In the 7th and 8th centuries Slavic peoples first settled on the forest covered plains between the Odra and Vistula rivers. Poland takes its name from the Polanie (‘plain dwellers’), whose ruler Mieszko I, first in line of the Piast dynasty, founded the Polish state in 966. Christianity came via Bohemia and Moravia to the Kraków region, and in 991 Mieszko I placed Poland under the Holy Roman See. His son and heir, Boleslaw I the Brave (ruled 992–1025) continued his father’s territorial expansionism until Poland’s boundaries were much as they are today. He established an independent Polish Catholic Church in the year 1000 and was officially crowned the first king of Poland in 1024 with the support of Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. The growing power of the church stimulated economic activity ranging from the manufacture of parchment and glass to building and painting.
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