Poland Prehistory and Early History


Rare finds (bifacial and sliver industries) attributed to the Acheulean and Levalloisian contexts attest to the presence of the lower Paleolithic. Starting from the Würmian, however, the testimonies are numerous, both for the middle Paleolithic and for the upper, which seems to start very early (Nietoperzowa cave). The Aurignacian, perhaps the Perigordian, and the Magdalenian are also attested. There are numerous industries of the final upper Paleolithic. The Mesolithic, with microlithic industries, gives way around 4200-4000 BC to the Neolithic, in the last phase of which various cultural groups are formed starting from pre-existing elements and external influences. The use of metal becomes common only from the Bronze Age; from 1200 BC up to the 5th century. BC, a single cultural entity, culture Lusatian, marks in a unified way a large part of the current territory of the Poland and some neighboring areas. In the full period of La Tène (4th-1st century BC) Celtic populations arrived in Poland and settled in Silesia and in the Western Little Poland; they practice pit burial, without urns.

Antiquity and the Middle Ages

After the 1st sec. BC at the mouth of the Vistula appeared Germanic populations (Goths and Gepids) that between the 2nd and 3rd century. AD they moved to the Black Sea ; during the 5th and 6th century. Poland in northeastern settled Baltic peoples (Lithuanians, Prussians, Iatvingi, Masurian etc.), while in the following centuries in the territory between the Vistula and the Elbe was settled by Polans, the Pomeranians, the Polabi (or Slavs Elba) ; in Silesia (from the upper Vistula to the Oder) the Silesians.

According to ezinesports, the first state formation took place with Mieszko I (d. 992), with whom the national dynasty of the Piasti emerged, which at times opposed the Germanic expansion and at times acted in coincidence with it to the detriment of the Western Slavic tribes, settled in the large basins of the Vistula and Oder up to the Baltic. The conversion to Christianity (966), the formation of a strictly Polish ecclesiastical hierarchy, the ‘donation’ of Fr to the Holy See by Mieszko I, all contributed to binding the Poles directly to the center of Christianity. With the son of Mieszko, Boleslao Chrobry (992-1025), the Poland began the expansion towards the E and the struggle against Emperor Henry II, during which the alliance between the Empire and the Russia of Kiev against Poland represented the beginning of a constant in the whole of Polish history. Boleslao concluded the Peace of Bautzen (1018) with the Empire and favored the mission of St. Adalbert; intervened in the internal conflicts of the state of Kiev and, for the successes achieved, in 1024 he crowned the royal crown. Eroded in the west by Teutonic pressure, tormented internally by disputes between the various princes, in 1241 the Poland was invested in the east by the Mongol hordes of Bātū, with consequent dissolution of the state. However, the national Piasti dynasty continued to maintain a certain political unity among the various parts of the kingdom, also held together by the ecclesiastical organization. In the 14th century. Prince Ladislao Łokietek (d. 1333) managed to put an end to the regional division of Poland, Prussia. With King Casimir III the Great (1333-70) the Poland acquired the physiognomy of state among the most advanced in Central-Eastern Europe: in internal politics, administrative reform, liberal protection of Jews and peasants, creation in Krakow of the first Polish university (1364); in foreign policy expansion to the East, collaboration with Lithuania against the Teutonic Order, good neighborly relations with the Empire and Bohemia.

On the death of Casimir, the union with Hungary under Louis of Anjou saved the continuity of the Polish crown, which on the death of Louis (1382) passed to his daughter Edvige. In 1385 she married the Grand Duke of Lithuania Jogaila who, with the deed of Krewo of 14 August, united her lands to those of Poland, embracing Christianity: three nations, the Polish, the Lithuanian and the Ruthenian, were thus associated in a sort of federative bond destined to last until the divisions of the modern age. The results were immediately seen in the relations with the Teutonic Order, defeated at Grunwald in 1410, and in those with Muscovy: the Polish-Lithuanian union, in pushing hard towards its borders, saw great problems arise in relation to the world Russian, while the pressure of Germanism in its various aspects (the Teutonic Order, Prussia, then also the Habsburgs) continued to condition the developments in Poland. At the same time, the Turkish problem also began for Poland: Ladislao III (elected to the throne of Hungary in 1440) died in 1444 in the battle of Varna against the Turks.

Poland Prehistory

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