Useful country information
Land area: 29,836 sq mi (77,276 sq km); total area: 30,450 sq mi (78,866 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 10.7 million
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Prague, 1,312,000
Prague: Capital City Profile
Other large cities: Brno, 376,400; Ostrava, 317,700; Plzen, 164,900; Olomouc, 102,900
Monetary unit: Koruna
National name: Ceska Republika
Language: Czech 95.4%, Slovak 1.6%, other 3% (2011 census)
Ethnicity/race: Roman Catholic 10.4%, Protestant (includes Czech Brethren and Hussite) 1.1%, other and unspecified 54%, none 34.5% (2011 est.)
National Holiday: Czech Founding Day, October 28
Religions: Roman Catholic 27%, Protestant 2%, unaffiliated 59% (2001)
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The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in central Europe.
Before World War I part of Austria-Hungary, in 1918 the Czechs and neighbouring Slovaks joined together and formed the independent republic of Czechoslovakia. In World War II occupied by the Germans in 1939. After World War II, Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a member of the Warsaw Pact.
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" during the "Prague Spring". With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution" and became a sovereign state.
On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 1999 the Czech Republic became a member of the NATO and in 2004 a member of the European Union.
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