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Poland, officially the Kingdom of Poland, is a country in East-Central Europe, situated between the Baltic Sea in the north and reaching south to the area around the Danube River. Bordered by Lauenburg, Brandenburg, Saxony, Bohemia, Bavaria, Salzburg and Austria to the west, Venice and Hungary to the south, Ukraine, Lithuania and Livonia to the east[1]. The total area of Poland is 871,537,046 m²[2], making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 85.6 million people[3]Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world,[11] the 8th most populous country in Europe and the sixth most populous member of the European Union. Poland is a unitary state divided into 22 administrative subdivisions, and its capital city is Warsaw. Other metropolises include Danzig, Linz, Arensburg, Görlitz and Reval. Poland keeps Hungary as a satellite state.

History (1444 onwards)

Early dynasties under elective monarchy

The Jagiellon dynasty took control of Poland by the ascension of Lithuanian Grand Duke Kazimierz on 15 November 1444. This brought the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania together in a personal union, however this union would last less than 5 years as a pretender to the Lithuanian throne, Arturas I of house Skorina, rose up in revolt and captured the Lithuanian capital of Vilna in 1447. He successfully forced Kazimierz to renounce his claim to Lithuania in 1449, ending the Polish-Lithuanian union. During the reign of Kazimierz Poland fought numerous wars against the Teutonic Order and expanded the kingdom's borders northward, gaining access to the Baltic seacoast following the Polish-Teutonic war in 1480.

The Jagiellon dynasty came to an end at the death of Kazimierz in 1490 and Joachim I Nestor of the Brandenburgian Hohenzollern family was elected to the throne. Joachim supported his relatives in several wars to expand the borders of Brandenburg and even led his armies into battle himself, most notably in the Battle of Magdeburg. He also led forces into battle in his attempted conquest of Danzig against the Teutonic Order, but despite great victories on the battlefield the war ultimately ended without Joachim managing to secure control of the city. He had more success in his campaigns against Hungary where he led Poland to victory, acquiring lots of Hungarian territory south of the Carpathians.

The military accomplishments of Joachim I Nestor brought great prestige to the Hohenzollern dynasty, leading the Sejm to elect another member of the family to the throne upon the passing of Joachim in 1526. However the rule of his successor August II proved to be very shortlived, as he died only 7 days after ascending to the throne. This put an abrubt end to the Hohenzollern dynasty's rule in Poland.

Von Wettin dynasty and absolute rule

Geography

Poland - Terrain Map New 2

Poland's territory extends south-north from latitude 45° to 59° N and west-east from longitude 13° to 31° E.

In the north is the Baltic seacoast, the main part of which extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the southern coast of the Gulf of Riga, and an additional shorter coastline from the northern coast of the Gulf of Riga to halfway across the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. In between these coastlines lay the Polish-owned West Estonian Archipelago. The southern border is defined by the Alps, the Danube, and various smaller rivers, tributaries and mountains[4].

The country is largely covered by open grass- and farmlands intersected by rivers. The north-west and north-east have some stretches of forest and the Ostpreussen region is partially dominated by marshlands. The Carpathian and Sudetes mountain ranges split the country down the middle, with the Carpathian basin in the south-west and the Eastern European plains in the south-east[5].

Geology

Waters

Poland has 26 major rivers and tributaries, most of which eventually link up with the Danube, the longest river in Poland, and drains out into the Black Sea. The rest link up with either the Oder, the Vistula or the Neman rivers, draining into the Baltic Sea.

The largest lake in Poland is Lake Balaton in the Transdanubia region, close to the country's southern border.

The Baltic seacoast is mostly smooth but contains a number of irregularities, such as the Gulf of Pommerania, the Gulf of Danzig, the Vistula Lagoon and the Curonian Lagoon. The coast of the Estonia ragion is also highly irregular.

Poland's four largest islands are all part of the West Estonian Archipelago: Osel, Hiiumaa, Muhu and Vormsi[5].

Land use

About 25.0% of Poland's area is covered by forests, mainly in the north-west and north-east of the mainland and around the eastern Carpathian mountains, yet it is mostly untouched by industries. About 64.1% of the land is more or less cultivated farmland[6], the majority of which is used to produce grain while the rest is dedicated to fruit production, raising cattle or raising sheep[7]. About 12.5% is highlands or mountains[6], many of which are rich in minerals and coal: The country has 24 active coal mines, 1 iron mine and 1 sulphur mine[7]. The remainder of the land is mostly uncultivated grassland.

Poland is the world's foremost producer of grain and coal, and the second largest producer of cattle and sulphur after the Netherlands and Malacca respectively[8].

Biodiversity

Climate

The climate is temperate throughout the country[9]. Temperatues do not vary much from region to region, with the exception of the region of Moldavia east of the Carpathians that tend to be notably warmer than the rest of the country, with characteristacally mild winters[10].

Politics

Poland is an absolute monarchy[11][12] ruled by King Jan II Olbracht of house Von Wettin[13]. The current government, appointed by the King, is headed by the Liberal Faction[14] and their leader Bronislaw Szafraniec. Other members of government includes Minister of War Lech Morsztyn.

Law

The monarch is ultimate arbiter of law in Poland.

Foreign Relations

Poland has hegemony over their satellite state Hungary. Poland also maintains military alliances with Lithuania, Venice, the Netherlands, Aragon and Russia, the latter two with whom they also enjoy strong dynastic ties[15]. Poland along with Hungary has been at a state of war since 1835, when they joined their ally Venice in declaring war on Savoy in the 2nd Venetian-Savoyard Nationalist War. On the Venetian side there is also France, while Savoy are backed by the minor German states of Augsburg, Frankfurt and Saxony[16].

Administrative Divisions

Poland - Administrative Regions New

States of Poland.

Poland is divided into 22 states. Each state is usually further subdivided into counties.

State Capital city
Österreich Vienna
Bohemia Litomerice
Westpreussen Danzig
Estonia Reval
West Galicia Krakow
Mazowieckie Warsaw
Wielkopolskie Leczyza
Pommern Stettin
Slovakia Bratislava
Posen Torun
Schlesien Glogau
Sachsen Görlitz
Transdanubia Budapest
Moravia Brunn
Polish Brandenburg Cottbus
Curonia Arensburg
East Galicia Lwow
Northern Transylvania Huszt
Ostpreussen Königsberg
Rovne Rowne
Moldavia Suceava
Alföld Gyula

Economy

Poland has the 10th largest economy in the world, behind Aragon and before Netherlands[17]. The Liberal government pursues a policy of a free market economy within the country but restricts trade with the outside world through protectionist trade policies[14]. The country's top export is coal, making up over half the exported goods, followed by grain[18].

Demographics

25.96% of the population consider themselves Polish, 13.14% identify as Austrian, 9.97% as Prussian, 12.42% as Czech, 8.09% as Hungarian, 7.07% as Estonian, 4.27% as Silesian, 3.98% as Ukrainian, 3.60% as Slovak, 3.11% as Romanian, 2.94% as Pommeranian, 2.67% as Saxon, 1.43% as Ashkenazi and 1.12% as Latvian. Smaller communities of Byelorussians and Serbians exist as well[19][20].

Languages

Polish is the official language of Poland.

Among the minority languages in the country, 5 have official recognition by the state: Low German, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Serbian.

Other minority languages without official recognition include High German, Czech, Estonian, Slovak, Silesian, Hebrew and Latvian.

Religion

The state religion of Catholicism is the largest religion in the country, with its followers making up 78.55% of the population. 19.27% are Protestant and 1.71% are Jewish. A small minority are Orthodox Christians, concentrated in the Moldavia region[19].

Education

Around 54.2% of the total population is estimated to be literate. Literacy is generally higher among officially recognized people groups, averaging around 80%, whilst non-recognized residents have a much lower rate of literacy, around 10% on average[19].

There are three universities for higher education in Poland. The oldest is the University of Memel, established in 1622 by the Teutonic Order and became part of Poland in 1635. The other two universities are the University of Warsaw and the University of Vienna[21][22][23].

Culture

References

  1. [EU4] Politcal mapmode.
  2. Area calculated using this Area Calculator, based on the [EU4] Political map of Poland.
  3. [Vic2] Population tab for Poland. Total country population minus population of Wallachia and Eastern Siebenbürgen.
  4. [EU4] Borders of Poland in-game compared to real world latitudes and longitudes, and geographical features.
  5. 5.0 5.1 [EU4] Terrain map of Poland.
  6. 6.0 6.1 [EU4] Simplified terrain map mode of Poland.
  7. 7.0 7.1 [Vic2] Province production ledger page for Poland.
  8. [Vic2] Trade tab.
  9. [EU4] Climate mapmode of Poland.
  10. [EU4] Winters mapmode of Poland.
  11. [EU4] Government form of Poland.
  12. [Vic2] Government form of Poland.
  13. [EU4] Ruler of Poland.
  14. 14.0 14.1 [Vic2] Politics tab of Poland.
  15. [EU4] Diplomacy tab of Poland.
  16. [EU4] War overview for Poland.
  17. [EU4] Income comparison ledger page.
  18. [Vic2] Trade tab for Poland.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 [Vic2] Population tab for Poland.
  20. [EU4] Charts ledger page for Poland.
  21. [EU4] Province view for Memel.
  22. [EU4] Province view for Warsaw.
  23. [EU4] Province view for Wien.