Duchy of Bohemia

The Duchy of Bohemia, also later referred to in English as the Czech Duchy,[1][2] (Czech: České knížectví) was a monarchy and a principality of the Holy Roman Empire in Central Europe during the Early and High Middle Ages. It was formed around 870 by Czechs as part of the Great Moravian realm. Bohemia separated from disintegrating Moravia after Duke Spytihněv swore fealty to the East Frankish king Arnulf in 895.

Duchy of Bohemia
České knížectví (Czech)
Ducatus Bohemiæ (Latin)
Herzogtum Böhmen (German)
c.870–1198
Duchy of Bohemia within the Holy Roman Empire, 11th century
StatusImperial State of the Holy Roman Empire
(from 1002)
CapitalPrague
Common languagesCzech, Latin
Religion
GovernmentFeudal duchy
Duke 
 c. 875–888/9
Bořivoj I (first duke)
 1192–93, 1197–98
Ottokar I (last duke, king to 1230)
History 
 Duchy established
c.870
 Bořivoj I moved seat to Prague Castle
875
1002
 Raised to kingdom
1198
 Confirmed by Golden Bull of Sicily
1212
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Bohemians (tribe)
Great Moravia
Kingdom of Bohemia
Margraviate of Moravia

While the Bohemian dukes of the Přemyslid dynasty, at first ruling at Prague Castle and Levý Hradec, brought further estates under their control, the Christianization initiated by Saints Cyril and Methodius was continued by the Frankish bishops of Regensburg and Passau. In 973, the Diocese of Prague was founded through the joint efforts of Duke Boleslaus II and Emperor Otto I.[3] Late Duke Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, killed by his younger brother Boleslaus in 935, became the land's patron saint.

While the lands were occupied by the Polish king Bolesław I and internal struggles shook the Přemyslid dynasty, Duke Vladivoj received Bohemia as a fief from the hands of the East Frankish king Henry II in 1002 and the duchy became an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire. The Duchy of Bohemia was raised to a hereditary Kingdom of Bohemia, when Duke Ottokar I ensured his elevation by the German king Philip of Swabia in 1198. The Přemyslids remained in power throughout the High Middle Ages, until the extinction of the male line with the death of King Wenceslaus III in 1306.


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