National Geographic : 1988 Jan
X Mining area Centers of the Roman CatholicChurch in Poland n World War II death camp NGSCARTOGRAPHIC DIVISION DESIGN:BOB PRATT RESEARCH:DAVIDMILLER PRODUCTION: RAMSEYMURRAY,ISKANDARBADAY MAPEDITOR:GUSPLATIS POLAND AREA: 120,725 sq mi (312,677 sq km). POPULATION: 37.3 million. CAPITAL: Warsaw, pop. 1,659,400. ECONOMY: Industries: iron and steel, shipbuilding, textiles, mining of coal, copper, zinc, and lead. Ag riculture: potatoes, sugar beets, rye. POLAND DERIVES its name from the Polanie, or "plains people," a Slavic group that settled in north ern Europe before the birth of Christ. With few natural obstacles to invasion from east or west, Poland has often suffered from the ambitions of neighboring coun tries. The 1795 partition of Poland among Russia, Prussia, and Aus tria wiped the nation from the map. It reappeared as a sovereign state only in 1918, at the end of World War I. The German invasion of Poland in 1939 sparked the beginning of World War II, during which Poland was overrun again, first by Germans, then by the Soviets. Following the war, Stalin moved Poland westward by placing more than 50,000 square miles of east ern German territory under Polish rule and annexing 100,000 square miles of eastern Poland to the U.S.S.R. The movement of millions of people to Poland from the prov inces swallowed by the Soviets and the displacement of German populations from their homes into occupied Germany constituted one of the most disruptive migra tions in postwar Europe.