Tag Archives: Austro-Hungarian Empire

A History of Prague, Part 7, The Nineteenth Century

The19th century brought sweeping changes to Bohemia. In 1806 Napoleon dissolved the Holy Roman Empire and the Emperor Francis II abdicated his title, becoming Francis I Emperor of Austria.

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The Industrial Revolution began. Its effect on Prague was enormous. Profiting from the proximity to coal mines and ironworks, factories proliferated outside the fortified city. People flooded in from the countryside and suburbs mushroomed on the city’s outskirts. By 1837, the population had reached 100,000. In 1845 the first railway connection between Vienna and Prague was established, opening the floodgates for products and people. In 1850, the Jewish town of Joseph was finally added to Prague’s historical centre.  The fortifications between the Old and New Towns were demolished, the fortress moat was filled and a new promenade road snaked around the city. An embankment with Neo-Renaissance style public buildings was established alongside the Vltava River. In 1874 most of the Baroque fortifications and their bastions were dismantled.

The National Revival continued. Czech institutions were established to celebrate the Czech history and culture: the National Theatre opened in 1868 and the National Museum in 1890.In the following years the Czech Nationalist movement began to rise until it gained the majority in the town council in 1861.

In 1867 the Emperor Francis Josef I established the Austro Hungarian Dual Monarchy of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. Once again Bohemia was part of a larger, stronger entity. Despite this, Czech Nationalism was strong. It continued to grow and to ready itself for its time.