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Poland - History



Poland - History
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.33

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    deluge, Poliane, potop, ruling, unemployment, overrun, outright, minority, rebellion, dynasty, alliance, self-rule, abuse, twentieth, survival, eighteenth
     content words:    Eastern Europe, Prince Mieszko, Kazimierz III, This Polish-Lithuanian, German Teutonic Knights, Polish Renaissance, Nicolaus Copernicus, Napoleon Bonaparte, But Napoleon, This Napoleonic


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Poland - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
  

1     Poland's history is a story of survival. Like few other nations on earth, the Polish people have kept a national identity through centuries of war, abuse, and slavery. The location of Poland in Eastern Europe has kept it in the middle of some of the greatest conflicts. Despite all it has been through, the nation of Poland is a free and vibrant country today.
 
2     The history of Poland dates back to the tenth century. It was then, in 966, that a ruler of a group of people called "Poliane" accepted Christianity as his religion and was recognized as a ruler by most of Europe. This ruler was Prince Mieszko, who became the first ruler of an official Polish state.
 
3     For the next hundred years, Mieszko and his ruling family -- the Piast dynasty -- conquered new lands for Poland. By the twelfth century, this growth had stopped, and Poland began having its first troubles. A split in the ruling family divided Poland, and it lost land to invading Mongols. Conflict with Germany to the west and Bohemia to the south cost Poland even more land. It was only at the end of the Piast dynasty, in the fourteenth century, that Poland regained strength through renewed friendship with the Germans and Bohemians. The last of the Piast dynasty, Kazimierz III, was responsible for this growth. He also founded Poland's first university in Krakow in 1364.
 
4     The end of the Piast dynasty brought some uncertainty to Poland. It wouldn't last, however; Poland formed an alliance with neighboring Lithuania. This Polish-Lithuanian state would become a powerful force in the history of Europe. This state would last four hundred years and would forever change the face of Eastern Europe.
 
5     The state was created when Polish queen Jadwiga married Lithuanian ruler Jagiello. This new ruling dynasty -- the Jagiellon dynasty -- set out to confront some of Poland's and Lithuania's enemies. The first Jagiellon victory was over the German Teutonic Knights in 1410. Soon to follow was victory over the Hungarians and Bohemians. By the end of the fifteenth century, the Polish-Lithuanian state ruled most of Eastern Europe.

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