History

The first ethnic group to arrive in the area of the Czech lands was of Celtic origin. The Celtic Boii tribe gave the country its Latin name – Boiohaemum (Bohemia).

Slavs settled in the territory at the end of the 5th century and the beginning of the 6th century.

The culture of the Great Moravian Empire greatly influenced the development of culture in the Middle Ages. In 863, the Byzantine Christian missionaries Constantin and Methodius came to Moravia to introduce Slavic liturgy there. The growth of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church greatly changed the course of the history of Bohemia and Moravia.

During the reign of the native Przemyslid dynasty, the Czech state gradually grew in strength and succeeded in preserving its sovereignty despite formal vassal ties to the Holy Roman Empire.

The kingdom of Bohemia reached its height of power and prestige during the reign of Charles IV (1346-1378), the second Luxembourg on the throne of Bohemia. Among many other things, he established the Charles University in 1348. Charles IV was also crowned a Roman Emperor in Rome in 1355.

The ideas of Master Jan Hus on Church reform led to the creation of the Hussite reform movement, which had considerable influence in the country and moved the country away from the main-line catholic stream.

The Habsburgs of Austria succeeded to the throne of Bohemia after a brief rule of the Polish Jagiellon line. Habsburg rule brought the re-introduction of the Roman Catholic faith, centralization, and the construction of a multi-national empire. The Habsburgs included the Crownlands of Bohemia in their monarchy, and they remained a part of the Habsburg Empire until 1918.

The defeat of the Austria-Hungary after the World War I cleared the way for the foundation of an independent state of Czechs and Slovaks (28.10.1918). T. G. Masaryk was the first president and is regarded as the father of the nation. The Czechoslovak Republic became one of the ten most developed countries of the world. The aggression of Hitler’s Germany, resulting in occupation in March 1939, brought an end to the independent Czechoslovak state.

After World War II, the restored republic became part of the Soviet sphere of power. Private property was expropriated and political and human rights were suppressed. An attempt to change and humanize Communist totalitarianism and to weaken ties to the Soviet Union failed when the Soviet Army invaded the country in August 1968.

The gradual decay of the Communist regime and the Soviet empire, and the mass protests and demonstrations of the Czechoslovak people culminated in the overthrow of the Communist regime in November 1989. Václav Havel was elected the president of Czechoslovakia.

On January 1, 1993, the Czechoslovak state was peacefully divided in independent Czech and Slovak Republics.

From 1991, the Czech Republic, originally a part of Czechoslovakia and now in its own right, has become a member of the Visegrad Group and from 1995, a member of the OECD. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

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Charles IV. with Anna Swidnice entering in 1355 to Rome for his coronation Adolf Liebscher [Public domain]
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• Václav Havel honoring the deaths of those who took part in the Prague protest against the 1968 invasion. By MD (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3-0)]