A time-line of Poland and Lithuania

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(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi)


558 AD: defeated by the Avars the Slavs move east from the Russian steppes
575: the East Slavs inhabit western Russia, the South Slavs inhabit the Balkan peninsula, the West Slavs inhabit Poland, Czechoslovakia and Prussia
650: West Slavs settle in the area between the Oder and the Vistula
800: the East Slavs inhabiting western Russia, the South Slavs inhabit the Balkan peninsula, the West Slavs inhabit Poland, Czechoslovakia and Prussia
810: The Bulgars destroy the Avars
950: the Polanie tribe conquers the other Slavic tribes (Wislanie, Pomorzanie, Mazovianee) and its chief, Piast, names his state Polska (Poland)
966: Mieszko I, ruler of Poland, founds the Piast dynasty with capital in Gniezno and converts to Christianity
992: Mieszko I dies and is succeeded by his son Boleslaw Chrobry
999: Poland becomes a Christian kingdom
999: the Western world is paralyzed by fear of the millennium
1000: German emperor Otto III absorbs Poland within his sphere of control
1000: an independent Polish Church is set up with Episcopal see in Poznan
1025: Boleslaw Chrobry is crowned first Polish king by the Pope
1102: Boleslaw III becomes king of Poland
1138: Boleslaw III Krzywousty dies and his kingdom is divided among his sons, starting the progressive disintegration of Poland
1172: German emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa defends the independence of the Polish dukes
1226: Konrad Mazowiecki asks the Teutonic Knights, a Crusading Order based in Germany, to help subdue the pagan north-eastern tribes of Prussia
1236: Mindaugas (Mindowe) unites the tribes of Lithuania with capital in Trakai
1237: the land of the Teutonic Knights is called Livonia (Latvia and Estonia)
1241: the Mongols invade Poland and defeat a joint army of Henry of Slesia and the Teutonic Knights at the battle of Liegnitz/Wahlstatt
1250: the first Jewish settlers emigrate to Poland
1253: Mindaugas converts to Christianity and becomes king of Lithuania
1290: the Teutonic Knights conquer all of Prussia
1295: Vytenis unifies Lithuania
1300: Wenceslas II of Bohemia becomes king of Poland
1316: Vytenis' brother, the pagan archduke Gediminas, expands Lithuania to Kiev and Chernigov and the Black Sea, founds the Gediminaiciai dynasty, moves the capital to Vilnius
1320: Wladyslaw I Lokietek reunites the kingdom of Poland
1333: Kazimierz III becomes king of Poland and enacts economic and social reforms, moving the capital to Krakow
1341: Gediminas dies and is succeeded by his son Algirdas who continues Lithuania's expansion to the Baltic Sea
1350: Wieliczka salt mine near Krakow
1364: the University of Krakow (first Polish university) is founded
1370: Kazimierz III dies, ending the Piast Dynasty, and his nephew Louis I d'Anjou, becomes king
1377: Algirdas of Lithuania dies and is succeeded by his son Jogaila/Jagiello
1382: Pauline monks from Hungary build the monastery of Czestochowa
1386: The marriage between the Polish queen Jadwiga, daughter of Louis I, and Lithuanian archduke Jogaila, who converts to Catholicism, changes name to Wladyslaw II and de-facto unites Catholic Poland and pagan Lithuania into one Catholic kingdom (the Lithuanians are the last European people to convert to Christianity)
1392: the archduke Vytautas (Witold) of Lithuania conquers Belorussian, Russiam and Ukrainiam territories, pushing the borders of Lithuania to the Black Sea
1399: Vytautas of Lithuania is defeated by the Mongols and has to end his Russian campaigns
1410: The Teutonic Knights are defeated by the Polish-Lithuanian army at the battle of Tannenberg/Gruenwald
1413: Poland and Lithuania sign the Treaty of Union at Horodlo
1423: the Teutonic Knights retreat into eastern Prussia (Livonia)
1434: Jagiello dies and is succeeded by his son Wladyslaw III
1440: Wladyslaw III becomes king of Hungary
1444: the Polish-Hungarian army is defeated by the Ottomans at Varna, Wladyslaw III is killed and Poland loses Hungary
1447: formal union of Poland and Lithuania
1466: Kazimierz IV's Polish army defeats the Teutonic Knights and annexes western Prussia to Poland
1471: Kazimierz IV is elected king of Bohemia
1490: king Wladyslaw of Poland-Lithuania becomes king of Bohemia and Hungary
1506: Zygmunt II Stary becomes king
1526: Ludwig Jagiellonian dies at the battle of Mohacs and the Jagiellonians lose Hungary and Bohemia
1543: Nicholas Copernicus publishes "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium" and defends the heliocentric theory
1561: the Teutonic state of Livonia collapses, and its territory is divided between Poland, Sweden and Russia
1565: Poland and Lithuania are formally united under king Zygmunt/Sigismund ("Union of Lublin"), last of the Jagiellonians
1569: the Polish-Lithuanian parliament ("Sejm") creates a Royal Republic, in which the king is chosen by the Sejm ("Union of Lublin")
1572: Sigismund dies and the Royal Nobility Republic (Rzeczpospolita Szlachecka) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is born
1573: Henryk Walezy (Henry Valois of Bourbon) becomes the first elected king and grants religious equality to all faiths
1576: Transylvanian voivod (prince) Stefan Batory is elected king of Poland-Lithuania
1579: the Jesuits establish the university of Vilnius
1582: Batory conquers Livonia (Estonia and Latvia) from Russia
1586: Batory dies and the Swedish crown prince, Zygmunt Vasa, is elected king of Poland-Lithuania
1595: at the synod of Brest the Ruthenian (Byelorussian and Ukrainian) Orthodox church recognises the supremacy of the Pope
1596: King Zygmunt/Sigismund III Vasa moves Poland-Lithuania's capital from Krakow to Warszaw
1648: 200,000 Jews are slaughtered during the Ukrainian Cossak rebellion in Poland-Lithuania
1654: Russia declares war on Poland and captures Minsk and Vilna
1655: Sweden invades Poland-Lithuania ("First Northern War"), causing the death of millions, while Russia, Denmark, and the Empireside with Poland-Lithuania
1660: Sweden is defeated by king Jan Kazimierz (end of the first Northern War)
1667: Ukraine is divided along the Dnieper between Poland-Lithuania and Moscow (treaty of Andruszowo)
1672: the Ottomans invade southern Ukraine
1683: Vienna, under siege by the Ottomans, is saved by the Polish-Lithuanian army
1697: Augustus, the Elector of Saxony, is elected king of Poland-Lithuania, and Poland is virtually united with Saxony
1700: Poland declares war on Sweden, and Russia allies with Poland
1706: Poland surrenders to Sweden
1717: Poland becomes a Russian protectorate
1721: Sweden surrenders Estonia to Russia
1742: Slesia is annexed by the German Empire
1764: Stanislaw Poniatowski, supported by Russia's empress (and former lover) Ekaterina, becomes king of Poland, thereby ending the union with Saxony
1772: the anti-Russian movement "Confederation of Bar" is crushed by Russia that partitions one fourth of Poland with Prussia and Austria (Galicia, Lvev, Krakow)
1791: the Polish parliament ratifies a democratic constitution
1792: Ekaterina of Russia instigates a rebellion against the constitution
1793: Ekaterina of Russia invades Poland, abrogates the constitution and partitions half of Poland between Russia and Prussia, obtaining western Ukraine and most of Lithuania while Prussia obtains Danzig
1794: Polish hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko starts a national uprising for Polish independence, but Russia and Prussia invade the country
1795: a third partition divides the whole of Poland between Russia (that takes all of Lithuania and Ukraine) and Prussia (that takes Warszaw), thereby removing Poland from the map
1807: Napoleon defeats Prussia and creates a Duchy of Warszaw
1815: at the Congress of Vienna the Duchy of Warszaw is partitioned among Russia, Austria and Prussia and the Russian tsar Alexander I grants semi-autonomy to the "Congress Kingdom" of Poland
Nov 1830: Polish patriots rebel against Russian occupation
1831: Poland declares its independence but Russia invades it
1832: Russia declares Poland a region of the Russian empire governed by the czar's viceroy
Jan 1863: Polish patriots rise up against Russian occupation
1865: Russia turns the kingdom of Poland into the Vistula Province, forbids the use of the Polish and Lithuanian languages and persecutes the Catholic church
1890: millions of Poles emigrate to the United States
1914: Jozef Pilsudski organizes the "Polish Riflemen's League" that fights with the Austro-Hungarian empire and against Russia during World War I
1917: Russia grants independence to Poland, after the USA entered World War I listing Polish independence as one of the requirements
1918: Lithuania declares its independence from Russia
1919: at the treaty of Versailles the independence of Poland is recognized (with territory recovered from Austria and Germany) by the world powers and Pilsudski becomes its head of state
1920: Jozef Pilsudski defeats the Soviet army Poland annexes western Ukraine and western Belarus
1923: Poland regains Galicia
1926: Pilsudski proclaims himself dictator of Poland
1939: Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Third Reich partition Poland
  • See the timeline of World War II
    1947: Vladislav Gomulka's Communists seize power in Poland
    1955: The Soviet Union forms the Warsaw Pact to counterbalance NATO with Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Rumania
    1956: Vladislav Gomulka is released from jail and becomes the leader of the reformists in the Communist Party
    Jun 1956: Workers riot in Poznan demanding "Bread and Freedom" and the police kills 300 of them
    March 1968: Students demonstrate in Poland
    December 1970: Workers strike in the Baltic towns
    1974: The Polish geneticist Waclaw Szybalski coins the term "synthetic biology"
    1978: the Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla becomes Pope John Paul II, first non-Italian Pope in centuries
    1979: Pope John Paul II visits Poland and supports the anti-communist movement
    1980: Lech Walesa of Solidarnosch leads Polish workers in a strike
    1989: In Poland the communist government and Solidarity agree to share power
    1990: Lech Walesa elected president of Poland
    1991: Lithuania declares its independence from the Soviet Union
    1997: a democratic Constitution is ratified by the Polish parliament
    2004: Poland joins the European Union
    2007: Donald Tusk is elected prime minister of Poland
    2007: Poland posts the higher growth rate of any European economy (6.8%)
    2008: Poland's economy grows 15.8% throughout the Great Recession of 2008-11
    august 2008: Following Russia's invasion of Georgia, the USA and Poland sign a treaty for a missile defense
    may 2009: Dalia Grybauskaite becomes the first female president of Lithuania
    apr 2010: Polish president Lech Kaczynski dies in a plane accident

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    (Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi)