Sunday, October 2, 2016

National Geographic articles of Czechoslovakia

Verlon came into possession of a number of old National Geographic Magazines when a friend was in the process of disposing of his parents estate. He brought along two of them with articles on Czechoslovakia when he came to visit last week. The earliest one is volume XXXI Number two, February 1917. It contains a 30 page article titled, "Bohemia and the Czechs" with 25 Illustrations written by Ales Hrdlicka. It traces the history of the people back to 500 B.C. and carries it forward. Karel (Charles IV) is known in Bohemian history as the father of the country.  Under his long and peaceful reign (1347-1378), the whole nation is strengthened. The University of Prague was founded in 1348. But Charles was succeeded by a weak son and Bohemia again suffered from its old enemies. Their great national and religious leader, John Huss, was excommunicated by Rome, accused of heresy, and burned at the stake on July 6, 1415. (My Dad's parents immigrated to this country  in the early 1870's from the Chaslov area, and Dad, told of their always having a picture of John Huss hanging in their house.) The article goes on to trace the countries history up to WWI. 
The second magazine was published in February, 1921 and includes a 30 x 33 inch map of "The New Europe" (Which is in excellent condition". It contains a 46 page article, "Czechoslovakia, Key-Land to Central Europe" with 46 Illustrations and written by Maynard Owen Williams. I have not had time to read this article, but a cursory review tells of the reshuffling of boundaries following WWI. Elaine and I visited the Czech Republic in the fall of 1993 accompanied by my brother and his wife, and my sister and her husband. My sister's husband spoke Czech fluently which helped make it a wonderful trip. I had earlier met a fellow from Prague, who was involved with land redistribution for the Government, who served as a guide for us a couple days. It was a great trip; I only wished I'd have been able to read these two historic articles ahead of our going.

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