1790-1815 1848-1849

Note : as Bohemia formed the largest, economically and politically most important of the three Lands of the Bohemian Crown, accounts on the history of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown must, for many periods, largely be identical with accounts of the history of Bohemia proper.

The Bohemian Lands in 1815-1848

Administration . The "Lands of the Bohemian Crown", by 1815 reduced to Bohemia, Moravia and (Austrian) Silesia, were held together by a common dynasty, the Habsburg dynasty, which in 1815-1860 also ruled the Austrian Lands, the Kingdoms of Hungary and Croatia, Galicia-Lodomeria, the Bukovina and Lombardo-Venetia. The Habsburg Dynasty resided in Vienna and from 1815 to 1849 threated the "Lands of the Bohemian Crown" as two separate entities, the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Margraviate of Moravia (to which Austrian Silesia had been annexed).

Economic History . Among the territories under Habsburg rule, Bohemia, Moravia and (Austrian) Silesia, together with Lombardo-Venetia, were the economically developed. Much of Bohemia and Moravia were suitable for farming, the mountainous Sudetenland region (this name came not in use until the 20th century) home to a diverse mining industry. Railway construction began early; a horse-drawn railroad connected Linz (Upper Austria) with Budejovice (Budweis, Bohemia) in 1829, the first steam-powered railroad connected Vienna with Breclav (Lundenburg, Moravia) in 1839. The rapid expansion of the railroad network in the Habsburg domains caused the expansion of mining in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown.

Socio-Ethnic Structure . In Bohemia there were large monolingual groups - the Sudeten Germans only speaking German, the peasants of central Bohemia and central Moravia only speaking Czech. In Bohemia's cities traditionally the German language dominated, but the industrialization caused rapid urbanization, i.e. the migration of Czech-speaking peasants into the cities. Here, intense cross-ethnic contacts took place; intermarriages contributed to the rise of a bilingual group. Many of Bohemia's noblemen, because of intermarriage of both German and Czech ancestry, were also bilingual. Interestingly, it is these two bilingual groups which contributed most strongly to the Czech cultural and political national awakening - Bolzano is an Italian name, Josef Jungmann has a German name.
Since 1648, the social elite of Bohemia, to a lesser extent of Moravia, had consisted of ethnic German or Italian immigrant nobles respective their descendants. In the early 19th century, a new social elite arose, the bourgeouisie, divided in a Czech, a German and a Jewish bourgeoisie. The year 1844 saw anti-Semitic riots in Prague and Tabor.

Cultural History - Czech National Reawakening . In 1818 the Prague National Museum was established by Count Frantisek z Kolovrat, aimed at preserving and teaching Bohemian (Czech) national history. Not by coincidence was it opened precisely 200 years after the defenestration of Prague, although no mention of it was made in the foundation speeches, and the Bohemians' continued loyalty to the Habsburg dynasty was emphasized. The Bohemian patriotic movement, split in a German-speaking and a Czech-speaking branch, corresponds to similar liberal-patriotic movements elsewhere in Europe. In Bohemia, as in Hungary, the strong participation of the country's nobility is characteristic. A Moravian Museum had been established in Brno by Imperial decree in 1817.
Josef Jungmann in 1825 published History of Czech Literature or Systematic Survey of Czech Writings, with s Short History of the Nation, Education and Language.
Czech patriotic scholars emphasized the close relation of Czech to other Slavic languages; Celakovsky published Slav National Songs in 1822 to 1827, followed by Popular Proverbs of the Slav Nation (1852). Publications like these were the beginnings of cultural Panslavism. Frantisek Palacky published the History of the Czech Nation in Bohemia and Moravia (1836-1867).

Habsburg Repressive Policies . While during the years of the Napoleonic Wars there was an atmosphere of freedom for cultural expression, after the Vienna Congress of 1815 the Austrian government regarded nationalist movements with suspicion; the Carlsbad Decrees of 1819 (also referred to as Carlsbad Resolutions) were signed in the spa of Karlsbad in what was then the German-speaking rim of Bohemia, later referred to as the Sudetenland. They called for state vigilance against any revolutionary, liberal, nationalist or other activities, and recommended to the state the use of secret police, the outlawing of suspicious (i.e. political) organizations and the application of press censorship.
The Habsburg administration, suspicious even of such a cultural movement, had theology professor at Prague University Bernhard Bolzano dismissed (1820), M. J. Fesl, professor at the seminary in Litomerice, the founder of a secret society, arrested. In 1816 Bolzano had published an essay On the Condition of the Two Nationalities in Bohemia, in which he reflected on the socio-political consequences of this linguistic structure. German-speaking and germanized Bohemians dominated political life in Bohemia. For Bohemians aiming at a career in the Habsburg administration, command of the German language was essential.

Biography of Bernhard Bolzano, from Interactive Real Analysis
1815-1867 : The National Revival, from Czech History
History of The Moravian Museum
Article Ceske Drahy (Czech Railroad), from Wikipedia
Timeline Bohemia 1800-1850, from Familiy Lines CZ
DOCUMENTS Carlsbad Resolutions, from Hanover Historical Texts Project
Entwurf des endgültigen kaiserlichen Reskripts an den böhmischen Landtag vom 12. September 1871 (Draft of the final Imperial letter to the Bohemian Diet, of September 12th 1871), from Bohemistik, in German
REFERENCE Derek Sayer, The Coasts of Bohemia, A Czech History, Princeton : Univ. Press 1998, pp.53-81, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 943.71 S274t
Hugh Agnew, The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Stanford : Hoover Institution Press 2004, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 943.71 A273c
Mikulas Teich (ed.), Bohemia in History, Cambridge UP (1998) 2000, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 943.71 T262b

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on October 7th 2007

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