Born on 29 September 1943 in Popowo, Region of Dobrzyn, in the family of a small farmer. For seven years he attended the primary school in Chalin, and then the agricultural engineering class of the Vocational Trade School in Lipno which he completed three years later and started working as an electrician in the State Machinery Centre in Lochocin. After nearly two years he was called up to the army where he did his military service in Koszalin, and after basic training was directed to the N.C.O.s School in Swiecie. Having completed the school he was sent back to his home unit and was discharged from the army as Corporal. Returned to work in the State Machinery Centre.
On 30 May 1967, he started working at the Gdansk Shipyard as a ship electrician. After December 1970, when he was recognised as a promising activist, he became the occupational safety supervisor on behalf of the trade unions in his department. He was fired for having delivered an unwelcomes speech in April 1976. Then became an opposition activist. Frequently changed jobs gaining increasing popularity as a social activist and was arrested several times. In 1980 he led the strike in the Gdansk Shipyard. On 31 August, he signed the agreement between the Inter-Establishment Strike Committee with the Government Commission. During 1980-1981, for 16 months was the head of the Independent Self-Governed "Solidarity" Trade Union. Attempted to sustain permanent talks with the government in order to alleviate the rising social tension.
After the imposition of the martial law on 13 December 1981, he was kept in seclusion in government villas. On 26 January 1982 he was handed in the decision on his internment dated 13 December 1981. Remained in isolation in a government centre in Arlamowo. On 15 November he returned to Gdansk, and on 22 November he met Cardinal Glemp. He was called on in Gdansk by representatives of western countries. In 1983, was awarded the Peace Nobel Prize. On 9 December 1990 was elected President of the Republic of Poland in general elections and acceded to the highest office on 23 December. After a five-year term of office, he lost to Aleksander Kwasniewski in the second general presidential elections.