Czech and Slovak Heritage

Czech & Slovak Heritage - History Timeline

Starting from the beginning….

4000 BC

Permanent communities started in this part of Europe.

500 BC

Celtic tribes settle in this part of Europe.

100-50 BC

Oppidum, a Celtic settlement on the present day site of the city of Bratislava, capital of the Slovak Republic, was minting (silver ?) coins.

500 AD

Arrival of the Slavic peoples from East of the Carpathian Mountains. The moving of the Nations, the Bois into Bohemia, the Cotins into Moravia, the Slovaks into Slovakia, the Pols into Poland. The Slavic tribes were pushing out the Germanic tribes, who before them were pushing out the Celtic tribes. The Slavs were the first farmers in this part of Europe, and they were famous for their bee-keeping.


Arrival of the Byzantine missionaries Cyril and Methodius from Macedonia, a Slavic-speaking area in Northern Greece, to the Great Moravian Empire. Due to the tremendous linguist and political efforts of these two Greek brothers who became monks and scholars the Slavic peoples were among the very few peoples in Europe at that time who could worship God in their own language. Today called “Old Slavic” this became one of the four world liturgical languages along with Greek, Hebrew and Latin. Evangelization of the Slavonic peoples began.


Founding of Prague castle by the first Bohemian Prince, called Borivoj.


East Moravia (Slovakia) first occupied by the nomadic Magyar (Hungarian) tribes, who ruled this area for over 1000 years, until 1918.


19 year-old Knight “Vaclav”, Christian heir to the Bohemian throne, assassinated in Stara Boleslav, North of Prague on his step-brother Boleslav’s orders. (Later he was canonized as St. Wenceslas, and became the patron saint of the Czech people.)


Founding of the multi-ethnic Hungarian Kingdom, which included Slovakia by King Stephen of the Arpad dynasty, later canonized as St. Stephen.


Crown lands of Bohemia joined with the Margrave of Moravia; Bohemia and Moravia permanently joined together as the Czech crown lands.


Holy Roman King Frederick II issued the Golden Bull of Sicily, which affirmed the Independence of the Bohemian Kingdom and established the hereditary and heraldic and title of King. German colonist are invited by the Bohemian King to settle in the Czech crown lands.


Tartar invasion of Hungary started, and all of Europe trembled... This began a frantic effort to construct many castles and build fortifications for the towns.


The reign of King “Premysl Otakar II ” also called the King of Iron and


Gold. He greatly expanded the area of the Czech Kingdom, into to today’s Austria and Slovenia (Northern part of Yugoslavia)


The reign of Charles IV, son of John of Luxembourg heralding a


Golden age of the Czech crown lands. Prague grew into one of the largest and most important cities in Europe. During this time Charles University was founded in 1348, construction was started on Charles bridge, St. Vitus’s Cathedral, Prague’s new town and the royal castle of Karlstejn, plus much more…


(July 6th) Czech reformer “Jan Hus” burned at the stake in Constance (in today’s Switzerland) Hus preached against extreme wealth, corruption and hierarchical tendencies ( nobles are better then common people) his martyrdom sparked a religious as much as a nationalistic rebellion centered in Bohemia. This is a VERY important event in Czech history.


Hussite era, age of great nationalism in the Czechlands, and of total


universal education. Everyone, every peasant could read and write; no other nation at that time could boast of this great accomplishment.


City of Tabor founded by Hussite leader Jan Zizka.


The Thirty Years War, which devastated much of Central Europe


including the Czech crown lands. It shattered the economy, about one third of the total Czech population died during this tragic time.


Battle of “ Bila hora ” ( White Mountain ) the Czech Estates and people lost the battle to the Imperial Austrian army and catholic mercenaries who then forced most of the Czech nobility and educated classes to leave their country. A critical event in Czech history.


Vienna was surrounded by Turkish armies, and Moravia was plundered before they were forced back to the Balkans.


Reign of Empress Maria-Theresa, a very enlighten ruler who relaxed the


repressive Austrian rule. This lead to a revival in the Czech crown lands. She reconstructed the Prague castle complex, made school attendance compulsory in the Czech crown lands, and many more wise decisions.


Patent of Tolerance issued, allowing religions other than the Catholic faith to be practiced throughout the Austrian Empire.


V. M. Kramerius publishes the first Czech revival newspaper, as the first mass reading material in the Czech language in 170 years.


Czech National Revival, after a gap of around 200 years a revival of


the Czech language, music, history, culture.


Battle of Austerlitz in Moravia, in which Napoleon and his French army defeated the combined armies of Austria, Prussia and Russia. Much pillaging and destruction of the Czech and Slovak areas followed this defeat.


Silesian Museum in Opava founded, the first public museum in the Czechlands, in 1817 the Moravian Museum founded, and in 1818 the Patriotic ( today’s National ) Museum in Prague founded.


Codification (formation) of a standard written Slovak language and the first dictionary of the Slovak language was written by a group of scholars led by Ludovit Stur.


Serfdom (slavery) throughout the whole Austrian Empire abolish.


The Slovak awakening: forming of a Slovak National Council ( a


representative group) whose members struggled for an autonomous status for the Slovak people within the Hungarian Kingdom.


Sokol movement founded in the Czechlands, its greatest slets (meetings) took place in 1938 and 1948. Upwards of two million people attended, in a stadium built in Prague (Strahov) that seats 200,000. (which still stands)


Split of the Austrian Empire into the “Austo-Hungarian Empire,” this meant Slovakia was ruled by Hungary and the Czech crown lands were ruled by Austria. Two Independent states united under Haupsburg rule.


Mass emigration of Slovak people, mostly to America and Canada, but


also to Australia, parts of Europe, and South America.

1914 to

(June 28th) World War I, started with the assassination of the Imperial to successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne “Ferdinad D’Este” and his Czech wife Sofia. By a group of Serb students in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and the formation of the Czechoslovak Foreign Legions


Founding of the Czechoslovak state, it’s first president was Thomas. G. Masaryk. According to the 1921 census, it’s population makeup was: Czechs 51 %, Slovaks 14.5 %, Germans 23.4 %, Hungarians 5.5 %, plus some Polish, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews and Romy (gypsies).


The Czechoslovak Legion leaves Russia, across Siberia by railroad, across the Pacific ocean by ship to the USA, by train across our country, by ship to Europe, and then by train back to the homeland. It’s an event legends are made of, everything was documented and true !


The founding father and first CzechoSlovak President T. G. Masaryk dies.


(September) Munich Agreement was forced upon the Czechoslovak nation by its French and English Allies, which ceded the Sudetenland a large heavily fortified area of Bohemia and Moravia to Nazi Germany.


(November) Vienna Arbitration was forced upon the CzechoSlovak nation, ceding large land areas of Slovakia to Hungary.


(March) Nazi Germany took over all of the remaining Czech lands as the “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia,” and proclaimed a puppet Slovak State.


Nazi Protectorate head Heydrich was assassinated, after which the Nazis exterminated the villages of Lidice, near Prague and Lezáky in East Bohemia.


(August 29th) The Slovak National Uprising, centered in the city of Banská Bystrica against the Nazi’s and it’s regime installed in Bratislava.


CzechoSlovakia liberated from Nazi Germany, mainly by the Russians from the East, but also from the Americans from the West.


Decrees of Nationalization were declared by President Benes, where most people of German background were expelled to Germany. In the free and fair elections of 1946 the communists party wins with 40 % of the total vote mostly from the Czechlands, Catholic center parties win the most votes in Slovakia.


(February) The CzechoSlovak Communist party seizes government power.

1967 & 68

Reform movement “Prague Spring”, also called “communism with a human face” was lead by communist party leader Alexander Dubcek. The people enjoyed any freedoms, it was a joyful time.


(August 21st) Warsaw pact armies invaded the country to end the “Prague Spring” experiment. Between 700,000 and 800,000 people escape, or leave Socialist CzechoSlovakia. Soviet pressure increases, it is a bleak time.


Charter 77 published by a group of intellectuals including dissident playwright Vaclav Havel. It demanded fundamental human rights and freedoms, including the right to play rock music!


(November) The Velvet Revolution startles the world. The communist government of G. Husak resigns and playwright and dissident Vaclav Havel was appointed President of the renamed Czech and Slovak Federated Republic.


Economic reforms and mass privatization of businesses begin.


(June) The first truly free and democratic elections held since 1946.


(January 1st ) The Czech and Slovak Federated Republic peacefully separate into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in what is now known as the “Velvet Divorce.”


(April) Guaranteeing their future freedom, the Czech Republic joins NATO


(May) In the first ever direct popular election for the President of the Slovak Republic - Rudolf Schuster is elected as the second Slovak President.

2000 - 2001

The CzechoSlovak Genealogical Society Intl. (CGSI) launches it’s up-dated web site. There is dancing in the streets! See this new site for a MUCH more extensive history timeline.


Sources for this timeline include; History of CzechoSlovak in Outline by Polisensky, ( available from CGSI ) Slovak and Czech web sites and various other history books.

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Comments: Webmaster; Revised November 1st, 2000