Welcome to the Czech Republic
Prague [ www.prague.cz ]
One Man's Fight Against Hitler
Location: Central Europe, southeast of Germany
Map Reference: Europe
Area: total: 78,866 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries: total: 1,881 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
Terrain: Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country.
Natural Resources: hard coal, soft coal, kaolin, clay, graphite
Population: 10,272,179 (July 2000 est.)
Ethnic groups: Czech 81.2%, Moravian 13.2%, Slovak 3.1%, Polish 0.6%, German 0.5%, Silesian 0.4%, Roma 0.3%, Hungarian 0.2%, other 0.5% (March 1991)
Religions: atheist 39.8%, Roman Catholic 39.2%, Protestant 4.6%, Orthodox 3%, other 13.4%
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Independence: 1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech and Slovak Republics)
National holiday: National Liberation Day, 8 May; Founding of the Republic, 28 October
Literacy: 99.0 %,
Currency: 1 koruna (Kc) = 100 haleru
GDP: purchasing power parity -
$120.8 billion (1999 est.)
"Little is known of the origins of Slavs. Philologists and archaeologists theorize that the Slavs settled very early in the Carpathian Mountains or in the area of present-day Belarus. By A.D. 600, they had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The East Slavs settled along the Dnepr River in what is now Ukraine; then they spread northward to the northern Volga River valley, east of modern-day Moscow, and westward to the basins of the northern Dnestr and the western Bug rivers, in present-day Moldova and southern Ukraine. "
-- The Library of Congress Country Studies
Czechs and Slovaks
First Political Units
"Although a Czechoslovak state did not emerge until 1918, its roots go back many centuries. The earliest records of Slavic inhabitants in present-day Czechoslovakia date from the fifth century A.D. The ancestors of the Czechs settled in present-day Bohemia and Moravia, and those of the Slovaks settled in present-day Slovakia. The settlers developed an agricultural economy and built the characteristically circular Slavic villages, the okroulice.
The peaceful life of the Slavic tribes was shattered in the sixth
century by the invasion of the Avars, a people of undetermined origin and language who
established a loosely connected empire between the Labe (Elbe) and Dnieper rivers. The
Avars did not conquer all the Slavic tribes in the area, but they subjugated some of them
and conducted raids on others. It was in response to the Avars that Samo--a foreigner
thought to be a Frankish merchant--unified some of the Slavic tribes and in A.D. 625
established the empire of Samo. Although the territorial extent of the empire is not
known, it was centered in Bohemia and is considered the first coherent Slavic political
unit. The empire disintegrated when Samo died in 658.
A more stable polity emerged in Moravia. The Czech tribes of Moravia helped Charlemagne destroy the Avar Empire (ca. 796) and were rewarded by receiving part of it as a fief. Although the Moravians paid tribute to Charlemagne, they did enjoy considerable independence. Early in the ninth century, Mojmir--a Slavic chief--formed the Moravian Kingdom. His two successors expanded its domains to include Bohemia, Slovakia, southern Poland, and western Hungary. The expanded kingdom became known as the Great Moravian Empire.
Its importance to Czechoslovak history is that it united in a single state the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. "
-- The Library of Congress