Article: Czech Republic

Česká republika
Czech Republic
4094-125px-flag-of-the-czech-republic-svg-czech-republic-.png 4095-110px-coat-of-arms-of-the-czech-republic-svg-czech-republic-.png
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Czech: Pravda vítězí
(English: "Truth prevails")
Anthem: Kde domov můj
4096-locationczechrepublic-czech-republic-.png
Capital Prague
50°05′N 14°28′E
Largest city Prague
Official language(s) Czech
Government Republic
 - President Václav Klaus
 - Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek (outgoing)
Formation 9th century 
 - Independence from Austria-Hungary October 28, 1918 
 - Dissolution of Czechoslovakia January 1, 1993 
Accession to EU May 1, 2004
Area  
 - Total 78,866 km² (117th)
  30,450 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 2.0%
Population  
 - 2005 est. 10,220,000 (78th)
 - 2001 census 10,230,060
 - Density 130/km² (77th)
337/sq mi 
GDP (PPP) 2006 estimate
 - Total $198.93 billion (46th2)
 - Per capita $19,478 (38th2)
HDI (2003) 0.874 (31st) â€“ high
Currency Czech koruna (CZK)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .cz
Calling code +4201
1 Shared code 42 with Slovakia until 1997
2 Rank based on 2005 IMF data

The Czech Republic (Czech: Česká republika), a member state of the European Union (since May 1, 2004), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country has borders with Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. The historic city of Prague (Czech: Praha), a major tourist attraction, is its capital and largest city. Other major cities include Brno, Ostrava, Zlín, Plzeň, Pardubice, Hradec Králové, České Budějovice, Liberec, Olomouc, and Ústí nad Labem.

The country is composed of two entire historic regions, Bohemia and Moravia, parts of Silesia and small sections of historic Lower Austria.

Name

The official name is Czech Republic. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 suggested that the name Czechia be official alternative in all situations other than formal official documents and the full names of government institutions, but this has not caught on in English usage. Its Czech equivalent ÄŒesko is disputed by many Czech people but often used by others. See Names of the Czech Republic and Czech lands.

History

Main article: History of the Czech lands

Archaeologists have found evidence of prehistoric human settlement in the area dating back to the Neolithic era. In the classical era, from the 3rd century BC Celtic migrations, the Boii (see Bohemia) and later in the 1st century Germanic tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi settled there. During the Migration Period of ca. the 5th century, many Germanic tribes moved westward and southward out of Central Europe. In an equally significant migration, Slavic people from the Black Sea and Carpathian regions settled in the area (a movement that was also stimulated by the onslaught of peoples from Siberia and Eastern Europe: Huns, Avars, Bulgars and Magyars). Following in the Germans' wake, they moved southward into Bohemia, Moravia, and some of present day Austria.

During the 7th century the Frankish merchant Samo, supporting the Slavs fighting their Avar rulers, became the ruler of the first known Slav state in Central Europe. The Moravian principality arose in the 8th century (see under Great Moravia).

The Bohemian or Czech state emerged in the late 9th century when it was unified by the Přemyslids. The kingdom of Bohemia was a significant local power during the Middle Ages. It was part of the Holy Roman Empire during the entire existence of this confederation.

Religious conflicts such as the 15th century Hussite Wars and the 17th century Thirty Years' War had a devastating effect on the local population. Bohemia later came under Habsburg influence and became part of Austria-Hungary.

Following the collapse of this empire after World War I, the independent republic of Czechoslovakia was created in 1918. This new country contained large German, Hungarian and Polish minorities. Although Czechoslovakia was a democratic and liberal state guaranteeing and also implementing cultural and language rights to its minorities (schools in German language areas were entirely German), the centralistic state did not grant its minorities territorial political autonomy, which resulted in discontent and strong support among the minorities to break away from Czechoslovakia. Hitler used the opportunity and, supported by Konrad Henlein's Sudeten German Party, gained the majority German speaking Sudetenland through the Munich Agreement. Poland occupied areas with Polish minority around Český Těšín, while Slovakia gained greater autonomy, with the state being renamed to "Czecho-Slovakia". Eventually Slovakia broke away further in March 1939 and the remaining Czech territory was occupied by Hitler who installed the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which was proclaimed part of the Reich and where the Protectorate President and Prime Minister were subordinate to the Nazi Reichsprotektor ('imperial protector'). Approximately 125,000 citizens, including 83,000 Jews, were killed, and hundreds of thousand of others were sent to prisons and concentration camps or forced labour. The Czechoslovak government-in-exile and its army fighting against Nazis were acknowledged by Allies.

In 1945-6 almost the entire German minority of pre-War Czechoslovakia, 3 million people, were expelled to Germany and Austria. During this, hundreds of thousand of Germans were held in prisons and detention camps or forced labour and there were several massacres in summer 1945; altogether were at least 20,000 deaths. Only 250 000 Germans who had been active in the resistance or were necessary for the economy were allowed to stay, though many of them emigrated later.

Czechoslovakia uneasily tried to play "bridge" between the West and East; however strengthening Communist Party of Czechoslovakia took over in February 1948, bringing the country within the Soviet sphere of influence. In August 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize party rule and create "socialism with a human face" during the Prague Spring.

In November 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its political independence through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution". On January 1, 1993, the country peacefully split in two, creating the independent Czech and Slovak republics.

The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union on May 1, 2004. From 1991 the Czech Republic, then Czechoslovakia, has been a member of the Visegrad Group.

Geography

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Map of the Czech Republic
Main article: Geography of the Czech Republic

The Czech landscape is quite varied; Bohemia to the west consists of a basin, drained by the Elbe (Czech: Labe) and Vltava rivers, surrounded by mostly low mountains such as the Sudeten with its part KrkonoÅ¡e, where one also finds the highest point in the country, the Sněžka at 1,602 metres (5,256 ft). Moravia, the eastern part, is also quite hilly and is drained predominantly by the Morava river, but also contains the source of the Oder (Czech: Odra) river. Water from the landlocked Czech Republic flows to three different seas: the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Black Sea.

The local climate is temperate with warm summers and cold, cloudy, humid winters, typified by a mixture of maritime and continental influences.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of the Czech Republic
Population of the Czech lands (CZSO, Prague)
Year Total Change Year Total Change
1857 7,016,531 - 1930 10,674,386 6.6%
1869 7,617,230 8.6% 1950 8,896,133 -16.7%
1880 8,222,013 7.9% 1961 9,571,531 7.6%
1890 8,665,421 5.4% 1970 9,807,697 2.5%
1900 9,372,214 8.2% 1980 10,291,927 4.9%
1910 10,078,637 7.5% 1991 10,302,215 0.1%
1921 10,009,587 -0.7% 2001 10,230,060 -0.7%

The majority of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic are Czechs (95%) and speak Czech, a member of the Slavic languages. Among minorities are Slovaks (roughly 2 %), Roma, Poles and several others.

Religion

Major religions in the Czech Republic are (2001 census): Roman Catholic (26.7%), Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (1.1%), Czechoslovak Hussite Church (1.0%), Jehovah's Witnesses (0.22%), Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church (0.22%), other (2.8%). 58.9% is nonreligious, 8.8% gave no answer.

Politics

More information on politics and government of the Czech Republic can be found at the Politics and government of the Czech Republic series.

Politics of the Czech Republic takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies (Poslanecká sněmovna) and the Senate.

Military

Main article: Military of the Czech Republic

The Czech Armed Forces (Czech: Armáda České republiky) consists of Land and Air Forces and of specialized support units. The country has been a member of NATO since 1999. Military spending is around 1.8% of GDP (2005).

Administrative Divisions

Main article: Regions of the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is divided into 14 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and the capital city (hlavní město) Prague (Praha). It is further subdivided into 77 districts (okresy, sing. okres).

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(Lic. plate) Region Capital
A Prague (Praha) -
S Central Bohemian Region (Středočeský kraj) its offices are located in Prague (Praha)
C South Bohemian Region (Jihočeský kraj) České Budějovice
P Plzeň Region (Plzeňský kraj) Plzeň
K Carlsbad Region (Karlovarský kraj) Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad)
U Ústí nad Labem Region (Ústecký kraj) Ústí nad Labem
L Liberec Region (Liberecký kraj) Liberec
H Hradec Králové Region (Královéhradecký kraj) Hradec Králové
E Pardubice Region (Pardubický kraj) Pardubice
M Olomouc Region (Olomoucký kraj) Olomouc
T Moravian-Silesian Region (Moravskoslezský kraj) Ostrava
B South Moravian Region (Jihomoravský kraj) Brno
Z Zlín Region (Zlínský kraj) Zlín
J Vysočina Region (Vysočina) Jihlava

Economy

Main article: Economy of the Czech Republic

One of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states, the Czech Republic has been recovering from recession since mid-1999. Growth in 2000-2001 was led by exports to the European Union, especially Germany, and foreign investment, while domestic demand is reviving. The rate of corruption remains one of the highest among OECD countries.

Uncomfortably high fiscal and current account deficits could be future problems.

Moves to complete banking, telecommunications, and energy privatisation will add to foreign investment, while intensified restructuring among large enterprises and banks and improvements in the financial sector should strengthen output growth.

The Czech government has expressed a desire to adopt the euro currency in 2010, but its introduction is only in the early planning stages and there are growing doubts whether budget deficit won't force postponement.

Tourism

Main article: Tourism in the Czech Republic

The Czech economy gets a substantial income from tourism: in 2001, the total earnings from tourism reached 118.13 billion CZK, making up 5.5 % of GNP and 9.3 % of overall export earnings. The industry employs more than 110,000 persons - over 2% of the population. [1]

There are several centres of tourist activity: The historic city of Prague is the primary tourist attraction, and the city is also the most common point of entry for tourists visiting other parts of the country [2]. Most other cities in the country attract significant numbers of tourists, but the spa towns such as Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně are particularly popular holiday destinations. Other popular tourist sites are the many castles and chateaux, such as those at Karlštejn, Pernštejn and Český Krumlov. Away from the towns, areas as Český Ráj, Šumava and the Krkonoše mountains attract visitors seeking outdoor pursuits.

Culture

  • Cinema of the Czech Republic
  • List of Czechs
  • Czech literature
  • Music of the Czech Republic
  • National Theatre (Prague)
  • List of Czech language television channels
  • Czech cuisine

The country is also famous for its love of puppetry and marionettes.

International rankings

  • Human Development Index 2003: Rank 31st out of 177 countries.
  • Index of Economic Freedom 2005: Rank 33rd out of 155 countries.
  • Reporters Without Borders world-wide press freedom index 2005: Rank 9th out of 167 countries.

Miscellaneous topics

Find more information on Czech Republic by searching Wikipedia's sister projects:

4100-25px-wiktionary-logo-en-czech-republic-.png Dictionary definitions from Wiktionary
4101-25px-wikibooks-logo-svg-czech-republic-.png Textbooks from Wikibooks
4102-25px-wikiquote-logo-svg-czech-republic-.png Quotations from Wikiquote
4103-25px-wikisource-logo-svg-czech-republic-.png Source texts from Wikisource
4104-25px-commons-logo-svg-czech-republic-.png Images and media from Commons
4105-25px-wikinews-logo-czech-republic-.png News stories from Wikinews

  • Communications in the Czech Republic
  • Foreign relations of the Czech Republic
  • Junák
  • List of cities in the Czech Republic
  • List of postal codes in the Czech Republic
  • List of Czech Republic-related topics
  • Public holidays in the Czech Republic
  • Transportation in the Czech Republic
  • Spa towns in the Czech Republic

Reference

  • Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.