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.
Map of Great Moravia at its possible greatest territorial extent Note that some of the borders of Great Moravia are under debate.
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe from the 9th century to the early 10th century. There is some controversy as to the actual location of its core territory. According to mainstream historians, its core territory laid on both sides of the Morava river, in present-day Slovakia and the Czech Republic, but the empire also extended into what are today parts of Hungary, Romania, Poland, Austria, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia. This theory also states that Great Moravia was inhabited by the ancestors of modern Moravians and Slovaks. According to alternate theories, the core territory of Great Moravia was situated South of the Danube river, in Slavonia or in the southern parts of the Carpathian Basin.
Great Moravia was founded when Mojmír I unified by force two neighboring states, referred to by the modern historiography as the "Principality of Nitra" and the "Principality of Moravia", in 833. The rulers of the emerging state periodically accepted the supremacy of the Kings of East Francia, but they continuously endeavored to strengthen the independent status of their country.
Unprecedented cultural development resulted from the mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who came during the reign of Prince Rastislav in 863. The empire reached its greatest territorial extent under Svatopluk I (871–894), although the borders of his dominions are still under debate. He also achieved to have his independent status acknowledged by Pope John VIII who styled Svatopluk "king" in a letter.
is a professional ice hockey right winger
, who plays for the New Jersey Devils
of the National Hockey League
. He formerly played with the Pittsburgh Penguins
, Washington Capitals
, New York Rangers
, Philadelphia Flyers
, Dallas Stars
and the Boston Bruins
; serving as captain of the Penguins and the Rangers. After leaving the Rangers, he played for three seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League
with Avangard Omsk
before returning to the NHL with the Flyers. He is the most productive European-born player who ever played in the National Hockey League and he is considered one of the greatest players of all-time.
Jágr was the fifth overall selection in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. He won consecutive Stanley Cups in the 1991 and 1992 seasons with the Penguins. He has won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL Scoring Champion five times (four times in a row), received the Lester B. Pearson Award for the NHL's outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players' Association three times, and won a Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player, and was a finalist four times. Jágr and teammate Martin Brodeur are the last two players drafted in 1990 who are still active players in the NHL.
In 2006 he was nominated for the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award, winning the latter. During the award speech for the Lester B. Pearson Award Jagr said: "With this award, you get voted on by players you play against every night and I think they understand the game better than the media". He has been named to seven NHL First All-Star Teams. Jágr is currently the NHL's eighth leading point-scorer (as of the end of the 2011–12 NHL season), and is the all-time leader among European trained players in goals, assists and points, as well as the leading point scorer among active NHL players. Jágr was the Czech Republic's flag bearer for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.