The Bohemian Lands under Absolute Rule, 1740-1790

Administration . The diets of Bohemia (since 1627) and Moravia (since 1628) were more docile than their predecessors. The move of the Czech Chancellery from Prague to Vienna in 1624 marked a step in the centralization of Habsburg rule. Latin and German were the languages of administration, education and jurisdiction.
In 1742 most of Silesia and the County of Glatz (hitherto part of Bohemia) were ceded to Prussia.

Cultural History . Most of the books which had been printed in Czech were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books. The Jesuit college and the University of Prague were merged.
The Counterreformation succeeded in lastingly reconverting the far majority of the population to Catholicism, which still today is the clearly domination confession in the Czech Republic. On the other hand, by forbidding of any positive evaluation of Hussitism and of the Bohemian rising against Habsburg rule in 1618 it had an anti-Czech predisposition.
Under the rule of Emperor Joseph II., a number of old traditions were ended, privileges cancelled. Most influential was the decision to replace the Latin language by German - a decision which, in Bohemia, would pit the German and the Czech population element against each other.
In 1775, the Böhmische Gelehrte Privatgesellschaft (Bohemian learned private society, later to be renamed the Bohemian Society of Sciences), in 1784 the Royal Society of Bohemia was founded.

Social and Economic History . Pragues Jews, who in 1708 had accounted for a quarter of the city's population, in 1745 were expelled (blamed for having collaborated with the Prussians during the preceding war).
A number of battles of the first Silesian War (1740-1742) and the Seven Years War (1756-1763) were fought in Bohemia; the War of Bavarian Succession 1778-1779 saw Prussian troops enter Moravia.

Czechoslovakia, from : Library of Congress, Country Studies
Böhmische Gelehrte Privatgesellschaft, from Scholarly Societies Project
The Era of Enlightenment, from Czech History
Virtual Jewish History Tour : Prague
DOCUMENTS Map of Bohemia, 1766, from Yale Univ.
REFERENCE Derek Sayer, The Coasts of Bohemia, A Czech History, Princeton : Univ. Press 1998, pp.46-52

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on October 11th 2007

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