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Czechoslovakia: Golden Age
Country Study > Chapter 1 > Historical Setting > Early History > Bohemian Kingdom > Golden Age


The fourteenth century, particularly the reign of Charles IV (1342-78), is considered the Golden Age of Czech history. By that time the Premyslid line had died out, and, after a series of dynastic wars, a new Luxemburg dynasty captured the Bohemian crown. Charles, the second Luxemburg king, was raised at the French court and was cosmopolitan in attitude. He strengthened the power and prestige of the Bohemian Kingdom. In 1344 Charles elevated the bishopric of Prague, making it an archbishopric and freeing it from the jurisdiction of Mainz and the Holy Roman Empire. The archbishop was given the right to crown Bohemian kings. Charles curbed the Czech nobility, rationalized the provincial administration of Bohemia and Moravia, and made Brandenburg, Lusatia, and Silesia into fiefs of the Czech crown(see fig. 3). In 1355 Charles was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In 1356 he issued a Golden Bull defining and systematizing the process of election to the imperial throne and making the Czech king foremost among the seven electors. The Bohemian Kingdom ceased to be a fief of the emperor.

Charles made Prague into an imperial city. Extensive building projects undertaken by the king included the founding of the New Town southeast of the old city. The royal castle, Hradcany, was rebuilt. Of particular significance was the founding of Charles University in Prague in 1348. Charles's intention was to make Prague into an international center of learning, and the university was divided into Czech, Polish, Saxon, and Bavarian "nations," each with one controlling vote. Charles University, however, would become the nucleus of intense Czech particularism. Charles died in 1378, and the Bohemian crown went to his son, Wenceslas IV.

Data as of August 1987

Last Updated: August 1987

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Czechoslovakia was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 13 of 170


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