Sunday, 19 July 2015

1050 years ago

(Thursday, 14 April 2016)

The year 966 is a symbolic year for Poland. In that year the then ruler of Poland Mieszko I was baptised, converting to Christianity. This
so-called Baptism of Poland is considered to be the founding event of the Polish state. The most probable date of the Baptism of Poland is 966 April 14.

On this important day – the 1050 anniversary of the Baptism of Poland – I would like to point out my favourite events from the history of Poland:

1) 966 April 14 – The Baptism of Poland
There are some people who hate the fact that a religious event is considered to be the founding event of the Polish state, but from my point of view this is something symbolic and thought-provoking. In the long history of Poland we, as a nation, have survived some very harsh times, against all odds.

2) 1410 July 15 – The Battle of Grunwald
It was one of the largest battles in Medieval Europe and it is regarded as one of the most important victories in the history of Poland and Lithuania.

3) 1543 – Publication of the work “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”
This work was created by Mikołaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus) – Polish astronomer, physician, classics scholar, translator, governor, diplomat, economist and also a third order Dominican who obtained a doctorate in canon law. The work is all about the fact that it is the Earth that rotates around the Sun and not the other way round as it had been believed earlier. In Poland it is said that Kopernik “stopped the Sun and moved the Earth”.

4) 1655 November 18 - December 27 – The Defence of Jasna Góra Monastery
It was a symbolic defence that gave Poles a significant morale boost – the fortified Jasna Góra Monastery was the only stronghold in Poland that the Swedish invaders failed to capture. In this Monastery there was, and still is today, a venerated icon of Saint Mary holding little Jesus. After the Swedes had lifted their siege, the Polish forces begun to slowly gain the upper hand. Interestingly soon after the Defence of Jasna Góra Monastery, when most of Poland was still occupied by the Swedish armies, during a holy mass in Lwów's Cathedral the King of Poland announced Saint Mary as The Queen of the Polish Crown. Even today Saint Mary is still called the Queen of Poland, especially in churches and in prayers.

5) 1683 September 11-12 – The Battle of Vienna
A very important battle in the history of Europe that was lead by the Polish King and during which the Polish Winged Hussars delivered the decisive blow. It was the first time Poland and the Holy Roman Empire had cooperated militarily against the Ottoman Empire. After the battle the Polish King said "Veni, vidi, Deus vicit"--"I came, I saw, God conquered".

6) 1918 November 11 – Poland regaining independence
It was a great achievement because it happened after 123 years of total occupation of Poland by three empires: Russia, Germany and Austria – the so-called Partitions of Poland. This total occupation was combined with intense russification or germanisation efforts aimed at the Poles in the respective Partitions. The Austrian Partition was not as bad, but it was still very far from independence. The Polish language and the Polish culture survived in the Russian and German partitions too, just hidden from the eyes of the occupiers. For 123 years. For several generations. November 11 is a symbolic day that is much better for Poles than the symbolic end of the World War II after which Poland ended up behind the Iron Curtain. - Political controversy

7) 1920 August 13-16 – Miracle at the Vistula
This name of the battle is hated by some people, just like “the Baptism of Poland”, but I like it. It really looked like a miracle – the Soviet Russia's armies were advancing very quickly and foreign diplomats were evacuating out of Warsaw, predicting its fall, and yet after just 4 days Russians ended up in a rapid retreat. A miracle. This battle is symbolic for another reason – it was the end of Soviet Russia's dream of carrying out communist revolutions all over Europe. At least for some time, but by then there was no Soviet Russia – from 1922 there was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (in short: the Soviet Union) – a kind of communist “superstate”.

No comments:

Post a Comment