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Creation of Medieval Poland – Early History

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According to many scientists, the formation of the Slavic people took place in Poland. In the middle of the 6th century, the Gothic historian Jordan pointed out the location of the Slavs: “From the place of birth of the Vistula River, a populous tribe of Venets settled in immeasurable spaces”. In the “ Bavarian Geographer ” of the 9th century, among the tribes that lived north of the Danube are mentioned Lendzians, Slozians, and Wislens. In the middle reaches of the Warta, there was a clearing, from which the name of the nationality originated – the Poles. Here also lived Mazovshans, Kuyavians, or Goplyans. Pomeranian tribes lived in Pomerania.

The most developed connections with the outside world were the Vulians, whose main stronghold, Krakow, grew by the middle of the 10th century as a center for transit trade on the trade routes to Kiev and Prague. The largest cities in the 10th and early 11th centuries were Szczecin and Wolin, which were engaged in foreign trade. Gdansk was a relatively large city at the end of the 10th century. Neighboring communities – “opolya” could unite more than ten settlements. The assembly of men – ” veche ” supervised over the field. The center of the opolye was the fortification – the “ city ”. From the ranks of the elders came the rulers of the tribes, who were originally commanders, and later received the right to levy taxes on the population. Having a strong army, the princes of the glades kept the conquered tribes in obedience.

In the 870s, Great Moravia conquered the principality in the upper reaches of the Vistula. The Life of Methodius mentions the “prince sitting on the Vistula.” After the collapse of Great Moravia (906), the lands of Wieslian together with Silesia turned out to be dependent on the Czech Crown. In the 10th century, the Silesian tribes and the “grodas” of the Wyslyan became part of the Czech Crown. The earliest Polish chronicle of Galla Anonym of the beginning of the XII century contains a legend telling that after the expulsion of Prince Popel the new prince of the field was Zemovit , son of Piast.

Miezsko of the Piast Clan

The first historically authentic prince of the Polyan tribe was Mieszko of the Piast clan (died 992). During the reign of Mieszko, an extensive Polish state arose. Thanks to the conquests Mieszko doubled the territory of his possessions. First, he conquered Gdansk Pomerania, until 972 – Western Pomerania, then Silesia, and around 990 – the land of the Wieslian. According to the chronicler Nestor, in 981, the Grand Prince of Kiev Vladimir spoke out against the Poles, and occupied their cities, including Przemysl and Cherven.

According to the traveler Ibrahim ibn Yakub of the 10th century, Poland was the most extensive of the Slavic countries. In 965, Mieszko married the daughter of the Czech ruler Boleslav I – Dobravka. In 966, Christianity was adopted through the Czech Republic. Mieszko was probably baptized in Regensburg, whose jurisdiction extended to the Czech. Two years after the baptism of Mieszko, a bishopric was established in Poland. He paid tribute to the German emperor as his sovereign, and waged war with the Czech  (the result of which was the accession of Silesia to Poland). By his act of Dagome iudex, Mieszko gave the Polish state under the patronage of St. Peter (the Roman popes), for which the Poles had to pay the fathers a per capita tax – denarius of St. Peter. Breaking off good relations with the Przhemslovichs, Mieszko I initiated the feud between Poland and the Czech.


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