State of Europe, bordering N. with Latvia, Lithuania, Germany (East Prussia) and the territory of Gdansk, to the west of which it flows briefly into the Baltic Sea; to O., also with Germany; to S., with Czechoslovakia and Romania; to E., with the USSR (Ukraine and White Russia).
According to indexdotcom, Poland essentially includes the extreme eastern edge of the lowland belt that surrounds central Europe to the north and the northern side of the northern Carpathians. The strip of lowlands widens as you proceed towards the E., to then merge with the immense lowlands of Eastern Europe. Region located, like Romania, on the so-called Pontic-Baltic isthmus, that bottleneck that Europe presents between the Baltic and Black Seas, on its territory runs the watershed between these two seas, the first of which goes the Vistula (in the whose basin lives the central nucleus of the Polish nation) and the Niemen, and to the second the Prypeć, tributary of the Dnepr, the Dnestr and the Prut, a tributary of the Danube. The watershed is largely flat and ill-defined, so that the succession of the lowlands of the one and the other side: and for this reason the external or internal borders of Poland have never been fixed on the watershed, which in every age has represented a wide and comfortable transit route between the West and the East. It should also be remembered that the prevailing longitudinal direction of the Polish rivers has facilitated communications between the Carpathian area and the Baltic, and between it and the Black Sea. Poland is therefore situated at the intersection of large natural traffic routes, and this certainly is one of the factors that most influenced its economic and political development.
The territory of the Polish Republic (Rzeczpospolita Polska) has almost the shape of a triangle, with almost equal sides (about 900 km in length), whose vertices are: to the South. the mountain massif of the Czarnohora, to the west the point where the Warta, a tributary of the Oder, enters Germany, and to N. that in which Dźwina (Daugava, western Dvina) enters Latvia. The perimeter of the borders of the republic has a development of 5534 km, of which 5394 are land (97.5%) and only 140 (2.5%) maritime. This perimeter includes an area of 388,390 sq km, 67% of which already belonged to Russia, 21% to Austria and 12% to Germany. By surface, Poland is the 6th of the European states, in decreasing order of size (after the USSR, France, Spain, Germany and Sweden; Finland has an almost equal area: 388,217 sq km), and its territory represents about 4% of that of Europe. The population in the 1931 census was 32,120,000 residents (82.2 per sq. Km.); a calculation for January 1934 gave 33,024,000. For absolute population, Poland is also in 6th place among the European states (after the USSR, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and France).
Natural borders Poland has only in N., the Baltic, and in S., the Carpazî, which over the centuries have represented the only stable frontier of the Polish horizon. The lack of physical borders at E. and O. is one of the major characteristics of Poland, a characteristic which, as will be seen later, has had considerable consequences both in the field of physical phenomena and in that of anthropic phenomena. Of the 5394 km. of land borders, 1912 (34.5%) are with Germany (and of these 607 with East Prussia), 984 (17.8%) with Czechoslovakia, 349 (6.3%) with Romania, 1412 (25.5%) with the USSR, 109 (20%) with Latvia, 507 (9.2%) with Lithuania, and 121 (2.2%) with the territory of the City free of Gdansk. Most of the borders are purely conventional: the border with Czechoslovakia, however, passes on the ridge of the Carpazî, and that with Romania is partially marked by the Dnestr. It should be noted that Poland has the greatest development of borders with its two most fearful neighbors, Germany and the USSR, and that moreover these borders do not rest on any natural obstacle, except for the large swampy areas along part of the eastern border.
The border with Germany was established by the Treaty of Versailles (28 June 1919), which left the determination of the southern border of East Prussia and the partition of Upper Silesia to the decisions of a plebiscite. The Masurians on 11 July 1920 voted mainly for Germany, which thus preserved the border it had in ancient times with Russia. The plebiscite in Upper Silesia took place on March 20, 1921, and gave Poland the southeastern part of the region.
The border with Czechoslovakia was defined by the Sèvres treaty of 10 August 1920; the possession of the Teśchen region (in Polish Cieszyn), which was already part of Austrian Silesia, gave rise to bloody conflicts between Poles and Czechoslovakians, mainly due to its economic importance: until an arbitration of 28 December 1920 awarded Poland the district of Bielsko and to Czechoslovakia that of Frýdek, and divided the districts of Fryštát and Teschen between the two states. The Treaty of Sèvres also defined the border with Romania. The border with the USSR was established by the Riga Treaty of 18 March 1921; with Latvia the border was defined by the delimitation protocol signed in Riga on 12 February 1929. Vilna (in Polish Wilno) and its territory, already occupied by Lithuania,
The extreme points of the Polish territory are: to the north 55 ° 51 ′ (Polish-Latvian border to N. of Brasław) and to the south 47 ° 44 ′ (Polish-Romanian border to SE of Burkut) of latitude N.; to the west 15 ° 47 ′ (Polish-German border to the West of Międzychód) and to the east 28 ° 22 ′ (Polish-Russian border to the South. of the Dźwina river) of longitude E.