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Brief history of Czechia

Background: picture: 

Negative of Romanesque fresqoe showing the finding of Přemysl the Ploughman

in Rotunda of St.Catherine

in Znojmo (South Moravia), Czechia

 

The basic roots of Czech statehood are not historically fully confirmed, but the unification of the main Czech tribes can be attributed to indirect historical evidence between the 7th and early 8th century. The coming of Slavic tribes to Central Europe is dated between the 5th and 6th century.


* Great Moravian Empire (830–907) – incl. Moravia, Bohemia,western Slovakia, Silesia, Pannonia, Lower Austria (with origins of Christianity in 863 bringing by Byzantine Christian theologians and missionaries, brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius) was the first Czech principality. Its role was taken over after the Empire's breakup at the turn of 9th and 10th century by


* the Přemyslid State (885–1306) (Czech dynasty of Přemyslid), first 

 

Principality of Bohemia - incl. Bohemia, Moravia and a part of Silesia. During the 10th and 11th centuries the principality was consolidated, incorporating Moravia and some other neighboring territories, later 

 

* Kingdom of Bohemia, when the gradual rise in political, economic and cultural importance of the medieval Czech state resulted in its declaration as a kingdom in 13th century and reached its peak during the reign of Charles IV (1346–1378) from


* the Luxemburg dynasty (1306–1437) - Charles the IV, the emperor of The Holy Roman Empire, reigning (1346–1378) after his father John of Luxemburg (also called John of Bohemia), king of Bohemia, formed the 

 

* Lands of The Crown of Bohemia (the official political name was frequently referred to as "The Czech State"), or "the Bohemian Crown lands". This state (1348–1918) was a kind of “confederation” of

(1) The Kingdom of Bohemia and "adjacent lands“ as political units:
(2)
The Moravian Margraviate – from the 10th century until 1918
(3)
The Principality of Silesia – from the 14th century until 1742; after 1742 only the smaller part of this territory has remained a part of the Czech state as „Czech Silesia“

(4) Upper and Lower Lusatia – from the 14th century until 1635, since 1635 part of Germany (Saxony).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lands of Bohemian Crown came through following periods:  


* Interregnum 

  (1439 – 1453)

* George from Poděbrady 

  (1453 - 1471)

* Jageillonian dynasty 

  (1471 - 1526)

* Hapsburg dynasty 

  (1526 - 1648)

* Bohemian Crown lands as a part of the Hapsburg dynasty's Austrian empire (from 1648) and (from 1867) Austrian-Hungarian Empire until 1918


* Czechoslovakia - Czechia, Slovakia, Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia (1918 -1938)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


* Czecho-Slovakia without border territories (30th September 1938 - 14th March 1939); the so called 'Second Republic' after the Munich "Agreement" (euphemistically and historically), in exact terms the Dictate of Germany, Italy, confirmed by the U.K. and France


* Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (1939 - 1945) - German occupation; division of Czecho-Slovakia into Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia as a „part“of Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, the Slovaks proclaimed their „independent“ Slovak State, which was under „patronage“ of Nazi Germany


* Czechoslovak Republic (Czechoslovakia), (1945 - 1992), from 1960 until 1989 with the attribute "socialist". In 1945 the loss of Sub-Carpatian Ruthenia (incorporated into Soviet Union/Ukraine), 1948 – the Communist party won and has got complete political sovereignty, the communist regime ruling until 1989.

 

* The Federation of Czech Socialist Republic (Czechia) and Slovak Socialist Republic (Slovakia) – the one of the positive outcomes of the of Prague Spring in 1968 which was defeated in August 1968 by the Soviet occupation (1968–1990)

 

* Czech and Slovak Federal Republic – federation of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic (1990–1992)


* Czech Republic (Czechia) - since 1st January 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia into two independent states: Czechia and Slovakia.

                        

       Bohemia              Moravia               Silesia          Upper Lusatia      Lower Lusatia

Czechoslovakia big coat of arms 1930s

Big coat of arms of Czechoslovakia

in period between 1918 and 1938. In the centre is Bohemian lion, from upper left to lower right: Slovak Cyril-Methodius' double-cross, Moravian eagless, Teschen, Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, Silesia, Ratiboř region. In the center of lower part is coat of arms of Opava region. The inscription "Pravda vítězí" (also motto of Czechia) means "The truth wins".

History of Prague

Prague (Praha in Czech, Praga in Latin), the capital of Czechia, with the nickname: "Golden Prague, "Mother of Cities"(Praga Mater Urbium), „Prague – the head of the Kingdom“ (Praga caput regni) or familiarly called by Czechs the "Hundred Spires Mom", has been the centre of the Czech state for more than 1100 years. * Prague is situated on both banks of the Vltava River in Central Bohemia. The origin of the name "Praha" is usually derived either from the Slavic common name "Práh", which means some tides or rocks in the Vltava river, that could hinder in sailing, or the substantive "praha," denoting a sun-dried parched place.

 

 

Praha - big coat of arms

The place where Prague came to be built has been settled since the Paleolithic era. The origin of the city dates back to the time when central Europe was inhabited by the western tribes of Slavs, whose arrival began in 6th century AD (Byzantine historian Procopius mentions the presence of the Slavs here in AD 512). Those times are surrounded by many myths. The most historic of them is about the legendary princess and prophetessLibuše, the sovereign of the Czech tribe, who foresaw the glory of Prague in her vision: "I see a large city, whose glory will touch the stars! I see a place above the Vltava River. There is a man, who is chiseling the threshold (práh) for a house. A castle named Praha will be built there. It will be honoured, favoured with great repute, and praise will be bestowed upon it by the entire world."

 

 

Bořivoj's grandson, Prince Wenceslas, initiated friendly relations with the Saxon dynasty. Wenceslas wanted Bohemia to become an equal partner in the larger empire. Orientation towards the Saxons was not favoured by his brother Boleslav, and it was the main reason why Prince Wenceslas was assassinated on September 28, 929. He was buried in St. Vitus' Rotunda, the church which he founded. It stood on the ground where St. Wenceslas' Chapel in St. Vitus Cathedral now is. A few years later Wenceslas was canonised and he became Bohemia's most beloved patron saint. By the early 10th century, the area around and below Prague Castle had developed into an important trading centre, where merchants from all over Europe gathered. In 965, a Jewish merchant and traveller, called Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub wrote: "Prague is built from stone and lime, and it has the biggest trade centre. Slavs are on the whole courageous and brave... They occupy the lands which are the most fertile and abundant with a good food supply." 

 

While being a mythological personality, the existence of her seat where she reportedly had lived, has been supported by archaeological finds in a location in Central Bohemia dating to the 8th century. According to the legend, Libuše married a ploughman named Přemysl, whom she also saw in one of her visions, and together they founded the Přemyslid dynasty, which was attested to by prince Bořivoj - the first confirmed duke of the Czech tribes who ruled in the second half of the 9th century.
 

 

 

 

 

He was the first Christianized representative of the tribe. After being baptized by St. Methodius, Duke Bořivoj I moved his seat from the fortified settlement of Levý Hradec; to the place where Prague Castle is now situated, in around 870. The first walled building there was the church of Our Lady, that he built and that act is considered as the founding of the city. From around 900, the Czech Přemyslid dynasty rulers had gradually taken over the ruling of the Great Moravian Empire, a glorious Slavic state, that until that time dominated as the main power-block formation in the area, ultimately creating a new one: the Czech state. Since Duke Bořivoj's times, Prague castle has been the seat of Czech rulers (with the exception of second half of 11th century, when the king Vratislav II transferred his seat to Vyšehrad castle on the other bank of Vltava), both kings and presidents until the present era.

 

Duke Bořivoj I
Svatý Vojtěch (St.Adalbert of Prague)

In 973, a bishopric was founded in Bohemia with the bishop's palace located on the Prague castle grounds. The first Czech bishop was Vojtěch - St.Adalbert of Prague) saint and martyr, from Czech noble family of Slavník (born 957), who later evangelized Poles and Hungarians and became the patron saint of Czechia, Poland, Hungary and Prussia, after he was canonised in 999. Presumably, Adalbert is the author of the first Czech hymn "Hospodine pomiluj ny" in the end of 10th century, unique also because it is commonly sung also today.

Next to the Romanesque fortified settlement of Prague, another Romanesque fortified settlement was built across the river Vltava at Vyšehrad in the 11th century. During the reign of Prince Vratislav II, who rose to the title of King of Bohemia Vratislav I in 1085, Vyšehrad became the temporary seat of Czech rulers.

In the 13th century, towns started to increase in size. Three settlements around the Prague Castle gained the privilege of a town. The settlement below Prague Castle became the New Town of Prague in 1257 under King Přemysl Otakar II, and it was later renamed Lesser Town of Prague - Malá Strana. The Castle District — Hradčany which was built around its square, just outside Prague Castle, dates from 1320. Across the river Vltava, the Old Town of Prague — Staré Město had already gained the privilege of a town in 1230. 
 

The city flourished during the 14th century during the reign of Charles IV, of the Luxembourg dynasty. Charles was the oldest son of Czech Princess Eliška Přemyslovna and John of Luxembourg. He was born in Prague in 1316 and became King of Bohemia upon the death of his father in 1346. Due to Charles's efforts, the bishopric of Prague was raised to an archbishopric in 1344. April 7, 1348 he founded the first university in central, northern and eastern Europe, called today the Charles University, the oldest Czech university. In the same year, he also founded New Town (Nové Město) adjacent to the Old Town. Charles rebuilt Prague Castle and Vysehrad, and a new bridge was erected, now called the Charles Bridge. The construction of St. Vitus' Cathedral had also begun. Many new churches were founded. In 1355, Charles was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in Rome. Prague became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Charles wanted Prague to become one of the most beautiful cities in the world. He wanted Prague to be the dominant city of the whole empire, with Prague Castle as the dominant site in the city and the stately Gothic Cathedral to be more dominant than Prague Castle. Everything was built in a grandiose Gothic style and decorated with an independent art style, called the Bohemian school. During the reign of Emperor Charles IV, Czechia was among the most powerful countries in Europe.

 

Many monasteries and many churches were built under the rule of the king Vladislav I. The Strahov Monastery, built after the Romanesque style, was founded in 1142. The first bridge over the river Vltava, the Judith Bridge, was built in 1170. (It collapsed in 1342 and a new bridge, later called the Charles Bridge was built in its place in 1357). The king's Přemysl Otakar I daughter, Princess Agnes (Saint Agnes of Bohemia) - deciding to devote her life to spiritual works - built the Monastery of the Holy Savior in 1230's and friary complex attached to the hospital. It was renamed later the Monastery of St. Agnes, where is after restoration in 1960's a branch of the National Gallery, featuring the medieval Central European and Czech collection of art.

 

Saint Agnes of Bohemia

All that changed during the reign of weak King Wenceslas IV (Václav IV), son of Charles IV. That time, Master Jan Hus, a preacher and the university's rector, held his sermons in Prague in the Bethlehem Chapel, speaking about his ideas about the necessity of the reformation of the church. He was later accused of heresy and executed in 1415 in Constance. That incident led later to the Hussite uprising and wars. King Wenceslas IV died 16 days later.

 

His stepbrother Sigismund was the legitimate heir to the throne. But the Hussites opposed Sigismund and so he came to Prague with an army of 30,000 crusaders. He planned to make Prague capitulate and to take the crown. In 1420, peasant rebels, led by the famous general Jan Žižka, along with Hussite troops, defeated Sigismund (son of Charles IV) in the Battle of Vítkov Mountain. There were more crusades, all of which ended in failure.

 

The following decade of wars led to the devastation of the country including Prague, its loss of position in Europe and long-term cultural stagnation. The most radical Hussites were finally defeated at the battle of Lipany near Prague in 1434 when the moderate Hussites got together with the Czech Catholics. 

Jan Žižka
Jan Hus

After the period of internal (Catholics v.Hussites) and external problems and disputes that fulfilled the reign of the king George of Poděbrady (who was trying peacefully, but unsuccesfully to settle them, trying to initiate some kind of European union of that time), during the reign of Vladislaus II from the Jagellon dynasty, related to the Luxembourg dynasty and also to the original Czech Přemyslid dynasty (King of Bohemia from 1471) started reconstruction of Prague Castle in late gothic style (above all Vladislaus Hall), which was both destroyed by wars, and previously, after the death of Charles IV  ceased to serve as a royal residence. 

 

The glory of Prague returned for some time during the reign of Emperor Rudolf II at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, when Prague became the cultural centre of the Holy Roman Empire again. Rudolf was related to the Jagellon dynasty, to the Luxemburg dynasty and to the Přemyslid dynasty. Emperor Rudolf II lived in Prague Castle, where he held his bizarre courts of astrologers, magicians and other strange figures, but this devotee of occult arts and learning helped seed the scientific revolution. It was a prosperous period for the city; famous people living there included the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, the painters Giuseppe Arcimboldo, B. Spranger, Hans von Aachen, J. Heintz and others. Rudolph II was an influential patron of Northern Mannerist art.


The tension between the Protestants and Catholics led in 1618 to the Thirty Years War. Its important moment was the Battle on the White Mountain, the place in outskirts of then Prague on November 8, 1620, between armies of the  Emperor Ferdinand II (Catholic) and the Protestant army, led by the warrior Count J. M. Thurn. The Catholics won and Emperor Ferdinand II became King of Bohemia. After the Peace of Westphalia, Ferdinand II moved the court to Vienna, and Prague began a steady decline which reduced the 60,000 people before the war to 20,000 after it. 

 

In 1689 a great fire devastated Prague, but all the tragic events became spurs of the effort to renovate and a rebuild the city. Prague and Czechia became gradually the place of the significant development of cultural life at all levels of society. The economic rise continued through the following century, and in 1771 the city had 80,000 inhabitants. Many of these were rich merchants who, together with noblemen, enriched the city with a host of palaces, churches and gardens, creating a Baroque style renowned throughout the world. In 1784, the four municipalities of Malá Strana, Nové Město, Staré Město and Hradčany were merged into a single entity.

Prague in 17th century

The Industrial Revolution had a strong effect in Prague, as factories could take advantage of the coal mines and ironworks of the nearby region. A first suburb, Karlín, was created in 1817, and twenty years later the population exceeded 100,000. The first railway connection was built in 1842.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First train arrival to Prague on 4th August, 1845 

First train arrival to Prague on 4th August, 1845 

The revolutions that shocked all of Europe around 1848 touched Prague too, but they were fiercely suppressed. In the following years the Czech nationalist movement began its rise, until it gained the majority in the Town Council in 1861. In 1867, Emperor Francis Joseph I established the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy of the Austrian Empire and Kingdom of Hungary, which act became enormous disappointing of Czechs, calling for equalizaton of all three countries. Even so, activities of Czech National Revival movement increased with a great development in all spheres of life, while Prague became a centre of all of them. Construction of National Theatre in Prague (1868) and other representative centres, foundation of new schools and national societies, florescence of music and arts with personalities, that crossed the country's borders, a growth of social, industrial and political importance of Czech element were very promising for the future and ambitions, later leading to the formation of independent state.  For most of its history Prague had been an ethnically mixed city with important Czech, German, and Jewish populations. By 1880 the German population decreased to 13.52 percent, and by 1910 to 5.97 percent, due to a massive increase of the city's overall population caused by the influx of Czechs from the rest of Czechia and also due to the assimilation of some Germans. As late as 1880, "Germans" still formed 22 percent of the population of Staré Mesto (Old Town), 16 percent in Nové Město (New Town), 20 percent in Malá strana (Lesser Towne Quarter), 9 percent in Hradčany (part around Prague castle), and 39 percent in the former Jewish Ghetto of Josefov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

World War I ended with the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the creation of Czechoslovakia on 28th October 1918. Prague was chosen as its capital. During the interwar period, Prague became a modern European city with developed industry and broad spectrum cultural background. In 1930 the population had risen to 850,000.  

At the same time as the Industrial Revolution was developing, the Czechs were going through the Czech National Revival movement,  demanding greater autonomy for the nation and country. Since the late 18th century, Czech literature has  occupied an important position in the Czech culture,  being one of the  strong incentives in the intensification of the na-tional movement. 

Czech Legions accompany president Masaryk,returning to Prague, on 20th December 1918
Celebrations of the independence on Wenceslas Square, 28th October 1918

Left: Czech Legions accompany president Masaryk, returning to Prague, on 20th December 1918 

Right: Celebrations of the independence on Wenceslas Square, 28th October 1918

Barricades and their defenders during Prague uprising, May 7, 1945

Barricades and their defenders during Prague uprising, May 7, 1945

Barricades and their defenders during Prague uprising, May 1945

During the Nazi German occupation of Czechoslovakia during World War II, Prague citizens were oppressed and persecuted by the Nazis. Politicians (e.g.prime minister general Alois Eliáš and more), intellectual elite, students and many others were murdered, imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. In 1942, after killing the planner of liquidation of Czech nation, Reinhardt Heydrich, Germans respond with wave of bestial terror. The Prague uprising started on May 5, 1945 when Prague's citizens, assisted by the defecting 1st Infantry Division of the Russian Liberation Army of general Vlasov, revolted against the German occupiers. Finally, on May 9, 1945 (the day after Germany official capitulation) Soviet tanks reached Prague. All fighting ceased in Czechia until May 12, 1945.  

After the war, Prague again became the capital of Czechoslovakia. Soviet troops left Czechoslovakia a couple of months after the war but the country, however seemingly returned to democracy, remained under strong Soviet political influence, leading in February 1948 to communist coup, while Prague became the centre of it. Communist putsch determined the destiny of the country for long 41 years.

After years of heavy persecution of opponents of the totalitarian regime (executions, communist concentration camps, elimination to the margins of society), in 1960's came some gradual release of social life. in 1967, at the 4th Czechoslovakian Writers' Congress held in Prague a strong position against the regime was taken. This spurred a new phase in the city's and country's life, beginning the short-lived season of "socialism with a human face". This was the Prague Spring, which aimed at a democratic reform of institutions. The Soviet Union and the rest of the Warsaw Pact, except for Romania, reacted, occupying Czechoslovakia and the capital in August 1968, meeting the direct resistance of unarmed citizen, burning their tanks. This uneven conflict ended by supressing any attempt at innovation under the treads of Soviet tanks. 

Burning barricade in front of Czechoslovak radio building, 21st August.1968
Burning Soviet tank, 21st August.1968

Civilians against tanks - Left: Burning barricade in front of Czechoslovak radio building,

Right: Burning Soviet tank, 21st August.1968

During the communist period little was actively done to maintain the beauty of the city's buildings. Due to the poor incentives offered by the regime workers would put up scaffolding and then disappear to moonlighting jobs. Vaclavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square) was covered in such scaffolds for over a decade, with little repair ever being accomplished. True renovation began after the collapse of communism. The durability of renovations was aided by the fact that Prague converted almost entirely from coal heating in homes to electric heating. The coal burnt during the communist period was a major source of air pollution that corroded and spotted building facades, giving Prague the look of a dark, dirty city.


In 1989, after the Berlin Wall had fallen, and the Velvet Revolution crowded the streets of Prague, Czechoslovakia finally freed itself from communism and Soviet influence, and Prague benefited deeply from the new mood. In 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital city of the new Czechia. Prague is capital of two administrative units of the Czech Republic - Prague region and Central Bohemian region. As Prague is not geographically part of Central Bohemian Region it is a capital outside of territory it serves.

IN PICTURES
Forefather Čech

Forefather Čech - legendary leader of Czech people, who brought them to a new country. Although he is generally considered a mythical figure, he could have his real prototype.

The sculpture of Přemysl and princess Libuše at Vyšehrad in Prague by Josef Václav Myslbek

Libuše & Přemysl by J.V.Myslbek

Princess Libuše & Přemysl the Ploughman are legendary ancestors of the Přemyslid dynasty and founders of Bohemia. However, they are considered a mythical figures, they probably have their real prototypes. The story of Libuše and Přemysl was recounted in detail in the 12th century by Cosmas of Prague in his Chronica Boëmorum.​

Svatopluk I of Moravia

Svatopluk I of Moravia, also known as Svatopluk the Great, a ruler of Great Moravia, predecessor of the Czech state, which attained its maximum territorial expansion during his reign (870–894), occupying Bohemia and Moravia, area of current Slovakia and Hungary, and part of eastern Poland

St.Wenceslas (Wencelaus I, Duke of Bohemia)

Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia (Saint Wenceslas / Sv.Václav) - the Duke of Bohemia (921-935), saint and martyr, posthumously declared king, and the patron saint of the Czech state

Bretislaus I (Břetislav I., born c.1002-1005) - Duke of Bohemia, called also the "Bohemian Achilles"

Bretislaus I (Břetislav I., born c.1002-1005) - Duke of Bohemia, called also the "Bohemian Achilles", known for his raids, incl. to Poland with bringing the relics of St.Vojtěch (Adalbert of Prague) back to Prague and wars with the German King Henry III. He is the author of decrees concerning the rules of Christianization.​

Ottokar I of Bohemia (Přemysl Otakar I.)

Ottokar I of Bohemia (Přemysl Otakar I., 1155) - the first inheritable king of Bohemia, granted by "Golden Bull of Sicily"

Ottokar II of Bohemia (Přemysl Otakar II), called "the Iron and Golden King", king of Bohemia

Ottokar II of Bohemia (Přemysl Otakar II), called "the Iron and Golden King", king of Bohemia (1253-1278), also Duke of Austria, Duke of Styria, Duke of Carinthia and Margrave of Carniola. With Přemysl Ottokar's rule, the Přemyslids reached the peak of their power in the Holy Roman Empire. He ruled in seven other countries, and his reign stretched from Silesia to the Adriatic coast. 

ohn of Bohemia   (Jan Lucemburský), King of Bohemia

John of Bohemia  

(Jan Lucemburský), King of Bohemia from 1310 and titular King of Poland.

Charles IV (Karel IV.) 1316 – 1378, born Václav (Wenceslaus), the second King of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first King of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor.

Charles IV (Karel IV.) 1316 – 1378, born Václav (Wenceslaus), the second King of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first King of Bohemia to also become a Holy Roman Emperor. probably the most famous personality of the Czech state ever. He rebuilt the city of Prague as the capital of Central Europe and one of the intellectual and cultural centers of Europe. In 1348, he founded the Charles University in Prague, which was named after him and was the first university in Central Europe. 

George of Poděbrady (Jiří z Poděbrad) - Czech king

George of Poděbrady (Jiří z Poděbrad) - Czech king 1458–1471, leader of the Hussites.), well known for his idea and attempt to establish common European institutions and supranational insignia. It is seen as the first historical vision of an European unity forgoing the European Union..

Rudolf II

Rudolf II (r.1575–1612) of Habsburg dynasty is usually viewed in three ways:  an ineffectual ruler whose political mistakes led to the Thirty Years' War; a patron of Mannerist art; and a devotee of occult arts and learning which really helped to rise the scientific revolution.

Tomáš Garigue Masaryk - first president of Czechoslovakia
President Edvard Beneš - arrival to the country after WWII

Tomáš G. Masaryk (1850–1937) - first president of Czechoslovakia. In June 1918, Czechoslovakia was recognized as an Allied power, and its frontiers were demarcated according to Masaryk’s outline. As Masaryk had promised, the new multinational state respected the minority rights of its large German and Hungarian ethnic groups. On Nov. 14, 1918, he was elected president of Czechoslovakia, and he was reelected in 1920, 1927, and 1934. As a true “liberator” and “father of his country,” he was constantly occupied in settling the crises resulting from the conflicts between the Czech and the Slovak parties, as well as from Slovakia’s minority status. A philosopher and democrat, Masaryk was among the first to voice his anxiety over central Europe’s fate after the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933. He resigned his post in December 1935 and died nearly two years later.

 

Edvard Beneš (1884 – 1948) - a politician who served as the President of Czechoslovakia twice, from 1935–1938 and 1939–1948. He was also Minister of Foreign Affairs (1918–1935), Prime Minister and the President of Czechoslovakia in exile (1939–1945). A member of the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party, he was known as a skilled diplomat

Brief timeline survey of Prague history

870  Prague Castle founded
973  Prague bishopric was founded

1085 Prague became the seat of kings - 1st king Vratislaus II.
1344 the Prague Bishopric became an Archdiocese

1346 the rule of Charles IV. - Prague is a capital of Holy Roman Empire
1348 University of Prague (Charles University) founded
1420 battle on Vítkov Mountain - Hussites win over Crusaders
1583 Rudolf II - again the capital of Holy Roman Empire and cultural center of Europe
1618 2nd Prague defenestration sparked off the Thirty Years' War
1620 the Battle of White Mountain 
1648 Prague citizen defended city against Swedish armies
1741 occupation by French-Bavarian armies
1744 occupation by Prussian armies
1848 revolutionary uprising crushed by the Imperial Army
1890 big flood caused extreme damage
1918 after World War I Prague became the capital of Czechoslovakia
1922 Great Prague created by uniting Prague with its suburbs and neighboring towns
1938 after the political betrayal of allies (France and Britain at Munich) Germany occupied border regions and in March 1939 the whole country
1942 Czechoslovak paratroopers kill Reinhardt Heydrich, called "Hangman of the Czech nation", Germans respond with a wave of bestial terror
1945 Prague uprising against the Nazi German occupants, ended with the arrival of the Red Army
1948 communist takeover of power
1968 the Prague Spring and Soviet army invasion to repress political liberalization
1989 Prague is the main center of Velvet Revolution (the fall of communist regime)
1993 Prague becomes capital of newly independent Czechia
2002 Prague suffers from flooding, parts of the city evacuated, many historic archives damaged but no major landmarks destroyed
2007 The Codex Gigas returns to Prague after 379 years

State coat of arms succession

Original Přemyslid coat of arms - flamy eagless (Dutchy of Bohemia)

Silver lion has become the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bohemia since 13th century (probably during the reign of Přemysl Ottokar II)

Czechia - Lands of Bohemian Crown

Lands of Bohemian crown : 

(clockwise from left above) 

Eagle of Moravia, Piast Eagle of Silesia, 

Ox of Lower Lusatia, Eagle of Upper Silesia, 

Wall of Upper Lusatia, en surtout Bohemian Lion,

upon Crown of Saint Wenceslas, garlanded by lime

Czechia - contemporary Czech state coat of arms since 1993

Czechoslovakia : 

the coat of arms 1945-1961

Czech lion and Slovak coat

of arms in pretence position

 

Czechia coat of arms

This is - in a nutshell - the story of our country and its capital. As is obvious, the history of the Czech state is both famous and eventful and we are proud of it, however it has come sometimes through tragic periods. This is not the story of "the Czech Republic", because such state formation has existed only since 1993, this is the story of our country, the story of CZECHIA.  The past is an inseparable part of ourselves and not only in many monuments and cultural treasures, but also in memory of the nation. Who would like to be so shortsighted to get rid of it using commonly a transient, limited and clumsy political name "the Czech Republic", which describes only a tiny fraction of it ? Only a fool.  Many political and socio-political changes have happened through centuries including names of the state, but the country remains the same. The only unifying geographical name is able to bridge and present in context all of them.                                                                                                                      It is Czechia

 

 

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Written & adjusted by Vladimír Hirsch

coRRection CReative