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Bohemia (Czech: Čechy; German: Böhmen) is a region in central Europe, occupying the ancient kingdom of that name, currently the Czech Republic. It is often used to refer to the whole of this latter country, including Moravia and a tiny part of Silesia in historical contexts. It formed part of Austria-Hungary until 1919 when the plutocratic liberal Western Allies created the new artificial state[1][2][3] of Czecho-Slovakia.

It has an area of 52,750 km² and 6.25 million of the Czech Republic's 10.3 million inhabitants. Bohemia is bordered by Moravia, Germany and Poland. Bohemia's borders are marked with mountain ranges such as the Bohemian Forest, the Ore Mountains, and the Giant Mountains within the Sudeten mountains.

Historical chronology

See Slavs

The original inhabitants of what became Bohemia and Moravia were the Celtic Boii people. In Roman times these Celts migrated as far west as Gaul and were replaced by the German Markomanni and Quades (or Quandi) peoples who maintained the Danube as part of their frontier against the Romans; the Markomanni wars are well recorded. Archaeological work 22km south of Brünn (Brno) shows that the Romans had a major town there. They in turn migrated early in the sixth century into nearby Bavaria, leaving behind substantial but scattered German settlers. By the 10th century Bohemia consisted largely of Slav tribes who had migrated over the Carpathians. In this century the so-called "Czech" tribes who had settled around Prague (who claimed to trace their descent from the legendary Přemysl) began to out-distance the chiefs of other tribes. They became Christianized. During this period the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II (r.973-983) was busy subduing their leader, Boleslav I (929-67) who had attempted to create an independent state.[4] By 1043 German colonisation had permanently spread to the boundary of the rivers Leitha and March.[5] Bohemia largely escaped the Mongol invasions of 1241.

After the extinction of the Přemyslid dynasty in 1306, what had become the kingdom of Bohemia was ruled by the German House of Luxemburg and then, by inheritance, by the Habsburgs.

By the second half of the 13th century (1200s) onwards the areas known today as the Sudetenland were already settled by ethnic Germans, many of whom had been invited to settle by the Bohemian kings – especially by Přemysl Otakar II (who had crusaded with the Teutonic Knights) and Wenceslaus II. The crown again passed to the Habsburgs who integrated the Kingdom of Bohemia into their monarchy.


  • Boleslav II (r.967-99), the Czech leader, extends his rule over Moravia and some Polish lands.
  • Emperor Henry II - In 1003 Bohemia became part of the Holy Roman Empire to whom the Czech leaders had to pay homage as vassals for their autonomous province.[6]
  • Bratislav I (r.1034-55) revolts against German rule but is defeated (1041).[7] In revenge his son Spitignev II temporarily expelled some Germans from Bohemia.[8]
  • Vratislav II (1061-92), in 1085, is made a Duke by the Emperor, and awarded the dignity of Cup-bearer of the Empire, which gave the Dukes a voice in German affairs.[9]
  • Lothar III (Emperor from 1133) subdued Duke Sobeslav of Bohemia.[10]
  • Vratislav I, (1140-73) created (a vassal) King in 1158 by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, for his services to the Empire.[11]
  • Premysl Otakar I (1197-1230) received a Golden Bull from HRE Emperor Frederick II, who also recognised the Czech custom of mixture of seniority and election to their now Royal House. The investiture of the kingdom was retained by the Emperor.[12]
  • Premysl Otakar II (1253-78), also Margrave of Moravia, was a supporter of the Teutonic Knights after whom they named their new city of Königsberg (King's town). He laid a claim to the vacant duchies of Austria (parts of which he had occupied) and Styria, etc., which led to wars with Hungary. He suffers rebellion in Bohemia, and is defeated and killed in battle on the Marchfield by a coalition of forces, 26 August 1278.[13]
  • Rudolf von Habsburg, elected Duke of Austria, King of the Romans (1273-91). Gains Moravia.
  • Wenceslas II (only son of Premysl Otakar II)(1278-1305) was also expansionist and acquired Silesia and parts of a divided Poland, where he was also crowned King in 1300. (He married [1] Jutta (d.1297), daughter of Albert von Habsburg, Duke of Austria and King of the Romans 1298-1308, by whom he had his issue.) In 1301 he entered the lists for the vacant throne of Hungary on behalf of his son Wenceslas (whose daughter Agnes (d.1296) had married Rudolph von Habsburg, Duke of Austria (1282-1290) and who died v.p.). This failed and this latter son and heir was murdered in 1306. Thus the Premyslids were extinguished and the Bohemian throne fell vacant.[14]
  • Henry, Duke of Carinthia (who had married Anne (d.1313) elder daughter of Wenceslas II) is chosen King of Bohemia in right of his wife in 1307, but was driven out in 1310.[15]
  • John of Luxemburg (son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII), King of Bohemia (1310-1346), married Elizabeth, younger daughter of Wenceslas II. Otto von Habsburg (son of Albert d.1308) (d.1339) married, secondly, Anna, daughter of King John of Bohemia (d.1338).
  • John Henry of Luxemburg, Margrave of Moravia (1335-1375), younger son of King John, married Margaret von Habsburg (d.1366).[16]
  • Charles VII of Luxemburg (1346-78), King of Bohemia (eldest son of King John), Holy Roman Emperor in 1347.
  • Wenceslas IV of Luxemburg (1378-1419), King of Bohemia (eldest son of Charles IV), Holy Roman Emperor 1378-1400 (when he was deposed). He had no issue. Crown passes to the House of Austria.
  • Albert von Habsburg, King of Bohemia and Hungary. Holy Roman Emperor 1437-39. He married Elizabeth (d.1442), daughter of King Sigismund of Hungary, second son of Charles IV of Luxemburg. They had:
  • Ladislas von Habsburg, "Postumus", King of Bohemia and Hungary (1452-57).

Thereafter King of Bohemia became one of the titles of the Austrian Emperor until the end of 1918.

See also


  1. The Tragedy of Trianon by Sir Robert Donald, G.B.E., LL.B., London, 1928, pps: 25-6, 57-8.
  2. Czecho-Slovakia Within by Count Bertram de Colonna, London, 1938, p.9.
  3. The Origins of the Second World War by A. J. P. Taylor, London, 1961, p.201.
  4. Previté-Orton, C.W., The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, 2 vols, Cambridge University Press UK, 1952, pps: 441, 740-1.
  5. Previté-Orton, 1952, p.459.
  6. Previté-Orton, 1952, p.451.
  7. Previté-Orton, 1952, p.741.
  8. Previté-Orton, 1952, p.459.
  9. Previte-Orton, 1952, p.741.
  10. Previté-Orton, 1952 p.558.
  11. Previté-Orton, 1952, p.741.
  12. Previté-Orton, 1952, p.741.
  13. Previté-Orton, 1952, p.741-2.
  14. Previté-Orton, 1952, pps: 742 and 801.
  15. Previté-Orton, 1952 p.801-2.
  16. Previté-Orton, 1952 p.796-7.