Czech Republic, independent country in central Europe, bordering Germany on the west and northwest, Poland on the north and northeast, Slovakia on the southeast, and Austria on the south
Land and people
There are 2 main natural and historical regions. (1) Bohemia, in the west, comprises the Bohemian Massif, the Ore Mountains, and the Giant Mountains, which serve as natural boundaries between the republic and neighboring countries. Valleys carved out by rivers break through the mountains, notably the Labe (Elbe) valley linking northwestern Czech Republic with Germany. In north-central Bohemia rivers have carved the lowlands on which Prague stands. (2) Moravia, east of Bohemia, includes a lowland area featuring the fertile valleys of the southward-flowing Morava River and the northward-flowing Odra (Oder) .The majority of the population (94%) is Czech, and Slovakians form the largest minority (3%). The population is Christian and the official language is Czech.
The Czech government continued the economic reforms that were started by the government of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of communism tourism became a major source of trade and employment. Other important economic activities are manufactruing (metallurgy), trade, and services. Important agricultural products include wheat, barley, sugar beets, and hops.
Bohemia and Moravia formed a separate entity until 1918. It was successively ruled by the Premysl dynasty, Austria, the Hussites, and the Habsburg dynasty. With the collapse of the Habsburg dynasty during World War I, Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia formed the new republic Czechoslovakia. The Czech and Slovakian republics formed a federation in 1968. Slovakia left the federation in 1993. The political and economic liberalization that started after the collapse of communism was pursued by the independent Czech government.
See also: Czechoslovakia.