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Historically, poland has had to struggle to maintain its independence from its more aggressive neighbors. After World War II, Poland became a member of the Soviet bloc; but the Solidarity movement, which gained momentum throughout the 1980s, led to a resurgence of nationalism. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Poland instituted major political reforms. Poland's market economy is still evolving. A per capita income of $12,700 places Poland 73rd among world incomes. Unemployment is high at 18.3 percent, and 17 percent of the population live below the poverty line. The United Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports rank Poland 36th among nations of the world on overall quality-of-life issues.

Bordering on the Baltic Sea, Poland has 304 miles (491 kilometers) of coastline. The temperate climate ...

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