Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
& facts in brief
The Czech Republic (Czech: Ceská republika),
is a landlocked country in Central Europe.
The republic borders Poland to the north, Germany to
the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia
to the east.
Historic Prague (Czech: Praha), a major tourist attraction,
is its capital and largest city.
The country is composed of two older regions, Bohemia
and Moravia, and part of a third one, Silesia.
As of May 1, 2004, it is a member state of the European
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 announced
that the name Czechia (Czech: Cesko) is to be used in
all situations other than formal official documents
and the full names of government institutions.
but this has not caught on in English usage.
The Czech lands emerged in the late 9th century when it
was unified by the Premyslids.
The kingdom of Bohemia was a significant local power,
but religious conflicts such as the 15th century Hussite
Wars and the 17th century Thirty Years War were devastating.
It later came under the Habsburg influence
and became part of Austria-Hungary.
Following the collapse of this state after World War I,
the Czechs and neighbouring Slovaks joined together
and formed the independent republic
of Czechoslovakia in 1918.
This new country contained a large German minority,
which would lead to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia
when Germany successfully annexed the minority through the
Munich Agreement in 1938, and Slovakia gained greater
autonomy, with the state renamed "Czecho-Slovakia".
Slovakia broke away further in 1939 and the remaining
Czech state was occupied by the Germans.
After World War II, a reconstituted Czechoslovakia fell
within the Soviet sphere of influence.
In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the
efforts of the country's leaders to liberalise
party rule and create "socialism with a human face"
during the Prague Spring.
In 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its "freedom"
through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution".
On January 1, 1993, the country peacefully split in two,
creating independent Czech and Slovak republics.
The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and
the European Union in 2004.
The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy,
whose head of state is a president, indirectly elected
every five years by the parliament.
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 Krkonose, where one
also finds the highest point in the country, the Snezka
at 1,602 m.
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
The local climate is temperate with warm summers and
cold, cloudy, humid winters, typified by a mixture of
maritime and continental influences.
With a GDP (PPP) per capita of $19,475, the Czech
Republic's per-capita output is approximately two-thirds
that of the leading European economies.
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 majority of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic
(95%) are ethnically Czech and speak Czech, a member
of the Slavic languages.
Significant religious groups include Roman Catholics
(27%), Protestants (1.2%), Czechoslovak Hussites (1%)
and Jehovah's Witnesses (0.2%).
This page was retrieved and condensed from
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_Republic) July 2005
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free
Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
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