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Five questions about Poland – Quick Quiz answers

We asked you five questions about Poland. Here come the answers!

  1. Poland is bordered by seven other countries. Can you name them?
    Starting at the north and going anti-clockwise, they are: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and – the sneaky one – Russia through its Kaliningrad exclave.
  2. Who or what is a wisent?
    It’s an alternative name, borrowed from German, for the European bison. The European bison is the heaviest surviving native European land mammal. It became extinct in the wild in 1927 but has been revived from just 50 zoo animals to the point where there are now over 1500 roaming free in Poland and about 5000 elsewhere.
  3. In what year did the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth adopt Europe’s first written constitution?
    1791. It was nearly three years in the writing, beginning in October 1788 (and thus predating the French Revolution) and ending on 3 May 1791. It reduced the powers of the nobility and gave some civil liberties – but it enraged Poland’s neighbours and led them to invade, resulting in the Second (1792) and Third (1795) Partitions of Poland which wiped it from the map.
  4. Which famous pianist and composer became the new Republic of Poland’s second Prime Minister for 10 months in 1919?
    Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Born in 1860 in Podolia in Russian Poland (now Ukraine), he was a brilliant pianist and something of a showman. He built up a considerable fortune and put this, his travels and his considerable charisma to the service of his country, representing Polish interests during the First World War, at the Versailles peace conference at its end and for three years afterwards at the League of Nations.
  5. Before becoming Pope, what was the name of John Paul II?
    Karol Józef Wojtyła. He succeeded John Paul I, who had been elected to the papacy in August 1978 after the death of Paul VI but died after just 33 days. On election he became the first non-Italian Pope since the death of Dutch-born Adrian VI in 1523.

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