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Czech Republic

Czech Republic Guide. Czech Republic Country Profile.

Country Profile: Czech Republic.

Fact: From 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2009, the Czech Republic held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country borders Poland to the northeast, Germany to the west and northwest, Austria to the south and Slovakia to the east.

The Czech Republic has been a member of NATO since 1999 and of the European Union since 2004. The Czech Republic is also a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). As an OSCE participating State, the Czech Republic’s international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

The Czech state, or Lands of the Bohemian Crown as it was known until 1918, was formed in the late 9th century. The country reached its greatest territorial extent during the 13th and 14th century, under the rule of the Premyslid and Luxembourg dynasties. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the Kingdom of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg monarchy as one of its three principal parts alongside Austria and Hungary. The independent Republic of Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918, following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. After the Munich Agreement (signed by Nazi Germany, France, Britain and Italy), Polish annexation of Zaolzie and German occupation of Czechoslovakia and the consequent disillusion with the Western response and gratitude for the liberation of the major portion of Czechoslovakia by the Red Army, the Communist party won plurality (38%) in the 1946 elections.

In a 1948 coup d’état, Czechoslovakia became a communist-ruled state. In 1968, the increasing dissatisfaction culminated in attempts to reform the communist regime. The events, known as the Prague Spring of 1968, ended with an invasion by the armies of the Warsaw Pact countries (with the exception of Romania); the troops remained in the country until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into its constituent states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Czech Republic is a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.

The Czech Republic made economic reforms such as fast privatizations. Annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth stood at around 6% until the outbreak of the recent global economic crisis. The country is the first former member of the Comecon to achieve the status of a developed country according to the World Bank (2006) and the Human Development Index (2009), which ranks it as a “Very High Human Development” nation.

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:: Background of Czech Republic ::

At the close of World War I, the Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, having rejected a federal system, the new country’s leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). On the eve of World War II, the Czech part of the country was forcibly annexed to the Third Reich, and the Slovaks declared independence as a fascist ally of Nazi Germany. After the war, a reunited but truncated Czechoslovakia (less Ruthenia) fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country’s leaders to liberalize Communist Party rule and create “socialism with a human face.” Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered in a period of harsh repression known as “normalization.” With the collapse of Soviet-backed authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful “Velvet Revolution.” On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a “velvet divorce” into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

:: Geography of Czech Republic ::

Location: Central Europe, between Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria

Geographic coordinates: 49 45 N, 15 30 E

Area:
total: 78,867 sq km
land: 77,247 sq km
water: 1,620 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries: 1,989 km
Border countries: Austria 362 km, Germany 815 km, Poland 615 km, Slovakia 197 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
Terrain: Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Elbe River 115 m
highest point: Snezka 1,602 m

Natural resources: hard coal, soft coal, kaolin, clay, graphite, timber

Land use:
arable land: 38.82%
permanent crops: 3%
other: 58.18% (2005)
Irrigated land: 240 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 16 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.91 cu km/yr (41%/57%/2%)
per capita: 187 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards: flooding
Environment – current issues: air and water pollution in areas of northwest Bohemia and in northern Moravia around Ostrava present health risks; acid rain damaging forests; efforts to bring industry up to EU code should improve domestic pollution

Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: landlocked; strategically located astride some of oldest and most significant land routes in Europe; Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe.

:: People of Czech Republic ::

Population: 10,190,213 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.5% (male 704,495/female 666,191)
15-64 years: 70.2% (male 3,599,774/female 3,554,158)
65 years and over: 16.3% (male 663,982/female 1,001,613) (2011 est.)

Median age:
total: 40.8 years
male: 39.2 years
female: 42.5 years (2011 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.12% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 8.7 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 10.86 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Urbanization:
urban population: 74% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.059 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.19 years
male: 73.93 years
female: 80.66 years (2011 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.26 children born/woman (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 2,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Nationality: noun: Czech(s) adjective: Czech
Ethnic groups: Czech 90.4%, Moravian 3.7%, Slovak 1.9%, other 4% (2001 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census)

Languages: Czech 94.9%, Slovak 2%, other 2.3%, unidentified 0.8% (2001 census)
Literacy:
definition: age NA
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2008)
Education expenditures: 4.6% of GDP (2006)