Bohemia

Bohemia

Čechy
Karlštejn Castle
Bohemia (green) in relation to the current regions of the Czech Republic
Bohemia (green) in relation to the current regions of the Czech Republic
Location of Bohemia in the European Union
Location of Bohemia in the European Union
CountryCzech Republic
CapitalPrague
Area
 • Total52,065 km2 (20,102 sq mi)
Population
 • Total6,900,000
 • Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Bohemian
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)

Bohemia (ə/ HEE-mee-ə;[1] Czech: Čechy;[2] German: About this soundBöhmen ; Polish: Czechy; Latin: Bohemia; Hebrew: פּיהם‎, romanizedPihm[3]) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia,[4] especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.

Bohemia was a duchy of Great Moravia, later an independent principality, a kingdom in the Holy Roman Empire, and subsequently a part of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Austrian Empire.[5] After World War I and the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state, the total of Bohemia became a part of Czechoslovakia, defying claims of the German speaking inhabitants that regions with German speaking majority should be included in the Republic of German-Austria. Between 1938 and 1945, these border regions were joined to Nazi Germany as the Sudetenland.[6]

The remainder of Czech territory became the Second Czechoslovak Republic and was subsequently occupied as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. In 1969, the Czech lands (including Bohemia) were given autonomy within Czechoslovakia as the Czech Socialist Republic. In 1990, the name was changed to the Czech Republic, which became a separate state in 1993 with the breakup of Czechoslovakia.[6]

Until 1948, Bohemia was an administrative unit of Czechoslovakia as one of its "lands" ("země").[7] Since then, administrative reforms have replaced self-governing lands with a modified system of "regions" ("kraje") which do not follow the borders of the historical Czech lands (or the regions from the 1960 and 2000 reforms).[7] However, the three lands are mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution of the Czech Republic: "We, citizens of the Czech Republic in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia…"[8]

Bohemia had an area of 52,065 km2 (20,102 sq mi) and today is home to approximately 6.5 million of the Czech Republic's 10.5 million inhabitants. Bohemia was bordered in the south by Upper and Lower Austria (both in Austria), in the west by Bavaria and in the north by Saxony and Lusatia (all in Germany), in the northeast by Silesia (in Poland), and in the east by Moravia (also part of the Czech Republic). Bohemia's borders were mostly marked by mountain ranges such as the Bohemian Forest, the Ore Mountains, and the Krkonoše, a part of the Sudetes range; the Bohemian-Moravian border roughly follows the Elbe-Danube watershed.

Etymology

In the 2nd century BC, the Romans were competing for dominance in northern Italy with various peoples including the Gauls-Celtic tribe Boii. The Romans defeated the Boii at the Battle of Placentia (194 BC) and the Battle of Mutina (193 BC). Afterward, many of the Boii retreated north across the Alps.[9] Much later Roman authors refer to the area they had once occupied (the "desert of the Boii" as Pliny and Strabo called it[10]) as Boiohaemum. The earliest mention[9] was by Tacitus' Germania 28 (written at the end of the 1st century AD),[11] and later mentions of the same name are in Strabo and Velleius Paterculus.[12] The name appears to include the tribal name Boi- plus the Germanic element *haimaz "home" (whence Gothic haims, German Heimat, English home), indicating a Proto-Germanic *Bajōhaimaz. Boiohaemum was apparently isolated to the area where King Marobod's kingdom was centred, within the Hercynian forest. Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII in his 10th century work De Administrando Imperio also mentioned the region as Boïki (see White Serbia).[13][14][15][16][17]

The Czech name "Čechy" is derived from the name of the Slavic ethnic group, the Czechs, who settled in the area during the 6th or 7th century AD.