The Czech Republic is a state in Central Europe. It occupies an area of 80 thousand square kilometers and has about 10 million inhabitants. The capital of the Czech Republic is Prague, the seat of the President, government and parliament and the political, cultural and economic center of the country.
Our state has a varied landscape. Bohemia is surrounded by a ring of mountains – the Šumava range, the Czech Forest, the Ore mountains, the Jizerské mountains, the Giant mountains and the Eagle mountains. In the Moravia is Jeseníky and Beskydy. Of course we have some several important rivers. For example the Vltava and the Elbe (flowing into the North Sea), the Oder (flowing into the Baltic Sea) and the Morava (flowing into the Danube and thence into the Black Sea). The climate is mostly continental, the warmest area is in the south of Moravia.
The Czech Republic is an industrial country. The greatest percentage is represented by the engineering industry. Besides this there are the chemical industry, food industry, textile industry, metallurgy and other sorts of industry.
Our country has very rich sources of black coal and anthracite, mainly in the Ostrava Coal Basin and in the area of Kladno. The most significant supplies of brown coal and lignite are in the North Bohemia Coal Basin and in the Western Bohemia in the Sokolov Basin.
The history begins in the 6th century, when the Slavonic tribes came in our territory. The first state was Sámo’s Empire, that was destroyed by the Avars. In the 9th century there existed Great Moravian Empire. After its desintegration, state activities were concentrated in the Czech Lands. The first leading dynasty was Přemysl dynasty, and the first historically documented Czech prince was Bořivoj the I. The Czech princes and later kings played an important role in Central Europe. The latest king of Přemysl dynasty was Wenceslas III., who died in year 1306. With him the Přemysl dynasty had died out by the sword.
After several years of instability, John Luxemburg got the Czech throne and after him his son - Charles IV. During the reign of Charles IV., the Czech Kingdom became a head of the Holy Roman Empire and Prague grew into one of the largest European metropolises of that era, and was a significant center of education (thanks to Charles University), architecture and the arts.
The first part of the 15th century is marked by the Hussite Movement. It is named after John Huss, professor, dean and later rector of Charles University, who was burnt as a heretic in Constance. The leading representatives of the Hussite Movement were John Žižka (he was never defeated), Prokop Holý, Prokop Malý and John Roháč of Dubé. The first king, who was elected by the Czech estates, was Jiří of Poděbrady and Kunštát. After his reign the new leading dynasty came in our country. It was Jagiellonian dynasty from Poland.
In the 16th century Habsburg dynasty got the Czech throne (their reign was almost 400 years). In 1620 The Czech estates were defeated in the Battle of the White Mountain, and so the re-catholicization, germanization and liquidation of Czech culture and literature followed the time after Thirty Year’s War.
Nevertheless the 19th century brought a time of national revival, so when World War I ended in 1918, the Czech nation was able to take its fate into its own hands in the newly established Czechoslovak Republic. After the German occupation in year 1939 and World War II the Czech state was under the domination of Soviet Union till the time of “velvet revolution” in 1989. The following development led to the splitting of the republic, and in 1993 two new states appeared – the Czech Republic (it is Bohemia, Moravia and part of Silesia) and The Slovak Republic.
17. duben 2008