Forgotten world (61): Czech Republic

On 12 occasions now, I’ve had a week-long feature on NightHawk devoted to parts of the world that tend to be under-reported or even forgotten. You can check out the previous 60 entries here. This week, I am going to run an 13th series of postings on this theme.
From the 16th century onwards, what was then called Bohemia increasingly came under the control of the Hapsburg, Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Between 1918-1993, the territory was the western two-thirds of Czechoslovakia. Following the split from Slovakia in January 1993, it became the Czech Republic – a new state of 10M – and entered the European Union in May 2004.
One of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states, the Czech Republic has been recovering from recession since mid-1999. Growth has been led by exports to the EU, especially Germany, and foreign investment, while domestic demand is reviving.
However, like all the post-Communist states, poiltics has been both fractured and fractious. For six months after the General Election of June 2006, it was not possible to form a government that could win a majority vote in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, although the three-party, centre-right coalition narrowly won a vote of confidence in parliament in January 2007.
My wife is half Czech and I’ve visited the country no less than 20 times.