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Czech Republic

Czech Republic
Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Czech history & 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 Union.
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.
[1] (http://www.p.lodz.pl/I35/personal/jw37/EUROPE/cesko2.htm),
[2] (http://www.p.lodz.pl/I35/personal/jw37/EUROPE/cesko1.htm),
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 Sea.
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%).

External links

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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