The Czech Republic is a nation in Eastern Europe. It borders Poland to the north, Germany to the west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. It is the home of the Czechs, and its capital is Prague.
The Czech Republic, previously known as Bohemia, was a major power in the Holy Roman Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries. Bohemia was also the site of the Hussite Wars in the 1400s, one of the precursors to the Protestant Reformation.
In the 17th century, Bohemia was incorporated into Austria under the Habsburgs. Bohemia did not gain its independence until after World War I, as Czechoslovakia. First Sudetenland, then the rest of Czechoslovakia was annexed by Nazi Germany before World War II.
Czechoslovakia again won its independence after World War II, and a communist government was established under Soviet influence. In 1968, reforms pursued by Vaclav Havel put Czechoslovakia on a course away from the rest of the Eastern bloc. This challenge to Soviet authority led to an invasion and the reforms were reversed.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia separated from Czechoslovakia in 1992 due to nationalist tensions. The Czech Republic joined the European Union and is considered one of the most well-off former Soviet states.