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The two points on a sphere lying 90° above or below all points on a particular great circle. The polar axis is the imaginary straight line between the poles. See celestial poles; galactic poles.



a nation and the main population of the Polish People’s Republic. They number 32.8 million, or about 98 percent of the total population, according to 1973 estimates. About 10 million Poles live in North and South America (the USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina), Europe (including France, Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia), and in the USSR (1,167,500 according to the 1970 census). They speak Polish, which belongs to the western branch of the Slavic languages, and most religious Poles are Catholics.

Some scholars believe that the early ethnogenesis of the Poles is linked with the tribes of the Pomeranian and Lausitz cultures. At the beginning of the Common Era a pit-burial culture was created on Polish territory, apparently by the Wends, early Slavic tribes. The Polish nation evolved in the tenth and 11th centuries, at the time of the formation of the Polish state. The chief ethnic groups were the Polanie (Polonians), Ślęzanie (Silesians), Wiślanie (Vistulans), Mazowszanie (Mazovians), and Pomeranians. Other West Slavic tribes also played a significant role in the formation of the Polish nation. In the period of feudal fragmentation (11th to 13th centuries), the various groups constituting the Polish nation were separated politically. In the course of their struggles against German feudal aggression in the 13th to 15th centuries the Poles intensified their efforts to unite the Polish lands. The late 15th and 16th centuries saw a flowering of Polish culture, art, literature, and science.

The national consolidation of the Poles took place within the framework of a multinational state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This process was complicated by the three partitions of the commonwealth in the 18th century (1772, 1793, and 1795) and by its repartition during and after the Napoleonic Wars. In the late 18th and 19th centuries the national liberation movement, culminating in the Polish Uprising of 1794, led by T. Kościuszko, the Polish Uprising of 1830–31, the Kraków Uprising of 1846, and the Polish Uprising of 1863–64, played the primary role in the development of national consciousness among the Poles. Despite the absence of an independent Polish state in the 19th century, the unity of the Polish people was preserved, and their national consciousness was strengthened. However, there were several groups, such as the Kashubians in Pomerania, whose dialects and ethnographic traits set them apart from the rest of the Polish nation. Since the late 19th century the differences between these groups are being effaced.

After World War I a Polish bourgeois-landlord state was formed that excluded many western Polish lands. In the east the new Polish state encompassed areas inhabited by Ukrainians, Byelorussians, and Lithuanians. The reunification of the Polish lands under a single national state occurred only after World War II. There were significant population migrations. Germans left western Wielkopolska, parts of Silesia, and Pomerania and the Masurian region. The autochthonous Poles who remained in these areas were joined by Poles from other parts of Poland, repatriates from the USSR, and emigrants returning from the West. Groups of Ukrainians and Byelorussians from eastern Ma-lopolska and the Podlasie region emigrated to the USSR. After the war Poland became a country with a nearly homogeneous national composition.


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References in periodicals archive ?
Summary: Warsaw [Poland], Feb 1 (ANI): Poland's Senate has approved a controversial bill which bars any mention of crimes by the "Polish nation" during the Holocaust.
He responded, "I am of the Polish nation, of the Lithuanian citizenship, of the Ruthenian people, and of Jewish origin."
Fredro's works were virtually forgotten as the Polish nation struggled for survival ever since the eighteenth century.
After laying a bouquet of flowers on the spot, he spoke about the need to remember that this crime was "the fault of the German state and of the German nation, which supported Adolf Hitler." While he did concede that "on the side of other nations of Europe, also on the side of the Polish nation, shameful and criminal acts were perpetrated," he reiterated that "the [German] guilt is clear, determined and one has to speak about it." This guilt cannot be overshadowed by Jedwabne, he said, "a crime that occurred but has been presented in a way that has nothing to do with its real course, with the facts."
He wrote to Catholic and Anglican leaders to say that reports of serious attacks on migrants in England "have caused deep concerns to the Polish nation in general, and to myself in person."
 "I look forward to meeting the young people from throughout the world gathered in KrakAaAaAeA w and having the opportuni to meet the beloved Polish nation," Pope Francis said in a video greeting ahead of the event.
Third, in 1825 Chopin wrote about, and was almost certainly influenced by, the Gothic aesthetic established in Pulawy, Poland by Izabela Czartoryska, whose son, Prince Adam Czartoryski, functioned as the unofficial head of the stateless Polish nation (exiled in Paris) and remained Chopin's patron.
The trauma of war affected the entire Polish nation. Shortly after the liberation, it showed itself in deep indignation and led to demands for collaborators and national traitors to be held to account.
Jewish radicals' claims to speak for a mobilized and unified Jewish nation were in part a reaction to the National Democrats' insistence that Jews could not be loyal members of the Polish nation. The mobilization of the Jewish community, in turn, further radicalized the National Democrats, who alleged that "the Jews" acted as a unified collective.
Lewandowski, the Polish nation's superstar, had to answer many questions on Friday night about rumours that his relationship with the coach is bad.
In 2007, she was honoured with a State Medal by the Polish nation in recognition of her exceptional interpretations of Chopin's works.
The USSR's genocidal activity against the Polish nation started before World War II.