Football in Poland
Football is the most popular sport in Poland. Over 400,000 Poles play football with millions more playing occasionally; the first professional clubs were founded in the early 1900s, the Polish national football team played its first international match in 1921. There are hundreds of amateur football teams in Poland. Additionally, there are the Polish Polish Supercup competitions; the history of football in Poland started in the late 19th century with the rising popularity of the new sport. At the time, the Polish state was partitioned; the first decades of Polish football are therefore connected with the history of Football in Austria and the Austrian Football Association, founded in 1904. The first Polish football clubs were Lechia Lwów, Czarni Lwów, Pogoń Lwów, KS Cracovia and Wisła Kraków; the Polish national federation, called the Polish Football Union, was founded on 20 December 1919, in Kraków when 31 delegates elected Edward Cetnarowski as the first president. The PZPN joined FIFA in 1923 and UEFA in 1955.
In a similar fashion to other European states, football appeared in Poland in the late 19th century. In 1888 Prof. Henryk Jordan, a court physician of the Habsburgs and the pioneer of sports in Poland, opened a sports park in Kraków's Błonia, a large open space surrounding the demolished city walls of that town; the park, along with the Sokół society founded in 1867, became the main centres to promote sports and healthy living in Poland. It was Jordan. Other sources mention Dr. Edmund Cenar as the one to bring the first ball and the one to translate The Cambridge Rules and parts of the International Football Association Board regulations to Polish language. On 14 July 1894 during the Second Sokół Jamboree in Lwów a short football match was played between the Sokół members of Lwów and those from Kraków, it lasted only six minutes and was seen as a curiosity rather than a popular sport. It was the first recorded football match in Polish history, it was won by the Lwów team after Włodzimierz Chomicki scored the only goal - the first known goal in Polish history.
This match precipitated the popularity of the new sport in Poland. The rules and regulations were simplified, with the size of the field and the ball varying greatly. Despite being discouraged by many educational societies and the state authorities, the new sport gained extreme popularity among pupils of various gymnasiums in Galicia; the first football teams were formed and in 1903–1904, four Lwów-based gymnasiums formed their own sport clubs: the IV Gymnasium for Boys formed a club renamed to Pogoń Lwów, while the pupils of the I and II State Schools formed the Sława Lwów club renamed to Czarni Lwów. In the same season the Lechia Lwów was formed, it is uncertain which of the clubs was created first as they were poorly organized. The following year, the popularity of the sport spread to nearby Rzeszów where Resovia Rzeszów was formed, while in the German-held part of Poland, the 1. FC Katowice and Warta Poznań were formed. On 6 June 1906 a representation of Lwów youth came to Kraków for a repeat match, this time composed of two organized teams, the Czarni and the team of the IV Gymnasium.
Kraków's representation was badly beaten in both meetings. The same summer the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show set up camp at Kraków's Błonia, right outside of the traditional playground area and Jordan's garden. On 5 August 1906 the team of the Kraków-based Jan Sobieski Gymnasium played a match against the British and American members of Buffalo Bill's troupe, winning 1-0; the only goal scored by Stanisław Szeligowski was the first goal scored by a Polish team in an international meeting. The success led to the popularisation of football in Kraków and to creation of the first Kraków-based professional football team, KS Cracovia - composed of students of the Jan Sobieski Gymnasium. By the autumn of that year there were 16 teams in Kraków, including Wisła Kraków. In 1911, a Kraków-based Union of Polish Football for Galicia was formed and entered the Austrian Football Association; the union inspired the creation of a number of teams. After the outbreak of World War I, most of the Galician football players, many of them members of either Strzelec or Sokół, joined Piłsudski's Polish Legions.
The unit, fighting alongside the Austro-Hungarian Army, fought in various parts of Russian-held Poland, which led to popularisation of the new sport in other parts of Poland. After Poland regained her independence, on 21 December 1919 the Polish Football Association was formed. Headed by Edward Centrarowski, it united most of the then-existent Polish football clubs; the league could not be formed due to the Polish-Bolshevik War, but in 1922 the PZPN published the rules of football and the following year it joined FIFA. In 1921 the league was resumed and the first champions of Poland were KS Cracovia, followed by Pogoń Lwów in 1922, 1923, 1925 and 1926; as Poland was a independent state, in 1921 the Polish national football team was formed. On 18 December 1921 it played its first international match in Budapest against the Hungarian team and was defeated 1-
Polonia Bydgoszcz is a Polish sports club based in Bydgoszcz most known for its speedway team ŻKS Polonia Bydgoszcz which race in the 2. Liga; the club has won the Polish Speedway League Championship seven times, the latest in 2002, European Team Championship three times, the latest in 2001. The club has a football team who play in the lower leagues but in the past had more success. BKS Polonia Bydgoszcz was founded on May 14, 1920, by Edmund Szyc, a sports enthusiast and official of Warta Poznan. Szyc, who had come to Bydgoszcz from Poznan in the early spring of 1920, wanted to create a sports organization with a patriotic spirit, based on Polish Army soldiers garrisoned in the city; the hues of Polonia were white-red-green. In the Second Polish Republic, Polonia Bydgoszcz was one of the largest sports organizations in the nation, it had several departments, such as football and field, ice hockey, basketball and volleyball. Among most notable athletes of that time were: Stanislaw Zakrzewski, Klemens Biniakowski, Feliks Wiecek.
Polonia’s football team were four times champions of Polish Pomerania, but failed to win promotion to the Ekstraklasa. After World War Two, Polonia was reactivated on October 21, 1945. In 1947, its football team once again won local championships. On May 22, 1946, the speedway department was formed, but in 1949, the so-called First Polonia was dissolved by the Communist authorities, who disliked its prewar, bourgeoisie roots. In 1949-57, Polonia Bydgoszcz did not exist. On May 24, 1957, BKS Polonia and ZS Gwardia merged into Milicyjny KS Polonia; the new club took over the traditions of the 1920 organization and emerged as one of the most important sports clubs of the country. Former Gwardia Bydgoszcz was a powerful organization, with a top class football team, while its speedway team was the 1955 Champion of Poland. Furthermore, several Gwardia’s track and fielders took part in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. In the early 1950s, Gwardia had as many as 17 departments, its most famous sports personality of that time was tennis player Jadwiga Jedrzejowska.
The newly established Militia Sports Club Polonia Bydgoszcz took over Gwardia’s hues, to commemorate the colors of the French Revolution, to symbolize the new, Communist regime of Poland. In 1962, the name of the club was changed into Bydgoszcz Sports Club Polonia, to be changed into Guards Sports Club Polonia in 1974. In 1990, the name Bydgoszcz Sports Club Polonia was returned. In the late 1980s, GKS Polonia had over 1500 members, including 700 athletes. In 1990, the police authority withdrew its financial support of the club; as a result, the club was supported by the city government. In 1992, the football team was closed to return in 1994, ice hockey department was separated from the organization. In the same year, the speedway team of Polonia won Polish Championship. By the late 1990s, Polonia returned to its former glory. Speedway team, with Tomasz Gollob, was three times Polish champion, table tennis team was among the best in the country, football team won promotion to the third level. In 2003, local authorities dissolved Polonia Bydgoszcz.
The departments of the former organization created their own teams, such as Zuzlowy Klub Sportowy Polonia, the traditions of BKS Polonia are continued by the football team, called Klub Pilkarski Polonia. 1920 - Creation of Klub Sportowy "Polonia" 1946 - Creation of motorcycle section in Polonia 1948 - First start in Team Speedway Polish Championship 1951 First start in the top division First medal in Polish Championship: Zbigniew Raniszewski - bronze in IMP 1955 - First Team Polish Champion title 1959 - Rider Mieczysław Połukard - first Polish rider to ride in the Individual World Championship Final 1968 - First ride in Relegation playoffs 1982 - First Criterium of Polish Speedway Leagues Aces 1985 - Mieczysław Połukard death on track 1991 - Tony Rickardsson and Peter Karlsson - first foreigners in Team 2007 - Team was relegated from the top division first time in history Polonia Bydgoszcz since 27 October 2006 is Joint stock company. Board of directors: President: Leszek Tillinger supervisory board: President: Bartosz Rakoczy Members: Bogdan Sawarski and Roman Woźniak annual general meeting: 80 % - BTŻ Polonia Bydgoszcz 20 % - City Bydgoszcz Łopaczewski and Mazur was started only in PC Junior Team and PC Junior Pair Statistics in 2007 Speedway Ekstraliga Polonia Bydgoszcz hosts the Speedway Grand Prix of Poland in the Polonia Bydgoszcz Stadium.
In 2000 Polonia hosts Speedway Grand Prix of Europe. Tomasz Gollob won in Bydgoszcz SGP 6 times; the Pomeranian-Kuyavian Derby is the name given to speedway matches between Polonia Bydgoszcz and Unibax Toruń. The Mieczysław Połukard Criterium of Polish Speedway League Aces referred to as the Criterium of Aces is an annual speedway event held each year organized by the Polonia Bydgoszcz; the Criterium of Aces held in the Polonia Stadium in Bydgoszcz. It is seen by fans as the official opening of the new season. First staged in 1982; the most successful rider in Criterium history is Tomasz Gollob (former Polon
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe; the designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the used term Reichswehr, was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler's most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern offensively-capable armed force, fulfilling the Nazi regime's long-term goals of regaining lost territory as well as gaining new territory and dominating its neighbors; this required the reinstatement of conscription, massive investment and defense spending on the arms industry. The Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany's politico-military power. In the early part of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht employed combined arms tactics to devastating effect in what became known as a Blitzkrieg, its campaigns in France, the Soviet Union, North Africa are regarded as acts of boldness.
At the same time, the far-flung advances strained the Wehrmacht's capacity to the breaking point, culminating in the first major defeat in the Battle of Moscow. The operational art was no match to the war-making abilities of the Allied coalition, making the Wehrmacht's weaknesses in strategy and logistics apparent. Cooperating with the SS and the Einsatzgruppen, the German armed forces committed numerous war crimes and atrocities, despite denials and promotion of the myth of the Clean Wehrmacht; the majority of the war crimes were committed in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Italy, as part of the war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, the Holocaust and Nazi security warfare. During the war about 18 million men served in the Wehrmacht. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, German forces had lost 11,300,000 men, about half of whom were missing or killed during the war. Only a few of the Wehrmacht's upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions.
The majority of the three million Wehrmacht soldiers who invaded the USSR participated in committing war crimes. The German term "Wehrmacht" stems from the compound word of German: wehren, "to defend" and Macht, "power, force", it has been used to describes any nation's armed forces. The Frankfurt Constitution of 1849 designated all German military forces as the "German Wehrmacht", consisting of the Seemacht and the Landmacht. In 1919, the term Wehrmacht appears in Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution, establishing that: "The Reich's President holds supreme command of all armed forces of the Reich". From 1919, Germany's national defense force was known as the Reichswehr, a name, dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935. In January 1919, after World War I ended with the signing of the armistice of 11 November 1918, the armed forces were dubbed Friedensheer. In March 1919, the national assembly passed a law founding a 420,000-strong preliminary army, the Vorläufige Reichswehr; the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, in June, Germany signed the treaty that, among other terms, imposed severe constraints on the size of Germany's armed forces.
The army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, twelve destroyers. Submarines and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air-force was dissolved. A new post-war military, the Reichswehr, was established on 23 March 1921. General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty; the Reichswehr was limited to 115,000 men, thus the armed forces, under the leadership of Hans von Seeckt, retained only the most capable officers. The American historians Alan Millet and Williamson Murray wrote "In reducing the officers corps, Seeckt chose the new leadership from the best men of the general staff with ruthless disregard for other constituencies, such as war heroes and the nobility". Seeckt's determination that the Reichswehr be an elite cadre force that would serve as the nucleus of an expanded military when the chance for restoring conscription came led to the creation of a new army, based upon, but different from, the army that existed in World War I.
In the 1920s, Seeckt and his officers developed new doctrines that emphasized speed, combined arms and initiative on the part of lower officers to take advantage of momentary opportunities. Though Seeckt retired in 1926, the army that went to war in 1939 was his creation. Germany was forbidden to have an air force by the Versailles treaty; these officers saw the role of an air force as winning air superiority and strategic bombing and providing ground support. That the Luftwaffe did not develop a strategic bombing force in the 1930s was not due to a lack of interest, but because of economic limitations; the leadership of the Navy led by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, a close protégé of Alfred von Tirpitz, was dedicated to the idea of reviving Tirpitz's High Seas Fleet. Officers who believed in submarine warfare led by Admiral Karl Dönitz were in a minority before 1939. By 1922
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Zagłębie Sosnowiec is a football club based in Sosnowiec, Poland. The club was established in 1906, it won Polish Cup four times, was four times Polish runner up. Apart from football, the organization of Zagłębie has other departments, such as ice-hockey and men's volleyball; the history of Zaglebie Sosnowiec dates back to 1906, when the city of Sosnowiec belonged to Congress Poland, Russian Empire. In that year, a group of young workers of the Milowice Steelworks formed a sports organization, their activities were concentrated on playing football at suburban meadows. In 1908, local activist Aleksander Rene was arrested by the Okhrana, accused of forming an illegal Polish sports organization. Imprisoned in Łódź, he sent a letter to a Russian Governor, who resided in Piotrków Trybunalski, asking for permission to form a Sosnowiec branch of the Union Sports Club from Sankt Petersburg, he was denied, so he wrote again, to the Union headquarters. With the permission of the Sankt Petersburg club, after leaving prison, formed the team of Union Sosnowiec, which in the first half of the 1910s played several friendly games against local teams.
During World War I, sports activities were cancelled in Sosnowiec. In 1918, Sports Association Victoria was formed. Among its players was famous singer Jan Kiepura. In 1919, Sports Association Sosnowiec was formed by Aleksander Reine. After 12 years, in 1931, both clubs merged to create the team called Unia Sosnowiec; the new team was among the best sides in the region of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, which in the 1930s had its own regional league, the Zaglebie A-Class. In 1933, Unia Sosnowiec won the league, qualifying to the Ekstraklasa playoffs, where it lost to Naprzód Lipiny. In 1934, Unia again turned out to be the regional winner, again it lost the playoffs, this time to Śląsk Świętochłowice. Third attempt at the Ekstraklasa promotion came in 1939. Again Unia, the regional champion, lost the playoffs to both Śląsk Świętochłowice and Fablok Chrzanów. Among the players of Unia's youth teams was Wieslaw Ociepka, who became chairman of the Polish Football Association. During World War II, Unia played conspirational games against local rivals.
In 1945, officials and players of Unia formed a team called RKS Sosnowiec, soon renamed into RKU Sosnowiec. Its chairman was military commandant of the city. First postwar manager was Jozef Slonecki. In 1946, RKU qualified to the Ekstraklasa playoffs. In the 1/8 finals, it beat Gedania Gdańsk 6-2. During the game, which took place in Chorzów, clashes erupted between supporters of both teams, the game was cancelled. In 1947, RKU was in Group Two of the Ekstraklasa qualifiers; this group was won by AKS Chorzów, RKU was the fourth team, behind Cracovia and Rymer Radlin. In 1949, after changing its name into Stal Sosnowiec, the team qualified to the Second Division, remaining there until 1954, when it was promoted to the Ekstraklasa. In the 1955 Ekstraklasa, Stal Sosnowiec was a sensation, as it was the runner up, finishing the season in the second spot, only behind CWKS Warszawa. Stal had 27 points. In 1956, Stal was the 10th team, in 1957, 7th, in 1958, was relegated, to return to the Ekstraklasa in 1960.
Stal remained in the top league until 1974, three times winning the runner up position. Meanwhile, in 1962, Stal changed name into GKS Zaglebie. In the mid-1960s, the team from Sosnowiec was among best Polish sides, as it once won Polish silver, three times bronze, two times the Polish Cup: in 1962, after beating 2-1 Gornik Zabrze, in 1963, after beating 2-0 Ruch Chorzów. In 1964, Jozef Galeczka was Ekstraklasa's top scorer. Among other notable players of that time was Andrzej Jarosik, twice Polish top scorer. Furthermore, Wlodzimierz Mazur was the top scorer in 1977. In 1977 and 1978, Zaglebie twice won the Cup of Poland, in 1979, Wojciech Rudy was named Best Polish Player of the Year. In 1986, after 11 years, was relegated to the Second Division, it remained there until June 1989. Among its top players were Marek Beben, Ryszard Czerwiec, Maciej Mizia. After promotion, the games of Zaglebie were attended by thousands of people, with the record, 28 000, watching the match vs. Gornik Zabrze. After the 1991 season, Zaglebie avoided relegation in the playoffs, in which it beat Jagiellonia Białystok 0-2, 2-0, 4-2 in the penalty shootout.
In 1992, Zaglebie was relegated though among its players was Marek Koniarek. Due to financial problems, the team was soon relegated to the third level; the club was dissolved. In 1995, Zaglebie returned in the 5th division, soon qualified to the fourth, third division. In 2000, Zaglebie won promotion to the second level. In 2001, with a new Italian sponsor ERGOM, Zaglebie planned to win promotion back to the top league. Instead, the team was relegated. In 2004, Zaglebie won promotion to the Second Division. After the 2006/2007 season, Zaglebie returned to the Ekstraklasa. Among its top players were Jacek Berensztajn, Jakub Wierzchowski and Adrian Mierzejewski; the 2007/2008 Ekstraklasa season was a failure, as Zaglebie had only 16 points, was relegated. Among its players at that time was Patryk Malecki; as of 11 January 2019. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Polish championship runner-up: 41955, 1964, 1
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic and Germany. Its area is about 40,000 km2, its population about 8,000,000. Silesia is located along the Oder River, it consists of Upper Silesia. The region is rich in mineral and natural resources, includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław; the biggest metropolitan area is the Upper Silesian metropolitan area, the centre of, Katowice. Parts of the Czech city of Ostrava fall within the borders of Silesia. Silesia's borders and national affiliation have changed over time, both when it was a hereditary possession of noble houses and after the rise of modern nation-states; the first known states to hold power there were those of Greater Moravia at the end of the 9th century and Bohemia early in the 10th century. In the 10th century, Silesia was incorporated into the early Polish state, after its division in the 12th century became a Piast duchy.
In the 14th century, it became a constituent part of the Bohemian Crown Lands under the Holy Roman Empire, which passed to the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in 1526. Most of Silesia was conquered by Prussia in 1742 and transferred from Austria to Prussia in the Treaty of Berlin. Silesia became, as a province of Prussia, a part of the German Empire and the subsequent Weimar Republic; the varied history with changing aristocratic possessions resulted in an abundance of castles in Silesia in the Jelenia Góra valley. After World War I, the easternmost part of this region, i.e. an eastern strip of Upper Silesia, was awarded to Poland by the Entente Powers after insurrections by Poles and the Upper Silesian plebiscite. The remaining former Austrian parts of Silesia were partitioned to Czechoslovakia, forming part of Czechoslovakia's German-settled Sudetenland region, are today part of the Czech Republic. In 1945, after World War II, the bulk of Silesia was transferred, on demands of the Polish delegation, to Polish jurisdiction by the Potsdam Agreement of the victorious Allied Powers and became part of Poland.
The small Lusatian strip west of the Oder–Neisse line, which had belonged to Silesia since 1815, remained in Germany. The largest town and cultural centre of this region is Görlitz. Most inhabitants of Silesia today speak the national languages of their respective countries, while before the population shifts after 1945, the majority of Silesia's population spoke German; the population of Upper Silesia is native, while Lower Silesia was settled by a German-speaking population before 1945. An ongoing debate exists whether Silesian speech should be considered a dialect of Polish or a separate language. A Lower Silesian German dialect is used, although today it is extinct, it is used by expellees who relocated to the remaining parts of Germany, as well as by Germans who stayed in their Lower Silesian home. The names of Silesia in the different languages most share their etymology—Latin and English: Silesia; the names all relate to the name of a mountain in mid-southern Silesia. The mountain served as a cultic place.
Ślęża is listed as one of the numerous Pre-Indo-European topographic names in the region. According to some Polish Slavists, the name Ślęża or Ślęż is directly related to the Old Slavic words ślęg or śląg, which means dampness, moisture, or humidity, they disagree with the hypothesis of an origin for the name Śląsk from the name of the Silings tribe, an etymology preferred by some German authors. In the fourth century BC, Celts entered Silesia, settling around Mount Ślęża near modern Wrocław, Oława, Strzelin. Germanic Lugii tribes were first recorded within Silesia in the 1st century. Slavic peoples arrived in the region around the 7th century, by the early ninth century, their settlements had stabilized. Local Slavs started to erect boundary structures like the Silesia Walls; the eastern border of Silesian settlement was situated to the west of the Bytom, east from Racibórz and Cieszyn. East of this line dwelt a related Slav tribe, the Vistulans, their northern border was in the valley of the Barycz River, north of.
The first known states in Silesia were Bohemia. In the 10th century, the Polish ruler Mieszko I of the Piast dynasty incorporated Silesia into the Polish state. During the Fragmentation of Poland and the rest of the country were divided among many independent duchies ruled by various Silesian dukes. During this time, German cultural and ethnic influence increased as a result of immigration from German-speaking parts of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1178, parts of the Duchy of Kraków around Bytom, Oświęcim, Chrzanów, Siewierz were transferred to the Silesian Piasts, although their population was Vistulan and not of Silesian descent. Between 1289 and 1292, Bohemian king Wenceslaus II became suzerain of some of the Upper Silesian duchies. Polish kings had not renounced their hereditary rights to Silesia until 1335; the province became part of the Bohemian Crown under the Holy Roman Empire, passed with that crown to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. In the 15th century