III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > F. Europe, 461–1500 > 4. Eastern Europe, 1000–1300 > b. Bohemia and Moravia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
b. Bohemia and Moravia
c. 623–58
The earliest recorded attempt at the construction of a Slavic kingdom was that made by Samo, who appears to have been a Frankish tradesman traveling in central Europe. Probably taking advantage of the defeat of the Avars by the Greeks in 626, he managed to unite the Czechs and some of the Wends, and succeeded in repulsing not only the Avars, but also the Franks under King Dagobert (631). But on the death of Samo, the union of the tribes disintegrated.  1
Mojmir, founder of the Moravian state, maintained himself against pressure from the East Franks.  2
Rastislav, prince of Moravia, made an alliance (862) with Michael III, the Byzantine emperor, to counteract the close relationship between the East Franks and the Bulgarians.  3
Conversion of the Moravians by Cyril (Constantine, 826–69) and Methodius (815–85), two monks from Salonika (Thessalonica) sent at Rastislav's request (See 863–85). Beginning of Slavic church language and liturgy. Glagolitic alphabet.  4
Rastislav captured and blinded by Carloman.  5
Sviatopluk, a Moravian prince, succeeded in uniting under his authority Moravia, Bohemia, and present-day Slovakia, and managed to maintain his position as against the Germans. During his reign, the western Slavs were converted to Christianity by Cyril and Methodius, but in the last years of the century, the German clergy redoubled its efforts and won Bohemia and Moravia for the Latin Church, thus establishing the ecclesiastical dependence of the western Slavs on Rome.  6
The kingdom of Moravia was dissolved as the result of a great defeat by the Hungarians.  7
c. 907–29
St. Wenceslaus (in Czech, Vaclav), duke of the Premysl house from c. 922. Educated by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla, a devout Christian. He worked for the cultural improvement of his people, and seeking broader Christian contacts, maintained friendly relations with the German king Henry I (the Fowler) (See 919–36). This policy, combined with a pagan reaction against a determined Christian king, led to Wenceslaus's murder by his brother Boleslav I. Prague soon became the center of a Wenceslaus cult; by 1100 he was recognized as Bohemia's patron saint, and his crown has served as the symbol of Czech independence.  8
BOLESLAV I. He seems to have carried on constant warfare against the encroaching Germans, until forced (950) to accept German suzerainty. To the east he conquered Moravia, part of Slovakia, part of Silesia, and even Kraków. Furthermore, he appears to have established a fairly strong royal power over the old tribal chiefs.  9
BOLESLAV II. He apparently continued the policies of his father and saw to the final victory of the Christian faith (foundation of the bishopric of Prague, 973). Missionaries from Bohemia took an active part in the conversion of Hungary and Poland.  10
The entire 11th and 12th centuries were filled with chronic dynastic conflicts between members of the Premysl family and the various claimants appealing to Poland and more particularly to the German emperors for support. The result was the gradual integration of Bohemia with Germany, and the extension of feudalism to the Czech lands.  11
Boleslav the Brave of Poland took advantage of the anarchy in Bohemia to conquer Silesia, Moravia, and Kraków. In 1003 he became duke of Bohemia, but he was driven out in the next year by a German army.  12
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.