About author
A historian, a writer, an authority on Central and Eastern Europe, a music buff, a collector, a true Renaissance Man - Prof. Norman Davies is an outstanding academic respected worldwide for his many books about history. He is also an organiser and a participant of many initiatives and debates, often addressing the most critical questions affecting today’s world. At the same time he is a very warm and approachable person. Want to know more? Watch this space!

Prof. Norman Davies has received many prestigious honours for his academic work, including honorary doctorates and honorary citizenships. In particular, he has received state honours from Queen Elizabeth II and the President of Poland. However he is also much respected for his active and long-standing involvement in diverse projects or initiatives which extend considerably beyond the confines of formal academia.

Books are not everything - there are now many different ways in which knowledge can and should be imparted, thereby creating a rich collection of complementary sources. We therefore invite you to visit our ever expanding multimedia library of highly interesting films, pictures, and articles.

Pictures have become an integral part of the way we document our history - for ourselves, for others, for posterity, or simply out of pure enjoyment. This website shows the book covers of Norman Davies’s published works, but also some of the most interesting photographs from his private albums. 

History is, of course, Norman Davies’s foremost passion, but he has always pursued other interests with equal energy, particularly artistic and musical ones. He is a true Renaissance Man: in his free time he enjoys collecting  old postcards, reads poetry (especially that of Dante Alighieri), likes to relax by playing the accordion, avidly watches snooker games (his father, Richard Davies, was a particularly gifted amateur player who won numerous prizes), and he is an ardent, lifelong supporter of Bolton Wanderers football team. His frequent travels around the world, as an author and an academic, provide him with the opportunity to discover more for himself about the people and places he visits. 

Very often we ourselves are the best biographers, and our most honest critics – are those closest to us. Prof. Davies’s family and friends are an important part of his life. So we let them speak freely and candidly about him in the book  "70. A Birthday Book for Norman Davies".



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 2014 - Polish citizenship for Norman Davies

On 4 July 2014, Professor Norman Davies received from President Bronisław Komorowski an act granting him the Polish citizenship. The ceremony took place at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw.


You’re an unusual Pole. I'm glad that I can grant you the Polish citizenship, the citizenship of a country that with difficulty overcame a system separating us from the Western world, that for 25 years has consistently been trying to establish severed, strained ties linking us with the Western world” – said President Komorowski during Friday’s ceremony at the Belvedere.


2013 - Erasmus Medal - Poland


Academia Europaea is an international, non-governmental association located in Great Britain, with over 2000 individual scientists and scholars from various countries, including 50 Poles. Most of European Nobel Prize winners are members of the AE. Its aim is to promote learning, education and international interdisciplinary research. It is Wroclaw to be place for scholars from all over the continent to celebrate Academia’s 25th jubilee and discuss the future of European science.

During the annual members’ conference the 2013 Erasmus Medal was awarded. This premiere honour is sponsored by the Heinz-Nixdorf Stiftung and given to renowned scholars whose works, in the view of the Accademy Council, represent a significant contribution to European culture and scientific achievement. Traditionally Erasmus lecture is an important point of the opening Cremony of the annual conference. This year the Erasmus Medal has been awarded to professor Norman Davies. He dedicated his lecture to the capital of Lower Silesia, mentioning changes which had influenced the city through centuries.

The Academia Europaea’s conference in Wroclaw took place from 16 to 19thSeptember 2013.


2013 – National Geographic flag – Poland


In 2013, on the 125th anniversary of creating the National Geographic Society, Polish publishers of this renowned natural science magazine decided to award exceptional and accomplished Poles with the replica of its famous flag. One of the first prize-winners  and in the same time the only foreigner among them was Norman Davies.

- In case of professor Davies we wanted to show appreciation for promoting our country abroad as well as the fact that he is able to explain our history in a way that is both understandable and presented from certain distance, that we, as a nation, lack. The Professor is the only foreigner among people who are awarded with the flag. – says Martyna Wojciechowska, main editor of National Geographic Poland.

The National Geographic Society was founded in 1888 in Washington. Its main mission is to popularise geographical knowledge through financial support and promoting expeditions and scientific research. 25 years after the foundation of the Society its members decided to design a  special three-coloured  flag. Its colours: blue, brown and green symbolise the established areas of research that is sky, ground and oceans respectively. The National Geographic Society’s flag has accompanied, among others, the discoverers of Machu Picchu, the ancient city of the Inkas, the conquerors of Mount Everest, as well as the first people to land on the moon in 1969. 

                                                                                                                                                           photo by: Stanisław Rozpędzik / PAP

2012 - Order of the White Eagle - Poland


On 11th November of 2012, during the National Independence Day celebrations, president Bronisław Komorowski handed  the Order of the White Eagle to Norman Davies. The Professor was awarded for his unique service to the Republic of Poland, in particular for popularising knowledge about Poland and its culture, shaping a positive image of Poland in Europe and  the world and his support of the process of democratisation of Poland.


During the decoration president Komorowski justified bestowing Norman Davies with the Order in the following way:


- There is nothing better for Polish people than to know how others perceive us, how they look upon us and judge us, because we are an ambitious nation and want to look our best, both in our own eyes and in the eyes of others. He added that professor not only tells the difficult history of Poland in a unique way, but also teaches us to appreciate our own independence and merits.


The Order of the White Eagle is the most important Polish national medal. It was established in 1705 by the king August II. Despite the difficult history of Polnad, this medal has been present in the Polish public arena for the last 300 years. It is bestowed on people of outstanding merit for Poland, both in civil and in military service. Among the people honoured with it there are not only great Poles, but also highest ranking members of foreign countries as well as people whose work and service were of utmost importance for Polish development. The Order is given by the chapter of the Order of the White Eagle, consisting of the outstanding statesmen and the incumbent president of the Republic of Poland.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                                                               photo by: Jacek Turczyk / PAP

23th May 2012 – Norman Davies Day in Houston - USA


Annise D. Parker, the president of Houston city, proclaimed 23th of May, 2012 Norman Davies Day.


Norman Davies visited Houston on his around-the-world journey, during which he lectured on Polish history on various continents. President Parker, Houston residents and the Polish community living in Texas decided to honour Norman Davies for his relentless efforts in popularising Polish history in the world as well as his contribution to documentation of general world history.


2012 – Aleksander Gieysztor’s Award (Kronenberg’s Foundation) – Poland


In February 2012 Norman Davies received Aleksander Gieysztor’s Award, given to him for his work as a whole and promoting Polish cultural heritage in the world. During the official gala, Sławomir S. Sikora, the CEO of City Handlowy bank, emphasised the professor’s numerous merits in popularizing not only the history and culture of Poland, but also of Middle and Eastern Europe as a whole. Many years of professor Davies’ hard work as well as his well-recognized books made this region – so far omitted in world’s historiography – be recongnized as a crucial part of the Old Continent’s culture.


Aleksander Gieysztor was a world famous historian of Middle Ages and was actively engaged in rebuilding of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The award of his name was established after his death, as a way of honouring his outstanding contribution to protecting Polish cultural heritage. This honourable award is bestowed on people who work to protect Polish culture and is founded by the Leopold Kronenberg Bank Foundation operating within the structures of City Handlowy bank.                                                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                                                 photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / PAP


2012 – Forbes Milestones – Poland


In January 2012, Polish editors of Forbes, the renowned business magazine, initiated a new event in the social life of Warsaw – the Forbes Great Ball. It is a chance for celebrities and business rivals to get together and also to summarise past year.


Handing out the first Forbes Milestone was a crowning event of last year and in the same time beginning of new business ventures. The aim of the award is to honour greatest Polish achievements and people who the greatest influence on Polish public opinion. Professor Norman Davies was among the people awarded with it for his contribution to creating a positive image of Poland abroad. “I’m promoting a Poland of the 20th, 19th and 18th centuries, but in the 21st century Poles are able to promote themselves,” said a deeply-moved Norman Davies upon receiving the award.


2011- The Learned Society of Wales – Great Britain


Outstanding Welshman, Norman Davies, became the member of The Learned Society of Wales in 2011.


The Learned Society of Wales (in Welsh: Cymdeithas Ddysgedig Cymru) the first scientific society in the history of this country was founded by group of eminent Welsh scientists in the middle of 2010 in Cardiff. The society aims to promote the greatest achievements of Welsh science, present and emphasise the role of Wales as a separate country and create a lasting relationship between science, economics and political elites of this region.


2009 – honorary medal "Bene Merito” - Poland


Professor Norman Davies received the medal "Bene Merito” from foreign affairs minister Radosław Sikorski on February 26th 2010 during an official ceremony in London. The award is is a civil decoration given to Polish and foreign citizens for strengthening the position of Poland in the international arena. Professor Davies was awarded for his outstanding contribution to popularising Polish and European history.


2008 – Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana - Estonia


Norman Davies received the Order of the Cross of Terra Marianna in recognition of  his outstanding contribution to the independence of Estonia. The order was established in 1995 as a way of celebrating the regaining of independence of the Republic of Estonia. The Order is given by the president of Estonia and is granted only to foreigners.


2006 – Kazimierz Pułaski’s Award – Knight of Freedom – Poland.


The award is given by the Kazimierz Pułaski’s Foundation for promoting the values which led the general of The Bar Confederation: freedom, justice and democracy. In laudation for professor Norman Davies professor Stefan Meller, the then foreign affairs minister, emphasised the involvement of prof. Davies in promoting Poland in the world through thorough and active presentation of its history.


Among people who were awarded with the "Knight of Freedom” are: professor Władysław Bartoszewski, Aleksander Milinkiewicz, president Lech Wałęsa, president Aleksander Kwaśniewski, president Valdas Adamkus, Javier Solana and Bernard Kouchner, among others. The award has the form of handmade replica of officers’ sabre from 17th century, the same that was carried by Kazimierz Pułaski himself.


2005- Gold Medal "Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis” – Poland


The medal is bestowed on people who distinguish themselves in artistic creation, cultural acitivity or protecting culture and national heritage. Norman Davies was awarded the highest category of the medal by then minister of culture Waldemar Dąbrowski. As the prizewinner said during the official gala, Polish culture was always most important for him.



2005 – Order of St. Stanislaus – Poland


In the 1970’s the representatives of Polish emigrants in Great Britain decided to reconstitute the Order of St. Stanislaus. The contemporary knights and dames of the order are people who are not only particularly sensitive to the suffering of others, but also full of empathy and other virtues.


The origins of the order date back to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, when Stanisław August Poniatowski, king of Poland, established the Order of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr. Since 1765 the order has been given during May celebrations of St. Stanislaus to those citizens who pleaded for the poor and unprivileged.


2005 – Honorary member of the ZPW (Association of Insurgents of Warsaw Uprising) – Poland


Norman Davies received honorary membership of ZPW for his considerable input into popularizing knowledge of the Warsaw Uprising. During the ceremony Polish prime minister Marian Belka emphasised  professor Davies’s merits and called him "members of Polish community and its most important ambassador”.


- I’ve never been a soldier, but I know that if I had been in Warsaw during II World War, I would fight in Szare Szeregi (Grey Ranks), therefore this title is so meaningful for me – said Norman Davies upon receiving the prize.


ZPW is an organization devoted to researching and commemorating the Warsaw Uprising as well as strengthening the bonds between combatants and their families.


2001- Order of St. Michael and St. George – Great Britain


The Order of St. Michael and St. George is handed out during an official ceremony by Queen Elizabeth II for unique accomplishments and great services abroad for Great Britain. Every person appointed for the order – Companion, Knight or Dame – is a person of immaculate reputation and important accomplishments in the international arena.


Order of St. Michael and St. George was established by Prince Regent George (later king of United Kingdom and Hanover, George IV). At the beginning it was meant as a badge for outstanding citizens of Ionian Islands and Malta, when those isles became a strategic part of United Kingdom during Napoleonic Wars. In 19th century, as the British Empire developed, the Order began to be bestowed also on people who distinguished themselves with the immaculate service in British dominions and colonies and (in time) in foreign affairs.


1999 – The Polish Academy of Learning


Norman Davies is a regular member of History and Philosophy Department of PAU.


The Polish Academy of Learning is an institution with many years of tradition. It was created in 1872 as a so-called scientific corporation – the institution gathering the most outstanding scientists. Even though historically it was connected to Cracow and former Austrian annexation, it soon became nationwide, gathering researches from all the Polish lands and many other countries. Nowadays it consists of 6 departments devoted to different scientific disciplines.  Members of each of the departments meet regularly in order to listen to lectures and discuss matters important for the development of particular discipline.

1998 – Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland


By the decree of president Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Norman Davies was honoured with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland on December the 22nd 1998 in recognition of his "unique merits for Poland, popularizing Polish history and culture”.


In the 1990’s this order replaced the earlier Order of Merit of the People’s Republic of Poland, that was awarded to foreigners and Poles living abroad. The Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland is awarded to foreigners and Polish citizens permanently living abroad, who by their work and actions contribute to international cooperation and actively support building good rapport between Poland and other countries.


1997 – The British Academy


The British Academy is a nationwide scientific institution operating in Great Britain, gathering over 900 of the most prominent British scientists dealing with social and humanistic science. It was created in 1902 and since then it functions as independent organisation.


The British Academy’s mission is to inspire and support the best achievements in humanistic and social sciences. As a scientific institution through system of grants and scientific scholarships it enables conducting costly scientific research. Being chosen for a member of the Academy is considered the greatest honour for British scientists and recognition of their scientific merits.


Professor Davies became a member of the British Academy in 1997.


1995 – Medal Polonia Mater Nostra Est- Polska


1995 – Order of Polonia Mater Nostra Est (in Latin Poland is our mother) is a decoration conferred to both Polish people and foreigners for exceptional service to Poland and Polish nation. It was established in 1995 by Social Foundation of Polish Nation. Among the people awarded with the order there are: Wanda Tazbir, Bernard Ładysz, Henryk Strzelecki, Swedish Red Cross, among others. Professor Davies was honoured with the order in 1995 – the first year of the existence of this award.


1984 – Order of Rebirth of Poland (Polonia Restituta) – Poland


In 1984 Edward Raczyński, the president-in-exile of the Republic of Poland honoured Norman Davies with the Order of Polonia Restituta with due ceremony in recognition of his unfailing effort in researching Polish history.


Order of Polonia Restituta is the second most important (following the Order of the White Eagle) Polish decoration. It was established by the Polish Seym during the interwar years and is conferred to people with particular merits in one of the following areas: education, science, sport, economy, defence, social activity, government service or development of positive international relations.

Honorary citizen of Cracow, Warsaw, Lublin and Wroclaw.

Honorary doctorates from the universities:  the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, the University of Gdansk, the University of Wroclaw, the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin and  University of Sussex.