A year later in March 1939, Nazi Germany occupied the remaining rump Czech lands and declared it a protectorate of the Third Reich, while Slovakia was forced to secede as a puppet state.
This resulted in a brutal occupation that lasted until 1945, marked by mass arrests, torture, and the genocide of much of Czechoslovakia's Jewish and Romani population.
The Czech lands became one of the first to industrialize by the 19th century, rising to one of the most economically advanced parts of the empire.
In 1618, the kingdom revolted against its Catholic Habsburg administrators, sparking the tumultuous Thirty Years' War.
Highly industrialized and pragmatic, the First Republic acted as an island of stability, facing off threats from a revanchist Poland to the north, politically unstable Austria and Weimar Germany to the south and west, and an irredentist Hungary to the southeast.
The First Republic culturally and economically flourished during this period, and is often considered as another golden era by many modern Czechs.
The contemporary Czech lands were originally inhabited by the Boii, a Celtic tribe for the first four centuries of the common era.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Celts gave way to Germanic tribes.
Defeated and humiliated at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, the Czechs endured a strong Habsburg imperial occupation and forced Catholicization for decades to come.