The Very Concise Timeline of Poland

Periods in Polish History

9 cent – 1370 Poland of the Piasts
1370 – 1572 Poland of The Jagiellons
1573 – 1772 Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania/First Republic
1772 – 1918 Partitions
1918 – 1939 Second Republic
1939-1945 Occupation of Poland
1945 – 1989 People’s Poland
1989 – present Third Republic


Early Piasts

Piast Dynasty

9th cent. – Siemowit (disputable)
9th-10th cent. – Lestko (disputable)
10th cent. – Siemomysł (disputable)
960?-992 – Mieszko I, first Christian ruler
992-1025 – Boleslaus I of Poland (the Brave)
1025-1034 – Mieszko II Lambert
1031 – Bezprym
1034-1058 – Casimir the Restorer
1058-1079 – Boleslaus II the Bold
1079-1102 – Ladislaus Herman of Poland
1102-1107 – Zbigniew and Boleslaus III of Poland (the Wrymouthed)
1107-1138 – Boleslaus III of Poland the Wrymouthed


Piast Dynasty

1138-1146 – Ladislaus II the Exile, exiled by his brothers
1146-1173 – Boleslaus IV the Curly
1173-1177 – Mieszko III the Old
1177-1194 Casimir II the Just
1194-1202 Leszek I the White, 1st reign
1202-1206 Ladislaus III Spindleshanks, 1st reign
1206-1210 Leszek I the White, 2nd reign
1210-1211 Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
1211-1227 Leszek I the White, 3rd reign; assassinated
1227-1229 Ladislaus III Spindleshanks, 2nd reign
1229-1232 Konrad I of Masovia, 1st reign
1232-1238 Henry I the Bearded
1238-1241 Henry II the Pious, killed at the battle of Legnica
1241-1243 Konrad I of Masovia, 2nd reign
1243-1279 Boleslaus V the Chaste
1279-1288 Leszek II the Black
1288-1290 Henry IV Probus
1290-1296 Premyslaus II (Duke of Kraków 1290-1291, King 1295-1296), assassinated

Přemyslid Dynasty

1291-1305 Venceslas II (King 1300-1305)
1305-1306 Venceslas III (King), assassinated before he could be crowned

Late Piasts

Piast Dynasty

1306-1333 Ladislaus IV the Elbow-high
1333-1370 Casimir III the Great


Angevin Dynasty

1370-1382 Ludwik the Hungarian
1384-1399 Jadwiga Angevin, woman crowned King of Poland; from 1386 reigned together with her husband, Ladislsaus II

Jagiellon Dynasty

1386-1434 Ladislaus I/V Jagiello, reigned together with his wife Jadwiga until 1399
1434-1444 Ladislaus II/VI of Varna
1447-1492 Casimir III/IV Jagiellon
1492-1501 John I Albert
1501-1506 Alexander Jagiellon
1506-1548 Sigismund I the Old
1548-1572 Sigismund II August


Elected Kings:

1573-1574 Henry Valois, who after abandoning the Polish-Lithuanian throne, became Henry III of France
1575-1586 Anna Jagiellon, Queen of Poland, Grand Duchess of Lithuania, from 1576, reigned together with her husband, Stefan Batory
1576-1586 Stefan Batory, reigned together with his wife, Anna Jagiellon
1587-1632 Sigismund III Vasa, transferred the capital of Poland from Kraków to Warsaw
1632-1648 Ladislaus IV Vasa
1648-1668 John II Casimir Vasa, abdicated
1669-1673 Michael I Korybut Wiśniowiecki
1674-1696 John III Sobieski
1697-1706 August II the Strong, 1st reign; abdicated
1704-1709 Stanislaus I Leszczyński, 1st reign; emigrated
1709-1733 August II the Strong, 2nd reign
1733-1736 Stanislaus I Leszczyński, 2nd reign; abdicated
1734-1763 August III the Saxon
1764-1795 Stanislaus August Poniatowski


ended the existence of the sovereign Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They involved Prussia, Russia and Habsburg Austria dividing up the Commonwealth lands among themselves. Three partitions took place:
5 August 1772
23 January 1793
24 October 1795
After the Napoleonic Wars, when Napoleon Bonaparte restored a Polish state in the form of the Duchy of Warsaw, the three states that partitioned Poland decided to create out of the territories they annexed somewhat autonomous (at least in theory) regions, which were:
Grand Duchy of Posen
Republic of Kraków
Kingdom of Poland (better known as Congress Poland)
In all cases assurances were made towards the recognition of the Polish language, respect for Polish culture and the rights of Poles. In all cases these promises were quickly broken and the regions annexed.


11 November 1918 – Freedom for the nation, Józef Piłsudski takes military control
1919-1920 Polish-Soviet War
10 February 1920 Poland’s Betrothal with the Sea
17 March 1921 – Constitution established parliamentary democracy
12-14 May 1926 – Piłsudski’s Coup, beginning of presidential semi-authoritarian rule
14 June 1932 – Gdansk Crisis
23 April 1935 Adoption of May Constitution


1 September 1939 Germany invades Poland
17 September 1939 Soviet Union invades Poland
17 September 1939 Polish government leaves the country
25 September 1939 President Ignacy Mościcki transfers powers to the Polish Government In Exile

During the German invasion of Poland (1939), special action squads of SS and police (the Einsatzgruppen) were deployed in the rear, and arrested or killed civilians caught in offering resistance against the Germans or considered capable of doing so, as determined by their position and social status. Tens of thousands of government officials, landowners, clergy, and members of the intelligentsia — teachers, doctors, journalists, and others (both Poles and Jews) — were either murdered in mass executions or sent to prisons and concentration camps. German army units and “self-defense” forces composed of Volksdeutsche also participated in executions of civilians. In many cases, these executions were reprisal actions that held entire communities collectively responsible for attacks on German forces or the murder of ethnic Germans. More than 20,000 members of the intelligentsia were murdered in Operation Tannenberg alone.

As part of a wider effort to destroy Polish culture, the Germans closed or destroyed universities, schools, museums, libraries, and scientific laboratories. They demolished hundreds of monuments to national heroes. To prevent the birth of a new generation of educated Poles, German officials decreed that the schooling of Polish children should end after a few years of elementary education. Himmler promised in his memorandum to deport all Poles to the east [Russia]. In other statements, he mentioned the future killing fields for all Poles in the Pripet Marshes. Plans for mass transportation and slave labor camps for up to 20 million Poles were made. All were intended to die during the cultivation of the swamps. A bitter note is Hitler’s remark that the Poles should be exterminated where they originated in the early medieval age. In the Wartheland, the Nazis’ goal was complete Germanization: to assimilate the territories politically, culturally, socially, and economically into the German Reich. Germans closed elementary schools where Polish was the language instruction. Streets and cities were renamed so that Łódź became Litzmannstadt, for example. Tens of thousands of Polish enterprises, from large industrial firms to small shops, were seized without payment to the owners. Signs posted in public places warned: “Entrance forbidden for Poles, Jews, and dogs.”

Polish Secret State – the term denotes both armed struggle against the occupying powers and all the examples of underground political, social and educational activities. The military part, consisting mostly of various branches of the Home Army, was to prepare the Polish society for a future fight for the liberation of the country. Apart from armed resistance, sabotage, training and propaganda, the military arm of the Polish secret state was responsible for maintaining communications with the London-based government, as well as for protecting the civilian arm of the state. The main role of the latter was in maintaining the continuity of the Polish state as a whole, including its institutions such as the police, the courts or education. It was to prepare cadres and institutions for recovering power after the German defeat in World War II. The rationale behind the creation of the secret civilian authorities stemmed from the fact that the German and Soviet occupation of Poland was illegal. Hence all the institutions created by the occupying powers were regarded as illegal and parallel Polish underground institutions, following Polish law, were set up.

1 December 1943 – Tehran Conference concludes
19 April – 16 May 1943 – Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
29 January 1944 – Koniuchy massacre
22 July 1944 Proclamation of the PKWN Manifesto
1 August – 2 October 1944 – Warsaw Uprising
11 February 1945 – Yalta Conference concludes

PEOPLE’S POLAND (1945-1989)

Poland under Soviet Communist domination

Over 6 million Polish citizens – nearly 21.4% of Poland’s population – died between 1939 and 1945. Over eighty percent of Poland’s capital was destroyed in the aftermath of the Warsaw Uprising. The losses in national resources and infrastructure amounted to over 30% percent of pre-war potential.

22 July 1944 – Publication of the Manifesto of the Polish Committee of National Liberation, officially issued by the Polish National Council, in reality created in Moscow couple days before.
18 March 1945 – Poland’s (Second) Betrothal with the Sea
2 August 1945 – Potsdam Conference concludes
30 June 1946 – People’s referendum (results were falsified)
4 July 1946 – Kielce Pogrom
19 January 1947 – Legislative election
28 April 1947 – Operation Wisła begins
1947 – Soviet influence causes the Polish government to reject the American-sponsored Marshall Plan
6 July 1950 – Signing of the Treaty of Zgorzelec
14 May 1955 – Signing of the Warsaw Pact
28 June 1956 – Poznań 1956 protests begin
20 August 1968 – End of Prague Spring with the invasion of Czechoslovakia
7 December 1970 – Signing of Treaty of Warsaw
14 December 1970- 1970 protests begin
16 October 1978 – Election of Pope John Paul II
17 August 1980 – 21 demands of MKS
13 December 1981 – 22 July 1983 – Martial law
4 April 1989 – Signing of the Round Table Agreement
4 June 1989 – Partly-free Parliamentary elections as agreed with the communist government

THIRD REPUBLIC (1989-present)

19 July 1989 – General Wojciech Jaruzelski becomes President by the Parliament vote
31 December 1989 – The People’s Republic of Poland becomes the Republic of Poland
1990 – Free Presidential election
22 December 1990 – Lech Wałęsa becomes President
1 July 1991 – Dissolution of Warsaw Pact
1991 27 October – Fully-free Parliamentary election, Post-Solidarity parties form government
17 September 1993 – Last Russian troops leave Poland
19 September 1993 – Parliamentary election – Post-communist parties win
1995 – Presidential election, Post-communist Aleksander Kwaśniewski wins
2 April 1997 – Adoption of Constitution
21 September 1997 – Parliamentary election, Centro-right government is formed
12 March 1999 – Accession of Poland to NATO
8 October 2000 – Presidential election, Aleksander Kwaśniewski serves second term in office
23 September 2001 – Parliamentary election, Democratic Left Alliance wins
16 April 2003 – Signing of the Treaty of Accession to the EU
1 May 2004 – Accession of Poland to the European Union
13 June – first European Parliament election
25 September 2005 – Parliamentary election, Law and Justice Party (PiS) wins
October 2005 – Lech Kaczyński elected President

One response

3 11 2009

Thank you so much for the history of my family’s native country. I’m just a beginner but am shocked by my own lack of education!

Thanks again!

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