The Czech Republic - facts

The CR is a landlocked country in central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north-east, Germany to the west, Austria to the south and Slovakia to the east. The capital and the largest city is Prague. In the CR there live 10,3 million people in the total area of about 78 800 sq km. Whole country is composed of the regions of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. The CR is independent democratic country; the head of state is President (Klaus) and the head of government is Prime Minister (Topolánek).

The CR has a continental climate with relatively hot summers and cold, cloudy winters, usually with snow. Most rain falls during the summer. The temperature difference between summers and winters is relatively high due to the landlocked geographical position. The coldest month is usually January, followed by February and December. During these months there is usually snow in the mountains and sometimes in the major cities and lowlands. During March, April and May, the temperature usually increases rapidly. Spring is also characterized by high water levels in the rivers due to melting snow, with occasional floods.

History dates back to the 3rd century BC when Celtic migrations started. The Boii and later in the 1st century Germanic tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi settled there. During the Migration Period around the 5th century, many Germanic tribes moved westwards and southwards out of Central Europe and Slavonic people settled in this area. During the 7th century the Frankish merchant Samo became the ruler of the first known Slav state in central Europe called Samo′s Empire. In the 8th century Great Moravian Empire was established; since the late 9th century the Přemyslid dynasty ruled the Czech State. The Czech Kingdom was part of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages. In 1306, the Přemyslid line had died out by the sword, and, after a series of dynastic wars, a new Luxemburg dynasty captured the Bohemian crown. The 14th century, particularly the reign of Charles IV (1342-1378), is considered the Golden Age of Czech history.

Charles IV. - eleventh king of Bohemia; he was also king of Italy and Holy Roman Empire; he grew up in France; he received a French education and was literate and fluent in five languages: Latin, Czech, German, French, and Italian; he made Prague the imperial capital; Karlštejn, the castle in Central Bohemia, was founded in 1348 by him as well as Charles University

The Kingdom of Bohemia was decimated by Black Death in 1380. Religious conflicts such as the 15th century Hussite Wars and the 17th century Thirty Years' War had a devastating effect on the local population. From the 16th century, Bohemia came under Habsburg control. Czechs call the period from 1620 till the late 18th century, the "Dark Age" - time of national revival. The independent Republic of Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918 after the end of 1st World War. From 1939 to 1945 (during 2nd World War) Czech territory was occupied by Germany, which transformed it into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The occupation ended on 9 May 1945 with the arrival of Soviet and American armies. Afterwards Communist Party of Czechoslovakia became the largest party in the Czechoslovak parliament. In 1989 there was Velvet Revolution when the communist regime collapsed. On January 1, 1993 Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into 2 states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The first President of the CR was Václav Havel. The Czech Republic joined NATO on March 12, 1999 and the European Union on May 1, 2004.

The main part of economics are services (58% GDP = gross domestic product), contrary of the agriculture which produces only 4%. Industry - mining coal for power stations. In the CR there are also 2 nuclear power stations (Dukovany, Temelín) and alternative such as windy, solar or water. Other industries: car producing (Škoda, Tatra); chemical, textile, glass and ceramic. Agriculture - growing crops (wheat, barley, oats, corn), fruit and vegetable (apples, potatoes, grape wine, white beet); keeping animals (cows, sheep, pigs, horses), hops -> beer - brewing industry

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