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Europe, Czech Republic

Czech Republic, landlocked republic in central Europe, comprising the historic regions of Bohemia and Moravia, and part of Silesia. The republic borders Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. Prague is its capital and largest city.

The Czech-inhabited lands of Bohemia and Moravia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the early 17th century until 1918, when they were united in a common state with Slovakia and part of Silesia. The new state, a democratic republic known as Czechoslovakia, was broken up during World War II, but was reestablished at the end of the war in 1945. From 1948 to 1989 the republic was ruled by a Communist regime. In November 1989 the Communist government was ousted and Czechoslovakia again became a democratic state. During the early 1990s, political and economic conflicts developed between the Czechs and Slovaks, and leaders of both groups decided to dissolve the republic. In January 1993 Czechoslovakia was replaced by two independent states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

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