Maria was born to Bronislawa and Vladislav Sklodowski in Poland (W in Polish is pronounced as a V). She had one brother called Jozef, and three sisters called Zosia, Bronya and Hela. Maria was the youngest. Her parents did not have a lot of money but her father was a scientist at the Lycée* of Warsaw and her mother was the headteacher of a girls’ school. Her family was Polish and lived in Warsaw, the capital city, but at this time in herstory, Poland was ruled by a powerful country with more money: Russia. Because they were Polish nationals living under the rule of another country, the family lost their money and status. Vladislav lost his job at the university and the Russians took away his rank as a professor because he was Polish.
The Russians also forced Bronislawa to stop her work as a teacher, so the two parents decided to start teaching their children at home. They began reading books on the weekend and practice science experiments with the laboratory equipment Vladislav had secretly taken from the university and hidden in the family home.