Poland the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north and Ukraine to the east and Czech Republic, to the south, Germany to the west; the establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin; this union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic. Poland is regional power, it has the fifth largest economy by GDP in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world achieving a high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with high standards of living, life quality, safety and economic freedom.
Having a developed school educational system, the country provides free university education, state-funded social security, a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group; the origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole". In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites, which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I. Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became prominent; the most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes. Recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland; these were most expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented; the Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s. Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects; the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Kołobrzeg, Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer. In 1109, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the Ge
Charles the Bold
Charles the Bold, baptised Charles Martin, was Duke of Burgundy from 1467 to 1477. He was the last Duke of Burgundy from the House of Valois, his early death at the Battle of Nancy at the hands of Swiss mercenaries fighting for René II, Duke of Lorraine, was of great consequence in European history. The Burgundian domains, long wedged between the growing powers of France and the Habsburg Empire, were divided, but the precise disposition of the vast and disparate territorial possessions involved was disputed among the European powers for centuries. Charles the Bold was born in the son of Philip the Good and Isabella of Portugal. Before the death of his father in 1467, he bore the title of Count of Charolais, he was made a Knight of the Golden Fleece just twenty days after his birth, invested by Charles I, Count of Nevers, the seigneur de Croÿ. Charles was brought up under the direction of Jean d'Auxy and early showed great application alike to academic studies and warlike exercises, his father's court was the most extravagant in Europe at the time, a centre for the arts and commerce.
While he was growing up, Charles witnessed his father's efforts to unite his far-flung and ethnically diverse dominions into a single state, his own efforts centered on continuing and securing his father's successes in this endeavor. In 1440, at the age of seven, Charles was married to Catherine, daughter of King Charles VII of France and sister of the Dauphin, she was five years older than her husband, she died in 1446 at the age of 18. They had no children. In 1454, at the age of 21, Charles married a second time, he wanted to marry a daughter of his distant cousin Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, but under terms of the Treaty of Arras of 1435, he was required to marry a French princess. His father chose Isabella of Bourbon, three years younger than he was. Isabella was the daughter of Philip the Good's sister Agnes and a distant cousin of Charles VII of France. Isabella died in 1465, their daughter Mary of Burgundy was Charles' only surviving child. Charles was on friendly terms with his brother-in-law Louis, the Dauphin of France, a refugee at the court of Burgundy from 1456 until he succeeded his father as king of France in 1461.
But Louis began to pursue some of the same policies as his father, for example Louis's repurchase of the towns on the Somme River that Louis's father had ceded in 1435 to Charles's father in the Treaty of Arras, which Charles viewed with chagrin. When his father's failing health enabled him to assume the reins of government, he initiated a policy of hostility toward Louis XI that led to the Burgundian Wars, he became one of the principal leaders of the League of the Public Weal, an alliance of west European nobles opposed to policies of Louis XI that sought to centralize the royal authority within France. For his third wife, Charles was offered the hand of Louis XI's daughter Anne; the wife he chose, was his second cousin Margaret of York. Upon the death of his father in 1467, Charles was no longer bound by the terms of the Treaty of Arras, he decided to ally himself with Burgundy's old ally England. Louis did his best to prevent or delay the marriage with Margaret, but in the summer of 1468, it was celebrated sumptuously at Bruges, Charles was made a Knight of the Garter.
The couple had no children. After Mary's death many years she kept Mary's two infant children as long as she was allowed. On 12 April 1465, Philip relinquished control of the government of his domains to Charles, who spent the next summer prosecuting the War of the Public Weal against Louis XI. Charles was left master of the field at the Battle of Montlhéry on 13 July 1465, but this neither prevented the king from re-entering Paris nor did it assure Charles of a decisive victory, he succeeded, however, in forcing upon Louis the Treaty of Conflans of 4 October 1465, by which the king restored to him certain towns on the Somme River, the counties of Boulogne and Guînes, various other small territories. During the negotiations for the treaty, his wife Isabella died at Les Quesnoy on 25 September, making a political marriage possible; as part of the treaty, Louis promised him the hand of his infant daughter Anne, with the territories of Champagne and Ponthieu as a dowry, but no marriage took place.
In the meanwhile, Charles obtained the surrender of Ponthieu. Charles' concentration on the affairs of France was diverted by the Revolt of Liège against his father and the bishop of Liège and a desire to punish the town of Dinant in the province of Namur. During the wars of the summer of 1465, Dinant celebrated a false rumour that Charles had been defeated at Montlhéry by burning him in effigy and chanting that he was the bastard child of his mother Isabella of Portugal and John of Heinsburg, the previous Bishop of Liège. On 25 August 1466, Charles marched into Dinant, determined to avenge this slur on the honour of his mother, sacked the city, killing every man and child within. After the death of Charles' father Philip the Good in 1467, the Bishopric of Liège renewed hostilities, bu
Renaissance music is vocal and instrumental music written and performed in Europe during the Renaissance era. Consensus among music historians has been to start the era around 1400, with the end of the medieval era, to close it around 1600, with the beginning of the Baroque period, therefore commencing the musical Renaissance about a hundred years after the beginning of the Renaissance as it is understood in other disciplines; as in the other arts, the music of the period was influenced by the developments which define the Early Modern period: the rise of humanistic thought. From this changing society emerged a common, unifying musical language, in particular, the polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish school, whose greatest master was Josquin des Prez; the invention of the printing press in 1439 made it cheaper and easier to distribute music and musical theory texts on a wider geographic scale and to more people. Prior to the invention of printing, written music and music-theory texts had to be hand-copied, a time-consuming and expensive process.
Demand for music as entertainment and as a leisure activity for educated amateurs increased with the emergence of a bourgeois class. Dissemination of chansons and masses throughout Europe coincided with the unification of polyphonic practice into the fluid style which culminated in the second half of the sixteenth century in the work of composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlande de Lassus, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Relative political stability and prosperity in the Low Countries, along with a flourishing system of music education in the area's many churches and cathedrals allowed the training of large numbers of singers and composers; these musicians were sought throughout Europe in Italy, where churches and aristocratic courts hired them as composers and teachers. Since the printing press made it easier to disseminate printed music, by the end of the 16th century, Italy had absorbed the northern musical influences with Venice and other cities becoming centers of musical activity.
This reversed the situation from a hundred years earlier. Opera, a dramatic staged genre in which singers are accompanied by instruments, arose at this time in Florence. Opera was developed as a deliberate attempt to resurrect the music of ancient Greece. Music was freed from medieval constraints, more variety was permitted in range, harmony and notation. On the other hand, rules of counterpoint became more constrained with regard to treatment of dissonances. In the Renaissance, music became a vehicle for personal expression. Composers found ways to make vocal music more expressive of the texts. Secular music absorbed techniques from sacred music, vice versa. Popular secular forms such as the madrigal spread throughout Europe. Courts employed both singers and instrumentalists. Music became more self-sufficient with its availability in printed form, existing for its own sake. Precursor versions of many familiar modern instruments developed into new forms during the Renaissance; these instruments were modified to responding to the evolution of musical ideas, they presented new possibilities for composers and musicians to explore.
Early forms of modern woodwind and brass instruments like the bassoon and trombone appeared. During the 15th century, the sound of full triads became common, towards the end of the 16th century the system of church modes began to break down giving way to the functional tonality, which would dominate Western art music for the next three centuries. From the Renaissance era, notated secular and sacred music survives in quantity, including vocal and instrumental works and mixed vocal/instrumental works. An enormous diversity of musical styles and genres flourished during the Renaissance; these can be heard on recordings made in the 20th and 21st century, including masses, madrigals, accompanied songs, instrumental dances, many others. Beginning in the late 20th century, numerous early music ensembles were formed. Early music ensembles specializing in music of the Renaissance era give concert tours and make recordings, using modern reproductions of historical instruments and using singing and performing styles which musicologists believe were used during the era.
One of the most pronounced features of early Renaissance European art music was the increasing reliance on the interval of the third and its inversion, the sixth. Polyphony – the use of multiple, independent melodic lines, performed – became elaborate throughout the 14th century, with independent voices; the beginning of the 15th century showed simplification, with the composers striving for smoothness in the melodic parts. This was possible because of a increased vocal range in music – in the Middle Ages, the narrow range made necessary frequent crossing of parts, thus requirin
The Burgundian School was a group of composers active in the 15th century in what is now northern and eastern France and the Netherlands, centered on the court of the Dukes of Burgundy. The main names associated with this school are Guillaume Dufay, Gilles Binchois, Antoine Busnois and, the English composer John Dunstaple; the Burgundian School was the first phase of activity of the Franco-Flemish School, the central musical practice of the Renaissance in Europe. In late Medieval and early Renaissance Europe, cultural centers tended to move from one place to another due to changing political stability and the presence of either the spiritual or temporal power, for instance the Pope, Anti-pope or the Holy Roman Emperor. In the 14th century, the main centers of musical activity were northern France and Italy, as represented by Guillaume de Machaut and the ars nova, the ars subtilior, Landini respectively; when France was ravaged by the Hundred Years' War, the cultural center migrated farther east, to towns in Burgundy and the Low Countries, known collectively as the Netherlands.
During the reign of the House of Valois, Burgundy was the most powerful and stable political division in western Europe, added, a bit at a time, Brabant, Luxembourg and Lorraine. During the reigns of Philip the Good and Charles the Bold, this entire area, loosely known as Burgundy, was a center of musical creativity. Most of the musical activity did not take place in what is modern-day Burgundy, which has its capital in Dijon; the main centers of music-making were Brussels, Bruges and Arras, as well as smaller towns in that same general area. Musicians from the region came to Burgundy to study and further their own careers as the reputation of the area spread; the Burgundian rulers were not patrons of the arts, but took an active part: Charles the Bold himself played the harp, composed chansons and motets. The worldly dukes encouraged the composition of secular music to a degree seen only before in European music history, a characteristic which itself defines the Burgundian epoch as a Renaissance phenomenon.
This migration of musical culture east from Paris to Burgundy corresponds with the conventional division of music history into Medieval and Renaissance. Charles the Bold was killed in 1477 in the Battle of Nancy, during one of his attempts to add territory to his empire. After his death, music continued to flourish as before, but the region was split politically, with the duchy of Burgundy being absorbed into France, most of the Low Countries becoming part of the holdings of the Spanish Habsburgs. Both the French court and the Habsburgs were patrons of music; the history of Burgundian music began with the organization of the chapel in 1384. Names associated with this early phase of Burgundian music include Johannes Tapissier and Nicolas Grenon, who carried the tradition across to the next phase of the chapel, when it was reorganized in 1415. Other early composers there were Hugo and Arnold de Lantins, both of whom Dufay met in Italy. Of all the names associated with the Burgundian School, the most famous was Guillaume Dufay, the most famous composer in Europe in the 15th century.
He wrote music in many of the forms which were current, music, melodic and memorable. Contemporary with Dufay were composers such as Gilles Binchois, at the Burgundian court between 1430 and 1460, Hayne van Ghizeghem, a composer and soldier who may have been killed in the last military campaign of Charles the Bold. After the death of Dufay in 1474, the most prominent Burgundian musician was Antoine Busnois, a prolific composer of chansons, who wrote the famous L'homme armé tune. Burgundian composers favored secular forms; the most prominent secular forms used by the Burgundians were the four formes fixes, all generically known as chansons. Of the four, the rondeau was by far the most popular. Most of the rondeaux were in three voices, in French, though there are a few in other languages. In most of the rondeaux, the uppermost voice was texted, the other voices were most played by instruments; the bergerette was developed by the Burgundians themselves. Most of the composers wrote sacred music in Latin.
They wrote both motets, as well as cycles of Magnificats. During the period, the mass transformed from a group of individual sections written by different composers using a head-motif technique, to unified cycles based on a cantus firmus. Dufay, Busnois, Regin
Battle of Nancy
The Battle of Nancy was the final and decisive battle of the Burgundian Wars, fought outside the walls of Nancy on 5 January 1477 by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, against René II, Duke of Lorraine, the Swiss Confederacy. René's forces won the battle, Charles' mutilated body was found three days later. Charles was besieging the city of Nancy, capital of Lorraine, following its recapture by the forces of René II in 1476. Despite the harsh winter conditions, Charles was determined to bring the siege to an end at all costs as he was well aware that sooner or René would arrive with a relieving army when the weather improved. By late December René had gathered some 10,000-12,000 men from the Lower Union. A Swiss army of 8,000-10,000 men arrived to help out. René began his advance on Nancy early in January 1477, moving cautiously through the snow-covered landscape until they reached Nancy early on the morning of 5 January. Charles learned that René's army was indeed close by and drew up the bulk of his army in a strong defensive position south of Nancy on a wooded slope behind a stream at the narrowest part of the valley down which he knew the Swiss would have to advance.
The exact numbers available to Charles are hard to judge, but contemporary observers put the numbers between 2,000 and 8,000, for his household troops were by this stage well below strength, while most of the Ordonnance companies were at best only 50% of their theoretical strength. Charles, as usual, deployed his troops to a precise battle plan despite the short notice he received of the approach of René's forces; the infantry companies and dismounted gendarme formed up in a large square formation with some 30 field guns in front at the top of the slope, while on either flank were mounted knights and coutilliers. If Charles suffered from a lack of scouting, which had cost him so dearly at Morat six months earlier, the same could not be said for the Allied army. Despite the driving snow cutting visibility to a few yards, the Allied scouts soon recognized that a frontal assault on the Burgundian position would be disastrous; the Swiss vanguard of 7,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry were instructed to attack from the right, while the principal thrust would come from the 8,000 infantry and 1,300 cavalry of the center, dispatched on a difficult circuitous march round the left flank, over thickly wooded snow-covered slopes out of view of the waiting Burgundians.
The small rearguard of 800 handgunners acted as reserve. After a march lasting some two hours, the center force emerged from the wooded slopes to the rear of the Burgundian position and formed up in a wedge formation; the early notes of the Swiss horns sounded thrice, the Swiss charged downhill into the Burgundian positions. The artillery could not elevate enough to be effective. Although the right wing Burgundian cavalry held off the Swiss rivals, most of the Swiss infantry pushed on to engage the outnumbered Burgundian infantry square in a one-sided fight; the vanguard put the artillery to flight. As Charles attempted vainly to stem the center force advance by transferring troops from his left flank, the weight of numbers arrayed against him became overwhelming, the once proud army of the Duchy of Burgundy started to melt away in flight, it is thought that during the fight Charles said: "I struggle against a spider, everywhere at once," signifying the large amount of Swiss infantry. Determined to the last and his staff tried in vain to rally the broken army, but without success.
His small band was carried with the flight until surrounded by a party of Swiss. A halberdier swung at the Duke's head and landed a deadly blow directly on his helmet, he was seen to fall but the battle flowed on around him. It was three days until the Duke's disfigured body was found and positively identified amongst the detritus of the slaughter. Most of Charles' army was killed during their retreat. Only the few who retreated over 50 km to Metz survived. Contemporary chronicles record that the killing of retreating soldiers continued for three days after the battle and that for 5-6 leagues the road was covered with the dead; some of the soldiers who reached Metz were still so afraid of the pursuing army that they threw themselves into the icy moat in the hope that they could swim to the city. René II built the church of Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours on the site of the battle, the church of St-François-des-Cordeliers in Nancy itself, he furthermore built the basilique of Saint-Nicolas-de-Port to recognize the help of St. Nicholas in the battle.
The city adopted the motto of non inultus premor and the heraldic device of a thistle as its coat of arms to commemorate the defeat of Charles the Bold. René II erected a cross to mark the spot where the body of Charles was found; the nearby étang Saint-Jean was drained in the 19th century, freeing the area of what is now Place de la Croix-de-Bourgogne in Nancy. The original cross was moved to the Lorraine museum; the current monument is a design by Victor Prouvé. Pierre de Blarru, canon of Saint-Dié, composed a vast poem called la Nancéide, in 5,044 Latin verses, on the war between Burgundy and Lorraine, culminating in the battle of Nancy. In La Malgrange, a tower was erected in 1877 to commemorate the attack of René II. Battle of Grandson Battle of Morat Duchy of Burgundy Old Swiss Confederacy Battles of the Old Swiss Confederacy