The foundation of the Polish state dates back to 966. Already from the mid 15th century, Poland was a democratic state.
For many centuries, Poland was a major European power, a melting pot of nations and many cultures. It was also a bridge joining the east and west of Europe.
In view of its location at the very heart of the continent, for centuries it constituted an important economic centre – crossed by numerous trade routes linking Europe with Asia and the North with the South.
The adoption of a constitution in 1791 (which was the first constitution in Europe, the second in the world) did not save Poland from losing its independence for 123 years. During that time, the most prominent Poles were forced to operate in conspiracy, while preparing subsequent uprisings or emigrating. They fought at many front lines for the independence of other countries, for example in North America alongside George Washington (Gen. Kazimierz Pułaski, Gen. Tadeusz Kościuszko) and in South America alongside Simon Bolivar (Gen. Filip Maurycy Martin-Marcinkowski). They constructed roads (Aleksander Miecznikowski in Peru), railways (Ernest Malinowski in Peru, August Parades Lutkowski in Venezuela) and cities (Ryszard Jaksa-Małachowski in Peru). They explored unknown lands (e.g. Paweł Edmund Strzelecki in North and South America, Polynesia as well as Australia and Oceania) and created higher education systems (e.g. Edward Habich in Peru).
Poland regained independence in 1918, after World War I. The Second Polish Republic was a country with a rapidly developing economy, until the outbreak of World War II. Under German occupation, the only underground state in the world with administration, judiciary and education systems which fought for independence, was created. After the end of World War II in 1945, Poland remained under control of the USSR. However, independence traditions of the underground state remained strong. They were further strengthened by the election of Polish cardinal, Karol Wojtyła, for the Holy See in 1979 and finally they led to the creation of the Solidarity movement.
Owing to Solidarity activists led by Lech Wałęsa, in 1989 Poland finally regained full independence. In 1996 it joined the OECD, in 1999, the NATO, and in May 2004, the European Union. This is a guarantee that Poland is a secure and trustworthy country.