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Since the beginning of the transition to a primarily market-based economy that took place in the early 1990s, Poland has achieved a "very high" ranking on the Human Development Index, The origin of the name Poland derives from a West Slavic tribe of Polans (Polanie) that inhabited the Warta River basin of the historic Greater Poland region in the 8th century.
The origin of the name Polanie itself derives from the western Slavic word pole (field).
In some foreign languages such as Hungarian, Lithuanian, Persian and Turkish the exonym for Poland is Lechites (Lechici), which derives from the name of a semi-legendray ruler of Polans, Lech I.
Historians have postulated that throughout Late Antiquity, many distinct ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland.
The adoption of Christianity in Poland is seen by many Poles, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, as one of the most significant events in their country's history, as it was used to unify the tribes in the region.
situated between the Baltic Sea in the north and two mountain ranges (the Sudetes and Carpathian Mountains) in the south.
Bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine and Belarus to the east; and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) and Lithuania to the north.
The establishment of a Polish state can be traced back to 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of a territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity.
The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a 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.
The Commonwealth ceased to exist in the years 1772–95, when its territory was partitioned among Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria.
Poland regained its independence (as the Second Polish Republic) at the end of World War I, in 1918.