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Poland (Polish: Polska ['p?

lska] (About this sound listen)), officially the
Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska,[a] [??t??p?'sp?lita 'p?lska]
(About this sound listen)), is a unitary sovereign state in Central Europe.[11] It
is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,679 square
kilometres (120,726 sq mi) with a mostly temperate climate.[9] With a population of
over 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the
European Union.[9] Poland's capital and largest city is Warsaw. Other major cities
include Krak�w, L�dz, Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk and Szczecin.

The establishment of a Polish state can be traced back to 966, when Mieszko I,[12]
ruler of a territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted
to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented
a longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing
the Union of Lublin. This union formed the Polish�Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of
the largest (about 1 million km2) and most populous countries of 16th and 17th
century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system[13][14] which adopted
Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.

Following the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained
its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World
War II started with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, followed by the Soviet
Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov�Ribbentrop Pact. More than six
million Poles died in the war.[15][16] After World War II, the Polish People's
Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence.[17] In the
aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the
Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a democratic republic.