Czech history

History of the Kingdoms
Before the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century this area was inhabited by Germanic and Celtic tribes. A lot of rulers and kings ruled the people in Bohemia from the 7th to 19th centuries. Let us notice two of them: emperor Charles IV and emperor Rudolf II. During the reign of Charles IV (1346-78), as king of Bohemia and Holy Roman emperor, Prague grew into one of the largest cities in Europe. It acquired its fine Gothic face and landmarks including Charles University, Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral. In the second half of the 16th century the city experienced great prosperity under emperor Rudolf II and was made the seat of the Habsburg Empire. Rudolf II established great collections of art and renowned artists and scholars were invited to his court.

History of the Republic
At the beginning of the 20th century Bohemia was a part of the Austrian Empire. After World War I in 1918 Czechoslovakia declared its independence. The new republic had three parts: Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. The popular Tomas Garigue Masaryk became the first president. In October 1938 the Nazis occupied the Sudetenland, with the acquiescence of Britain and France, after the infamous Munich Agreement. In March 1939 Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia. Slovakia proclaimed independence as a Nazi puppet state. After World War II in 1945 Czechoslovakia was reestablished as an independent state. In the 1946 elections, the Communists became the largest party with 36% of the popular vote and formed a coalition government. In 1948 the Communist staged a coup d'etat and Czechoslovakia became a communist country. In the 1960s Czechoslovakia enjoyed a gradual liberalization under the reformist general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, Alexander Dubcek. But this short period was crushed by a Soviet invasion in August 1968. In 1969 the reformist Dubcek was replaced by the orthodox Gustav Husak and Czechoslovakia stayed a communist country under Soviet influence. The communist government resigned in November 1989 after a week of demonstrations known as the Velvet Revolution. The popular Vaclav Havel was elected president of the republic. At the end of 1992 Czechoslovakia split into Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia) and Slovak Republic (Slovakia). This peaceful splitting is called the Velvet Divorce.