Bohemia, until 1918 crownland (kingdom) of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. Area 51,948 km2 (1910); pop. 6,774,309 (62,9% Czechs, 37,1 % German-speaking); important agricultural and industrial country of the monarchy (textile production, glass, iron, food). The Bohemian Landtag had 242 members; Bohemia was represented in the Lower House of Parliament in Vienna by 110 deputies (1900).
The name derives from the Celtic Boii, who left the area at around 60 B.C. In the 9th /10th centuries, the tribe of the Czechs, who had settled around Prague, came into power and later named the country Czechia, ruled by the Přemyslid princes. Duke Wenceslas (d.935) was revered as the patron saint of the country. Bohemia became part of the German empire in the 11th century; in 1114, the Duke became an imperial office holder, in the 13th century, he was made Elector. German-speaking immigration into Bohemia had already started by the 11th century, during the 13th century, members of the German middle class, artisans and farmers moved to the Bohemian cities and the surrounding area. In 1182, the margravate of Moravia also became part of Bohemia. In 1198, the dukes of Bohemia were created kings, Přzemysl Otakar II extended his kingdom from Silesia to the Adriatic sea, but was defeated by Rudolf I von Habsburg. After the Přzemyslid princes had died out in 1306, the Luxembourgs became kings of Bohemia (until 1437). During their reign, Silesia and the Lausitz (Lusatic) region were acquired. Under Karl IV, cultural life in Prague flourished (archbishopric in 1344, university in 1348, St Vitus's cathedral). From 1419-1433, the national Hussite movement devastated the country. After the reign of George of Podebrady, the kings of Bohemia were members of the Polish Jagellonian dynasty (1471-1526), followed by Ferdinand I, a Habsburg, who made Bohemia a hereditary kingdom in 1547. Emperor Rudolf II (1576-1612) ruled over the Holy Roman Empire from Prague. In 1618, the Defenestration of Prague triggered off the Thirty Years' War. After the battle on the White Mountain in 1620, the ruling order changed and absolutism was introduced with the Renewed Land Ordinance of 1627, which led to the anti-Habsburg sentiments that prevailed among the Czech population for a long time.
During the 18th century, Bohemia witnessed a cultural renaissance, with numerous lavish buildings, while at the same time, the lower classes lived in squalor; due to its geographical position right in the centre of Europe, the country was continually threatened by the antagonism between Austria and Prussia. In 1781, Joseph II abolished restrictions on the personal freedom of the peasants. The Romantic movement brought about a new surge of Czech nationalist sentiment, which became stronger in the 19th century and led to a sharp division between the Czech and the German speaking population. These national conflicts resulted in many institutions being divided along language lines (major banks 1864-1868, University of Technology 1869, Prague University 1882); from 1867 onwards, the Czechs boycotted the Bohemian Landtag (until 1874/1878) and the Reichsrat (until 1879). The nationalist conflict became more and more acute, and eventually led to Bohemia turning away from the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. During World War I, the state of emergency was declared in Bohemia; the army deserted in large numbers, and T.G. Masaryk formed an exile government in the USA. On October 28, 1918, the Republic of Czechoslovakia (ČSR) was proclaimed.
Literature#K. Bosl (ed.), Handbuch der Geschichte der boehmischen Laender, 4 vol., 1967-1974; Biographisches Lexikon der boehmischen Laender, 1986ff.; F. Prinz (ed.), Deutsche Geschichte im Osten Europas, Boehmen und Maehren, 1993.