Duchy of Bohemia
|Duchy of Bohemia
České knížectví (cs)
Ducatus Bohemiæ (la)
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
Central Europe, 1138–1254, showing D Bohemiæ and Moravia
|Languages||Old West Slavic|
|-||ca 870–888/9||Bořivoj I (first duke)|
|-||1192–93, 1197–98||Ottokar I (last duke, king to 1230)|
|-||Duchy established||ca 870|
|-||Bořivoj I moved
seat to Prague
|-||became part of the Holy Roman Empire||
|-||Raised to kingdom||1198|
While an independent principality, the Czech lands formerly within Great Moravia were sometime vassals of the Holy Roman Empire as the Duchy of Bohemia from the 10th century. The Přemyslid dynasty which had ruled Bohemia since the 9th century remained in power throughout the High Middle Ages, until the extinction of the male line with the death of Wenceslaus III of Bohemia in 1306.
The Duchy of Bohemia was raised to a kingdom under Ottokar I in 1198. In 1310, the Bohemian crown fell to the House of Luxembourg, until the death of Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1437. After the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Bohemia remained under Habsburg rule until the collapse of Austria-Hungary after the First World War.
With the fragmentation of Great Moravia under the pressure of the Magyar incursions in the 9th century, Bohemia began to form as an independent principality from the 880s. In 880, prince Bořivoj of the Přemyslid dynasty, who was baptised by the Great Moravian bishop Methodius in 874, moved his seat to Prague and started to subjugate the Vltava Basin.
Duchy of Bohemia 
Great Moravia briefly regained control over the emerging Bohemian Principality in 888/890. In 895, the Prince of Bohemia becomes an ally of the East Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia. The March of Moravia was given to Boleslaus I after the defeat of the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955, but it was conquered into the Duchy of Poland by Bolesław I Chrobry in 999.
Cut off from Byzantium by the Hungarian presence, the Bohemian Principality existed as independent state but in the shadow of the East Francia, the Dukes paid tribute in exchange for confirmation of the peace treaty. Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia, assumed the Bohemian throne in 935, conquered Moravia, Silesia and expanded farther to the east. He stopped paying the tribute, attacked an ally of the Saxons in northwest Bohemia and in 936 defeated two of German King Otto's armies (from Thuringia and Merseburg). In 950 Otto I. besieged a castle owned by Boleslaus' son, then Boleslaus signed a peace treaty and promised to resume payment of tribute. The Emperors continued the practice of using the Roman Catholic clergy to extend German influence into Czech territory.
Significantly, the bishopric of Prague, founded in 973 during the reign of Boleslaus II (967–99), was subordinated to the archbishopric of Mainz. Thus, at the same time that Přemyslid rulers used the German alliance to consolidate their rule against a perpetually rebellious regional nobility, they struggled to retain their autonomy in relation to the empire. The Bohemian Principality was definitively consolidated in 995, when the Přemyslids unified neighboring Czech tribes and established a form of centralized rule.
Internally fully sovereign Bohemian Duchy, has become part of the Holy Roman Empire in 1004, after the Poles were expelled from Bohemia with help from the German King Henry II, the duke Jaromír received his country in fief from the king. After a struggle with Poland and Hungary, Bohemia re-acquired Moravia by Bretislaus I in 1035. The March of Moravia, however, continued to be a separate margraviate, usually ruled by a younger son of the Bohemian king.
Kingdom of Bohemia 
In 1212, Ottokar I (1192–93 and 1197–1230), bearing the title "king" since 1198, extracted the Golden Bull of Sicily (a formal edict) from the emperor confirming the royal title for Ottokar and his descendants and the Duchy was raised to a Kingdom. Bohemian king should be exempt from all future obligations to the Holy Roman Empire except for participation in the imperial councils. The imperial prerogative to ratify each Bohemian ruler and to appoint the bishop of Prague was revoked. To make it possible for his son to rule the country, Ottokar established inheritance by male-preference primogeniture, before which the oldest child could rule the country, irrespective of gender. The country reached its greatest territorial extent and is considered as the Golden Age.
See also