The first historical references to Poland appeared in the 10th century. Already for this period, the state had significant dimensions, and was united under the rule of the Piast dynasty. Long before this, Slavic tribes began settling the Polish land. The first cities founded were Gniezno and Poznan. In the second of them lived the famous family Piast. Dynasty rule lasted until the year 1370.

On a note! To explore modern Poland is most comfortable in a rented car. In the country you can find many international car rental companies. Many large car rental companies offer cars for rent via the Internet. Racks for issuing cars are at the airport – right after arrival you can pick up a rental car and start exploring the country.

Photo of St Peter basilica in Bydgoszcz

Photo of St Peter basilica in Bydgoszcz

The origins of the adoption of Christianity

According to official data, the Polish people took the first step towards the adoption of Christianity in 966, when Mieszko, as a member of the Piast family, was baptized in Catholicism. He later married the Czech princess Dobrava. In 997 Christianity began to spread in Poland under the auspices of the Prague Bishop. However, Bishop Adalbert did not have time to fulfill his duty – he died during his mission.

The decline of the central government

Most of Poland was plundered in the 13th century after the Mongol-Tatar invasion. Prussians who lived at that time in the north of the country were pagans and often attacked Christians. In order to protect them, the prince of Poland decided to involve the Teutonic Knights of the Order of the Crusaders to protect the state. They managed to return part of the land, which later became known as East Prussia.

Poland was fragmented at that time and strongly needed protection from outside attacks. German colonists settled on the territory of East Prussia, founded by the Teutonic Knights. They received land as free peasants or themselves founded cities on the basis of Magdeburg law. Polish peasants on the contrary, gradually began to fall into dependence on the feudal lords.

Unification of Poland

Photo of the interior of a basilica in Poland

Photo of the interior of a basilica in Poland

Unite Poland was possible only under the auspices of Vladislav Loketok. However, the prosperity of the state is largely associated with the rule of his successor, the son of Casimir III the Great. He managed to make significant changes in the political, economic and monetary systems of the country. It was he who raised the standard of living of the peasant population and allowed the Jews to live in the state. At that time, they were already oppressed in Western Europe because of their religious beliefs.

The prosperity of Poland

The golden period for Poland is the 16th century. At this point, the country had influence throughout Europe. However, the state achieved its greatest success later, during the years of Sigismund II Augustus (1548–1572).