|Polish National Alliance
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THE POLISH NATIONAL ALLIANCE
A Brief History
The Polish National Alliance of the United States of North America, popularly known today as the PNA or the
Alliance, is the largest of all ethnically-based fraternal insurance benefit societies in this country. On December 31, 1996
the PNA counted 230,359 life insurance and 6,873 annuity holders in its ranks. Its members held a total of $721,660,990 of
insurance with the PNA. The PNA was licensed to do business in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The total assets of
the Polish National Alliance were $304,805,343.
According to data collected by the National Fraternal. Congress of its 105 member organizations, the PNA
was the 8th largest of all fraternals in membership, the 13th largest in assets, and the 18th largest in the total amount
of insurance it provided its members. By far the largest of all fraternal insurance benefit societies created by Americans
of Polish origins, the P. N A. has members in every state of the Union and possesses 916 local lodge groups that help it carry
out its mission.
The Polish National Alliance offers a full range of life insurance products to its members, including permanent
and term insurance, single premium insurance, and universal life insurance. The PNA also offers excellent annuity plans. At
the same time, the Alliance provides its members with a wide range of valuable fraternal benefits.
The PNA was formed in 1880 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Chicago, Illinois by emitter patriots, whose
aim was to unite the members of the Polish immigrant community in America of that time behind the twin causes of Poland's
independence and their own advancement into the mainstreams of American society. In 1881, the PNA set up its own newspaper,
Zgoda [Harmony] to promote its objectives to the larger community. In 1885, it established an insurance program for
the material benefit of all who wished to join the Alliance. And from the early 1890s onward, it created a variety of programs
aimed at enlightening the members of the Polish population in the United States about their heritage and their citizen rights
and obligations as Americans. To further advance these aims, the PNA established its own daily newspaper in Chicago, Dziennik
Zwiazkowy, known today as The Polish Daily News.
Early on, the PNA granted student loans and scholarships to deserving members so they might advance their
educational pursuits. In 1912 it founded its very own educational institution, Alliance College, in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.
Through its 75 years of operation, Alliance College received approximately $20 million of assistance from the PNA and graduated
more than five thousand students.
Since the closing of the school, the PNA's commitment to education has remained strong, for example, in the
past ten years alone, the Alliance has distributed more than $1.2 million in scholarships to meritorious college and post
graduate students who belong to the PNA, in order to help them achieve their academic goals.
In 1900, the PNA granted full membership rights to women interested in belonging to the Alliance. This action
took place fully twenty years before the passage of the 20th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to
vote and hold public office.
Throughout its history, the Polish National Alliance has taken an active part in the civic life of the United
States, by working on behalf of the well-being and advancement of the Polish immigrants to America, their offspring and descendants,
by encouraging that they become U.S. citizens, vote, and take active roles in this country's public affairs. It has encouraged
Polish people to build their social institutions, including parishes and schools, and to active support their further development.
Most of the monuments that celebrate the lives and achievements of the great American Revolutionary War patriots from Poland,
Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski, exist thanks to the leadership and support of the PNA and its members.
Throughout its history, the Polish National Alliance has been a staunch promoter of Poland's independence,
lost from 1795 to 1918. In World War I (1914-1918), the PNA worked closely with many other organizations to achieve this goal,
which was realized at the very end of that conflict. In World War II (1939-1945), the PNA again worked actively for Poland's
independence. When this goal was not fully realized, due to the country's occupation by the Soviet Union against its people's
will, the PNA and its members worked hard to persuade the leaders of the United States government of the justice of Poland's
restoration to freedom.
In 1944, the PNA had played a key role in forming the Polish American Congress, a nationwide ethnic federation,
to advance the cause of Poland's freedom. After the War and all through the next fifty years and more, the PNA has remained
a central force in the work of the Polish American Congress, a fact well recognized by the leaders of the democratic Polish
state, which was established in 1989 following the collapse of the communist dictatorship.
From the World War I era to the present, the Polish National Alliance and its members, together with the
entire Polish American community, have given generously to help meet the material and medical needs of Poland's people. This
aid has been estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition, the PNA helped thousands of refugees from
World War II devastated Poland in resettling here to build new lives for themselves and their children.
Today, the Polish National Alliance is proud of its record of serving the insurance needs of the more than
two million men, women and children who have been in its ranks since 1880. It is proud of its work on behalf of all Americans,
Polish and non-Polish alike, in promoting citizenship participation in the life of the United States. It is proud to promote
the enlightenment of its members and their fellow Americans about the heritage of Poland--through its biweekly publication,
Zgoda, its daily newspaper, Dziennik Zwiazkowy, its radio station in Chicago, WPNA, its two banks, its website,
its involvement in the Polish American Congress, the National Fraternal Congress and other organizations, and the benevolent
and charitable activities of its members throughout the country.
Clearly, the motto of the PNA, "In Unity there is Strength," fittingly characterizes the nearly 122-year-long
heritage that is the Polish National Alliance.
The Croatian language belongs to the South Slavic branch of Slavic
group of languages. It is the official language of Croatia. With its written standard developing in the 11th century
from a number of Croatian dialects, Croatian was one of the first languages that emancipated themselves from the common Slavic
4,800,000 in Croatia. 21,000,000 in all countries. Also in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Macedonia, Romania, Greece, Slovakia, Germany, Sweden, other countries.
For travelers, watching Croatia reopen its attractions to the world can be a memorable experience.
The country's hard-won independence from Yugoslavia and its escape from the cocoon of communism still seem fresh, and there
are lingering wounds to heal. But the conflict in Croatia has been over for years, and most of the war damage to Dubrovnik
and other cities has been repaired.
Every year, more and more visitors are vacationing in this friendly, picturesque country along the
Adriatic coast. Croatia has much to offer: good food, good wine, beautiful beaches, clean water, gorgeous scenery, historic
cities, charming villages, striking architecture, Roman ruins and well-preserved antiquities.
The lands that today comprise Croatia were part
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known
after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became a federal independent Communist state under the strong
hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic,
but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands. Under UN supervision, the
last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998.
Croatian cuisine is heterogeneous and is therefore known as the cuisine of regions, since every region has its own distinct
culinary traditions. Its modern roots date back to ancient periods and the differences in the selection of foodstuffs and
forms of cooking are most notable between those on the mainland and those in coastal regions. Mainland cuisine is more characterized
by the earlier Slavic and the more recent contacts with the more famous gastronomic orders of today - Hungarian, Viennese and Turkish - while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine - Italian and French.
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|Alive and well the Gypsy dance ... its rich, firery, romantic dance
History and Way of Life of Gypsies
As their name suggests, Gypsies were initially believed to have come from Egypt. The Gypsies' true ancestors, however,
were a group of people who left India between AD 800 and 950 (Gmelch 52). The best estimates have dated their earliest official
appearance in Europe, in modern-day Turkey, to around AD 855. However, it is always possible that there were Gypsies in Europe
before they received this official recognition (Clebert 54-55). By tracing the development of their dialect, a linguistic
mix referred to as Anglo-Romany, scholars have been able to trace the movement of the Gypsies throughout the entire European
continent. By the 1300's, their migration had entered southeastern Europe; by the 1400's, western Europe. Finally, in 1505,
the Gypsies reached the British Isles (Gmelch 52). Here is where we pick up their story. Because of their itinerant lifestyle,
the Gypsies of England played a unique role in both the economic sphere and the entertainment business of nineteenth-century
The Gypsies are a race of nomads. The Gypsies of nineteenth-century England travelled the countryside, carrying all their
belongings in covered wagons and pitching tents wherever they stopped. For Gypsies, travelling is not a pastime or leisure
activity, but a way of life. In fact, a common belief of the latter part of the nineteenth century suggested that the inclination
to travel, called "wanderlust," was a product of genetic determinants. This view was the basis for the claim that "it was
as natural for [the Gypsies] to move as it was for the majority of the population to stay in one place" (Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers"
15). Another argument of this time period was that itinerancy resulted from socialization to a travelling way of life. Therefore,
"being raised as a nomad and being accustomed to the rigors of travelling from an early age would undoubtedly have increased
the likelihood of inter-generational itinerancy" (Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers" 15-16). Whatever its source, the Gypsies' itinerant
lifestyle naturally made it necessary that their occupations involve mobility (Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers 16"). It was in the
economic sphere, then, that Gypsies interacted with settled society.
Both in the nineteenth century and today, Gypsies have played an important economic role in society. In nineteenth-century
England, they made their living primarily by hawking (selling small homemade goods) and tinkering (repairing pots and pans)
(Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers" 42). In this way, Gypsies filled the small-scale and irregular demands for goods and services
in the non-Gypsy population (Gmelch 52). Gypsies also met the high demand for seasonal employment on farms. During the late
summer and early fall, Gypsies harvested fruits and vegetables. This kind of employment was "plentiful, regular, and temporary"
(Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers" 32) and thus perfectly suited to the Gypsy lifestyle. They also followed a diverse number of other
trades, such as chair-bottoming, basket-making, rat-catching, wire-working, grinding, fiddling, selling fruit, fish, and earthenware,
and mending bellows (Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers" 42). However, the Gypsy lifestyle was not all work and no play.
Aside from these labor-oriented functions, another activity in which the Gypsies have participated is entertaining. They
danced, sang, and played musical instruments. However, the form of entertainment for which the Gypsies are perhaps the best
known is fortune-telling. Taking advantage of the superstitious belief that they possessed magical powers which enabled them
to see into the future (Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers" 49), Gypsy women sold fortunes at fairs and made considerable profits.
They read palms and tarot cards, and cast charms and spells. In nineteenth-century England, fortune-telling was the equivalent
of the modern-day horoscope (Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers" 50) and taken as seriously by many. Others who considered fortune-telling
foolish and unrealistic dismissed it as an easy way for the Gypsies to make money. However, fortune-telling was an important
part of Gypsy tradition. While there were undoubtedly many imposters, some Gypsy women firmly believed in their abilities
to see into the future (Mayall, "Gypsy-Travellers" 50). And, as Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald notes, "it must be remembered that
deceit and imposture alone would never have built up and supported a practice that has withstood the passage of centuries
and the constant attacks of progress. There must also be some truth" (126).
On the island of Ireland, most people consider themselves to be descended from a mixture of three broad groups: the prehistoric indigenous people(s) of the isles of which little is known (see Cruthin and Beaker culture); the successive waves of Celtic tribes from continental Europe who arrived between 600 BC and 150 BC . The last of these Celts to arrive in Ireland, the Gaels, were to become the most dominant; subsequent arrivals including Gallowglass Scots, Vikings, Normans, English and Lowland Scots.
The names the ancient peoples of Ireland (creators of the Ceide Fields and Newgrange) used for themselves are not known, nor are their language(s). As late as the middle centuries of the 1st millennium AD the inhabitants of Ireland did not appear to have a collective name for themselves. Ireland itself was known by a number
of different names – Banba, Fódla, Ériu by the islanders; Hibernia to the Romans; Ierne to the Greeks.
Likewise, the terms for people from Ireland – all from Roman sources – in the late Roman era were varied. They included Attacotti, Scoti, and Gael. This last word, derived from the Welsh gwyddell (meaning raiders), was eventually adopted by the Irish for themselves. However as a term it is on a par with
Viking, as it describes an activity (raiding, piracy) and its proponents, not their actual ethnic affiliations. The general term
Pretani (or the prefix prit-) was sometimes applied to all the indigenous inhabitants of of the British Isles by the Greeks. The equivalent Roman prefix for these celtic islands (which they called Britannias and Britanniae) was Brit- (with similar pronounciation to prit-), and is the historical origin of the words Briton and British in Old English. Somewhat ironically, the word British is now more commonly associated with predominantly Anglo-Saxon Great Britain than with its Celtic origins.
The term Irish and Ireland is derived from the Érainn, a people who once lived in what is now central and south Munster. Possibly their proximity to overseas trade with western Britain, Gaul and Hispania led to the name of this one people to be applied to the whole island and its inhabitants.
A variety of historical ethnic groups have inhabited the island, including the Airgialla, Fir Ol nEchmacht, Delbhna, Fir Bolg, Érainn, Eóganachta, Mairtine, Conmaicne, Soghain and Ulaid. However, as the earliest records demonstrate, people across the British Isles shared a similar language and culture. In most cases these divisions may have been more apparent than real. Doubtless in many cases the divisions were of
a purely dynastic or political dynamic.
The shared language and culture of these peoples is one that can be placed among the Celts and other European peoples. Recent Y-chromosome (male descent) DNA studies have shown that a very large majority of Irish men have Y-chromosomes genetically similar to those of other Europeans. These Y-chromosomes are putative European paleolithic Y-chromosomes, and occur all over Europe (about 80% of European men are now thought to have Y-chromosomes derived from the
paleolithic inhabitants of Europe), however they occur in particularly high concentrations in men from Ireland, certain parts of Wales and the Basque Country, and occur at relatively low concentrations in eastern Europe. This may indicate that neolithic and subsequent migrations did not have a large biological impact on Western European people. Y-chromosome analysis also seems to indicate that the Vikings that settled in Dublin came from Norway rather than Denmark . Mitochondrial DNA, or female descent shows part of their maternal ancestors to be of broad north European origin.
One legend states that the Irish were descended from "King Melesius", one of the Celtiberii. The character is almost certainly a mere personification of a supposed migration by Celts
from Hispania to Ireland, but it is supported by the fact that the Celtiberian language is more closely related to Insular Celtic than to any other Celtic language.
The Vikings were mainly Danes and Norwegians and despite their notorious reputation in Irish history, did not settle in particularly large numbers nor did they significantly alter the Irish polity. The arrival of the Normans brought Welsh, Flemish, Normans, Anglo-Saxons and Bretons, most of whom became assimilated into Irish culture and polity by the 15th century. The late medieval era saw Scots gallowglass families of mixed Gaelic-Norse-Pict descent settle, mainly in the north; due to similarities of language and culture they too were assimilated. The Plantations of Ireland and in particular the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century introduced great numbers of Scots, English as well as French Huguenots as colonists. Despite these divergent backgrounds most of their descendants consider themselves Irish – even where
they are aware of such ancestry – mainly due to their lengthy presence in Ireland. Samuel Thompson, the Bard of Carngranny,
expressed the position of eighteenth century loyalist Irish people of Scottish descent in the following verse: -
"I love my native land, no doubt, Attach'd to her thro' thick and thin, Yet tho' I'm Irish all without, I'm every item
Historically, religion, politics and ethnicity became intertwined in Ireland, with Protestants generally identifying as British and Irish and most Roman Catholics as exclusively Irish. This is less true today, although connections between ethnicity and religion can still be observed - especially in Northern Ireland.
It is thought that the majority of the Irish population is descended from the initial settlers who arrived after the end
of the last Ice Age.
In Northern Ireland about 53.1% of the population are Protestant (21.1% Presbyterian, 15.5% Church of Ireland, 3.6% Methodist, 6.1% Other Christian) whilst a large minority are Roman Catholic at approximately 43.8%, as of 2001.
After Ireland became subdued by England in 1603 the English – under James I of England (reigned 1603 – 1625), Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell (term 1653 – 1658), William III of England (reigned 1689 – 1702) and their successors – began the settling of Protestant English, and later Scottish colonists into Ireland, where they settled most heavily in the northern province of Ulster. However, they did not intermarry heavily or integrate with the native Irish like the Normans did centuries earlier.
Tens of thousands of native Irish were displaced during the 17th century Plantations of Ireland from parts of Ulster, and were replaced by English and Scottish planters. Only in the major part of Ulster did the plantations prove long-lived; the other three provinces (Connaught, Leinster, and Munster) remained heavily Catholic, and eventually, the Protestant populations of those three provinces would decrease drastically
as a result of the political developments in the early 20th century in Ireland.
It is predominately religion, history and political differences (Irish nationalism versus British unionism) that divide the two communities, as many of the Scotch-Irish settlers are in part of Celtic origin themselves and therefore related to their Irish Catholic neighbours.
Conversely, many Irish people would have at least some English (Anglo-Norman) or Scottish (gallowglass families from the Highlands) ancestry.
In 1921, with the formation of the Irish Free State, six counties in the northeast remained in the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland.
"Ulster-Irish" surnames tend to differ based on which community families originate from. Ulster Protestants tend to have
either English or Scottish surnames while Roman Catholics tend to have Irish surnames, although this is not always the case. There are many Catholics
in Northern Ireland with surnames such as Emerson, Whitson, Livingstone, Hardy, Tennyson, MacDonald, Dunbar, Groves, Legge,
Scott, Gray, Page, Stewart, Rowntree, Henderson, et al; almost certainly due to intermarriage. A report commissioned by the
Irish Department of Foreign Affairs states that:
The government of the Republic of Ireland notes that prejudice against the Irish is still found in some parts of the United
- The post-1945 Irish population has therefore been caught between these two images. On the one hand their migrant experience
and cultural difference has been denied because they are a ‘white’, ‘British Isles’ population group. On the other anti-Irish stereotypes persist in British society and have been fuelled by anti-IRA
fears over the last thirty years.
The Irish diaspora consists of Irish emigrants and their descendants in countries such as the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa and nations of the Caribbean. The diaspora contains over 80 million people; it is believed that roughly one third of the Presidents of the United States of America had at least some Irish descent, while Charles Carroll of Carrollton, whose Irish born grandfather Daniel had left Britain to escape Catholic persecution was the sole Catholic signatory of the American Declaration of Independence. 
There are also large Irish communities in some mainland European countries, notably in France and Germany, as well as Japan, Brazil and other South American countries. The classic image of an Irish immigrant is led occasionally by racist and anti-Catholic stereotypes. Irish Americans number around 40 million. They are the second largest ethnic group in the U.S., after German Americans. Large numbers of Irish people immigrated to Latin America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Their descendents include Che Guevara, Vicente Fox and Bernardo O'Higgins
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