In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Bohemia and Bohemian Crown Lands

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Historical Guides
  • Surveys
  • Journals
  • Historiographies
  • Conference Proceedings, Collected Papers, and Festschriften
  • Hapsburg Rulers and Monarchy
  • Moravia, Silesia, and Lusatia
  • Nobility
  • Cities
  • Rural Life
  • Jewish Life
  • Religion and Society
  • Intellectual and Cultural History
  • Demographic, Social, and Economic History
  • Law, Crime, and Society
  • Women’s History and Gender Studies
  • Bohemia and Europe

Renaissance and Reformation Bohemia and Bohemian Crown Lands
James Palmitessa
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 June 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2022
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0147


“Bohemia” can refer to the Kingdom of Bohemia proper or, as a shortened form, to the Bohemian Crown Lands (Czech Země Koruny české), a small but diverse and important group of lands in premodern Europe consisting of a number of constituent territories: the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Margravates of Moravia, Upper and Lower Lusatia, and the Principality of Silesia, all ruled by the Bohemian crown. Between the early 15th century, when a religious reform movement native to Bohemia evolved into one of the greatest social and political upheavals of the late Middle Ages, known as the Hussite revolution (beginning 1419), to the early 17th century, when an estate revolt in Bohemia (1618) expanded into the first all-European total war of the modern age, the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), Bohemia served as a microcosm, barometer, and focal point for change in central Europe and Europe as a whole. Despite Bohemia’s importance during this period, most of the key scholarship remains unknown and inaccessible to English-speaking readers. Two of the main reasons for this have to do with developments of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Specific aspects of state formation and national revival associated with the foundation of Czechoslovakia (1918), the successor state to the Bohemian Crown Lands, and the emergence of the liberal progressive narrative of European history relegated the history of the Bohemian Crown Lands to the margins of Western civilization. Communist rule throughout most of the second half of the 20th century reinforced the view that these lands were different and served to isolate Czech historians and Czech scholarship from Western historiography. However, since the fall of communism during the Velvet Revolution (1989) and the subsequent entry of the Czech Republic (one of two successor states to Czechoslovakia) into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, interest has grown among western Europeans and North Americans in premodern Bohemian history, and dialogue has increased among Czech scholars, their neighbors in central Europe, and the broader historical community in western Europe and North America. The late 20th and early 21st centuries witnessed the fruition of efforts since 1989 to reintegrate the Bohemian Crown Lands in the Early Modern period into the central narrative of early modern European history. This is a core bibliography containing approximately 150 key works dealing with the history of the Bohemian Crown Lands from the aftermath of the Hussite Revolution in the mid–15th century to the late 18th century. Most of the works in this core bibliography are recent monographs and anthologies that provide access to earlier and wider scholarship, but a number of major articles are also included. Most of the works are in Czech, German, or English, which are the major languages of scholarship, but some works in French, Italian, and Dutch are also included, illustrating the connections of this relatively small central European society to other historical and historiographical traditions in Europe. Recent years have witnessed the anniversaries of some major events in Bohemian history, such as the 600th anniversary of the execution of the reformer Jan Hus by the Church Council of Constance (1415), the 400th anniversary of the Estate Revolt of 1618, and the battle of White Mountain (1620). These anniversaries served as occasions for a number of conferences and symposia and reassessments, which would have been greater in number if not for the COVID-19 pandemic (see Smrčka and Vybíral 2015 [cited under Conference Proceedings, Collected Papers, and Festschriften]) and Dosatík 2018, Uhlíř 2017, and Bůžek 2021 [all cited under the Estate Revolt of 1618, the Battle of White Mountain]).


The most comprehensive bibliography of the history and historiography of the Bohemian Crown Lands is the Bibliography of Historical Monographs administered by the Historical Institute of the Academy Sciences of the Czech Republic. The Historical Institute also publishes in printed form “select bibliographies” on scholarship appearing over a decade or less (Horčáková and Rexová 2005) and a complete register of articles that appeared in the Czech Historical Review, which is available on CD (Horčáková and Rexová 2002) and on the website of the institute (Bibliography of Historical Monographs). Thematic bibliographies are provided by the Collegium Carolinum on religious and church history, by the journal Judaica Bohemiae (Cermanová 1990) on Jewish studies, and by Melanová and Svatoš 1979 on the Charles University. Zeman 1977 is a good starter bibliography for earlier works in English. See also the section Conference Proceedings, Collected Papers, and Festschriften.

  • Bibliography of Historical Monographs.

    This online resource, managed by the Historical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, is the most comprehensive bibliography of historical literature of the Czech lands in the modern age. The site can be searched in Czech, German, and English.

  • Cermanová, Iveta, ed. “Bibliographic Survey of Volumes 1–25 of Judaica Bohemiae.” Judaica Bohemiae 26.1 (1990).

    Bohemian Jewish communities are among the oldest in Europe, and the Prague synagogue is the oldest in Bohemia. This is an index of articles on Jewish history that appeared in the major journal on Jewish studies, published by the State Jewish Museum in Prague, from the journal’s inception in 1965 to 1990.

  • Collegium Carolinum.

    The Collegium Carolinum, an interdisciplinary research institute located in Munich, holds the largest collection of works on Bohemian and Silesian history in Germany. One of the strongest of its specialized bibliographic databases, Forschungsstelle für die Böhmischen Länder, deals with religious and church history.

  • Horčáková, Václava, and Kristina Rexová. A Select Bibliography on Czech History, Books and Articles, 2000–2004. Edited by Jaroslav Pánek. Prague: Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 2005.

    Bibliographic compendia of historical scholarship by Czech and foreign scholars on Bohemian history that appeared in English, French, and German in the journal Historica, published by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and in foreign journals. There is also a volume for 1990–1999, published 2000.

  • Horčáková, Václava, and Kristina Rexová, eds. Český časopis historický: Bibliografický rejstřík sta ročníků Českého časopisu historického, 1895–2002. CD-ROM. Prague: Historický ústav AV ČR, 2002.

    Extremely useful and user-friendly bibliography and index of articles published in the major Czech historical journal Český časopis historický from the journal’s inception in 1895 to 2002.

  • Melanová, Michal, and M. Svatoš. Bibliografie k dějinám pražské university, 1347–1622. Prague: Charles University, 1979.

    The Charles University in Prague, the oldest university in central Europe, founded in 1347, has attracted much scholarly attention within and outside Bohemia. This bibliography provides references to major Czech works on the history of the university in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern period up until the 1980s, many of which were supported by the Archives and Institute for the Study of the History of the Charles University.

  • Zeman, Jarold K. The Hussite Movement and the Reformation in Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia (1350–1650): A Bibliographic Study Guide (with Particular Reference to Resources in North America). Ann Arbor: Center for Reformation Research by Michigan Slavic Publications, 1977.

    Bibliography that is especially good on English-language works up to its date of publication on late medieval and early modern Bohemia (up to 1650). Although the focus is on religious topics, political works are included as well.

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