Northern and Eastern Europe

By: Karlianna Smith and Paul Lally

Northeastern Europe

Poland

History

The actual written history of Poland starts in the 10th century. During that time, Poland was ruled by a dynasty. They were called the Piasts. One of the Piasts, named Mieszko The First reigned from 960 to 999. In 966, he converted to Christianity and his people followed. However, there was this king. His name was Boleslaw the Wrymouth. He reigned from 1102 to 1138. He decided that after his death that the kingdom of which he ruled should be divided among each of his sons. (Even though his eldest son had overall control). This decision weakened Poland. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Poland prospered. in 1241 to 1242, the Mongols invaded Poland. In the early 14th century, Poland became a strong and unified state. in the late 17th century, Poland scored some great military successes. In the late 17th century, Poland was weakened by the lack of a central government. In the 18th century, Poland continued its political/ military decline. In the 19th century, Poland was divided between Prussia, Russia, and Austria. Poland eventually regained its freedom after WWI. In the 1930's Poland was threatened by Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. As a result of this, the two signed a secret agreement to divide Poland between them. They signed this agreement in 1939.

Physical Features

Poland has 21 mountains that are over 2,000 M in elevation, and are located in the Tatras. This is along the border with Solvakia. Poland's highest point is Mt. Rysy in the High Tatras. The point stands at 2,499 m in elevation. The lowest point in Poland is -1.8 m below sea level. Its located at Raczki Elbaskie in the Vistula Delta. The longest river in Poland is the Vistula. It is 1,047 km long.

Culture

Poland is in Central Europe, and it is 120,700 square miles big. The language of Poland or Polish belong to the west Slavic group of languages coming from the Indo-European languages family, which in turn is part of the Nostratic macrofamily. These languages are based off of the latin alphabet. Poland's flag has a unique story behind it. The top half is white and the bottom half is red. In the middle of the top Half, there is the Coat-of-Arms. This is a White Eagle in a red field. Legend has it, that while hunting, the first king of Poles encountered a huge eagle making a strange cry and hovering over a nest of young. These types of birds were never seen in this land, so the king took it as an omen.

Natural Resources

Polands main natural resources mainly consist of agriculture and fossil fuels. Polands main agricultural crops are wheat, potatoes, sugar beets and fodder crops. They also export apple concentrate, berries, cabbages, and carrots. They also have a supply of animals like cows and pigs. They also have a generous supply of fossil fuels as well. These resources include:

  • 101 million tons of Hard coal
  • 61 million tons of Brown coal
  • 10 million tons of Coke (fossil fuel)
  • 5 million tons of fuel oils
  • 5 million tons of Petroleum and aviation fuel
  • 5 million tons of Diesel oil
  • 5,608 cubic hectometers of Natural gas (or 5608000000 cubic meters)
(values here are not exact)

Government

The government of Poland is similar to a Democracy, and some aspects are carried over. They have a Prime Minister, Beata Szydło and a President, Andrzej Duda. The president shows executive power, as well as the government. The government consists of a council of ministers led by the Prime Minister. The members of the council are typically chosen from a majority coalition in the lower house of the Sejm, or parliament. The president also formally represents the government, and must pass a motion of confidence in the Sejm within two weeks.

Lithuania

History

The first known people to have lived in Lithuania date back to the final Ice Age, or 10,000 B.C. The hunters and gatherers slowly became farmers. These groups of people are of the oldest European ethnicities to have settled in that approximate location. These early people eventually went on to become the Baltic People. The Baltic people traded amber with the Romans, and fought the Vikings. In this era only one small tribe from the area around Vilnius was known as Lithuanians but it was this tribe the consolidated the majority of other Baltic tribes.

Culture

Lithuania is ont he coast of the Baltic Sea. It is just over 40,500 square miles in area and shares borders with Poland and Kaliningrad (a Russian Federation). They have a population of about 3.8 million people, and 80 percent are ethnic Lithuanians. Their native language is Lithuanian, one of the two remaining languages in the Baltic Branch of Indo-European languages. The national symbol for Lithuania is Vytis, the white knight sitting astride his horse and brandishing a sword. Vytis symbolizes the nation's struggle to defend itself from intruders.Lithuania's national plant is the Rue, and the national bird is the Stork.

Physical Features

Lithuania is generally lower in land elevation than most other countries. Its highest point in elevation is only 294 m above sea level. In fact, Lithuania is the worlds largest country without a highest point above 300 m above sea level. The lush forests and countless lakes make out for the mountain-less horizon. Lithuania has a lot of open and unused space that nature still occupies, and it is accessible thanks to the law, as it limits obstructions by landowners. Lots of famous national parks reside in Lithuania. An example of one is the Curonian spit. it used to have sand dunes that would bury whole fisherman's villages, but pine tree forests have prevented these sand dunes from forming.

Natural Resources

Lithuania is abundant in certain materials, but is lacking in some essential materials as well. Lithuania has an abundance in limestone, clay, quartz sand, gypsum, and dolomite. This means that they have plenty of materials to make high quality cement, glass, and ceramics. They also have a supply of fresh mineral water. Lithuania is lacking in energy materials and industrial materials. A commercially viable amount of oil was also found in Lithuania, but few pumps operate today, and all are on the western part of the country.

Government of Lithuania

The Government of Lithuania uses executive power in Lithuania. The power of the government are defined by the constitution and laws of Lithuania. The responsibility that the government holds is to administer the affairs of the country, and to ensure its security and public order.

Czech Republic