The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Germany to the west and north-west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the north-east. Prague is the capital and largest city, with 1.3 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as a small part of Silesia.
The Czech state, formerly known as Bohemia (Čechy), was formed in the late 9th century as a small duchy around Prague, at that time under the dominance of the powerful Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power was transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslids. In 1002, Bohemia was formally recognized as a duchy within the Holy Roman Empire, rising to the status of kingdom in 1212. During the rule of the Přemyslids and their successors, the Luxembourgs, Bohemia expanded in size until reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. During the Hussite wars, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and crusades from all over Europe.
Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the Kingdom of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg monarchy as one of its three principal parts, alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) against the catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War, after which the monarchy consolidated its rule, re-imposed Catholicism, and adopted a policy of gradual Germanization. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire. In the 19th century the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. After 1933, Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in central and eastern Europe.
Following the Munich Agreement and the Polish annexation of Zaolzie, Czechoslovakia fell under German occupation during World War II. By 1945, a major portion of the country was liberated by the Red Army, and the subsequent gratitude towards the Soviets, combined with disillusionment with the West for failing to intervene, led the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to victory in the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a single-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended with an invasion by the armies of the Warsaw Pact countries (with the exception of Romania). Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and a multiparty parliamentary republic was formed. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into its constituent states: the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
The country is among the top 30 nations with the highest human development in the world. It possesses an advanced economy and in 2006 became the first former member of Comecon to achieve the status of a developed country, according to the World Bank. The Czech Republic also ranks as the ninth-most peaceful country in Europe, while achieving the best performance in democratic governance and infant mortality in the region. It is a pluralist parliamentary representative democracy with membership in the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.