Dissatisfaction with the process of Christianization, which had started after the baptism of Poland in 966, was one of the factors that led to the uprising. The Roman Catholic Church in Poland sustained substantial losses, with many churches and monasteries destroyed, and priests killed. The spread of the new Christian religion had been coupled with growth of the territories and central power of the king. In addition to anti-Christian sentiments, the rebellion showed elements of a peasant uprising against landowners and feudalism. Also present was a struggle for power between the king and some of the nobility. Anita Prazmowska notes, "Historians have concluded that in effect two overlapping revolutions had taken place simultaneously: a political and a pagan revolution."
The pagan reaction and related uprisings and rebellions of the time, coupled with foreign raids and invasions, threw the young Polish realm into chaos. Among the most devastating of the foreign contributions was a raid by Duke Bretislaus I of Bohemia in 1039, which pillaged Poland's first capital, Gniezno. According to some historians, the 1030s pagan uprising marks the end of the earliest period of Polish history, under the "First Piast Monarchy".