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Bohemia

BOHEMIA

BOHEMIA. The crown lands of early modern Bohemia stretched across a significant portion of central Europe. Though centered on the kingdom of Bohemia proper and oriented administratively around its capital, Prague, they also included Upper and Lower Lusatia, the margravate of Moravia, and the assorted duchies of Silesia. There was little institutional cohesion among these territories; Saxony absorbed Lusatia in 1635, while Prussia seized nearly all of Silesia in 1742. Before the Thirty Years' War (16181648), Bohemia boasted a population of three million, more than that of contemporary England. The region was also blessed with an array of natural resources that supported a thriving economy. The Elbe River valley and the southern Moravian plain were fertile agricultural regions while the silver mines of Jihlava (Iglau), KutnáHora (Kuttenberg) and the German settlement of Joachimsthal (Jáchymov) were known throughout Europe. Also important to the economy were the traditional Bohemian trades of brewing and fish farming combined with a textile industry that had a particularly strong base in Silesia with the commercial center of Breslau (Wrocław) as its most important hub.

RULERS AND RELIGIOUS REFORM

The crown of St. Wenceslas was elective, and power within the kingdom was divided between the royal court and the three Estates: the lords, the knights, and the burghers. Constitutionally, Bohemia's political status was solidified by Emperor Charles IV (ruled 13551378). In 1356 he established the kingdom as one of the empire's seven electoral principalities. Charles founded central Europe's first university in Prague, began an ambitious building program in the city, raised the bishopric to an archbishopric, and initiated a lively cultural exchange with Italy. Both Petrarch and Cola di Rienzo visited Bohemia.

Scholars traditionally date Bohemia's early modern period to the accession of the Habsburgs in 1526. The two most pressing problems the new dynasty faced, however, had their origins in the previous century. Most serious was the issue of religion. Jan Hus (c. 1372/13731415) headed a reform movement that accelerated after his execution at the Council of Constance in 1415. Opposition to Rome crystallized around the Four Articles of Prague, which called for a general reform of clerical life and insisted upon the administration of the Eucharist in the form of both bread and wine. The Hussites successfully resisted five crusades and eventually won significant concessions that were negotiated at the Council of Basel in 1437. There were fissures, however, within the original reform movement. The radical contingent of the Hussite revolution would be crushed at the battle of Lipany in 1434. The Utraquists, representing a more conservative ecclesial tradition, would carry on Hus's legacy under the leadership of Jan Rokycana, a former master of the university. The Unity of Czech Brethren, a smaller group with a more biblicist orientation, would emerge as an independent body in the 1450s. The coming of the Reformation in the sixteenth century added further complexity to an already complex religious landscape. Lutheranism gained ground especially in German communities and among the nobility whereas Calvinism had a significant influence on the Czech Brethren. By the time Ferdinand I von Habsburg had ascended the throne, Bohemia had a well-established reputation as a homeland of heresy. The second problem from the Habsburg perspective was political. Their predecessors, the Jagiellonian kings, Władysław II and Ludvík (ruled 14711526), were relatively weak rulers. During their tenure the power of the Estates had grown at the expense of the crown.

Ferdinand's approach to these problems was initially gradual and indirect. In terms of politics, he worked around the Estates with his powers of patronage and appointment. He was able to select allies to staff such important positions as grand burgrave and chancellor. This gave him a freer hand at the conclusion of the Schmalkaldic War (15461547) to discipline the nobility who had joined the revolt. His response to the towns that had been allied with the rebels was even harsher. He deprived them of many of their traditional liberties and privileges. With regard to religion, Ferdinand, a devout Catholic, had even less room to maneuver. As Bohemia's king, he was constitutionally obligated to uphold the Compactata, those concessions the Utraquists had won at Basel, but he did provide the Catholic Church with an institutional framework upon which they could build. In 1561 he appointed Antonín Brus of Mohelnice as archbishop, a seat that had remained vacant ever since the defection of Konrad von Vechta to the Utraquists in 1421. Even more significantly, he invited the Jesuits to the Bohemian lands. Among their number was the young Edmund Campion (15401581), whose confessional rhetoric intensified divisions between the kingdom's various religious communities. The work of the Society of Jesus, especially in education, yielded handsome dividends within a generation.

Ferdinand's successors, Maximilian II (ruled 15641576) and Rudolf II (ruled 15761612), were more ambiguous confessionally, and Bohemia's non-Catholics made substantial gains during their reigns. In 1575 the Utraquists and Brethren jointly issued a single confession, the Confessio Bohemica, to which Maximilian gave a verbal guarantee of acceptance. More substantial, however, was a written grant of toleration, the Letter of Majesty, that the estates were able to wring out of Rudolf in 1609 as a result of his famous quarrel with his brother and political rival, Matthias. Bohemia's Rudolfine era is far better known for the great flowering of Renaissance culture that developed under the emperor's aegis. Though Ferdinand had commissioned what is arguably Bohemia's most important Renaissance monument, the gracefully arcaded summer palace, Rudolf easily surpassed his predecessors as both patron and collector. The imperial court at Prague attracted artists from across the Continent, including the fascinating Italian Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Both Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler enjoyed Rudolf's patronage, while the emperor himself was deeply involved in the hermetic arts. Rudolf even showed an interest in Jewish learning, inviting Prague's most important Cabalist, Rabbi Loew, to an extended interview in the castle. Politically and confessionally, however, tensions were rising to a crisis level by the time Matthias officially ascended the throne.

In his feud with Rudolf, Matthias had supported the Protestants. He disappointed the Czech Estates as king, however, failing to address many of their grievances that had arisen from the growing political power of Bohemia's Catholics. The Estates eventually took matters into their own hands. Although the zealous Catholic, Ferdinand of Styria, had been elected Matthias's successor in 1617, matters quickly changed when, in the following year, leaders of the Estates announced their revolutionary intentions by throwing two imperial officials, along with their servant, from a high window of the Prague castle. Ferdinand II was quickly deposed and replaced by the Calvinist elector palatine, Frederick. As the estates appealed to the broader Protestant world for assistance, the Catholics rallied behind Ferdinand in this dramatic opening chapter of the Thirty Years' War. Bohemia's fate was quickly decided. On 9 November 1620, Catholic forces defeated Frederick's supporters on a chalky upland outside Prague.

The imperial victory at White Mountain, a great turning point in Czech history, afforded Emperor Ferdinand II the opportunity to resolve definitively both the political and religious problems of the stubborn kingdom. First, the elective status of the Bohemian crown was abolished in 1624. Then, in 1627 the Renewed Constitution redistributed power and privilege. The Chancellery was moved to Vienna, and the clergy were officially recognized as a new estate. Before 1620 the Catholic community had constituted approximately ten percent of the population. Now, the nobility and townspeople had the option to either convert or leave the kingdom in exile. Nearly a quarter chose the latter. Bohemia also suffered directly from war with a significant population loss and the destruction of its once thriving network of small towns. Before 1618 there were nearly eight hundred towns in the Bohemian kingdom. After the war there were hardly more than two hundred. Prague itself was occupied in 1631 by the Saxons, while the Swedes overran its left bank in 1648.

Stability slowly returned in the second half of the seventeenth century. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) ensured that Bohemia would remain firmly in the Habsburg orbit, while the suppression of a great peasant revolt in 1680 and the Turkish defeat of 1683 granted Bohemia a degree of security the kingdom had not known for many generations. It was also in this period that Bohemia's traditionally fractious nobility were more thoroughly domesticated. The Czech nobility came to play a substantial role in the governance of the empire. Although Albrecht von Wallenstein was an ambiguous Habsburg ally, there were others who exercised a quieter but important role in the imperial capital. The Lobkowitz, Liechtenstein, Černín, Kinsky, and Dietrichstein families served the Habsburgs faithfully in a variety of functions. Ironically, it was Kaspar Kaplíř, a grandson of one of the Czech rebels executed by Ferdinand in 1621, who would help lead the defense of Vienna some sixty years later against the Ottomans. Religious issues, too, were more effectively resolved in the two generations after Westphalia. A confessional identity that was thoroughly Catholic but authentically Czech was fashioned in this period. The cults of older but neglected saints were revived while newer ones were established. The old pilgrimage route from Prague to Stará Boleslav, the site of the martyrdom of St. Wenceslas, once more became popular, and newer forms of devotion, such as that to the Infant of Prague, quickly found their place in the religious life of the region. The exuberant art and architecture of the Bohemian baroque reflected the new self-confidence of the secular and clerical elites. This period culminated in 1729 with the canonization of the immensely popular John Nepomuk, who in the fourteenth century had supposedly been thrown into the Moldau for refusing to betray the secrets of the confessional.

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

The death of Emperor Charles VI in 1740 precipitated another crisis in Bohemia as the Bavarian elector, Charles Albert, challenged the claims of Charles's daughter, Maria Theresa. Although he was accepted as king by a narrow majority of the Bohemian nobility, support for the Bavarian was tepid, and after the military victories of the Austrians in Moravia and Bohemia (though not in Silesia), Maria Theresa assumed the reins of government without a major outcry from the nobility. She continued the process of political centralization. The last institutional reminder of an independent Bohemian kingdom was lost when the Bohemian Chancellery was merged with the Austrian in 1749. She also reorganized local government by reducing the Estates' role in its administration. Czechs, however, would continue to exert considerable influence at the imperial court, as best exemplified in the career of the Moravian noble, Prince Kaunitz, who directed Habsburg foreign policy from the 1750s to the 1790s. Economically, the policies of cameralism benefited the kingdom significantly. The Habsburgs focused their efforts on developing important centers of textile production in northern Bohemia and southern Moravia. Financial prosperity would bring its own problems, for Bohemia bore 50 percent of the imperial tax burden, a figure that would increase even more by the 1730s.

Important intellectual and religious reforms came along with these economic changes. After White Mountain, the Jesuits held a virtual monopoly on education. Concerned that doctrinal error might slip back into the region, the Jesuits were cautious and frequently resistant to intellectual innovation. Ironically, reversing the pattern of the seventeenth century, it was the Habsburgs, beginning most notably with Joseph I (ruled 17051711), who would push for religious and educational reform within Bohemia. This process of liberalization would culminate with the enlightened policies of Maria Theresa's advisor, Gerhard van Swieten, and Joseph II (co-regent 17651780, ruled 17801790). Bohemia's first scientific society was founded in the 1770s. A chair of Czech language was established at the university in the 1790s. Most important, however, were the twin edicts of 1781 that abolished serfdom and granted religious toleration. Even the Jews won a series of new privileges. One of the oldest and largest settlements in central Europe, the Jewish community of Prague had experienced a wide range of conditions from Ferdinand I to Maria Theresa. With Joseph II they were allowed to move more freely in Christian society and even attend the university. Although the conservative Francis II (ruled 17921835) attempted to rescind many of the reforms of Joseph and his brother Leopold (ruled 17901792), the important changes they initiated survived and ultimately transformed Bohemia in the following century.

See also Habsburg Dynasty: Austria ; Hussites ; Maria Theresa (Holy Roman Empire) ; Prague, Defenestration of ; Reformations in Eastern Europe: Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox ; Schmalkaldic War (15461547) ; Thirty Years' War (16181648).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brock, Peter. The Political and Social Doctrines of the Unity of Czech Brethren in the Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Centuries. The Hague, 1957.

Eberhard, Winfried. Konfessionsbildung und Stände in Böhmen. Munich, 1981.

Evans, R. J. W. "The Habsburg Monarchy and Bohemia, 15261848." In Conquest and Coalescence: The Shaping of the State in Early Modern Europe. Edited by Mark Greengrass. London, 1991. Most concise overview in English on early modern Bohemia (pp. 134150).

. The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy, 15501700: An Interpretation. Oxford, 1979.

Hassenpflug-Elzholz, Eila. Böhmen und die böhmischen Stände in der Zeit des beginnenden Zentralismus: Eine Strukturanalyse der böhmischen Adelsnation um die Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts. Munich, 1982.

Heymann, Frederick. "The Impact of Martin Luther upon Bohemia." Central European History 1 (1968): 107130.

Kaufmann, Thomas DaCosta. The School of Prague: Painting at the Court of Rudolf II. Chicago, 1988.

Kerner, Robert Joseph. Bohemia in the Eighteenth Century: A Study in Political, Economic, and Social History. New York, 1932.

Macek, Josef. "Bohemia and Moravia." In The Renaissance in National Context, edited by R. Porter and M. Teich, pp. 197220. Cambridge, U.K., 1992.

Muneles, Otto, ed. The Prague Ghetto in the Renaissance Period. Prague, 1965.

Polišenský, Josef. The Thirty Years' War. London, 1971.

Teich, Mikuláš. "Bohemia: From Darkness into Light." In The Enlightenment in National Context, edited by R. Porter and M. Teich, pp. 141163. Cambridge, U.K., 1981.

Teich, Mikuláš, ed. Bohemia in History. Cambridge, U.K., 1998. Chapters 58 cover the early modern period.

Zdeněk, David. "The Strange Fate of Czech Utraquism." Journal of Ecclesiastical History 46 (1995): 641668. Important revisionist article on the religious culture of sixteenth-century Bohemia.

Howard Louthan

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Bohemia

Bohemia, Czech Čechy, historic region (20,368 sq mi/52,753 sq km) and former kingdom, in W and central Czech Republic. Bohemia is bounded by Austria in the southeast, by Germany in the west and northwest, by Poland in the north and northeast, and by Moravia in the east. Its natural boundaries are the Bohemian Forest, the Erzgebirge ( "ore mountains" ) chain, the Sudetes, and the Bohemian-Moravian heights.

Land and People

With Moravia and Czech Silesia, Bohemia constitutes the traditional Czech Lands, although historically there was a sizable German minority, and in its broader meaning Bohemia is often understood to include this entire area, which until 1918 was a Hapsburg crown land. Prague is the traditional Bohemian capital. Although Bohemia is highly urbanized and densely populated, agriculture and rural life and customs retain their importance. Central Bohemia consists of fertile lowlands and plateaus, drained by the Elbe and Vltava (Moldau) rivers. Grain, sugar beets, grapes and other fruit, flax, and the famous hops used in the breweries of Plzeň (Pilsen) are the principal crops. Prague is the center of a heavy industrial region, and Plzeň is also known for the huge Skoda works, producing machinery and munitions. Bohemia is celebrated for its spas and beautiful resorts, notably Karlovy Vary (Ger. Karlsbad) and Mariánské Láznĕ (Ger. Marienbad). The overwhelming majority of the population is Czech, but there are some Slovak, German, and other minorities.

History

Early History

The Romans called the area Boiohaemia after the Boii tribe, probably Celtic, which was displaced (1st–5th cent. AD) by Slavic settlers, the Czechs. Subjugated by the Avars, the Czechs freed themselves under the leadership of Samo (d. c.658). The legendary Queen Libussa and her husband, the peasant Přemysl, founded the first Bohemian dynasty in the 9th cent. Christianity was introduced by saints Cyril and Methodius while Bohemia was part of the great Moravian empire, from which it withdrew at the end of the century to become an independent principality. St. Wenceslaus, the first great Bohemian ruler (920–29), successfully defended his land from Germanic invasion; but his brother, Boleslav I (929–67), was forced to acknowledge (950) the rule of Otto I, and Bohemia became a part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Bohemian principality retained autonomy in internal affairs, however. Later Přemyslide rulers acquired Moravia and most of Silesia.

German influence in Bohemia increased with the growth of the towns and the rise of trade between East and West. Silver, mined chiefly at Kutná Hora, greatly added to the wealth and prestige of the dukes who, by the 12th cent., began to take part in the imperial elections. In 1198, Ottocar I was crowned king of Bohemia, which became an independent kingdom within the empire. The conquests and acquisitions of Ottocar II (1253–78) brought Bohemia to the height of its power and its greatest extent (from the Oder to the Adriatic), but his defeat by Rudolf I of Hapsburg cost Bohemia all his conquests.

Golden Age and Hussite Wars

After the Přemyslide line became extinct (1306), John of Luxemburg was elected king in 1310. The reign of his son, Charles IV (1346–78), who was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1355, was the golden age of Bohemia, and Prague became the seat of the empire. His Golden Bull (1356) permanently established the kings of Bohemia as electors. In the reigns of his successors, emperors Wenceslaus and Sigismund, religious, political, and social tensions exploded in the movement, both religious and nationalist, of the Hussites against the Holy Roman Empire. The Hussite Wars led to the defeat (1434) of the radical Taborites at the hands of the moderate Utraquists, who were supported by the great nobles. In 1436, by the so-called Compactata, the Utraquists returned to communion with the Roman Catholic Church and established Utraquism as the national religion. Meanwhile the crown had passed to Albert II, a Hapsburg, and then to Ladislaus V of Hungary (in Bohemia, Ladislaus I). George of Podebrad actually ruled for Ladislaus and was elected to succeed him as king in 1458. On his death (1471) the crown reverted to the kings of Hungary—Uladislaus II (Ladislaus II), Matthias Corvinus, and Louis II. The nobles profited from the disorders of the period and in 1487 secured vast privileges, reducing the peasantry to virtual serfdom.

Hapsburg Rule

The accession (1526) of Archduke Ferdinand (later Emperor Ferdinand I) began the long Hapsburg domination of Bohemia. Ferdinand began the gradual process by which Bohemia was deprived of self-rule. He also introduced the Jesuits in order to secure the return of Bohemia to Roman Catholicism. The religious situation remained explosive. The conservative wing of the Utraquists had become almost indistinguishable from the Roman Church, and there had arisen a frankly Protestant movement, the Bohemian Brethren (see Moravian Church). The Brethren and their close allies, the Lutherans, won equality with the Utraquists by inducing Emperor Maximilian II to declare (1567) that the Compactata no longer were the law of the land. Rudolf II was forced to grant freedom of religion by the so-called Letter of Majesty (Majestätsbrief) of 1609. When in 1618 Emperor Matthias disregarded the Majestätsbrief, members of the Bohemian diet revolted and dramatized their position by throwing two imperial councilors out of the windows of Hradcin Castle on May 23, 1618.

The so-called Defenestration of Prague precipitated the Thirty Years War, which came to involve most of Europe. Matthias's son (later Emperor Ferdinand II) was declared deposed, and Frederick the Winter King was elected king of Bohemia. Frederick and the Protestants were crushed in the battle of the White Mountain (1620) by Ferdinand II. The Protestants were suppressed, and in 1627 Bohemia was demoted from a constituent Hapsburg kingdom to an imperial crown land; its diet was reduced to a consultative body.

The Thirty Years War laid Bohemia waste; after the Peace of Westphalia (1648), forcible Germanization, oppressive taxation, and absentee landownership reduced the Czechs, except a few favored magnates, to misery. The suppression (1749) of the separate chancellery at Prague by Maria Theresa and the introduction of German as the sole official language completed the process. Joseph II freed the serfs and permitted freedom of worship, but he incurred the hatred of the Czechs by his rigorous policy of Germanization. Leopold II tried to conciliate the Czechs; he was the last ruler to be crowned king of Bohemia (1791). During the later 18th cent. the foundations of industrialization were laid in Bohemia, but the German population fared better than the mostly peasant Czechs.

Czech Nationalism and Nationhood

The 19th cent. brought a rebirth of Czech nationalism. Under the leadership of Palacký a Slavic congress assembled at Prague in the Revolution of 1848, but by 1849, although the Czech peasantry had been emancipated, absolute Austrian domination had been forcibly restored. The establishment (1867) of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy thoroughly disappointed the Czech aspirations for wide political autonomy within a federalized Austria. Instead, the Czech lands were relegated to a mere province of the empire. Concessions were made (1879) by the Austrian minister Taaffe; Czechs entered the imperial bureaucracy and parliament at Vienna. However, many Czechs continued to advocate complete separation from the Hapsburg empire.

Full independence was reached only at the end of World War I under the guidance of T. G. Masaryk. In 1918, Bohemia became the core of the new state of Czechoslovakia. After the Munich Pact of 1938, Czechoslovakia was stripped of the so-called Sudeten area, which was annexed to Germany. In 1939, Bohemia was invaded by German troops and proclaimed part of the German protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

After World War II the pre-1938 boundaries were restored, and most of the German-speaking population was expelled. In 1948, Bohemia's status as a province was abolished, and it was divided into nine administrative regions. The administrative reorganization of 1960 redivided it into five regions and the city of Prague. In 1969, Bohemia, along with Moravia and Czech Silesia, was incorporated into the Czech Socialist Republic, renamed the Czech Republic in 1990. The Czech Republic became an independent state when Czechoslovakia was dissolved on Jan. 1, 1993.

Bibliography

See C. E. Maurice, Bohemia from the Earliest Times to the Foundation of the Czecho-Slovak Republic in 1918 (2d ed. 1922); J. Macek, The Hussite Movement in Bohemia (tr. 1965); S. Z. Pech, The Czech Revolution of 1848 (1969); E. Beneš, Bohemia's Case for Independence (1917, repr. 1971); R. Miller, Bohemia: The Protoculture Then and Now (1978); G. Levitine, The Dawn of Bohemianism (1982).

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Bohemia

Bohemia

Kingdom of central Europe and a leading northern center of literature and scholarship during the Renaissance. The name of Bohemia comes from the Boii, a tribe of Celts that inhabited this region in the time of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the western Roman Empire in the fifth century, Bohemia was settled by Slavs from the east. The Przemyslid dynasty established itself with the reign of King Boleslav I in the ninth century, when the people of Bohemia converted to Christianity. From about this time, the kings of Bohemia were subject to the ultimate authority of the Holy Roman emperor, a fact that led to a number of religious and political conflicts during the Renaissance.

After the invasion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century, the western and northern borderlands of Bohemia were settled by large numbers of Germans. In 1310, King John I established the Luxembourg dynasty. Bohemia became an important center of learning in the middle of the fourteenth century with the founding of the University of Prague during the reign of Charles IV. Charles ascended to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire and brought Bohemia its greatest success, controlling several regions of Germany, the duchy of Luxembourg, Moravia to the east, and Silesia in what is now southern Poland.

Bohemia's tradition of scholarship and religious tolerance was put to the test early in the fifteenth century, when Jan Hus, the rector of the University of Prague, began expounding a doctrine of defiance of the Catholic authorities. Invited to the Council of Constance, Hus was taken prisoner, tried, and burned at the stake for his heretical views, a punishment that was carried out on the orders of Emperor Sigismund. The death of Jan Hus inspired a violent rebellion in Bohemia, known as the Hussite Wars, and also served as an inspiration to the Protestant movement of Martin Luther in sixteenth-century Germany. Although the anti-Catholic forces were eventually defeated, Bohemia decreed freedom of religion within its borders in a document known as the Basel Compact.

In 1526 with the death of King Louis in battle against the Turks, Bohemia was joined to the Habsburg Empire of Austria under its new king, the Habsburg monarch Ferdinand I. The Catholic emperors, as kings of Bohemia, often found themselves at odds with their subjects over religious doctrine. One such conflict between King Ferdinand II and the Protestants of Bohemia touched off the Thirty Years' War that would devastate central Europe from 1618 until 1648.

Bohemia was a nation quite open to the new artistic and intellectual movements of the Renaissance. Printing presses arrived in Prague, the Bohemian capital, by the 1470s, helping disseminate essays and poetry in Latin and scholarly works in the Czech language. Bohemian translators rendered ancient Latin and Greek texts, as well as the works of contemporary Renaissance authors such as Martin Luther and Erasmus, into the Czech language. The historian Daniel Veleslavina published works of history, travel, and geography; other scholarly works covered law, medicine, and botany; the astronomers Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe both lived and worked at the court of Rudolf II in Prague. More daring authors of Bohemia wrote satirical verses and parodies that ridiculed the emperor, the Catholic Church, and the nobility.

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Bohemia

Bohemia Historic region which (with Moravia) now comprises the Czech Republic. Its borders with Germany are formed (nw) by the Ore Mountains and (sw) by the Bohemian Forest. The plateau region is drained by the rivers Elbe and Vltava. The major cities are Prague and Plzeň. Bohemia was established as an independent principality at the end of the 9th century. In the 920s, Saint Wenceslas successfully resisted Germanic invasion, but by the end of the 10th century Bohemia formed part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1198 Ottocar I formed an independent kingdom. At the height of its power during the reign (1253–78) of Ottocar II, Bohemia stretched from the Oder to the Adriatic. Bohemia's golden age was in the reign (1347–78) of Emperor Charles IV, who made Prague his capital. In the reigns of Wenceslas and Sigismund, Bohemia was at the centre of nationalist and religious revolts against imperial domination, including the rebellion of Jan Hus. In 1526 Bohemia was inherited by the Habsburg dynasty. In 1618 the Defenestration of Prague sparked the Thirty Years' War. The process of Germanization was continued by Maria Theresa and Joseph II. Leopold II was the last King of Bohemia. The formation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire failed to satisfy Czech demands for autonomy; independence was finally achieved at the end of World War I under Tomás Masaryk. In the Munich Agreement (1938), Czechoslovakia was forced to cede the Sudetenland to Germany. In 1993, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia saw Bohemia and Moravia join to form the Czech Republic.

http://www.bohemia-tourism.com

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Bohemia

Bohemia a region forming the western part of the Czech Republic, originally a Slavic kingdom, later subject to Austrian rule.

In Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (1610–11), Perdita is abandoned as an infant on the coast of Bohemia, and later marries the king's son.



From the mid 19th century, Bohemia was also used to designate the community or milieu of social Bohemians, persons with informal and unconventional social habits, especially artists or writers. The usage comes (in the mid 19th century) from French bohémien ‘gypsy’, because gypsies were thought to come from Bohemia, or because they perhaps entered the West through Bohemia.


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Bohemia

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