Europe: Poland

About Poland

Poland gained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite country following the war, but one that was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, boosting hopes for acceptance to the EU. Poland joined the NATO alliance in 1999.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Warsaw
Population: 38,633,912 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 18.4% (2000 est.)
Language: Polish
Date of independence: 11 November 1918 (independent repub
Form of government: republic
Title of Leader: President
Natural Resources: coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, arable land
Environmental Issues: situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by postcommunist governments; air pollution nonetheless remains serious because of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the result
Agricultural Products: potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry, eggs, pork
Imports: machinery and transport equipment 38.2%, intermediate manufactured goods 20.8%, chemicals 14.3%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 9.5% (1999)
Exports: machinery and transport equipment 30.2%, intermediate manufactured goods 25.5%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 20.9%, food and live animals 8.5% (1999)
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: Germany 25.2%, Italy 9.4%, France 6.8%, Russia 5.8%, UK 4.6%, Netherlands 3.7% (1999)
EXPORTS: Germany 36.1%, Italy 6.5%, Netherlands 5.3%, France 4.8%, UK 4.0%, Czech Republic 3.8% (1999)


Poland Headlines


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