09 December-Lech Walesa

Lech Walesa is a native of Poland. He was a labour activist who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1983. Walesa helped found and lead Poland’s first independent trade union, Solidarity. In 1990 he became Poland’s first freely-elected head of state.

Lech Walesa (Wałęsa) was born in Popowo in north-central Poland on September 29th 1943. He served in the army and in 1967 was employed in the Gdansk shipyards as an electrician. In 1980 several workers at the shipyard were killed by police during a strike for better living standards. Walesa led the negotiations which ended in victory for the Solidarity Union.

Solidarity was banned in 1981 by the Polish authorities. In 1983 Lech Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Solidarity Union survived the ban and were the winners of the first free elections in 1989. In the following year Walesa was elected President of Poland.

Lech Walesa won Poland’s first direct free presidential election in the country’s history in the year 1990 On This Day.

Lech Walesa



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