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Sudetenland (Czech and Slovak: Sudety, Polish: Kraj Sudetów) is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia associated with Bohemia.

The name is derived from the Sudeten mountains, though the Sudetenland extended beyond these mountains which run along the border to Silesia and contemporary Poland. The German inhabitants were called Sudeten Germans (German: Sudetendeutsche, Czech: Sudetští Němci, Polish: Niemcy Sudeccy). The German minority in Slovakia, the Carpathian Germans, is not included in this ethnic category.



The areas later known as Sudetenland never formed a single historical region, which makes it difficult to distinguish the history of the Sudetenland apart from that of Bohemia, until the advent of and coining of the term nationalism in the 19th century.

Early origins

The regions later called Sudetenland were situated on the borders of the Kingdom of Bohemia, which also consisted of Moravia and other lands (Silesia, Lusatia, etc.). After the extinction of the Přemyslid dynasty, the kingdom was ruled by the Luxemburgs, later the Jagiellonians and finally the Habsburgs. Already from the second half of the 13th century onwards the border regions of Czech lands, called Sudetenland in the 20th century, were settled by ethnic Germans, who were invited by the Bohemian kings — especially by Ottokar II and Wenceslaus II. The border was set by the signing of the Peace of Eger in 1459.

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