1849-1867 1893-1914

The Bohemian Lands in 1867-1893

In 1867 the Hungarian patriots got the AUSGLEICH (Austro-Hungarian Compromise), an arrangement which granted the Hungarian diet far-reaching political autonomy within the Kingdom of Hungary, which meant the diet, dominated by ethnic Hungarians, mostly nobles, gained control over vast areas settled by non-Hungarians; the Hungarians had been recognized as STAATSVOLK, a German expression that translates to an ethnicity upon which the state is fundamentally rested.
The dream of the Czechs, mainly organized in the OLD CZECH PARTY lead by F.L. RIEGER, was to achieve a similar compromise for Bohemia - recognition of the Czechs as the Staatsvolk within the lands of the Bohemian crown (Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia). As Vienna was unwilling to grant this, Rieger's Old Czech Party continued to boycott the Vienna Reichstag (1863-1879).

The objects of the Viennese administration were many and complex, preventing the various nationalities from gaining independence, but also preventing the (German) liberals from getting a hold on power. During a brief period, the ministry SCHAEFFLE (1871) strove for such a Bohemian compromise in order to undermine the strong position of the German-Austrian liberals at that time. A franchise reform in Bohemia broke the German monopoly in the Bohemian diet; due to high Bohemian demands and Hungarian opposition, the negotiations failed and the concept was abandoned by Emperor Franz Joseph.
In 1879 Austrian chancellor COUNT TAAFFE decreed German and Czech to both be languages of administration in Bohemia; only now did the Old Czech Party end the boycott of the Viennese Reichsrat. Rieger and his party became loyal supporters of the Taaffe administration (1879-1893); the fruit of the Taaffe-Rieger pact was a further franchise reform (1882), extending the franchise to men who paid minimum 5 Fl. of taxes per annum.

Industrialization continued, as did the migration of peasants into the growing cities; Prague, early in the century a city strongly characterized by her German community, saw an ever-growing Czech population element. The German community, however, continued to thrive.
In 1882 Prague University split into a German University and a Czech University; the Prague Polytechnic also split along language lines. In 1890 the first girsl's gymnasium (high school) of Bohemia and entire Austria-Hungary opened in Prague.
The number and circulation of Czech-language newspapers increased in the 1860es to 1880es; of importance was ZLATA PRAHA (Golden Prague), a magazine which began publication in 1884.
BEDRICH SMETANA, who lived in Sweden since 1848, was a patriotic Czech composer.

Article Sokol, from Wikipedia
Biography of Bedrich Smetana, from HNH
Gallery (ed.), Geschichte Verstehen, Die Entwicklung der Deutsch-Tschechischen Beziehungen in den Böhmischen Ländern 1848-1948, in German
REFERENCE Derek Sayer, The Coasts of Bohemia, A Czech History, Princeton : Univ. Press 1998
A.J.P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918, Univ. of Chicago Press 1983

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on April 2nd 2006

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