Deaf Germans. Krakowiacy
live to the north of Gorals, to the east of Silesians, to the west of Sandomirians, in the north they extend as far as Częstochowa
and Kielce. This group can be further subdivided into smaller ethnographic regions. Among Lesser Poles, especially strongly differentiated are the Gorals, who can be further divided into Beskid Gorals, Podhalanie, Kliszczacy, Spiszacy,[74] Oravians,[75] and several smaller groups. In the east, Lesser Polish Gorals
have Ruthenian-speaking Gorals
(Boykos, Lemkos,[76] Hutsuls) and Rusyns
as their neighbours. There is overlap with Slovak-speaking Gorals
in the south. Sandomirians extend in the north as far as Skaryszew
and Iłża, in the west beyond Chęciny. Lubliniacy live to the east of Sandomirians, around Lublin, Chełm, Zamość, Tomaszów Lubelski, Janów Lubelski
Janów Lubelski
and Biłgoraj. Masovians[edit]

from Masovia

Main articles: Mazovia, Masurians, Kurpie, and Warmiak Mazurs (Masovians) consist of proper Mazurs, known also as Central Mazurs, who live from the area between Sierpc
and Płock, up to the lower Wieprz
River. Between Central Mazurs and Podlasie is the homeland of Eastern Mazurs, and in southern parts of Warmia-Masuria
- the homeland of Lutheran, Prussian Mazurs, descended from Central Mazurs who settled there in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, and assimilated remnants of Baltic-speaking Old Prussian population. Another Medieval expansion of Mazurs, to the east, into former Yotvingian (ethnically West Baltic) territories, led to the emergence of Sudovian Poles
and of Podlasie Mazurs (in the areas around Węgrów, Siedlce, Puławy, Łuków, Sokołów Podlaski, Włodawa, as far as Biebrza
River). Another group descended from a mix of Poles (mostly Mazurs) and West Balts are the Kurpie, who live primarily in Puszcza Zielona
Puszcza Zielona
and Puszcza Biała
Puszcza Biała
(the Green Forest and the White Forest). Yet another subdivision of Mazurs, which developed a very rich folk culture thanks to having special privileges and prosperity, are Łowiczanie (around Łowicz). Another group are Poborzanie in the areas of Mława
and Zawkrze. The capital of Poland, Warsaw, is located in the land of Central Mazurs. However, as any large city it has always been a melting pot of people from all regions of Poland
and foreigners from abroad. It is home to the largest Jewish community in Poland, as well as the cultural centre of Polish Karaims. Citizens of Warsaw
are called Varsovians. In the Early Middle Ages, Płock
was the main city in Mazovia. Along the eastern border of Poland, between Podlasie and Lubelszczyzna, we can find some people who identify as Poleshuks.[77] In Suwalszczyzna and Podlasie, we can find dispersed communities of Polish Tatars[78] and Starovers,[79] as well as settlements of Lithuanian and Belarusian minorities. Northern Poles[edit] Main articles: Chełmno
Land, Dobrzyń Land, Krajna, and Royal Prussia Groups intermediate between Greater Poles
and Mazurs (but closer to Greater Poles), are Chełmniacy and Dobrzyniacy (who live in the lands of Chełmno
and Dobrzyń), as well as Lubawiacy (in the land of Lubawa). Another intermediate group, but closer to Mazurs, are Catholic Warmiaks in the East Prussian region of Warmia. From the Early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
onwards, Pomerania was under strong Polish (especially Greater Polish and Cuiavian) influences. From the mixture of Kashubians
and Greater Poles, emerged an ethnographic group called Borowiacy Tucholscy, who live in the Tuchola Forest
Tuchola Forest
region, between Tuchola, Koronowo, Świecie
and Starogard. Borowiacy are intermediary, whereas another mixed group - Krajniacy - have a mostly Greater Polish character, with relatively minor Kashubian influences. They live in the region of Krajna. Two other ethnographic group in Northern Poland are Powiślanie (whose homelands are the areas around Sztum, Kwidzyń and Malbork) and Kosznajdrzy. Żuławy Wiślane
Żuławy Wiślane
in North Poland
used to be the homeland of Mennonites, who are considered to be either Dutch, German, or a group on their own.[80] Pomeranians[edit]

Ethnic Kashubians
in Gdynia

Main articles: Pomerelia, Kashubians, Kociewie, and Lauenburg and Bütow Land Early Medieval Pomeranians used to inhabit the entire land located to the north of Polans, between Noteć
and the Baltic Sea. In the west, Pomeranians extended perhaps up to Usedom. In the east, they extended as far as the Vistula
Lagoon, and their eastern neighbours were Baltic-speaking Prussians. Krynica Morska
Krynica Morska
was the easternmost Slavic-speaking village on the Baltic coast, but the area of Truso (today Elbląg) to the south was ethnically Old Prussian. Most of Pomeranians became Germanized throughout history. Only Eastern Pomeranians preserved their Slavic ethnicity, and are commonly known as Kashubians
today. Kashubians
who were under Polish rule during the 16th-18th centuries remained Roman Catholic, while those who lived in Brandenburg-Prussia
in the 1700s, became Lutherans
following the Protestant Reformation. Kashubians
can be divided into many smaller subdvisisions, such as the Slovincians. From the Early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
onwards, Pomerania was under strong Polish (especially Greater Polish and Cuiavian) influences, which led to the emergence of several intermediary ethnographic groups. Descended mainly from Greater Polish and Cuiavian settlers who mixed with Kashubians, are Kociewiacy
in the region of Kociewie, located between Starogard Pomorski, Tczew, Gniew, Świecie
and to the outskirts of Gdańsk
in the north. The main city in Eastern Pomerania has always been Gdańsk, located on the borderland between three ethnographic regions: Kashubia to the west, Kociewie
to the south, Prussia to the east. Silesians[edit]

women from the Beskidy
Mountains (Żywiec) in Silesia

Main articles: Silesians, History of Silesia, Silesia, and Cieszyn Silesia In the Early Middle Ages, Silesia
was inhabited by several Lechitic tribes, known from written sources under their Latinised names. The most significant tribe (which ultimately gave its name to the region) were the Sleenzane (Slenzans; Ślężanie) who lived in areas near modern Wrocław
and along the Ślęza
river, as well as near mount Ślęża.[81][82] The Opolini (Opolans; Opolanie) lived in lands near modern Opole.[81] The Dadodesani or Dedosize (Dyadosans; Dziadoszanie) lived in areas near modern Głogów.[81] The Golensizi
(Golensizians; Golęszyce) dwelled near modern Racibórz, Cieszyn
and Opawa. The Lupiglaa (Głubczyce) probably lived on the Głubczyce
Plateau, near Głubczyce. The Trebouane (Tryebovians; Trzebowianie), mentioned by the Prague Document (which describes the situation as of year 973 or earlier),[83] occupied areas near modern Legnica.[81] The Poborane (Bobrans; Bobrzanie) - mentioned by the same document - lived along the lower and middle course of the Bóbr
river. The Psyovians (Psouane; Pszowianie) lived near Pszów, to the east of the Opolans and to the west of Kraków. At the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries (c. AD 1000), the total population of Silesia
is estimated as around 250,000 people.[84][85] By the 2nd half of the 12th century (c. AD 1150-1200) the population increased to 330,000, still in vast majority Slavic-speakers. Following the German Ostsiedlung
(c. AD 1350-1400), the population of Lower Silesia
was around 2/3 Slavic and 1/3 German (according to estimates by Kokot, Karol Maleczynski and Tomasz Kamusella) while Upper Silesia
remained 80% ethnically Polish, with the remaining 20% split mainly between Germans
and Czechs. During the following centuries cultural Germanization gradually shifted the ethnic structure of Silesia, so that by the 20th century nearly all of Lower Silesia
had a German-speaking majority. But Upper Silesia
remained majority Polish-speaking. There have also been Moravian and Czech communities. Polish Silesians
can be divided into many smaller groups, such as Cieszyn
Vlachs, Lachians,[86] Silesian Gorals, Opolans and others. The oldest Polish town in the USA[87] - Panna Maria, Texas
Panna Maria, Texas
- was established by Silesians
in 1854. They speak the Texas Silesian dialect of Polish. Eastern Kresy[edit] Main articles: Poles
in Lithuania, Poles
in Belarus, Poles
in Ukraine, and Poles
in Latvia Poles
from the former eastern territories of Poland
and other areas of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. From the 14th century
14th century
onwards, the expansion of Polish (mostly Mazur from Masovia, but also Greater Polish and other) settlers towards the north-east, as well as Polonization
of local inhabitants, led to the emergence of Wilniuki (North-East Kresowiacy) in the Grodno
Region and Vilno Region (Wileńszczyzna), which encompasses the borderlands of northern Belarus, southern Lithuania
and southern Latvia
(former Inflanty Voivodeship, including Dyneburg and Ilūkste). At the same time, the expansion of Polish settlers (mostly Lesser Poles
and Mazurs) towards the south-east, as well as Polonization
of local inhabitants, led to the emergence of South-East Kresowiacy in Halychna, Red Ruthenia
Red Ruthenia
(with its main city - Lvov), Volhynia
and Podolia. See also: Kresy, Duchy of Livonia, and Red Ruthenia National minorities[edit]

Polish Orthodox Jews
praying in a synagogue, Warsaw, 1941

Main article: Ethnic minorities in Poland Traditional national and ethnic minorities within the modern borders of Poland
include the Germans, Jews,[88] Ukrainians, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Czechs
(including Polonized descendants of the Bohemian Brethren refugees[89][90]), Slovaks, Romani people,[91] Dutch people (Olędrzy, most of whom were Polonized), Armenians
(there were at least four waves of Armenian immigration to Poland, the earliest of which took place in the 11th century[92]) and Scots (most of Scots in Poland
have been Polonized as well).[93] Historically, there were also smaller communities of Hungarians, Russians
and others. Prior to World War II, a third of Poland's population was composed of ethnic minorities. Following the war, however, Poland's minorities were mostly gone, due to the 1945 revision of borders, and the Holocaust. Most notably, the population of Jews
in Poland, which formed the largest Jewish community in pre-war Europe
at about 3 million people, was almost completely annihilated by 1945.[94] See also[edit]

Demographics of Poland Karta Polaka Lechites List of Poles Name of Poland
(etymology of the demonym) Pole, Hungarian, two good friends Poles
in Germany Poles
in Lithuania Poles
in Romania Poles
in the former Soviet Union Poles
in the United Kingdom Polish Americans Polish Argentines Polish Australians Polish Brazilians Polish British Polish Canadians Polish Chileans Polish Mexicans Polish minority in France Polish minority in Spain Poles
in Latvia Polish Czechs Polish nationality law Polish New Zealanders Polish Uruguayan Polish Venezuelans Polonization Sons of Poland West Slavs


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