Czech Republic

Coordinates: 49°45′N 15°30′E / 49.750°N 15.500°E / 49.750; 15.500
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Czech Republic
Česká republika (Czech)
Ethnic groups
  • 1.2%
  • 30.1% unanswered
  • Demonym(s)Czech
    GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
    • President
    Petr Pavel
    Petr Fiala
    Chamber of Deputies
    Establishment history
    c. 870
    28 October 1918
    1 January 1993
    • Total
    78,871 km2 (30,452 sq mi)[4] (115th)
    • Water (%)
    2.16 (as of 2022)[4]
    • 2023 estimate
    Neutral increase 10,827,529[5] (85th)
    • 2021 census
    Neutral increase 10,524,167[2]
    • Density
    133/km2 (344.5/sq mi) (91st)
    GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
    • Total
    Increase $537 billion[6] (47th)
    • Per capita
    Increase $50,961[6] (37th)
    GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
    • Total
    Increase $330 billion[6] (47th)
    • Per capita
    Increase $31,368[6] (35th)
    Gini (2020)Negative increase 24.2[7]
    HDI (2021)Increase 0.889[8]
    very high · 32nd
    CurrencyCzech koruna (CZK)
    Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
    • Summer (DST)
    UTC+2 (CEST)
    Date formatd. m. yyyy
    Driving sideright
    Calling code+420[a]
    ISO 3166 codeCZ

    The Czech Republic,[c][12] or Czechia,[d][13] is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Historically known as Bohemia,[14] it is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to the southeast.[15] The Czech Republic has a hilly landscape that covers an area of 78,871 square kilometers (30,452 sq mi) with a mostly temperate continental and oceanic climate. The capital and largest city is Prague; other major cities and urban areas include Brno, Ostrava, Plzeň and Liberec.

    The Duchy of Bohemia was founded in the late 9th century under Great Moravia. It was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire in 1002 and became a kingdom in 1198.[16][17] Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, all of the Crown lands of Bohemia were gradually integrated into the Habsburg monarchy. Nearly a hundred years later, the Protestant Bohemian Revolt led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Crown lands became part of the Austrian Empire.

    In the 19th century, the Czech lands became more industrialized, and in 1918 most of it became part of the First Czechoslovak Republic following the collapse of Austria-Hungary after World War I.[18] Czechoslovakia was the only country in Central and Eastern Europe to remain a parliamentary democracy during the entirety of the interwar period.[19] After the Munich Agreement in 1938, Nazi Germany systematically took control over the Czech lands. Czechoslovakia was restored in 1945 and three years later became an Eastern Bloc communist state following a coup d'état in 1948. Attempts to liberalize the government and economy were suppressed by a Soviet-led invasion of the country during the Prague Spring in 1968. In November 1989, the Velvet Revolution ended communist rule in the country and restored democracy. On 31 December 1992, Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    The Czech Republic is a unitary parliamentary republic and developed country with an advanced, high-income social market economy. It is a welfare state with a European social model, universal health care and free-tuition university education. It ranks 32nd in the Human Development Index. The Czech Republic is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, the OECD, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.


    The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from

    cognate to the Czech word člověk (a person).[23]

    The country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia (Čechy) in the west, Moravia (Morava) in the east, and Czech Silesia (Slezsko; the smaller, south-eastern part of historical Silesia, most of which is located within modern Poland) in the northeast.[24] Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown, Czechia[25] and the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslaus. When the country regained its independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the new name of Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within one country.[26]

    After Czechoslovakia dissolved on the last day of 1992, Česko was adopted as the Czech short name for the new state and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic recommended Czechia for the English-language equivalent.[27] This form was not widely adopted at the time, leading to the long name Czech Republic being used in English in nearly all circumstances. The Czech government directed use of Czechia as the official English short name in 2016.[28] The short name has been listed by the United Nations[29] and is used by other organizations such as the European Union,[30] NATO,[31] the CIA,[32] Google Maps,[33] and the European Broadcasting Union.[34] In 2022, the American AP Stylebook stated in its entry on the country that "Czechia, the Czech Republic. Both are acceptable. The shorter name Czechia is preferred by the Czech government. If using Czechia, clarify in the story that the country is more widely known in English as the Czech Republic."[35]



    Ceramic sculpture
    Stone Sculpture
    Left: Venus of Dolní Věstonice dated to 29,000–25,000 BCE.
    Right: the stone head of a Celt is among the archaeological collections of the National Museum.[36]

    Archaeologists have found evidence of prehistoric human settlements in the area, dating back to the Paleolithic era.

    In the classical era, as a result of the 3rd century BC Celtic migrations, Bohemia became associated with the Boii.[37] The Boii founded an oppidum near the site of modern Prague.[38] Later in the 1st century, the Germanic tribes of the Marcomanni and Quadi settled there.[39]

    Slavs from the Black SeaCarpathian region settled in the area (their migration was pushed by an invasion of peoples from Siberia and Eastern Europe into their area:[40] Huns, Avars, Bulgars and Magyars).[41] In the sixth century, the Huns had moved westwards into Bohemia, Moravia, and some of present-day Austria and Germany.[41]

    During the 7th century, the Frankish merchant Samo, supporting the Slavs fighting against nearby settled Avars,[42] became the ruler of the first documented Slavic state in Central Europe, Samo's Empire. The principality of Great Moravia, controlled by Moymir dynasty, arose in the 8th century.[43] It reached its zenith in the 9th (during the reign of Svatopluk I of Moravia), holding off the influence of the Franks. Great Moravia was Christianized, with a role being played by the Byzantine mission of Cyril and Methodius. They codified the Old Church Slavonic language, the first literary and liturgical language of the Slavs, and the Glagolitic script.[44]


    The Crown of Bohemia within the Holy Roman Empire (1600). The Czech lands were part of the Empire in 1002–1806, and Prague was the imperial seat in 1346–1437 and 1583–1611.

    The Duchy of Bohemia emerged in the late 9th century when it was unified by the Přemyslid dynasty. Bohemia was from 1002 until 1806 an Imperial Estate of the Holy Roman Empire.[45]

    In 1212, Přemysl Ottokar I extracted the Golden Bull of Sicily from the emperor, confirming Ottokar and his descendants' royal status; the Duchy of Bohemia was raised to a Kingdom.[46] German immigrants settled in the Bohemian periphery in the 13th century.[47] The Mongols in the invasion of Europe carried their raids into Moravia but were defensively defeated at Olomouc.[48]

    After a series of dynastic wars, the House of Luxembourg gained the Bohemian throne.[49]

    Efforts for a reform of the church in Bohemia started already in the late 14th century. Jan Hus' followers seceded from some practices of the Roman Church and in the Hussite Wars (1419–1434) defeated five crusades organized against them by Sigismund. During the next two centuries, 90% of the population in Bohemia and Moravia were considered Hussites. The pacifist thinker Petr Chelčický inspired the movement of the Moravian Brethren (by the middle of the 15th century) that completely separated from the Roman Catholic Church.[50]

    Painting of battle between mounted knights
    Battle between Hussites and crusaders during the Hussite Wars; Jena Codex, 15th century

    On 21 December 1421, Jan Žižka, a successful military commander and mercenary, led his group of forces in the Battle of Kutná Hora, resulting in a victory for the Hussites. He is honoured to this day as a national hero.

    After 1526 Bohemia came increasingly under Habsburg control as the Habsburgs became first the elected and then in 1627 the hereditary rulers of Bohemia. Between 1583 and 1611 Prague was the official seat of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and his court.

    The Defenestration of Prague and subsequent revolt against the Habsburgs in 1618 marked the start of the Thirty Years' War. In 1620, the rebellion in Bohemia was crushed at the Battle of White Mountain and the ties between Bohemia and the Habsburgs' hereditary lands in Austria were strengthened. The leaders of the Bohemian Revolt were executed in 1621. The nobility and the middle class Protestants had to either convert to Catholicism or leave the country.[51]

    The following era of 1620 to the late 18th century became known as the "Dark Age". During the Thirty Years' War, the population of the Czech lands declined by a third through the expulsion of Czech Protestants as well as due to the war, disease and famine.[52] The Habsburgs prohibited all Christian confessions other than Catholicism.[53] The flowering of Baroque culture shows the ambiguity of this historical period. Ottoman Turks and Tatars invaded Moravia in 1663.[54] In 1679–1680 the Czech lands faced the Great Plague of Vienna and an uprising of serfs.[55]

    The 1618 Defenestration of Prague marked the beginning of the Bohemian Revolt against the Habsburgs and therefore the first phase of the Thirty Years' War.

    There were peasant uprisings influenced by famine.[56] Serfdom was abolished between 1781 and 1848. Several battles of the Napoleonic Wars took place on the current territory of the Czech Republic.

    The end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 led to degradation of the political status of Bohemia which lost its position of an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire as well as its own political representation in the Imperial Diet.[57] Bohemian lands became part of the Austrian Empire. During the 18th and 19th century the Czech National Revival began its rise, with the purpose to revive Czech language, culture, and national identity. The Revolution of 1848 in Prague, striving for liberal reforms and autonomy of the Bohemian Crown within the Austrian Empire, was suppressed.[58]

    It seemed that some concessions would be made also to Bohemia, but in the end, the Emperor Franz Joseph I affected a compromise with Hungary only. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and the never realized coronation of Franz Joseph as King of Bohemia led to a disappointment of some Czech politicians.[58] The Bohemian Crown lands became part of the so-called Cisleithania.

    The Czech Social Democratic and progressive politicians started the fight for universal suffrage. The first elections under universal male suffrage were held in 1907.[59]