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02-078 Warsaw, Poland

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Introduction Poland
Background:
Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government 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, but Poland currently suffers low GDP growth and high unemployment. Solidarity suffered a major defeat in the 2001 parliamentary elections when it failed to elect a single deputy to the lower house of Parliament, and the new leaders of the Solidarity Trade Union subsequently pledged to reduce the Trade Union"s political role. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.
Geography Poland
Location:
Central Europe, east of Germany
Geographic coordinates:
52 00 N, 20 00 E
Area:
total: 312,685 sq km
water: 8,220 sq km
land: 304,465 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 2,788 km
border countries: Belarus 407 km, Czech Republic 658 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 206 km, Slovakia 444 km, Ukraine 526 km
Coastline:
491 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: defined by international treaties
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate:
temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
Terrain:
mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
highest point: Rysy 2,499 m
Natural resources:
coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 45.91%
permanent crops:
1.12%
other:
52.97% (2001)
People Poland
Population:
38,635,144 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.7% (male 3,319,176/female 3,150,859)
15-64 years:
70.3% (male 13,506,153/female 13,638,265)
65 years and over:
13% (male 1,912,431/female 3,108,260) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 36.43 years
male:
34.52 years
female:
38.49 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.03% (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.74 years
male:
70.71 years
female:
79.03 years (2005 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Pole(s)
adjective: Polish
Ethnic groups:
Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7% (2002 census)
Religions:
Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)
Languages:
Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population:
99.8%
male:
99.8%
female:
99.7% (2003 est.)
Government Poland
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Poland
conventional short form: Poland
local short form: Polska
local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
Government type:
republic
Capital:
Warsaw
Administrative divisions:
16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular - wojewodztwo); Dolnoslaskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lodzkie, Lubelskie, Lubuskie, Malopolskie, Mazowieckie, Opolskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Pomorskie, Slaskie, Swietokrzyskie, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Wielkopolskie, Zachodniopomorskie
Independence:
11 November 1918 (independent republic proclaimed)
National holiday:
Constitution Day, 3 May (1791)
Constitution:
16 October 1997; adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 23 May 1997
Legal system:
mixture of Continental (Napoleonic) civil law and holdover Communist legal theory; changes being gradually introduced as part of broader democratization process; limited judicial review of legislative acts, but rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal are final; court decisions can be appealed to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Lech KACZY
CONSULTON
Krzywickiego 34
02-078 Warsaw, Poland
Phone: +48-22-622-66-55
Fax: +48-22-622-38-72
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