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maanantai 20. maaliskuuta 2017

Czech Republic, Cool Facts #172

<= 171. Slovakia                                                                                                             173. Poland => 

1. Ancient Regions of Czechia 

The contemporary Czechia has been traditionally divided into three lands:

Bohemia: first a duchy of Great Moravia, then an independent principality, a kingdom in Holy Roman Empire and after that part of Habsburg Monarchy and Austrian Empire before World War I.

Moravia: a crown land of the Lands of the Bohemia Crown (1348-1918), an imperial state of the Holy Roman Empire (1004-1806), crown land of Austrian Empire (1804-1867) and one of 17 former crown lands of the Cisleithanian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918).

Czech Silesia: most of the historical Silesia is located in Poland nowadays. Along the history, Silesia has been part of Greater Moravia, Bohemia, early Polish state, Holy Roman Empire, Habsburg Monarchy, Prussia, German Empire, Weimar Republic, Czechoslovakia and Nazi Germany.

Czech lands

2. Old Church Slavonic

Great Moravia was Christianized in the 800s and the Saints Cyril and Methodius played a crucial role in this process. Brothers Cyril and Methodius were Byzantine Christian theologians and Christian missionaries. They are credited for creating the Glagolitic alphabet, which was used in Old Church Slavonic.

The brothers created Old Church Slavonic, which allegedly is based on the Slavic dialects spoken in the hinterlands of their hometown Thessaloniki. Cyril and Methodius translated Ancient Greek ecclesiastical texts into Old Church Slavonic as part of the Christianization of the Slavs.

Cyrcil and Methodius, painting by Jan Matejko, 1885
Baška tablet, an example of Glagolitic text

3. Kingdom of Bohemia

The Kingdom of Bohemia is the predecessor of the Czech state.


Duchy of Bohemia 
870 Duchy of Bohemia was established
900s Duke of Bohemia conquered Moravia, Silesia and expanded further to the east

Kingdom of Bohemia 1198-1918 
1198-1806 Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire
1526-1804 Crown Land of the Habsburg Empire
1806-1867 Part of Austrian Empire
1867-1918 Cisleithanian part of Austria-Hungary

Events in the history 

Thirty Years' War 1618-1648 
The Thirty Years' War was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in the European history. With its eight million casualties it's the deadliest European religious war.

The war started from Bohemia, where the new Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II banned Protestantism as he himself was a devoted Catholic. Bohemians revolted and a series of events led most of the European great powers to get involved in the war. Protestants and Catholics fought against each other in alliances.

Famine and diseases devastated entire regions during the war. Most of the combatant countries were also bankrupted due to the war. The war ended in the treaties of Osnabrück and Münster, part of the wider Peace of Westphalia. The war altered the previous political order of Europe as Bourbon France, Sweden and the Netherlands all became more powerful than before the war.

Map of the Thirty Years' War

4. Czech Golden Age 

The 14th century and especially the reign of the Bohemian king Charles IV (1316-1378) is considered the Golden Age of Czech history.

Here is a list of important things that happened in the 14th century: 

- In 1346 Charles IV became the King of the Romans
- In 1348 Charles University in Prague was established
- In 1354 Charles IV became King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor
- Most of Prague Castle and the cathedral of Saint Vitus were completed
- Charles IV united Brandenburg (until 1415), Lusatia (until 1635) and Silesia (until 1742) under Bohemian rule

Charles IV
The Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Charles IV

5. Hussite Wars 1419-1434

Jan Hus 1369-1415
Jan Hus was a religious and social reformer, who was named a heretic and burnt in Constance. Later the Hussite reform movement was named after him.

Hussite Wars 1419-1434
After the death of Jan Hus, his followers (known as Hussites) rebelled against their Roman Catholic rulers and managed to defeat five consecutive papal crusades between 1419-1434, in what became known as the Hussite Wars.

Legacy of Jan Hus
One century later 90% of inhabitants of the Czech lands were Hussites. Hus's thoughts inspired on the later emerging Lutheranism and Luther considered himself as Hus' direct successor and said "we are all Hussites, without having been aware of it".

Jan Hus at the Council of Constance
Burning of Jan Hus in Constance
Jan Žižka with a Hussite priest looking over Prague after the Battle of Vítkov Hill


631-658 The Frankish merchant Samo established the first known Slav state in Central Europe, the Samo's Empire
833 The Principality of Great Moravia was established by Mojmir I
870 Duchy of Bohemia was established
900s Duke of Bohemia, Boleslaus I, conquered Moravia, Silesia and expanded further to the east
1198 Kingdom of Bohemia was established, it was an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire
1235 The Mongols launched an invasion of Europe raiding in Moravia as well
1278 King Přemysl Otakar II died in the Battle on the Marchfeld, he had managed to acquire Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola spreading the territory to the Adriatic Sea
1300 Otakar's son Wenceslaus II acquired the Polish crown for himself and the Hungarian crown for his son 
1346 Bohemia king Charles IV became the King of the Romans and in 1354 both King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor
1347-1352 Black death raged in Europe
1415 Jan Hus, the religious and social reformer was named a heretic and burnt in Constance 
1419-1434 Hussite wars, followers of Jan Hus defeated the five crusades organized against them by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund because Bohemia had seceded from the Catholic Church
1526 Bohemia came increasingly under Habsburg control
1618 Ferdinand II prohibited Protestantism, which led the Hussite Czechs to revolt against Catholic king and chose their own king, all the events led to the Thirty Years' War that involved several great powers of Europe
1627 The Habsburgs became the hereditary rulers of Bohemia
1663 Ottoman Turks and Tatars invaded Moravia
1679-1680 A devastating plague and an uprising of serfs occurred in the Czech lands
1740 Most of Silesia was seized by King Frederick II of Prussia in the Silesian Wars
1757 Battle of Prague, the Prussians invaded Bohemia and damaged Prague a lot
1770-1771 Great Famine killed about 10% of the Czech population causing peasant uprisings
1781 and 1848 Serfdom was abolished in two steps
1806 After the end of the Holy Roman Empire the Bohemian lands became part of the Austrian Empire and later of Austria-Hungary
1848 Revolution in Prague demanded liberal reforms and autonomy within the Austrian Empire, but the revolution was suppressed
1866 Austria was defeated in the Austro-Prussian War
1905 Prague pacifist Bertha von Sutner was awarded Nobel Peace Price
1918 The Habsburg Empire collapsed after the First World War and the independent Czechoslovakia was established
1938 Munich Agreement, the largely German speaking Sudetenland was ceded to Hitler's Germany in negotiations where Czechoslovakia wasn't invited
1939 Slovakia seceded from Czechoslovakia and allied with Hitle's coalition
1945 German occupation ended with the arrival of Soviet and US armies
1945-1946 Almost the entire German speaking people minority, about 3 million people, were expelled from Czechoslovakia to Germany and Austria
1946 The Communists became the biggest party in the Czechoslovak parliament
1948 A coup d'état by the Communist Party
1968 Prague Spring, Alexander Dubček the leader of the Communist Party tried to carry out reforms but this forcibly ended by Warsaw Pact member states 
1989 Czechoslovakia returned to a liberal democracy through the peaceful Velvet Revolution 
1993 On January 1st Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the independent Czechia and Slovakia
2004 Czechia and Slovakia join the European Union

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