Although he had a German heritage, Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Poland. Torun, the city in which he was born, had become an official part of Poland by the time of his birth. However, German was his primary language.
Copernicus's uncle was a bishop who assumed responsibility for him after his father died. The same uncle helped Copernicus obtain a position as a canon when he finished studying painting and mathematics at university. In 1496, he moved to Italy where he studied law and medicine. He did not introduce his idea of a sun-based solar system until 1508. Contrary to popular belief, he was not the first person to do so.