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Bohemia

From Academic Kids

Bohemia is also a place in the State of New York in the USA, see: Bohemia, New York.
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Bohemia

Bohemia (Czech: Čechy; German: Böhmen) is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western and middle thirds of the Czech Republic. With an area of 52,750 sq. km. and 6.25 million of the country's 10.3 million inhabitants, Bohemia is bounded by Germany to the north-west, west and south-west, Poland to the north-east, the Czech province of Moravia to the east and Austria to the south. Bohemia's borders are marked with mountain ranges such as the Šumava, the Ore Mountains or Krkonoše (Riesengebirge) as part of the Sudeten mountains. Note: In the Czech language, there is no distinction between the adjectives Bohemian and Czech (český).

History of Bohemia

Roman authors provide the first clear reference to this area as the home of the Boii, a Celtic people. As part of the territory often crossed during the major Germanic and Slavic migrations, the area was settled from the 1st century BC by Germanic (probably Suebic) peoples including the Marcomanni. After their migration to the south-west, they were replaced around the 6th century by the Slavic precursors of today's Czechs.

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Historical map of Bohemia

After freeing themselves from the rule of the Avars in the 7th century, Bohemia's Slavic inhabitants came (in the 9th century) under the rule of the Premysl dynasty, which continued until 1306. With Bohemia's conversion to Christianity in the 9th century, close relations were forged with the East Frankish kingdom, then part of the so-called Carolingian empire, later the nucleus of the Holy Roman Empire of which Bohemia was an autonomous part from the 10th century.

The first to use the title of "King of Bohemia" was Boleslav I after 940, but his heirs again used the title of Duke. The title of King was granted to the Premyslid dukes Vratislav II (1085) and Vladislav II (1158), and became hereditary (1198) under Ottokar I, whose grandson Ottokar II (king 1253-1278) founded a short-lived empire also covering modern Austria. The mid-13th century saw the beginning of substantial German immigration as the court sought to make good the losses resulting from the brief Mongol invasion of 1241. In 1346, Charles IV became King of Bohemia. In 1348 he founded central Europe's first university in Prague. His reign brought Bohemia to its peak both politically and in total area, resulting in his being the first King of Bohemia to be elected as Holy Roman Emperor.

A national Czech movement against (mainly German) foreign immigrants was promoted by the religious movement of Hussites under the leadership of Jan Hus, a precursor of Martin Luther, who was eventually burned at the stake. When the crusade against heresy was declared by the Pope, it created a period of turmoil in Bohemia called the Hussite Wars. Bohemia was granted freedom of religion in 1436 by so-called Basel Compactates (Peace and Freedom between Catholics and Utraquists (today: Bohemian Church) but this lasted for only a short time, as in 1462, Pope Pius II declared Basel Compactates invalid. In 1609, Bohemian king Rudolph II, who was titularly a Catholic, was coerced by Bohemian nobility to publish Maiestas Rudolphina, which confirmed the older Confessio Bohemica of 1575. It can be said that there was relative freedom of religion in Bohemia between 1436 and 1620 and in this Bohemia was one of the most liberal countries of Christian world.

Bohemia was an independent kingdom until centralisation reforms in 1743, when it became a part of the Austrian part of Habsburg empire, and German became the only official language. The Protestant nobility were largely expelled after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. The ruling classes had largely been German-speaking since the late Middle Ages, and after Bohemia became an Austrian province the German language became increasingly dominant until, in the early 17th century, opposition to Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor as King of Bohemia led to the Thirty Years' War and the selection of an alternative Protestant king, Frederick V, Elector Palatine.


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Coat of Arms of Bohemia
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After World War I, Bohemia became the cornerstone of the newly-formed country of Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia became a rich and liberal democratic republic, and TomᚠMasaryk was elected as its first president.

Between 1939-1945, Bohemia together with Moravia formed the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (Reichsprotektorat Böhmen und Mähren) under the Occupation.

Agnes of Bohemia (Sv. Anezka Ceska, 1211-1282) was the first saint from a Central European country to be canonized by Pope John Paul II after the 1989 "Velvet_Revolution."

After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, Bohemia became part of the new Czech Republic.

Bohemia is not currently an administrative unit of the Czech Republic. Instead, it is divided into Prague, the Central Bohemian Region, the Pilsen Region, the Carlsbad Region, the Usti nad Labem Region, the Liberec Region, the Hradec Kralove Region, and parts of the Pardubice, Vysocina and South Bohemian regions.

See also

Template:Czech landscs:Čechy da:Bøhmen de:Böhmen eo:Bohemio es:Bohemia fi:Böömi fr:Bohême it:Boemia ja:ボヘミア nl:Bohemen pl:Bohemia sv:Böhmen zh:波希米亚

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