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The Little Poland in France

The Polish community in France, a country that has long been a Polish ally, is one of the oldest in Europe and has nearly 800,000 residents.

A large number of Poles, about 100,000, settled in France at the beginning of the 19th century during the rule of the Emperor Napoleon I. Many of them fought in the French army during the Napoleonic Wars. They believed that Napoleon Bonaparte would help to free Poland from Russian rule and establish an independent Polish Kingdom.

The next wave of Poles settled during the Great Emigration between 1831 and 1870; the result of an exile of political elites from the Partition of Poland that divided its territories between the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Austria.

There were few major waves of Polish emigration into France during the 20th century. After World War I, many Polish workers settled in France due to the hard economic situation in the newly established Republic of Poland.

When World War II began in 1939 Polish refugees fled Nazi and Soviet occupation forming the Polish resistance movement in France. When the Communists took power in Poland after the war, a new wave of emigrants left Poland looking for a place to live outside Communist rule.

The last great wave of emigration took place when Poland joined the Eurepean Union.

 

Przemysław Kozłowski

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