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Poland

The establishment of the Polish state can be traced to the 10th century, but it flourished after the long-established political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania brought about the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. With a uniquely liberal government for its time, Poland's cities grew wealthy on the economic strength of the Commonwealth's grain trade. Even earlier, the Teutonic Knights wrestled control of trade in the region by constructing a series of massive castle-monasteries down the Baltic coast, that is until in July 1410 they were defeated at the Battle of Tannenberg. Modern day Poland still encompasses much of its ancient geographical area bound by the Carpathian Mountains to the south and the biologically diverse Białowieża forest to the east.

 
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