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Brief History of Czech Republic:
In the early history of the land that is today the Czech Republic, various tribes settled the land starting with the Celtics, then the Germanic tribes, and later the Slavic peoples. In the 9th century the Kingdom of Bohemia began to emerge and become a power. Bohemia was part of the Holy Roman Empire and several kings ruled the land. The peak of the Bohemian kingdom arrived with Charles IV in 1342. He was king of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor. The Holy Roman Empire would rule over the land for many years until the 1800s when the Austrians and the Habsburg Empire would take control.
After WWI, the country of Czechoslovakia was formed from the Czech and Slovak lands of the Austrian Empire. At the start of World War II, Czechoslovakia quickly became a part of Germany. Many Jewish and other minorities suffered greatly during this period. After the war, the country came under the dominion of the Soviet Union and the communist party. Once the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Czechoslovakia's freedom was restored. The Czechs and the Slovaks decided they would each rather have their own country and they were peacefully split up into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 2004 the Czech Republic became a member of the European Union (EU).
The Geography of Czech Republic
Total Size: 78,866 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than South Carolina
Geographical Coordinates: 49 45 N, 15 30 E
World Region or Continent: Europe
General Terrain: Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country
Geographical Low Point: Elbe River 115 m
Geographical High Point: Snezka 1,602 m
Climate: temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
Major cities: PRAGUE (capital) 1.162 million (2009), Brno, Ostrava
The People of Czech Republic
Type of Government: parliamentary democracy
Languages Spoken: Czech
Independence: 1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia)
National Holiday: Czech Founding Day, 28 October (1918)
Religions: Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census)
National Symbol: double-tailed lion
National Anthem or Song: Kde domov muj? (Where is My Home?)
Economy of Czech Republic
Major Industries: metallurgy, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, glass, armaments
Agricultural Products: wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, poultry
Natural Resources: hard coal, soft coal, kaolin, clay, graphite, timber
Major Exports: machinery and transport equipment 52%, chemicals 5%, raw materials and fuel 9% (2003)
Major Imports: machinery and transport equipment 46%, raw materials and fuels 15%, chemicals 10% (2003)
Currency: Czech koruna (CZK)
National GDP: $285,000,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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