The Czech Republic ( (listen) CHEK; Czech: Česká republika, pronounced [ˈtʃɛskaː ˈrɛpuˌblɪka] (listen), short form Czechia (Czech: Česko [ˈtʃɛsko]), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the north. Its capital and largest city, with 1.3 million inhabitants, is Prague. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as a small part of Silesia.
The Czech state, formerly known as Bohemia (Čechy), was formed in the late 9th century as a small duchy around Prague, at that time under the dominance of the powerful Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power was transferred from Moravia to Bohemia, under the Přemyslids. Since 1002 it was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1212 the duchy was raised to a kingdom and during the rule of Přemyslid dukes/kings and their successors, the Luxembourgs, the country reached its greatest territorial extent (13th–14th century). During the Hussite wars the kingdom faced economic embargoes and crusades from all over Europe. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the Kingdom of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg monarchy as one of its three principal parts, alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) lost in the Battle of White Mountain, led to Thirty Years' War and further centralization of the monarchy including forced recatholization and Germanization. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire. In the 19th century the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia which was formed in 1918, following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. After 1933, Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in central and eastern Europe.
Following the Munich Agreement and the Polish annexation of Zaolzie, Czechoslovakia fell under German occupation during World War II. By 1945, a major portion of the country was liberated by the Red Army, and the subsequent gratitude towards the Soviets, combined with disillusionment with the West for failing to intervene, led the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to the majority of seats in the 1946 elections. In the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a communist-ruled state. In 1968, the increasing dissatisfaction culminated in attempts to reform the communist regime. The events, known as the Prague Spring of 1968, ended with an invasion by the armies of the Warsaw Pact countries (with the exception of Romania); the troops remained in the country until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into its constituent states, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
In 2006, the Czech Republic became first former member of the Comecon to achieve the status of a developed country according to the World Bank. In addition, the country has the highest level of human development in Central and Eastern Europe, ranking among the top 30 nations in the world. The Czech Republic ranks as the ninth-most peaceful country in Europe, while achieving the best performance in democratic governance and infant mortality in the region. It is a pluralist parliamentary representative democracy with membership in the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.
Petr Čech is a Czech international football goalkeeper who plays for Chelsea F.C. and the Czech Republic. Čech previously played for Chmel Blšany, Sparta Prague, and Rennes. He was voted into the all-star team of Euro 2004 after helping his country reach the semi-finals. Čech also received the individual award of Best Goalkeeper in the 2004–05, 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons of the UEFA Champions League. In addition, he was named in the FIFPro and UEFA Champions League teams of the season in 2006.
Čech holds a number of goalkeeping records, including the Premier League record for fewest appearances required to reach 100 clean sheets, having done so in 180 league appearances. He also holds a Czech professional league record of not conceding a goal in 903 competitive minutes. In addition, he has a club record at his former club Sparta Prague, having gone 928 minutes unbeaten in all competitions in 2001–02, when his unbeaten run in Czech league competition was combined with his performances in the UEFA Champions League. During the 2004–05 season, Čech went 1,025 minutes without conceding a goal – a Premier League record, until it was surpassed by Edwin van der Sar of Manchester United on 27 January 2009. Čech also won the Golden Glove in both the 2004–05 and 2009–10 seasons.