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Previously part of Czechoslovakia (Czech: Československo) and even before that known as the Kingdom of Bohemia (Czech: České království), its capital is Prague (Czech: Praha), and the country is historically and ethnically split into Moravia (the eastern part, bordering Slovakia), Bohemia (the western part, bordering Germany), and Czech Silesia (bordering Poland), a tiny slice of land of the historic region of Silesia the Habsburg monarchy kept after Prussia took over the rest (following the Austrian Succession war). Independent Czechoslovakia was invaded and occupied in 1948 by Soviet forces and subsequently became a communist satellite (as the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, ČSSR), only gaining independence in 1993, splitting into then Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Czechia has had a tortuous history:
- 800—915: Consisted of the Duchies of Bohemia and Moravia (the latter controlled what present-day eastern Hungary, but lost it to the Hungarians during the tenth century), both of which maintained power by building forts all over the place. Things got a little nervous after Duke Mieszko (died 992) united Poland. Although Moravia was initially the senior Czech state, it declined and was eventually conquered by Bohemia, which explains why Prague (rather than Mikulčice) became the capital of Czechia .
- 915—938: Ruled by Duke Vaclav I of Bohemia, immortalized in the song "Good King Wenceslas". He allied himself with Henry the Fowler, possibly in order to get a free turkey every Christmas.
- 1419, 1618: The two defenestrations of Prague, the second one (in 1618) kickstarting the Thirty Years War.
- 1914—1918: Austria-Hungary (Bohemia and Moravia were Austrian possessions) declares war on Serbia, initiating the First World War.
- 1918—1993: Formation of Czechoslovakia. It is worth noting that from 1939 to 1945 the government was in exile, due to Nazi occupation.
- 1992—1993: Slovak politician Vladimír Mečiar wants to be Prime Minister, but his Slovak party is too small to form a government. He craftily (and successfully) agitates for Slovakian independence, and gets to be PM after all. The Czech Republic is born.
- 2004: The Czech Republic decides that it's far too interesting, so it joins the European Union.
- 2016: The Czech decide that their English name (Czech Republic) is too long so they choose Czechia as their new shorthand.
Famous Czech mates
- Good King Wenceslas
- Lake Malawi, who managed to get to the Eurovision finals in 2019.
- Franz Kafka (German-speaking)
- Karel Čapek, an author who gave us the word "robot"
- Václav Havel
- Milan Kundera
- A shitload of tennis players
- A shitload of gymnasts
- Wilhelm Steinitz, World Chess Champion (1886-1896), was born in Prague, but became a US citizen shortly after winning the title
- Petr Čech! You get it!
- Bedřich Smetana, composer of Ma Vlast
- Antonín Dvořák, a composer who had to go to America and tell them how good their own music was and to stop listening to European composers all the time (so naturally, when the Moon landing happened, his symphony was played for celebration).
- Miloš Forman, director of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
- Eva Herzigova
- Ivana Trump
- Sigmund Freud, great psychologist even if he wasn't really Czech even if he was born there (German-speaking ethnic Jew)
- Gustav Mahler, a great composer or the worst who ever put music onto a score, depending upon one's view… largely honored in the Czech Republic even if culturally German.
- The Golem of Prague (a Jewish robot made of clay. Or something...)
- Budweiser and Pilsner beer — the proper one[citation NOT needed], not the shitty American stuff.
- Škoda — the car that became the butt of a thousand jokes — Now bought up by VW and basically the same car as the equivalent VW for half the price (outside of Czech Republic at least; inside, the company prices their product as high as people's sense of nationalism allows).
- The White Shorthair and Brown Shorthair goats
- The Gypsy wall
- Semtex — the 2nd word Czech(oslovakia) gave to the world.
- See the Wikipedia article on Mieszko I of Poland.
- See the Wikipedia article on Henry the Fowler.
- Edward rothstein, "'A Legendary Protector Formed From a Lump of Clay and a Mound of Terror", The New York Times, 10 June 2018