Czech History

500 - 1306: The Great Moravian Empire and the Přemyslid Dynasty
1310 - 1378: John of Luxembourg and Charles IV
1415 - 1526: The Hussite Era and George of Poděbrady
1526 - 1790: The Habsburg Dynasty to Joseph II
1790 - 1914: National Revival to World War I
1918 - 1945: The First Republic and World War II
1945 - 1989: The Communist Era
1989 - present: Velvet Revolution and Beyond

John of Luxembourg and Charles IV

The Czech throne was taken by John of Luxembourg who ruled the country from 1310 to 1346. During his reign, the territory of the Czech lands expanded and Prague continued to grow. The Prague Castle Area (Hradčany) was founded around 1320, followed by the Old Town Hall in 1338.

During the reign of John of Luxembourg's son Charles IV, the Czech lands experienced the Golden Age of their history. Charles IV was a highly educated man (he spoke five languages), an excellent diplomat and a very good king. He established Prague as the cultural capital of central Europe and made it one of the most prosperous European cities at the time. The Czech language was promoted to the official language in the country along with Latin and German, and the position of Bohemia became very strong.

Charles IV loved Prague and the city flourished during his rule. The Prague bishopric was upgraded to an archbishopric and when the king was crowned the Holy Roman Emperor in 1355, Prague's status increased to the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Many building projects were started during Charles' reign, including the St. Vitus Cathedral. In 1348, Prague's New Town (Nové město) was founded, the Charles University was established to become the first university in Central Europe, and the Karlštejn castle was founded to protect the imperial jewels and other treasures. The construction of Charles Bridge began in 1357 at the place where Judith Bridge once stood (it collapsed in a flood in 1342).

Charles IV is remembered as the most beloved Czech king and the "father of the Czech nation". Charles IV's son and successor Wenceslas IV took the throne after his father and his reign extended into the time of the Hussite wars of the 15th century.

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