a country in central Europe, east of Germany and west of Belarus. Population: 38,634,000 (2001). Capital: Warsaw. Poland was an important European power between the 14th and 17th centuries. After World War II, Poland became a Communist country, and its government was strongly influenced by the former Soviet Union. It is now ademocracy. Poland's main industries traditionally include coal, shipbuilding, and farming. People from Poland are calledPoles. Poland became a member of the EU in 2004.