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Meaning/Origin of the Flag

Coat of Arms

Meaning/Origin of the Coat of Arms

Map of the former crown lands of Austria-Hungary (to 1918)

Numbers and Facts


Origin of the Country's Name


Flagge Fahne flag Flag of the country Colours of the country colours colors Königreich Böhmen Kingdom Bohemia
Flag of the country (Colours of the country),
ratio = 2:3,
Source, by: Flags of the World

Flagge Fahne flag Flag of the country Colours of the country colours colors Königreich Böhmen Kingdom Bohemia
ca. 15.–18th cent.
Flag of the Kingdom of Bohemia,
Source, by: Jakob Köbel, 1540, Nördlingen


Meaning/Origin of the Flag

In old times, in Bohemia, as in other countries, escutcheon-flags were common at first. That means, that the image of the coat of arms was transferred to the flag. In the case of Bohemia, this was the silver, crowned, two-tailed, golden armed lion on a red background. This practice was not so important anymore for Bohemia in the period after the Thirty Years' War. The country was pacified, no longer disputed and finally belonged as hereditary to the House of Habsburg, as the house power of the German emperors, most of whom came from the House of Habsburg. As a result, the representation of Bohemia, like other countries of the house power, stepped into the background. The coat of arms flag remained only as a symbol of the kingship. The colours white and red, however, were memorized as colours of Bohemia and became a thing of identification, which were later also shown on flags.

The country had in this way – like all the other crown lands of the Austrian crown – its own colours (Landesfarben), which were used amongst others on horizontally two- or three-striped flags. The colours (Landesfarben) were very often taken from the respective coat of arms of the country or were supplemented by another colour, which not appears in the coat of arms, or they went back to older models of the coat of arms (e.g. Carniola). Officially, the colours had never been regulated or stipulated, so that their sequence varied in practice or even the colors deviated. The Austrian heraldist Hugo Gerard Ströhl (1851–1919) was probably the first to take care of it and asked for the colors (Landesfarben) on the flags at the respective state authorities around 1890 and compiled them: The crown land of Bohemia used as colours of the country a flag which showed two horizontal stripes in white and red.

Source: Österreichisch-Ungarische Wappenrolle, Volker Preuß


Coat of Arms

Wappen blazon coat of arms Königreich Böhmen Kingdom Bohemia
Escutcheon of the Kingdom of Bohemia

Wappen blazon coat of arms Przemysliden Přemyslid dynasty
Coat of arms of the Přemyslid dynasty,
Source, by: Wikipedia (D)

Wappen blazon coat of arms Jagiellonen Jagiellonian dynasty
Coat of arms of the Jagiellonian dynasty,
Source, by: Wikipedia (D)

Wappen coat of arms Königreich Böhmen Kingdom Bohemia
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bohemia,
Source, by: Ströhl, Wappenrolle Österreich-Ungarns, 1890, via Wikipedia (D)

Wappen blazon coat of arms blazon coat of arms Tschechoslowakei Czechoslovakia
1920–1939, 1945–1960,
Middle coat of arms of Czechoslovakia,
Source, by: See page for author / CC BY-SA

Wappen blazon coat of arms blazon coat of arms Tschechei Tschechien Czechia
today's Coat of arms of Czechia,
Source, by: unknown, convert to SVG Tlusťa / Public domain

Wappen blazon coat of arms blazon coat of arms Böhmen Bohemia
today's heraldry of Bohemia,
Source, by: unknown, convert to SVG Tlusťa / Public domain


Meaning/Origin of the Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Bohemia shows a silvery double tailed lion with a golden crown and golden arms on a red shield. The Bohemian heraldry of the silvery lion on red geht has its roots in the 12th/13th century, probably even in the 11th century. The lion was probably always double tailed, because sometimes there are allegations that the second tail should have been awarded by Emperor Otto IV. for military merites in the beginning of the 13th century. As an Habsburg crown land the coat of arms of the country showed above the Bohemian royal crown. That was commissioned by Empress Bianca de Valois in 1347. The Austrian heraldist Hugo Gerard Ströhl surrounded the coat of arms ca. 1890, in its last known version, with a wreath of linden branches. The linden branches remained in the coat of arms of Czechoslovakia even after the time as an Austrian crown land until 1992. Today they can still be seen in the flag of the President of the Czech Republic. The heraldry of Bohemia appeared still until 1960 in the coat of arms of Czechoslovakia. Since 1992 appears the lion again in the coat of arms of Czechia.

Source: Österreichisch-Ungarische Wappenrolle, Wikipedia (D), Volker Preuß


The crown lands of Austria-Hungary (to 1918):

Map ca. 1910:
interaktive Landkarte – interactive Map
Source: Volker Preuß


Numbers and Facts

Area: 20.057 square miles

Inhabitants: 5 560 800 (1880), thereof 61% Czech, 37% Germans

Density of Population: 227 inh./sq.mi. (1880)

Capital: Prag (Engl.: Prague, Czech: Praha), 162.300 inh. (1880), 1.308.632 inh. (2019)

Sprachen (1880): Czech, German

Currency: to 1918 Austrian currency, since 1918 Czechoslovak currency, since 1939 Czech currency, since 1945 Czechoslovak currency, since 1992 Czech currency

Time Zone: GMT + 1 h

Source: Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1892, Volker Preuß



Antiquity · settlement by the Celtic tribe of the Boii

80–70 B.C. · settlement by the Teutonic tribe of the Marcomanni

6th century · the Awars shove the Slavic nations in western direction, the Slavic tribe of the Czech reaches the territorities of the Marcomanni, the Marcomanni mostly move away to Bavaria

ca. 620 · Samo the Frank unites the Slavic nations of the Sorbs, Croats, Doudlebs, Czech, Moravians and Slovaks and stops the advance of the Awars, the "Samo Empire" (today’s Saxony, Bohemia, Moravia, Western Slovakia) exists until his death and disintegrates then in the particular tribes again

ca. 650 · onset of the fabulous and legendary Czech early history: King Krok, the wise Libussa, Przemysl the Lord of Staditz, the foundation of Prague. The sons of Przemysls become Czech tribal dukes (Przemyslids), Bohemia has to recognize the Frankish supremacy after several campaigns

ca. 880 · Svatopluk the Duke of Moravia (later king) submits the Czech in Bohemia and expands its control to the today’s Saxony

894 · death of King Svatopluk, conflicts between its sons Mojmir II. and Svatopluk II., the Czech become independent under Duke Spitihniew I. from Moravia, they swear loyalty to the Frankish King Arnulf and come under Frankish supremacy

929 · duke Wenzel (nephew of Spitihniev I.) recognizes the supremacy of the German King Heinrich I. (oath of fiefdom)

950 · Boleslav I. (brother of Wenzel) recognizes the supremacy of the German King Otto I. (oath of fiefdom)

967 · Boleslav II. (son of Boleslav I.) recognizes the supremacy of the German King Otto I. (oath of fiefdom)

999 · Boleslav III. (son of Boleslav II.) recognizes the supremacy of the German King Otto II. (oath of fiefdom)

ca. 1002 · Duke Boleslav III. conquers Moravia, rules in Bohemia very dreadful and becomes finally banished by the people

1003 · Boleslav Chrobry, the Duke of Poland, invades in Bohemia and comes over the country

1004 · the German King Henry II. banishes the Polish out of Bohemia and appoints again the Przemyslids as dukes

1029 · Bretislav I. , son of the Bohemian Duke Udalrich, conquers Moravia back, the sons of the Duke of Bohemia are prospective the Dukes of Moravia

1055 · death of Bretislav I., succession of seniors, civil war

1061 · Bretislav II. , son of Bretislav I. becomes Duke of Bohemia

1086 · the German Emperor Henry IV. levies Bretislav II. to the King of Bohemia (not heritable)

1092 · death of Bretislav II., his son Bretislav III. becomes Duke of Bohemia

1100 · death of Bretislav III., war of succession

1125 · Sobieslav achieves in succession

1126 · Sobieslav recognizes the supremacy of the German King Conrad II. (oath of fiefdom)

1140 · Vladislav II., successor of Sobieslav, becomes Duke of Bohemia and becomes any times later banished out of Prague by the Czech, the German King Conrad II. appoints him again as Duke of Bohemia

1158 · the German Emperor Frederick I. levies Vladislav II. to the King of Bohemia (heritable)

1174 · death of King Vladislav II., war of succession

1197 · Ottokar I. achieves in succession, the German Emperor Frederick II. levies Ottokar I. to the King of Bohemia (heritable)

1253 · Ottokar II. (1253-1278), earns the Duchy of Austria after the vanish of the House of Babenberg

1260 · battle on the March Field against the Hungarians, Ottokar II. earns Styria

1269 · Ottokar II. earns Carinthia

1270 · Ottokar II. earns Carniola

1254 · crusade of Ottokar II. with the Order of the Teutonic Knights against the pagan Prussians, foundation of Koenigsberg Town (named after King Ottokar)

1273 · election of Rudolf of Habsburg to the German king, King Ottokar II. recognizes him not as Lord of Fiefdom, a war follows

1276 · Peace of Vienna, Bohemia has to cede Styria, Carinthia and Carniola to the House of Habsburg

1278 · battle on the March Field, King Ottokar II. falls in the combat

1283–1306 · the successors of Ottokar (Wenzel II. and Wenzel III.) brings the crowns of Poland and Hungary to Bohemia

1306 · death of Wenzel III. (Hungarian King Ladislaus V.), vanish of the Przemyslids

1306–1307 · Rudolf of Habsburg is King of Bohemia

1307–1310 · Heinrich of Goerz is King of Bohemia

1310 · the House of Luxemurg earns Bohemia

1335 · renounce of the Polish crown

1346–1378 · the Emperor of the German Empire Charles IV., from the House of Luxemburg, is concurrent King of Bohemia, flowering period of the country

1419–1436 · Hussite Wars

1469 · Matthias Corvinus , King of Hungary, becomes King of Bohemia

1471 · Vladislav of Poland, from the House of the Jagiellonians, becomes King of Bohemia

29th of August 1526 · Turks Battle near Mohács, death of the last of the Jagiellonians, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, from the House of Habsburg, becomes elected to the King of Bohemia

1547 · Ferdinand of Austria, meanwhile Ferdinand I., Emperor of the German Empire, makes the king's title heritable

1556 · the House of Habsburg divides itself in a Spanish and in a Austrian line, Bohemia comes to the Austrian line

26th of August 1619 · the Bohemian rank members elect the Elector Frederick V. of Palatinate to the (Anti-)King

8th of November 1620 · battle near the White Montain near Prague, Frederick V. is beaten by imperial-catholic troops, Thirty-Years-War in Germany, Bohemia becomes irrevocably a Habsburg's heritable monarchy

1740–1745 · Austrian War of Succession

1848/1849 · revolution in Vienna, Franz Joseph I. of Habsburg becomes new Emperor, new constitution: the titular hereditary territories of the Habsburgs in the Austrian Empire become converted to crown lands with their own Landtag (parliament), Bohemia becomes in this way a crown land of the Austrian Empire, Slavs Congress in Prague, evolution of the Czech national consciousness and the anti-German nationalism

28th of October 1918 · Czechoslovakia separates from Austria-Hungary (on 10th of September 1919 recognized by Austria), Bohemia becomes in this way incorporated in Czechoslovakia

10th of October 1938 · Munich Agreement, Czechoslovakia has to cede all the in majority by Germans inhabited territories – and in this way parts of Bohemia – to the German Empire, these become summarized with other territories in the Gau of Sudetenland

15th of March 1939 · march in of German troops in Prague, the Czechoslovakia becomes dissolved, Slovakia becomes an own state, the remaining regions become the "Reichs Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia"

1945 · soviet conquest and occupation of Bohemia, re-incorporation to Czechoslovakia, expulsion and partially even assassination of the largest part of the in the country remained German civilian population

1992 · disintegration of Czechoslovakia in Czechia (Bohemia, Moravia and former Austrian Silesia) and Slovakia

Source: Atlas zur Geschichte, Wikipedia (D), RetroLib Retrobibliothek, Discovery '97, Volker Preuß


Origin of the Country's Name

Is meaned the country, there is to speak about "Bohemia", are meaned its today's residents, there is to speak about "The Czech". The designation "Bohemia" has its roots in the Celtic tribe of the Boii, which settled here in the antquity. The Boii were pushed aside 80–70 B.C. by the Teutonic Marcomanni. The Slavic Czech populated the country in the 6th century. The Czech designation "Cesko" – ergo "Czechia" – arised not until the 19th century in context with the growing strong of the Czech nationalism.

Source: Handbuch der geographischen Namen, Volker Preuß


Further Austria pages (historical flags and coats of arms):

Empire of the Austrian Habsburgs (to 1804)

Empire of Austria (1814–1867)

Austria-Hungary (1867–1918)

Republic of Austria (since 1918)


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