Lech Walesa Fast Facts

Former Polish President and Nobel Peace Laureate Lech Walesa listens while speaking with journalists at his office on June 20, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland.

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


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 and Brygidka
        Military service: 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.


        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, 45 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 - Walesa is arrested. Martial law is imposed across the country.
        October 1982 - The Polish parliament passes an act dissolving all unions, including Solidarity.
        November 1982 - Walesa is released.
        July 1983 - Martial law is lifted.
        1987 - Walesa's book, "A Way of Hope," is published.
        November 1989 - Addresses a joint session of the US Congress.
        December 1990 - Is elected president 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 - Is again defeated in the presidential election.
        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.
        2009 - Sues Polish 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, US 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.
          July 8, 2017 - Is hospitalized with heart problems in Gdansk.