Lech Walesa Fast Facts

Here's a look at the life of Lech Walesa, former president of Poland.

Personal:
Birth date:
September 29, 1943

Birth place: Popowo, Poland

Father: Boleslaw Walesa, carpenter

Mother: Felicja (Kaminski) Walesa

Marriage: Miroslawa "Danuta" (Golos) Walesa (1969-present)

Children: Bogdan, Slawek, Przemek, Jarek, Magdalena, Ania, Maria Wiktoria, Brygidka

    Military service: Polish Army, Corporal, 1965-1967

    Religion: Roman Catholic

    Other Facts:
    His father was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.

    Sent his wife to accept his Nobel Prize, as he feared he would not be allowed to return to Poland.

    Timeline:
    1961-1965 -
    Works as a car mechanic.

    1965-1967 - Serves in the Polish Army.

    1967 - Begins working as an electrician at the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk.

    1970 - During strikes protesting the rise of food prices, forty-five shipyard workers are killed. Walesa is one of the leaders of the strike.

    1976 - Is fired for his political activities.

    1978 - Works with other activists to form free trade unions.

    August 1980 - Leads a strike in the Gdansk shipyard, which spreads across the country. The workers win the right to organize their own union.

    September 1980 - The independent trade union Solidarity is formed.

    January 1981 - Meets with Pope John Paul II.

    December 1981 - Is arrested. Martial law is imposed across the country.

    October 1982 - The Polish parliament passes an act dissolving all unions, including Solidarity.

    November 1982 - Is released.

    July 1983 - Martial law is lifted.

    October 1983 - Is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    1987 - Walesa's book "A Way of Hope" is released.

    November 1989 - Addresses a joint session of the United States Congress.

    December 1990 - Is elected president of the Republic of Poland.

    1991 - Walesa's autobiography "The Struggle and The Triumph" is published.

    1995 - Founds the Lech Walesa Institute.

    November 1995 - Is defeated in the presidential election.

    2000 - Loses race for the Polish presidency, receiving only 1.1% of the vote.

    August 2006 - Announces he has quit Solidarity as he opposes the union's support of Poland's current leadership.

    February 2008 - Is implanted with a pacemaker at a hospital in Houston, Texas.

    2009 - Sues President Lech Kaczynski for libel, because of Kaczynski's comments that Walesa was a spy in the 1970s. Kaczynski is killed in a plane crash in April 2010.

    July 2012 - At Walesa's invitation, U.S. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney travels to Poland. Walesa wishes Romney success in the election.

    March 2013 - Tells a television reporter that as a minority, gay people have no right to prominent positions in politics, and should sit toward the rear of parliament or even "behind a wall." He later refuses to apologize.