In the centre only the strong survive. In a land with few defensible borders, beset by enemies, survival itself is victory. To survive and prosper, to have your enemies cower before you, to claim your place in the annals of history: this is victory indeed!
Polish Influeance 1000
|Important dates and summary|
|1000 : Independent Polish Church organisation set up (formed according Czech system – thus the Polish Church could turn directly to Rome, and the Pope, for protection)
1024 : Coronation of Boleslaw Chrobry (the Brave) As the first king of Poland established Poland’s right as an independent kingdom.
1138 : Poland dividing into realms among Boleslaw’s sons
1226 : Teutonic Order grabs large chunks of Polish territory.
1241, 1259 and 1287 : devastating Tartar invasions
1300 – 1305 : Brief period of Czech rule under Vaclav II, reunited a main part of Poland
1320 : Wladyslaw was coronated; the first ruler of the reunited kingdom.
1333-1370 : Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki) built Poland into a major Central-European power, increasing her territory 2.5 times, bringing it’s size up to 270,000 sq.kms.
1386 : Union between Jadwiga, King (sic) of Poland, to Jogaila, pagan Grand-Duke of Lithuania, initiated the Lithuanian union
1410 : The Battle of Grunwald (Tannenburg) The Teutonic Order was crushed in Poland.
1413 : Treaty of Union at Horodlo (between the Poles and Lithuanians.)
1440 : The Magyars offered the Polish King (Wladyslaw III) the crown of Hungary; Poland’s attention shifted to the plains of Hungary and the growing Turkish threat.
1444 : Combined Polish Hungarian forces were defeated by the Turks at Varna on the Black Sea and Wladyslaw was killed. For a brief period the Hungarian throne passed out of Polish hands.
|The POLES posses one of the richest and most venerable historical traditions of all European peoples. Throughout subsequent centuries, the Poles managed despite great obstacles to build and maintain an unbroken cultural heritage. The same cannot be said of Polish statehood, which was notoriously precarious and episodic. Periods of independence and prosperity alternated with phases of foreign domination and disaster.In the first centuries of its existence, the Polish nation was led by a series of strong rulers who converted the Poles to Christendom. According to Polish myth, the Slavic nations trace their ancestry to three brothers who parted in the forests of Eastern Europe, this tale accurately describes the westward migration and gradual differentiation of the early West Slavic tribes following the collapse of the Roman Empire. About twenty such tribes formed small states between A.D. 800 and 960. One of these tribes, the Polanie or Poliane (“people of the plain”), settled in the flatlands that eventually formed the heart of Poland, lending their name to the country.||
Polish Influeance 1100
Polish Influeance 1200
|When Prince Mieszko (r. 963-92) accepted Christianity in the name of the people he ruled. In return, Poland received acknowledgment as a separate principality owing some degree of tribute to the German Empire (later officially known as the Holy Roman Empire Boleslaw I (992-1025), is international recognition as the first king of a fully sovereign Poland. During the eleventh century and the first half of the twelfth century, the building of the Polish state continued under a series of successors to Boleslaw I. But by 1150, the state had been divided among the sons of Boleslaw III, beginning two centuries of fragmentation that brought Poland to the brink of dissolution.
Poland lost ground in its complex triangular relationship with the German Empire to the west and the kingdom of Bohemia to the south. New foreign enemies appeared by the thirteenth century.
|The Mongol invasion cut a swath of destruction through the country in 1241; for fifty years after their withdrawal in 1242, Mongol nomads mounted devastating raids into Poland from bases in Ruthenia to the southeast. Meanwhile, an even more dangerous foe arrived in 1226 when a Polish duke invited the Teutonic Knights, a Germanic crusading order, to help him subdue Baltic pagan tribes. Upon completing their mission with characteristic fierceness and efficiency, the knights built a stronghold on the Baltic seacoast, from which they sought to enlarge their holdings at Polish expense. By that time, the Piasts had been parceling out the realm into ever smaller units for nearly 100 years. This policy of division, initiated by Boleslaw II to appease separatist provinces while maintaining national unity, led to regional governance by various branches of the dynasty and to a near breakdown of cohesiveness in the face of foreign aggression.||
Polish Influeance 1300
|As the fourteenth century opened, much Polish land lay under foreign occupation (two-thirds of it was ruled by Bohemia in 1300). The continued existence of a united, independent Poland seemed unlikely.From its beginning, Poland drew its primary inspiration from Western Europe and developed a closer affinity with the French and Italians, for example, than with nearer Slavic neighbors of Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine heritage. This westward orientation, which in some ways has made Poland the easternmost outpost of Latinate and Catholic tradition, helps to explain the Poles’ tenacious sense of belonging to the “West” and their deeply rooted antagonism toward Russia as the representative of an essentially alien way of life.|
Polish Influeance 1400
|Poland’s unlikely partnership with the adjoining Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Europe’s last heathen state, provided an immediate remedy to the political and military dilemma caused by the end of the Piast Dynasty. At the end of the fourteenth century, Lithuania was a warlike political unit with dominion over enormous stretches of present-day Belarus and Ukraine. Putting aside their previous hostility, Poland and Lithuania saw that they shared common enemies, most notably the Teutonic Knights; this situation was the direct incentive for the Union of Krewo in 1385. The compact hinged on the marriage of the Polish queen Jadwiga to Jagiello, who became king of Poland under the name Wladyslaw Jagiello. In return, the new monarch accepted baptism in the name of his people, agreed to confederate Lithuania with Poland, and took the name Wladyslaw II. In 1387 the bishopric of Wilno was established to convert Wladyslaw’s subjects to Roman Catholicism. (Eastern Orthodoxy predominated in some parts of Lithuania.) From a military standpoint, Poland received protection from the Mongols and Tatars, while Lithuania received aid in its long struggle against the Teutonic Knights.|
|The Polish-Lithuanian alliance exerted a profound influence on the history of Eastern Europe. Poland and Lithuania would maintain joint statehood for more than 400 years, and over the first three centuries of that span the “Commonwealth of Two Nations” ranked as one of the leading powers of the continent.The association produced prompt benefits in 1410 when the forces of Poland-Lithuania defeated the Teutonic Knights in battle at Grunwald (Tannenberg), at last seizing the upper hand in the long struggle with the renegade crusaders. The new Polish Lithuanian dynasty, called “Jagiellon” after its founder, continued to augment its holdings during the following decades. By the end of the fifteenth century, representatives of the Jagiellons reigned in Bohemia and Hungary as well as PolandLithuania , establishing the government of their clan over virtually all of Eastern Europe and Central Europe. This far-flung federation collapsed in 1526 when armies of the Ottoman Empire won a crushing victory at the Battle of Mohács (Hungary), wresting Bohemia and Hungary from the Jagiellons and installing the Turks as a menacing presence in the heart of Europe.||
Polish Influeance 1500