"Why do not we, the Czechs, use description of the towns,
cities, in the same way as in the USA, for instance: Vienna, Fairfax, Virginia, USA ?" were often questions of my American friends,
I received through the NET.
Yes, we do. But it is not a necessity. Mainly we do so, if more than one village of the same name is in the country. Thus you may read:
But more complicated is the situation, when I am trying to answer some questions referring to the genealogical search.
The administrative, political and judicial boundaries have been changed many, many times in our history. I would like to give you one example:
A small village called CESKA CIKANKA as given
by the name, is located in Bohemia, but on the
border between Bohemia and Moravia, that is formed by the Svratka river. On the other bank
of the river (in fact it is only a creek) there is another settlement
called MORAVSKA CIKANKA.
In last two centuries, CESKA CIKANKA belonged to various administrative units and there were more changes than one would think:
Until 1848 Ceska Cikanka belonged to the estate of RYCHMBURG, in the region CHRUDIM.
Between the years 1848 - 1855 the judicial district was SKUTEC and political district VYSOKE MYTO
In the years 1855 - 1867 there was a reorganization of the state administration and CIKANKA belonged to political and judicial district SKUTEC.
In 1867 the old administration was changed once more, the judicial district remained SKUTEC but political district changed and Cikanka belonged to CHRUDIM again.
Some time later in 1880s, because of better connection, the boundaries of judicial districts have changed and CIKANKA came under district court in HLINSKO instead of SKUTEC. The political administration stayed in CHRUDIM. This was unchanged for next 60 years.
In 1949 old political and judicial administration was abolished and new small districts were created. Thus between 1949 - 1960 CIKANKA was in district HLINSKO. The higher administrative unit was region (kraj) with the seat in PARDUBICE.
In 1961 there was a new reorganization which in fact has lasted until now. New administration did not respect the historic borders between Moravia and Bohemia and Cikanka was added to a large political district of ZDAR NAD SAZAVOU in the South Moravian Region.
In last year (1997) the Parliament of the Czech republic
addopted a new law regarding the political division of the state.
Unfortunately it does not take respect to old division between
Moravia and Bohemia and again there will be changes. From the
year 2000 CIKANKA will be in region JIHLAVA, political district
ZDAR NAD SAZAVOU.
You can see that it is really not easy, to state
in which district actually the village is (was) located.
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We can divide the development of the administrative and political division in Bohemia and Moravia into the following time periods:
Before I will describe these periods, it is necessary
to mention the basic Czech and German (Austrian) terminology.
|PANSTVI, STATEK||basic administrative unit during feudalism|
|ESTATE, DOMINION, |
|KRAJ|| a large region, including several districts. |
The oldest administrative unit of the state
|OKRES||A basic unit of the state administration or jurisdiction|
|SOUDNI OKRES, OKRESNI SOUD||A basic unit of the judicial administration. In few cases their boundaries were |
totally different from administrative boundaries , but mostly two or three judicial districts (circles) formed one political district.
|JUDICIAL DISTRICT, JUDICIAL CIRCLE, COURT DISTRICT|
|POLITICKY OKRES, OKRESNI HEJTMANSTVI||A basic unit of administrative division of the state. Usually it consisted of one or more judicial circles.|
|POLITISCHER BEZIRK, BEZIRKSHAUPTMANNSCHAFT|
|POLITICAL DISTRICT, ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICT|
|OBEC||A smallest self-administrating unit, formed by one village (town), one cadastral unit, or by several villages, cadastral units|
|VES, VESNICE, dimin. form is VISKA (Dörfl-e)||A complex of houses, more demographic or historical term than an administrative one.|
|SAMOTA||A remote house or a group of two, three, five houses, apart of the village|
|MESTECKO, MESTYS||Inter-level between village and town. The community that may have a central plazza (market square), it has historical privileges, mainly for organizing the yearly markets, sometimes coat of arms|
|A SMALL TOWN, MARKET TOWN, MARKET PLACE|
|MESTO||An urban community with historical privileges for its inhabitants = bourgers. Town's coat of arms. We do not distinguish between town and city.|
I will shortly describe only the administrative division of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia after loosing their independence, i.e. the period after 1648.
Bohemian or Czech lands formed ever a special unit within
the Austrian monarchy. They were called ZEME KORUNY CESKE,
the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, the Crown Lands of Bohemia, in German die Boehmischen Kronlaender. They were formed by the Kingdom
of Bohemia ( Kralovstvi ceske - Koenigreich Boehmen), the Margraviate of Moravia ( Markrebstvi moravske - Markgrafschaft Maehren) and Duchy of Silesia ( Vevodstvi slezske - Herzogtum Schlesien). All
these parts had more or less different administration.
was divided in KRAJ (sg., Kraje pl.). Their number
changed in various periods between 12 and 23, but in general we
may talk about following KRAJ:
|KOURIMSKO or kraj Kourimsky||Kaurzimer Kreis||Kourim|
|SLANSKO, kraj Slansky||Slaaner Kreis||Slany|
|HRADECKO, kraj Hradecky||Gratzer Kreis||Hradec Kralove, Koenigsgratz|
|CHRUDIMSKO, kraj Chrudimsky||Chrudimer Kreis||Chrudim|
|BOLESLAVSKO, kraj Boleslavsky||Bunzlauer Kreis||Mlada Boleslav Jungbunzlau|
|LITOMERICKO, kraj Litomericky||Leitmeritzer Kreis||Litomerice, Leitmeritz|
|ZATECKO, kraj Zatecky||Saatzer Kreis||Zatec Saatz|
|PRACHENSKO, kraj Prachensky||Prachener Kreis||Rabi|
|PISECKO, kraj Pisecky||Pisecker Kreis||Pisek|
|BECHYNSKO, kraj Bechynsky||Bechiner Kreis||Bechyne|
|CASLAVSKO, kraj Caslavsky||Caslauer Kreis||Caslav Caslau|
|PLZENSKO, kraj Plzensky||Pilsener Kreis||Plzen Pilsen|
|CHEBSKO and LOKETSKO||Egerland and Elbogenerland||formed a special autonomous unit. They were in fact mortgages of the Roman emperors to the Bohemian kings.|
In 18th century four largest KRAJE were divided into smaller units and thus in 1848 there were following Kraje (with the seats)
KOURIMSKO (Praha) SLANSKO or RAKOVNICKO (Rakovnik) - HRADECKO (Hradec Kralove - Königgrätz) - BYDZOVSKO (Jicin) - CHRUDIMSKO (Chrudim) - BOLESLAVSKO (Mlada Boleslav - Jungbunzlau) - LITOMERICKO (Litomerice - Leitmeritz) - ZATECKO (Zatec - Saaz) - PRACHENSKO (Pisek) - BUDEJOVICKO (Budejovice - Budweis) - TABORSKO (Tabor) - BEROUNSKO (Beroun) - PLZENSKO (Plzen - Pilsen) - KLATOVSKO (Klatovy - Klattau) - LOKETSKO (Loket - Ellbogen) - CHEBSKO ( Cheb - Eger) -.
These Kraje stayed even after 1848 (with some changes) but mainly as the circuits of the 2nd jurisdiction level until 1918.
Officialy the Kraje administration was abolished
in 1848 and they came again into existence after the WW2, but
Moravia (Morava - Maehren) was divided into KRAJE as well. In 1848 they were following:
BRNENSKO, kraj Brnensky (Brno - Brünn)
ZNOJEMSKO, kraj Znojemsky (Znojmo - Znaim)
JIHLAVSKO, kraj Jihlavsky (Jihlava - Iglau)
OLOMOUCKO, kraj Olomoucky (Olomouc, Olmütz)
PREROVSKO, kraj Prerovsky, (Prerov, later also Novy Jicin - Neutitschein)
HRADISTSKO, kraj Hradistsky (Uherske Hradiste)
had a different division. All Lower and Upper Silesia was divided into principalities. When Maria Teresia in 1742 lost the most of the country in favour of Prussia, only following principalities stayed with Austrian monarchy:
Principality of OPAVA (Troppau - nearly all the original principality)
Principality of KRNOV (Jägerndorf - only the western part)
Principality of NISA (Neisse - only the southern part without the capital)
Principality of TESIN (Teschen).
When we have a look on the historical map of Austrian
(Bohemian) Silesia, we can see, that the remaining country was
separated by a part of Moravia like by a wedge, into two units.
They were later known as OPAVA´s part of Silesia and TESIN´s
part of (Austrian - Bohemian) Silesia.
administrative and jurisdictional units within these three countries were the estates and all
the power was in hands of the landowners. The number of estates reached several thousands until 1848.
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The serfdom in Bohemian Lands was abolished by Josef´s
II decree at the end of the 18th centry, in 1848 then
the last remnants of the feudal system - the compulsory work on
the landowners´ possession, so called ROBOTA and the estate
administration. New administrative and judicial system was created.
The country was divided into SOUDNI OKRES (GERISCHTSBEZIRK). Their number was approximately 300 in Bohemia and 150 in Moravia and Silesia. They were called after the town, where the district´s court was located. Two or three (in some cases four) judicial districts were united in one POLITICKY OKRES, also known as OKRESNI HEJTMANSTVI (BEZIRKSHAUPTMANNSCHAFT). Bohemia was formed by 80, later by more than 100 political districts, Moravia and Silesia approximately by 70 districts.
This division was unified for all Austrian part of
Austria-Hungary and is still valid in the Republic of Austria.
The borders and seats of judicial districts were
more or less stable for all this period. Boundaries of political
districts developed and new political districts came into being
with accordance of the development of industrial regions and changing
needs of the state administration.
(Between the years 1855 - 1867 the state tried to realize
the reform of the administration. For this time all the political
districts were united on the level of judicial districts with
these and unified political-judicial authorities were established
in all seats of original judicial districts. This solution showed
not to be functional and hardly practical and since 1867 the old
stand, i.e. judicial districts and former political districts
Later I will prepare list of all districts with subdivision
into judicial circles (districts).
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The old system of judicial and political districts
did not comply with the new communist administration. The lawyers
and the court's personnel were mostly loyal to the old democratic
tradition and had to be replaced. Therefore new district courts
were established in the seats of political districts, thus their
number actually dropped to 1/3. The district authorities were
dissolved and replaced by the elected National district committees,
in this stage in the seats of old political districts. Some changes
were made and new districts formed, or the seat was transferred
to neighboring town. Their total number in the Czech part of
Czechoslovakia was still some 170 - 180 districts.
After 100 years the second level of administrative division was again created - the KRAJE. 10 - 15 districts formed one KRAJ.
They did not reflect the historical boundaries between Bohemia and Moravia, mainly the region of Jihlava consisted of districts on both sides of former border. Here is the list of these KRAJE:
kraj PRAZSKY (Praha)
kraj BUDEJOVICKY (Ceske Budejovice - Budweis)
kraj PLZENSKY (Plzen - Pilsen)
kraj KARLOVARSKY (Karlovy Vary - Karlsbad)
kraj USTECKY (Usti nad Labem- Aussig a.d. Elbe)
kraj LIBERECKY (Liberec - Reichenberg)
kraj HRADECKY (Hradec Kralove - Königgrätz)
kraj PARDUBICKY (Pardubice - Pardubitz)
kraj JIHLAVSKY (Jihlava - Iglau)
kraj BRNENSKY (Brno - Brünn)
kraj OLOMOUCKY (Olomouc - Olmütz)
kraj OSTRAVSKY (Ostrava - Ostrau)
kraj GOTTWALDOVSKY (Gottwaldov - Zlin)
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In 1961, which was the year of proclaiming of "the socialist constitution" a new changed administrative division of the state was adopted. In the Czech part of the state 7 regions (Kraje) with 72 new larger districts were created, which totally neglected the old boundaries. In many cases seats of new districts were concentrated mainly in industrial centers that started rapidly to grow and the old traditional administrative and cultural centers felt behind. Some Moravian towns (Svitavy, Moravska Trebova, Dacice) appeared in Bohemia during the night.
Unfortunately this big error has not been remedied
now, after 1989, and the government insists on unchanged status
and even refuses any discussion concerning the creation of the
historical division of the country into Bohemia and Moravia or
at least accepting old boundaries between them.
The division of the state is following: (the abbreviations are unofficial)
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After years of discussions and disputes the parliament adopted a constitutional law last year, referring to a new administrative division of the state. Main principle : the existing districts will be preserved, only new KRAJE are to be formed:
They will be:
kraj PRAZSKY (PRAHA and CENTRAL BOHEMIA) - AB, BE, BN, KL, KO, KH, ME, MB, NB, PH, PY, PB, RA
kraj BUDEJOVICKY (Ceske Budejovice): CB, CK, JH, PI, PC, ST, TA
kraj PLZENSKY (Plzen): DO, KT, PM, PN, PJ, RO
krak KARLOVARSKY (Karlovy Vary): CH, KV, SO, TC
kraj USTECKY (Usti n.Lab.): CL, CV, LT, LN, MO, TE, UL
kraj LIBERECKY (Liberec): DE, JN, LI, SM
kraj HRADECKY (Hradec Kralove): HK, JI, NA, RK, TU
kraj PARDUBICKY (Pardubice): CR, PA, SY, UO
kraj JIHLAVSKY (Jihlava): PE, HB, JI, TR, ZR
kraj BRNENSKY (Brno): BK, BM, BZ, BV, HO, VY, ZN
kraj ZLINSKY (Zlin): ZL, KM, UH, VS
kraj OLOMOUCKY (Olomouc): PV, OL, SU, PR
kraj OSTRAVSKY (Ostrava): BR, FM, KI, NJ, OP, OV
There is in fact no substantial change if we compare
these KRAJE with those in period 1949 - 1960.Only the boundaries
conserve the existing districts boundaries.
I quoted the changes of administrative division for
the village of CESKA CIKANKA. The vital registers of the parish
of SVRATKA are in Archives in BRNO, since SVRATKA, where C. Cikanka
belongs to, is in district of ZDAR nad Sazavou in South Moravia.
The land registers are kept in east Bohemian Archives in ZAMRSK,
because all the land registers are filed according to old judicial
districts, and in this case it was HLINSKO, that is now located
in the district of Chrudim in eastern Bohemian region or kraj.
24.3.1998 12:07:04 Karel Kysilka