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Czech Republic Independence Day



Declaration of Independence
1 January is celebrated as the Restoration of the Czech Independence Day. On this day in 1993, Czechoslovakia was divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Song
The translated version of the national anthem is as follows:

Where is my home, where is my home ?
Water bubbles across the meadows,
Pinewoods rustle among crags,
The garden is glorious with spring blossom,
Paradise on earth it is to see.
And this is that beautiful land,
The Czech land, my home.
(repeat)
Where is my home, where is my home ?
If, in a heavenly land, you have met
Tender souls in agile frames,
Of clear mind, vigorous and prospering,
And with a strength that frustrates all defiance,
That is the glorious race of the Czechs,
Among Czechs is my home.

Historical Background
The early 5th century AD witnessed the Slavic tribes of Vistula basin settling down in the region. Czechs established the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Premyslide dynasty. This dynasty ruled Moravia and Bohemia from the 10th century to the 16th century.

A prominent ruler of Bohemia, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, announced Prague as the capital of the kingdom and it developed into a prominent hub for Latin scholarship. The Hussite movement was initiated by Jan Hus from around 1369 to 1415. The movement was instrumental in reviving the spirit of Czech nationalism. The region had formerly been under German rule. With Ferdinand I ascension to the throne in 1526 the Kingdom passed over to the Hapsburgs. However in 1618, the Czechs rose up in revolt against the Hapsburg rule and got involved in the 30 years war (1618–1648). However, they lost the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. The Czech lands passed into the hands of the Austrian Empire, who ruled over them for the next 300 years. The Czechs achieved independence with the disintegration of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire at the end of the World War 1.

On 14 November 1918, Slovakia and the Czech lands were merged forming the Czechoslovakian state. However, the German troops took over Czechoslovakia and Czech Bohemia in March 1939. Moravia became a German protectorate and remained so till the end of the Second World War. The former government of Czechoslovakia returned to power with the defeat of Germany in 1945. The country’s boundaries prior to 1938 were restored. Elections were held in 1946 and the communists became the dominant party. In 1948, they also took over the Czechoslovakian government. Soon after this, the previously existing democracy was converted into a Soviet style state.

The Communist rule finally came to an end in 1989 and Václav Havel, was elected as the then president of Czechoslovakia. He became a symbol of peace, democracy, and human rights. The return of democratic political reforms led to the rise of Slovak national movement, which became stronger by 1991. The movement demanded independence for Slovakia. The general elections were conducted in 1992; however it failed to resolve the continuing coexistence of the two republics within the confederation. At this juncture, the Slovak and Czech leaders agreed that their states should be separated into two independent nations. On 1 January 1993, the Czechoslovakia was dissolved and two separate nations were created - Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Celebrations
The day is celebrated with great enthusiasm across the country. People from all walks of life gather on the streets of Prague and Bratislava to celebrate the day. On the occasion, various plays of Vaclav Havel are enacted. People also pay tributes to the heroes of the nation who sacrificed their lives to achieve independence.

Facts
  • President : Milos Zeman (2013)
  • Prime Minister : Bohuslav Sobotka (2014)
  • Total area : 30,450 sq mi (78,866 sq km)
  • Population : 10,627,448 (2014)
  • Agriculture : potatoes, wheat, hops, sugar beets, fruit; pigs, poultry
  • Industries : machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, metallurgy, glass, armaments
  • Natural resources : soft coal, hard coal, clay, kaolin, graphite, timber

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Last Updated on: August 3rd, 2018