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Post by kosovohp on Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:35 am

Poland en-us-Poland.ogg /ˈpəʊlənd/ (help·info) (Polish: Polska), officially the Republic of Poland (Rzeczpospolita Polska), is a country in Central Europe [5][6] bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi),[2] making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38 million people,[2] which makes it the 34th most populous country in the world[7] and the sixth most populous member of the European Union.

The establishment of a Polish state is often identified with the adoption of Christianity by its ruler Mieszko I in 966, when the state covered territory similar to that of present-day Poland. The Kingdom of Poland was formed in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a long association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth collapsed in 1795, and Poland's territory was partitioned among the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria. Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic in 1918, but two decades later in September 1939 it was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, triggering World War II. Poland lost over six million citizens in the war and emerged several years later within the Soviet sphere of influence as the People's Republic of Poland.

During the Revolutions of 1989, communist rule was overthrown and soon after Poland became what is constitutionally known as the "Third Polish Republic." Poland is a unitary state made up of sixteen voivodeships (Polish: Województwo). Poland is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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