Basic information

Name: Rzeczpospolita Polska

Also known as the Third Republic of Poland, which refers to the continuation of an independent Polish state prior to dissection in the 18th century (the Republic) and the interbellum period (Second Republic, 1918-1939). Polish People’s Republic (1945-1989) is considered in this context as devoid of political sovereignty of the state under the control of the Soviet Union so the numbering of this period is omitted.


There are two meanings to the term Rzeczpospolita: “republic” or commonwealth.
The first is refered to II and III Rzeczpospolita and that means the “Republic of Poland”. “Commonwealth” referes to the period of the 16th – 18th centuries as Poland in that era was an elective monarchy, despite having some features of a republic.

 Establishment: December 12,1989

On that date the Polish parliament accepted the name Republic of Poland and an emblem in the form of a crowned eagle.


flag: rectangular fabric with 8:5 aspect ratio, made of two horizontal, parallel strips of equal width, from which the top is white and the lower red.


White eagle with a crown on a red background, with the head turned to the right side, developed its wings, crown, its beak and claws of gold. The White Eagle emblem originated when Poland’s legendary founder Lech saw a white eagle’s nest. When he looked at the bird, a ray of sunshine from the red setting sun fell on its wings, so they appeared tipped with gold, the rest of the eagle was pure white. He was delighted and decided to settle there and placed the eagle on his emblem. A less romantic version assumes that Poland adopted the emblem from the Roman Empire (like many other European countries).


Dąbrowski Mazurka, since February 26, 1927.

The original song of the Polish Legions in Italy, which were created and commanded by General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski (on the painting). Polish state didn’t exist in that moment so Poles created Polish military forces along to Napoleon Bonaparte army, hoping he would help to regain the independent Poland. The song was composed in July 16-19, 1797 to the words of Joseph Wybicki and melody of folk mazurka. The song expresses the hope for freedom connected with Napoleon Bonaparte military actions, who “gave the Poles a pattern of how to win”, but also refers to the victorious battles of hetman Stephen Czarnecki and General Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

The political system

A parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government of a multi-party system and the President is the head of state.  Authorities:

  • legislature: parliament consisting of the Sejm (the lower house) and the Senate (the higher house).
  • executive branch: the Council of Ministers (government) and the President,
  • judicial branch: the courts and the tribunals.

Parlament (sejm), Wiejska street

According to the Polish Constitution (Konstytucja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) of April 2, 1997 Poland implements the principle of popular sovereignty, the independence and the state sovereignty, the democratic rule of law, a civil society, the division of power, pluralism, legality, the social market economy and the inherent dignity of mankind.

Capital: Warsaw.



 The President’s Palace, Krakowskie Przedmieście street / Photo Marek Angiel

 Geographical data: 

  • the land area – 312 685 km2
  • territorial sea – 8 700 km2

In terms of surface area it places Poland as 63. country in the world and 9. in Europe

Population: 38 300 000 (December 2011) – Poland is 34th most populous place in the world and 6th in EU.

Ethnic groups: Polish (98.7%), Ukrainians (0.6%), others (0.7%)

Religion: Roman Catholics (95%), orthodox (1.5%), protestant (1%).

Administrative division:

  • I grade – wojewodztwo (voivodeships, provinces) – 16
  • II grade – powiat (county) – 379
  • III grade – gmina (communes or municipalities) – 2479


Poland in the European Union

May 1st, 2004. The ceremony to mark the accession of the Third Republic to the European Union. Hoisting the EU flag on the flagpole at the grave of the Unknown Soldier in the presence of President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Prime Minister Leszek Miller

An example of the use of European funds: the A2 motorway was being built partly with support from the European Union


Photo: Wikipedia, Marek Angiel

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