The Polish Press Agency continues the work of the Polish Telegraphic Agency (PAT) established in 1918 by a group of Polish journalists who took over the two bureaus of the Vienna Correspondent Office in Cracow and Lvov (when Poland regained its independence in 1918  after 123 years of partitioning).

PAT was the Republic of Poland’s official press and information agency,

subordinated to the Polish government. With its headquarters in Warsaw, PAT opened its first news bureaus in Lublin and Łódź. In 1918, PAT started to cooperate with the Vienna Correspondent Office and Havas Agency in Paris.  Shortly after this, new polish offices were opened in Poznań, Bydgoszcz, Toruń, Gdańsk and Vilnius.

Having become an autonomous agency in 1921, PAT signed cooperation agreements with Havas Agency in Paris and Reuters in London, and opened  offices in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Kaliningrad and Moscow.

In 1924, PAT became a state company. A year later, it started to produce a PAT Film Weekly, later transformed into a PAT Weekly Newsreel, which to this day, continues to be a useful source of information on the inter-war years in Poland.

In 1932, PAT launched a radio-telegraphic service “Polpat” for foreign news PAT was the official press and information agency of the Republic of Poland agencies.

In 1939, after the outbreak of World War II, PAT followed the Polish government to Paris and later to London where it continued its service as the news agency of the Polish government-in-exile. After the war, PAT remained in Great Britain and continued as the information agency of the Polish government-in-exile publishing bulletins for Polish émigré community about the work of the Polish émigré authorities and the situation in Poland. Its last report was dated January 8, 1991.

Meanwhile in August 1944 Poland’s communist authorities established a Polish press agency called Polpress, which first had its headquarters in Lublin, later in Lodz and finally in Warsaw. Polpress did not last very long and on October 26, 1945 the Polish communist authorities established the Polish Press Agency PAP.

Many prize-winning reporters and correspondents have worked for PAP in its more than 60-year history.  One of the best known was Ryszard Kapuściński who worked for PAP between 1958 and 1972and later as a freelance reporter. In October 2009, a plaque honouring  Kapuściński was unveiled at the PAP headquaters in Warsaw. Engraved on the plaque are Kapuściński's words about press agency work: "Press agency journalism is pure slavery, no press or TV reporter knows the ordeals of writing for an agency". Kapuściński, often described as "the best writer among Polish reporters", travelled as a PAP journalist around the world and reported on several dozen wars, coups and revolutions in America, Asia, and Africa. Kapuściński's best-known book, "The Emperor", is a novel about the decline of Haile Selassie's regime in Ethiopia. "Shah of Shahs" about the last Shah of Iran and "Imperium" about the last days of the Soviet Union, all have enjoyed similar success. Kapuściński's books have been translated into many languages.

In the late 1980’s, following ‘The Round Table’ negotiations and the 4th of June 1989 first free elections in Poland after WWII, PAP was ready to change. Poland’s transformation paved the way for a symbolic merger with PAT, on February 27th 1991, PAT’s last Editor-in-Chief Ferdynand Pasiecznik presented copies of PAT news services to PAP President Ignacy Rutkiewicz. From that moment PAP was again a true continuator of PAT.

The organisational transformation was accompanied by a technological revolution. In 1993, PAP launched satellite transmission of its services. In 1996, it introduced the first professional editorial system Typlan, later replaced with Kwazar and in 2009 with Tryton.

With state-of-the-art news management systems,  PAP was prepared to manage and distribute text, images, graphics or other digital data and thus meet the demands of traditional customers (press, radio and TV) and electronic media.
In 2001, PAP joined the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) after incorporating the Central Photographic Agency (CAF).
In 2004, PAP moved to its own seat at 6/8 Bracka Street in Warsaw.

Since 1997 PAP has been a State Treasury company.