Moravia - Administrative History

Great Moravia . A Moravian state appears in Frankish sources in 822 A.D.; under Prince Mojmir (830-846) it annexed the Principality of Nitra (in modern western Slovakia) in 833. Svatopluk I. (871-894) was the first ruler of Great Moravia to use the title of king; he conquered southern Poland (874), Silesia (880), the Theiss (Tisza) valley (881), the Balaton Principality (883), Bohemia (except for her western region, held by the Przemyslids) and Lusatia (890). Upon Svatopluk's death, Great Moravia was split among his sons. Quarrels among the sons, pressure by the Franks and most notably the arrival of the Magyars in the Pannonian Basin in 895 resulted in the rapid decline of Great Moravia. With Mojmir II. (894-906) ended the line of the Princes/Kings of Great Moravia.

Moravia proper during the Early and High Middle Ages . For the years 907 to 955 we have little information about the history of the region. As the Magyars, during these years, established their residence in the Carpathian Basin (modern Hungary), and from there undertook raids into the Byzantine Empire, Italy and the East Frankish Kingdom, we may assume that they did not tolerate an independent political organization in Moravia proper.
Following the Magyar defeat by the East Franks in the Battle of Lechfeld in 955, soon-to-be Emperor Otto I. granted Moravia to Boleslaus I., Duke of Bohemia. Moravia thus became a possession of the Przemyslid Dynasty. From 999 to 1019 Moravia was held by King Boleslaus I. of Poland, then reverted to Przemyslid rule. The Przemyslids partitioned their lands among the sons of the duke; in 1035 Duke Bretislaus, already ruler of Moravia, also became Duke of Bohemia. In 1054 he introduced primogeniture, i.e. he assured that the Bohemian Lands (Bohemia, Moravia, Lusatia) would remain under one and the same ruler, as only the first-born son would inherit his father's possessions.
In 1063, the Diocesis of Olomouc was separated from the Diocesis of Prague, an event indicating the autonomy of Moravia. In 1182, Moravia was elevated to the status of Margraviate.

Moravia during the Later Middle Ages . In 1158 the Duchy of Bohemia was elevated into the Kingdom of Bohemia; Bohemia and her sidelands (Moravia, Lusatia, later Silesia) came to be referred to as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. With the transition from a state based on the feudal levy to a taxation-based state, in the individual Lands of the Bohemian Crown, including Moravia, diets emerged. The Moravian diet, upon convocation by the King of Bohemia, was to convene and discuss the king's proposal of a bede (extraordinary, one-time tax) to be collected. In the diet, the country's (higher) clergy, nobility and the representatives of the cities were represented.

Moravia from the 15th to the 19th century . Moravia, until the administrative refirm of 1848, was subdivided in 6 circles : Brünn / Brno, Hradisch / Uherske Hradiste, Iglau / Jihlava, Olmütz / Olomouc, Prerau / Prerov, Znaim / Znojmo. In 1782 Austrian Silesia was annexed into Moravia, adding two more circles (Teschen / Cesky Tesin, Troppau / Opava). In 1849 Austrian Silesia was restored as a separate territory; within Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia the circles were abolished, replaced by much smaller units - Gerichtsbezirke (court districts) and Bezirkshauptmannschaften (district captaincies), over 100 respectively over 50 for Moravia.

Moravia within Czechoslovakia, 1918-1992 . During the First Czechoslovak Republic, while the districts of later Habsburg years were maintained, circles were created as larger administrative entities, 5 within Moravia, except for Brno and Olomouc which enjoyed separate status.
During Communist administration, reforms in 1949 reorganized Czechia (Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia) in 13 circles (plus Prague); a number of these circles included both Bohemian and Moravian respectively Silesian and Moravian territory. In 1960 Czechia was reorganized into 7 circles (plus Prague), equally disregarding the territorial integrity of Moravia.

Moravia within the Czech Republic, since 1992 . In 2001 another administrative reform reorganized Czechia in 13 circles (plus Prague), which do not coincide with those of 1949. Again, a number of circles include both Bohemian and Moravian respectively Moravian and Silesian territory.

Alte Kreise, bis 1850 bzw. 1862 (Old Circles, until 1850 resp. 1862), Posted by GOV SFF, with maps, in German
Article Administrative Divisions of Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia
Political Subdivision of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, posted by Karel Kysilka
DOCUMENTS Links to Online Maps of Bohemia and Moravia, posted by Historicum at Herder Institute, Marburg
Map Bohemia & Moravia 1828 (Lizars), posted by
Regions, Districts of the Czech Republic, from

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 12th 2006

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