Before the arrival of the Slavs certain regions of Prague were inhabited by Celtic and German tribes. The name Bohemia came from the Celtic Tribe called Boii, which is still used today for the western part of the Czech Republic.
During this period, two Slav tribes inhabited both sides of the Vlata River. The Czechs and the Zlicanis built wooden fortresses on their sides but were not at peace for long, when the nomadic Avars marched in and ruled the area. However, when the Frankish trader Samo united both Slav tribes the Avars were eventually driven out.
9th century - 13th century
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes settled in the region and during the sixth century the Slavic tribes established themselves in the area. By the ninth century, the city was called Prague. During this period, merchants and craftsmen settled around Prague Castle, built by the Prince Bořivoj I of the Czech Přemyslid dynasty (the dynasty responsible for the unification of the Czech tribes in the Bohemia region during the tenth century). Soon after this, the area around the Castle fledged into an important trading centre, where the merchants from all over Europe came together. In 1085, Vratislav II became the first Czech king. In 1170, the first stone bridge was built (Judith Bridge) over the river Vltava (which collapsed in the year 1342 and a new bridge, Charles Bridge took its place in 1357). Otakar became King and granted royal privileges on Staré město or the Old Town, and in 1257 Malá Strana or the Lesser town came into existence by Otakar II.
14th Century – Golden Age
In 1310 the Holy Roman emperor John of Luxembourg became King of Bohemia. The city prosperred in the 14th century under the Luxembourg dynasty during the reign of Charles IV, as Prague became one of Europe’s largest and wealthiest cities. During this period, Hradčany was established around 1320 and in 1338 the Old Town hall was established. In 1342, the Judith Bridge collapsed in a flood which was replaced by the Charles Bridge in 1357. In the year 1348, the New town was found and the Charles University, the first University in Central Europe, was established. In 1355, Charles IV was elected as the Holy Emperor and Prague became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
15th Century – Hussite Revolution
The 15th century is marked by religious conflicts between the Hussite and the Roman Catholic Church in Bohemia. This was caused by Jan Hus’s church reform movement which eventually led to his conviction and his death, provoking the Hussite preacher, Jan Zelivsky, to rebel. Catholic councillors were thrown down from the New Town Hall and Prague was then ruled by certain Hussite committees. Many historical monuments were destroyed and Prague Castle was also damaged in this era.
16th Century – Habsburg Rule
In 1526, the Habsburg dynasty ruled over Prague and Prague Castle was reconstructed. In 1575, Rudolf II was crowned as the Holy Emperor. During this period, Prague evolved as the centre of science and alchemy and was nicknamed "Magic Prague". Many famous scientists were attracted to Prague during this time. Also following the fire in 1541, Hradčany and Malá Strana were rebuilt and much of the beautiful architecture erected still remains to this present day.
17th Century – Dark Age
The Dark Age began in the 17th century with uprising protests from the year 1618. The ‘Second Defenestration of Prague’ (two Habsburg councillors and their secretary were thrown down from Prague Castle.) This led to the Thirty Years’ War, harming much of Europe and particularly Bohemia where many people died.
In 1620, the Battle of the White Mountain took place and the Protestants were defeated leading to the loss of Prague's independence. Saxons occupied Prague and Swedes moved into Hradčany and Malá Strana in 1648. Other areas were damaged and the population in the city declined by more than 50%.
In 1784, the four towns: Hradčany (Castle District), Malá Strana, Nové Město and Staré Město were proclaimed a single city. During this time, the National Revival, a Czech nationalist movement began that brought the Czech language, culture and identity back into existence.
19th century - Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution boomed in Prague. Many industries were established during this period. In 1845, a railway was started which connected Vienna to Prague. In 1850, Josefov was recognised as one of the historical centres of Prague. The National Theatre was opened in the year 1868, and in 1890 the National Museum was established. The city also experienced a rise in population.
With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, the state of Czechoslovakia was created in 1918, choosing Prague as the capital city.
In March 1939, Prague was invaded by the Nazi troops and was made a German protectorate. At the end of World War II, Prague was under the control of the Soviet Union and thus under a Communist regime.
In 1968, Alexander Dubček became First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and led a movement called “socialism with a face”, aimed at democratising the country’s institutions mildly. This originated the Prague Spring, a six-month period of reforms granting more rights to the Czechoslovakians, until the Soviet Union, who did not accept this political liberalization, invaded the country by the Warsaw Pact (a defence treaty made up by the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, although the President of Romania, Ceausescu condemned the intervention).
The Velvet Revolution
Making the most of the Soviet crisis, on the 17th November 1989, in Prague, students and dissidents demonstrated peacefully against the Communist Party for over a month, resulting in the end of Communist rule in the country. Since then, this demonstration has been called the Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution. In 1993, Czechoslovakia was divided into two separate states. Prague was made capital of the Czech Republic.
In 1999, the Czech Republic joined NATO and was approved as a member of the European Union in 2002. On 1st May 2004, the Czech Republic was then accepted by the European Union.
In the year 2002 many buildings and underground transport system got damaged due to extensive floods in Prague.
The Prague bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics was an unsuccessful bid. In 2009, due to the global recession, Prague withdrew its name from the bidding for the 2020 Summer Olympics.