Czechoslovakia Table of Contents
The fourteenth century, particularly the reign of Charles IV (1342-78), is considered the Golden Age of Czech history. By that time the Premyslid line had died out, and, after a series of dynastic wars, a new Luxemburg dynasty captured the Bohemian crown. Charles, the second Luxemburg king, was raised at the French court and was cosmopolitan in attitude. He strengthened the power and prestige of the Bohemian Kingdom. In 1344 Charles elevated the bishopric of Prague, making it an archbishopric and freeing it from the jurisdiction of Mainz and the Holy Roman Empire. The archbishop was given the right to crown Bohemian kings. Charles curbed the Czech nobility, rationalized the provincial administration of Bohemia and Moravia, and made Brandenburg, Lusatia, and Silesia into fiefs of the Czech crown (see fig. 3). In 1355 Charles was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In 1356 he issued a Golden Bull defining and systematizing the process of election to the imperial throne and making the Czech king foremost among the seven electors. The Bohemian Kingdom ceased to be a fief of the emperor.
Charles made Prague into an imperial city. Extensive building projects undertaken by the king included the founding of the New Town southeast of the old city. The royal castle, Hradcany, was rebuilt. Of particular significance was the founding of Charles University in Prague in 1348. Charles's intention was to make Prague into an international center of learning, and the university was divided into Czech, Polish, Saxon, and Bavarian "nations," each with one controlling vote. Charles University, however, would become the nucleus of intense Czech particularism. Charles died in 1378, and the Bohemian crown went to his son, Wenceslas IV.
Data as of August 1987