Bohemia and Bohemian Crown Lands

James Palmitessa

in Renaissance and Reformation

ISBN: 9780195399301
Published online August 2011 | | DOI:
Bohemia and Bohemian Crown Lands

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy


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“Bohemia” can refer to the Kingdom of Bohemia proper or, as a shortened form, to the Bohemian Crown Lands (Czech Země Koruny české), a small but diverse and important group of lands in premodern Europe consisting of a number of constituent territories: the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Margravates of Moravia, Upper and Lower Lusatia, and the Principality of Silesia, all ruled by the Bohemian crown. Between the early 15th century, when a religious reform movement native to Bohemia evolved into one of the greatest social and political upheavals of the late Middle Ages, known as the Hussite Revolution (beginning 1419), to the early 17th century, when an estate revolt in Bohemia (1618) expanded into the first all-European total war of the modern age, the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), Bohemia served as a microcosm, barometer, and focal point for change in central Europe and Europe as a whole. Despite Bohemia’s importance during this period, most of the key scholarship remains unknown and inaccessible to English-speaking readers. Two of the main reasons for this have to do with developments of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Specific aspects of state formation and national revival associated with the foundation of Czechoslovakia (1918), the successor state to the Bohemian Crown Lands, and the emergence of the liberal progressive narrative of European history relegated the history of the Bohemian Crown Lands to the margins of Western civilization. Communist rule throughout most of the second half of the 20th century reinforced the view that these lands were different and served to isolate Czech historians and Czech scholarship from Western historiography. However, since the fall of Communism during the Velvet Revolution (1989) and the subsequent entry of the Czech Republic (one of two successor states to Czechoslovakia) into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, 1999) and the European Union (2004), interest has grown among western Europeans and North Americans in premodern Bohemian history, and dialogue has increased among Czech scholars, their neighbors in central Europe, and the broader historical community in western Europe and North America. The late 20th and early 21st centuries witnessed the fruition of efforts since 1989 to reintegrate the Bohemian Crown Lands in the early modern period into the central narrative of early modern European history. This is a core bibliography containing approximately 150 key works dealing with the history of the Bohemian Crown Lands from the aftermath of the Hussite Revolution in the mid–15th century to the late 18th century. Most of the works in this core bibliography are recent monographs and anthologies that provide access to earlier and wider scholarship, but a number of major articles are also included. Most of the works are in Czech, German, or English, which are the major languages of scholarship, but some works in French, Italian, and Dutch are also included, illustrating the connections of this relatively small central European society to other historical and historiographical traditions in Europe.

Article.  13636 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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