Brantford Polish Hall
Polish School
About Poland
Virtual Tour
Site Map
Click on the immage for bigger picture
Polish Mutual Benefit and Friendly Society

Click on the immage for bigger picture

Business Directory

Photo Gallery

The Coat of Arms of Poland

The Coat of Arms of Poland consists of a White Eagle on a red shield. The Eagle is wearing a crown. In Poland, the Coat of Arms is usually called simply White Eagle (Orzel Bialy), and it is always capitalized. More...

Map of Poland

Polish School

We have just the right place for your next Super Bowl Party, Baseball Party, Soccer Party, or any other Theme Night you want. Our affordable rental info for all your entertainment needs is just click away. Please CLICK HERE for more rental information.
History of Poland

The Polish nation started to form itself into a recognizable unitary territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century. Poland's golden age occurred in the 16th century during its union with Lithuania in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The citizens of Poland took pride in their ancient freedoms and parliamentary system, though the Szlachta (legally privileged noble class) monopolized the benefits thereof. Since that time Poles have regarded freedom as their most important value. Poles often call themselves the Nation of the free people.

In mid-17th century a rebellion of cossacks led by Bohdan Chmielnicki ushered in the turbulent time of The Deluge. Numerous wars against Turkey, Russia, Sweden, Transylvania and Brandenburg-Prussia ultimately came to an end in 1699. During the following 80 years, the waning of the central government and deadlock of the institutions weakened the nation, leading to dependency on Russia. The Enlightenment in Poland fostered a growing national movement to repair the state, resulting in the first written constitution in Europe. The process of reforms ceased with the partitions of Poland between Russia, Prussia, and Austria in 1772, 1793 and 1795; these ultimately completely dissolved Poland. Poles resented their shrinking freedoms and several times rebelled against their oppressors.

After the Napoleonic wars a reconstituted Polish state, the Duchy of Warsaw, ruled by the Russian tsar as a Congress Kingdom, possessed a liberal constitution. However, the Russian tsars soon reduced Polish freedoms and Russia eventually de facto annexed the country. Later in the 19th century, Austrian-ruled Galicia became the oasis of Polish freedom. During World War I all the Allies agreed on the restitution of Poland that United States President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed in point 13 of his Fourteen Points. Shortly after the surrender of Germany in November 1918, Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic. A new threat, Soviet aggression, arose in the 1919 (Polish-Soviet War), but Poland succeeded in defending its independence.

The Second Polish Republic lasted until the start of World War II when Germany and the Soviet Union split the Polish territory between them (September 27 1939). Poland suffered greatly in this period. Of all the countries involved in the war, Poland lost the highest percentage of its citizens: over 6 million perished, half of them Polish Jews. Poland's borders shifted westwards; pushing the eastern border to the Curzon line and the western border to the Oder-Neisse line. After the shift Poland emerged smaller by 76 000 km sq. or by 20% of its pre-war size. The shifting of borders also involved the migration of millions of people of different nationalities. Eventually, Poland became, for the first time in history, an ethnically unified country.

The victory of the Soviet Union brought a new communist government to Poland, analogously to much of the rest of Central Europe. In 1948 a turn towards Stalinism brought in the beginning of the next period of totalitarian rule. In 1956 the regime became more liberal, freeing many people from prison and expanding some personal freedoms.

Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union, "Solidarity", which over time became a political force. It eroded the dominance of the Communist Party; by 1989 it had triumphed in parliamentary elections, and a Solidarity candidate eventually won 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. Despite the regression in levels of social and economic human rights standards, numerous improvements in other human rights standards occurred (free speech, functioning democracy and the like). Poland as the first among post-communist countries regained pre-1989 GDP level. Poland joined the NATO alliance in 1999.

Following a massive advertising campaign by the government in favor of joining the European Union, Polish voters voted yes to the EU in a referendum in June 2003. Poland joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.

History Of The Polish Community In Brantford

Brantford as a major centre of farm-implement manufacture, lured many Polish immigrants. Outside of isolated cases of families settling in Brantford before 1900, the first great wave of immigrants from the "cradle of Slavdom" to Brantford came at the turn of our century, and continued until the start of World War I. From 1902 we find in the Brantford Directory names of families, which are well known today. To list a few of these pioneering families, there were, the Neziols, Kempas, Bulanda, Rosieckis, Konefals, Dostals, Guminiaks, Sekulas, Ciochs, Rejdychs, Wiaceks, Floreks, Murzyns, Mrozs, Stachurskis, Porembas, Dudlinskis, and Bialkowskis.  Others, as the Tatkos, Cempuras, Losinskis, Gancarszyks, Majdas, Golanskis, Szrameks and Wisniewskis, have disappeared from the Brantford scene. CLICK HERE to find out more...

More About Polish History In Canada - Read Online Books For Free

Poles In Ontario by Harney, Robert F., Heydenkorn, Benedykt

The Polish Presence In Canada And America by Renkiewicz, Frank

For Bread And A Better Future: Emigration From Poland To Canada, 1918-1939 by Reczynska Anna

Women And The Polish Alliance Of Canada by Apolonja Kojder

Marynia, Don't Cry: Memoirs of Two Polish-Canadian Families by Kojder Apolonia, Glogowska Barbara

   Browse Related Links:

Polonia Today - A Brief History of Poland

History Of Poland From Wikipedia

History of Jews in Poland

History of the Polish Community in Brantford Vol.1

History of the Polish Community in Brantford Vol.2

History of the Polish Community in Brantford Vol.3

History of the Polish Community in Brantford Vol.4

History of the Polish Community in Brantford Vol.5

    Click on the images below and follow us on:

Click here and follow us on Facebook
Click here and follow us on Twitter
Click here and follow us on YouTube