History of the Czech lands

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The history of what are now known as the Czech lands (Czech: České země) is very diverse. These lands have changed hands many times, and have been known by a variety of different names. Up until the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy after the First World War, the lands were known as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown and formed a constituent state of that empire: the Kingdom of Bohemia.

Prior to the Battle of Mohács, the Kingdom was an independent state within the Holy Roman Empire. After that battle the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were incorporated into the Austrian Empire, and later into the aforementioned Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.

They came to be known as the Czech lands after the fall of the Empire, and the rise of the First Czechoslovak Republic, when the term Bohemia (Czech: Čechy), which also refers to the core region of the former kingdom, was no longer deemed acceptable by those in Moravia and Czech Silesia. The integral Czech lands now form the boundaries of the Czech Republic.

Periods through history[edit]

Venus of Dolní Věstonice, the oldest ceramic article in the world
Great Moravia during the reign of Svatopluk I
Duchy of Bohemia under Boleslaus I. and Boleslaus II.
Ottokar's Kingdom in 1273
Territory under the control of the Přemyslids, c. 1301
Czech lands during the reign of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor

Pre-history[edit]

Early modern humans had settled in the region by the (Lower Paleolithic) (2.5mil – 750,000 BP). Several Paleolithic cultures settled here, including Acheulean, Micoquien, Mousterian, and Aurignacian. The Předmostí archaeological site near Brno is dated to between 24,000 and 27,000 years old.[1][2] The figurines (Venus of Dolní Věstonice) found here are the oldest known ceramic articles in the world.

Early tribes[edit]

The area was settled by the Celts (Boii) from 5th BC until 2nd AC and from 1st century by various Germanic tribes (Marcomanni, Quadi, Lombards). Germanic towns are described on the Map of Ptolemaios in the 2nd Century, e.g. Coridorgis for Jihlava. Those tribes migrated to the West in 5th century and then came Slavs.

Arrival of the Slavs[edit]

The first Slavic people (Czech tribes in Bohemia and Moravians in Moravia) arrived in the 6th century. According to historian Dušan Třeštík, they advanced through the Moravian Gate (Moravská brána) valley and in the year 530 moved into Eastern Bohemia, along the rivers Labe and Vltava further into Central Bohemia. Many historians support the theory of a further wave of Slavs coming from the south during the first half of the 7th century. They fought with neighboring Avars until the rise of the Samo's empire.[3]

Samo's realm[edit]

Further information: Samo

Part of the Slavs living on Czech territory, mainly in southern Moravia, was, according to the Chronicle Fredeg for a number of years of exposed to violence and marauding raids from the Avars whose empire stretched across the territory of present-day Hungary. Slavic tribes against the oppression of the Avars in 623 revolted. Back then, allegedly, came to the Czech lands Frankish merchant Samo with his entourage. Samo joined with Slavs and together they defeated the Avars. Slavs have adopted Samo as their ruler. "So it happened that the self-founded the first Slavic empire. He married the then twelve Slavic women had with them twenty-two sons and fifteen daughters and happily ruled for 35 years. All other fights, which under his leadership Slavs fought with the Avars, were victorious. ", Wrote about Samo Reich Frankish chronicler called Fredegar. It is the oldest written report by the Slavs in the Czech Republic we have.

Later Samo Slavs came into conflict with the Frankish empire. Its ruler Dagobert I. wanted to extend his rule to the east, but was defeated in the memorable battle of Wogastisburg (631). To this day, historians are searching in vain where this stronghold actually lay. In the next five years they have undertaken raids on Frankish territory. Exactly one knows how far to the northeast Samo power reached, probably beyond the boundaries of today's Czech Republic. After Samo's death his empire seem to disappear. In fact, there was not a real state structure with solid organization. The empire was created to unite Slavs to defend against Avars and Franks and to facilitate their plundering expeditions against neighbors. Once Avars and Frankish danger had passed, the empire disintegrated. Empire was fragmented between Samo's followers, who ruled in their territories. These remnants further developed and became the core foundation for the future Great Moravian Empire.

Great Moravia[edit]

Further information: Great Moravia

A Slavic state Great Moravia was created by the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks and its core area lay on both sides of the Morava river.

Duchy of Bohemia and Kingdom of Bohemia to 1526[edit]

The Duchy of Bohemia established in the 9th century raised to a Kingdom in 1198. The country reached its greatest territorial extent and is considered as the Golden Age.

Bohemian Estates against Habsburg absolutism[edit]

Ferdinand II, who ruled 1619–1637, sharply curtained the power of the largely Protestant representative assembly known as the "Bohemian Estates". He confiscated lands of Protestant nobles and gave them to his Catholic friends and to the generals who led the foreign mercenaries he empoyed.[4]

The Dark Age and National Revival[edit]

Austria–Hungary, the Dual Monarchy[edit]

Czechoslovakia[edit]

The Kingdom of Bohemia officially ceased to exist in 1918 when the Czecho-Slovak Republic was declared, a merger of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Slovakia, and Carpathian Ruthenia. Czechoslovakia before WW2 remained the only democracy in central and eastern Europe.

2nd Republic / Occupation[edit]

The large German population of the Czech lands was expelled after fall of Nazi Germany, and its occupation of Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovakia were now almost homogenous in their composition, dominated by ethnic Czechs and Slovaks.

Third Republic / Communist era[edit]

The Czech Republic[edit]

Further information: Czech Republic

On the 1st of January in 1993, the Velvet Divorce occurred, whereby two separate states were created out of the former Czechoslovakia: the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. It became a member of NATO in 1999, and the European Union in 2004.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hochman, Jiří. Historical dictionary of the Czech State (1998)
  • Heimann, Mary. 'Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed' 2009 ISBN 0-300-14147-5
  • Lukes, Igor. 'Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler', Oxford University Press 1996, ISBN 0-19-510267-3
  • Skilling Gordon. 'Czechoslovakia's Interrupted Revolution', Princeton University Press 1976, ISBN 0-691-05234-4

See also[edit]

Lists:

General:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Velemínskáa, J., Brůžekb, J., Velemínskýd, P., Bigonia, L., Šefčákováe, A., Katinaf, F. (2008). "Variability of the Upper Palaeolithic skulls from Předmostí near Přerov (Czech Republic): Craniometric comparison with recent human standards". Homo 59 (1): 1–26. doi:10.1016/j.jchb.2007.12.003. PMID 18242606. 
  2. ^ Viegas, Jennifer (October 7, 2011). "Prehistoric dog found with mammoth bone in mouth". Discovery News. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ ; Literature : Dušan Třeštík: "Počátky Přemyslovců. Vstup Čechů do dějin (530-935)" [The beginnings of Přemyslids. The entrance of the Czechs in the History (530-935)], 1997, ISBN 80-7106-138-7.
  4. ^ John P. McKay (2010). A History of World Societies. Macmillan. p. 473. 

External links[edit]