In 966 A.D. Mieszko I, ruler of the land that is now Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it became part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1772–95 Poland was partitioned among Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria. It regained its independence at the end of World War I and became the Second Polish Republic.
In 1939, World War II was started when the Nazis and Russia invaded Poland. More than six million Polish citizens died in the war. After the war Poland became a satellite state of the Soviet Union. In 1989 Poland’s Marxist–Leninist government was overthrown and Poland became a democracy called the Third Polish Republic.
It has one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth (the Jura range) and a desert with sand 40 metres deep! They have a national reforestation scheme aiming to cover a THIRD of the country in forest (they’re only about 3% off the target) and a lot of the landscape is protected.
Famous Polish people include Marie Curie (moved to Paris when she was 24); Copernicus, and Chopin. They invented the polonaise. And you got to check out the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Walpurgis Night (or St Walpurga’s Night, originally) is associated more with witches than the female saint. In Czechoslovakia they burn little witches made of rags; in Estonia they dress as witches like we would on Hallowe’en; in Finland there are carnivals and picnics; northern Germany has bonfires.
In old Ireland it was called Beltane; the day cattle were driven to the pastures for the summer, and rituals were done to protect them such as passing them through two bonfires. The flames would be used to relight all domestic fires and candles, and the ashes from the original fires would be spread on crops.