The History of Czech Lands

21 Mar

Map Austira-HungaryIn the Bronze Age the Czech lands became one of the most advanced cultural areas of Europe. People started building a heavily fortified settlement. Some residents of these forts were specialized for craft.

At the end of the 8th century BC, the inhabitants of the Czech lands began to mass produce and utilize iron. Around the year 200 BC lived in our area the Celts, who were building large cities (oppidum), surrounded by massive walls.
At the beginning of the first millennium the Celtic civilization extinguished and Germanic tribes fell in our territory.
In the 7th century, the first state formation – Samo’s kingdom, was created in our country. In 9th century saw the sun Great Moravia, the State Mojmir. But the fragile Moravian state organization, did not last long raids nomads.
At the end of the 9th century the government in Bohemia was taken by the Premislids. The first known prince was Borivoj and his wife Ludmila.
After the death of the last Premislids’ King Wenceslas III., in 1306, Czech nobles couldn’t decide who to choose as King of Bohemia for several years.

In 1310, John of Luxembourg, son of King Henry VII was elected to the Czech throne. In the same year, John married the sister of last Premislid Elisabeth. But Czech Kingdom was for John of Luxembourg completely foreign. Unfamiliar with the domestic morals, could not understand the needs of the country.
Elisabeth and John had a son, Václav – the future King Charles IV. About him we may boldly say that he was the most important Czech ruler. His government was one of the most famous in our history. He ensured peace, deserved a lot of important buildings, founded the university. Generous construction of New Town has made Prague one of the largest cities in Europe. After the death of Charles IV. his son Wenceslas IV. came to the throne. With his name is associated the beginning of the Hussite revolution.
Master of the University of Prague, Jan Hus in his flaming sermons admonished the men and common people to live according to God’s commandments. Similarly, sharply he criticized the priests, bishops and other “servants of God.” At that time, the city of Constance summoned the church assembly (council). Jan Hus was invited to have vindicated that his teachings are not directed against the Church, that he is not a heretic. Jan Hus refused to recant his views, and so he was 6.7.1415 on the banks of the Rhine, burned.

After some time the Czechs have chosen as King Sigismund’s grandson, Ladislav. But he was still a boy, so instead of him dominated provincial administrator – a powerful and wealthy George of Podebrady. But soon the war broke out again. During the long battle with Matthew Georgie died. The Bohemian nobles, on advice of Matthias, choose new king – Vladislav Jagiello of Poland.
Since the election of new King Ferdinand I, until 1918, was our country ruled by the Habsburg family. However, the Habsburgs ruled from Vienna. With one exception – the one was Rudolph II. At that time Prague became the provincial capital city, where came the famous artists and scholars from across Europe. After Rudolph’s death, other Habsburg emperors oppressed Czech Kingdom and its inhabitants, and the Bohemian nobles rebelled. Prague uprising suppressed the Habsburgs with the help of a strong army. Slaughter and follow the Thirty Years War brought misery to the Czech lands. Who does not become a Catholic, he had to go abroad. It also suffered the greatest scholars of the 17th century – John Amos Comenius.

Period after the Battle of White Mountain is often referred to as the dark ages. The Czech lands had to leave many people and nobility alienated with people.

In the 18 century still dominated the social relationships that were based on domination of the nobility and the Church. Gradually, more and more began to promote the commons. Develop the crafts and trade; there was a new scientific discoveries. In agriculture and handicraft production came new inventions. Maria Theresa began after many lost wars to promote changes in their State. The sense of enlightened government and continued by her son Joseph II.

At the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century there was a national revival. Patriots stood up to defend the homeland Czech, Czech began publishing books, play games in Czech theater. Large role was played by museums. At the national revival are increasingly involved ordinary people – the foundation of amateur dramatics, reading clubs and patriotic circles.
In the first half of the 19th century in the Czech lands gradually changed the manufacture production in to the machine one. Factories began to apply them to steam engines. Accelerated transport through the introduction of railway speed up the development of machine production and trade. Czech lands became the center of industrial production in Austria.

Expansion of the Czech nation also continued in the early 20th century. Czechs sought to expand their rights, while not yet demanded autonomy and create their own state. However, the situation changed after the outbreak of World War in 1914. Life during wartime has very deteriorated. Publication many Czech newspapers and magazines stopped. Interventions did not avoid the school textbooks. Many Czech politicians have been jailed. Rationing system for food and certain consumer goods was made. Throughout the war, food prices increased because there was not enough. Wars brought hunger and misery.
Our politicians abroad spoke against the further continuance of the Czech lands in Austria-Hungary. Foreign resistance gambled on an armed struggle against Austria. Abroad, formed the Czechoslovak Legion, in which went the Czechs and Slovaks, who were there in captivity. With the end of the war with Austria-Hungary began to crumble. Western allies, along with the United States voiced agreement with the break, leading to the creation of independent Czechoslovakia.
The Czechoslovak Republic was composed of four countries: Bohemia (capital city of Prague), from Moravia and Silesia (Brno), Slovakia (Bratislava) and Ruthenia (Uzhgorod). It was democratic organization, headed by the president. All the privileges of the nobility were abolished. State became the basis for a new constitution, which introduced equal rights for all citizens without distinction of property, religion and nationality. In The New Republic, lived next to the Czechs and Slovaks also many Germans, Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians and Ruthenians. Also, women have full equality with men.
Individual countries of Czechoslovakia were not equally economically advanced. Most industrialized countries were Czech, Slovakia and the less poor were Ruthenia. Under the label “Made in Australia from Czechoslovakia during the years were exported machinery, weapons, glass, textiles, footwear and other products. Czechoslovakia soon became one of the most advanced industrial nations in Europe.
A big step forward has also been made in agriculture. Most of the farms, formerly in the hands of the nobility and the church were divided for small farms. Of agricultural products in the world became known Czech sugar, beer and hops.
For Czechoslovakia World War II began and ended with the being left by West. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Hitler’s Germany fell to the Germans great lap weaponry and a highly developed economy able to produce more weapons.

In September 1939 the German army invaded the territory of Poland.
In The protectorate Czech and Moravia the German occupiers established terror. Ordered the public buildings bill with swastika flags, renamed the streets, everything reminding of the Czechoslovak Republic, had to be removed, whether it was the national emblem or the statue of TG Masaryk. The streets began, according to Germany to drive on the right (until then drove on the left). Any expression of disagreement with the occupiers was harshly punished. People lived in fear.
The Jews suffered the cruel fate. The Germans pursued them and wanted to exterminate them. Gathered them into concentration camps where most of them were tortured. A similar fate befell the Czech Gypsies.
After the difficult war years, began a peaceful life. Czechoslovakia was restored as a democratic state. There was a series of changes. Ruthenia was annexed to the Soviet Union. The industry was nationalized; large factories, mines, mills and banks were confiscated and have become the common property of the state.
The winner of the first postwar election in 1946 became the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. In February 1948 the Communists removed its political opponents from the government to and taken over all the power in the state. Czechoslovakia ceased to be a democratic state. There was raised undemocratic, totalitarian one-party government. The nationalization of enterprises and factories was completed, followed by the liquidation of private companies craftsmen, tradesmen and merchants.

At the end of 80 years of the twentieth century, there was a crisis of the communist system. Louder protests of Citizen took place. The peak occurred in November 1989. Students gathered in Prague to honor the memory of John Opletal, murdered by the Nazis in 1939. In the evening the peaceful procession of students was attacked by the police. Many students were injured. The progress after this event was surprisingly fast. There have been major changes in society. Czechoslovakia returned to democracy and freedom. Many people started their business, to associate freely in political parties and associations. Country left the Soviet occupation troops.

Later in 90’s Slovak leaders decided to create a separate state. After nearly 75 years of common state the Czechoslovakia was, on 1 January 1993, split in to two independent countries – the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.


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