In 1382, Anne of Bohemia (daughter of the powerful King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV) married King Richard II of England. With this royal alliance came increased communication between the two countries. Czech students attended English universities, and English students attended Charles University. Far more importantly, the works of English authors were translated into Czech. This was to have a lasting effect on this small country. Jan Hus came from Husinec, moving to Prague when he was very young. He was a student at Charles University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1393, and a Master’s degree in 1396. Having been ordained as a priest in 1400, Hus quickly began to preach reformation of the CatholicRead more.

The Battle of Bila Hora, which ended so quickly for the Czech Protestant troops, had a grim and gory aftermath the following year. Visitors to the Old Town Square in Prague may wonder at the sight of 27 crosses set into the cobblestones in front of the Old Town Hall, around the corner from the Astronomical Clock. The reason is that, on June 21, 1621, 27 noblemen who had taken part in the Estates Uprising were put to death there. At the time of the executions, the Old Town Square looked very different from the view everyone enjoys today; drawings of the event show an area that is barely – if at all – recognizable. The square was packed withRead more.

Rudolf II was one of the most important and most influential rulers of the Czech lands; his name is still famous centuries after his reign. Rudolf II was a member of the House of Habsburg. His titles included King of Bohemia, King of Hungary and Croatia, Archduke of Austria, and the big one, Holy Roman Emperor. His life was, by modern standards, short. He was born July 18, 1552. He died January 20, 1612. Rudolf was born in Vienna, the son of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, who herself came from a royal family. From an early age, young Rudolf showed an interest in science, alchemy, and magic, interests which would remain with him for theRead more.