Charles University

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Charles University,

at Prague, Czech Republic; also called Univ. of Prague. The oldest and one of the most important universities of central Europe, it was founded in 1348 by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, for whom it is named. The faculty was organized in four so-called nations, the Czech, Saxon, Bavarian, and Polish. The struggle between the German and Czech nationalities in Bohemia was reflected in the university when, in 1403, the Czech nation, including Jan HussHuss, John
, Czech Jan Hus , 1369?–1415, Czech religious reformer. Early Life

Of peasant origin, he was born in Husinec, Bohemia (from which his name is derived). He studied theology at the Univ. of Prague, was ordained a priest c.
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, was outvoted by the three other nations in a controversy regarding John Wyclif's doctrines. When in 1409 the three foreign nations opposed the request of Holy Roman Emperor WenceslausWenceslaus,
1361–1419, Holy Roman emperor (uncrowned) and German king (1378–1400), king of Bohemia (1378–1419) as Wenceslaus IV, elector of Brandenburg (1373–76), son and successor of Emperor Charles IV.
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 to take a neutral attitude between the two rival popes in the Great Schism, Wenceslaus changed the statutes of the university. By the Decree of Kutna Hora he gave three votes to the Czech nation and one vote to the other three nations. Shortly after that Czech victory, Huss himself became rector of the university. As a result of the Decree of Kutna Hora the Germans left the university and founded the Univ. of Leipzig. The Germanization of the university, which began after the battle of the White Mt. (1620), reached its peak in 1774 when German was made the language of instruction. In 1882 the university was divided into two branches—Charles Univ., which was Czech, and Ferdinand Univ., which was German. After the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918 this division was maintained, although the Czech university received the greater facilities. The German university was abolished after World War II. The university currently has faculties of education, law, mathematics and physics, medicine, pharmacy, philosophy, physical training, social sciences, and theology. There are institutes of social and political sciences and economics.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Charles University


(University of Prague), one of the oldest universities in Europe and the first Slavic university. Founded in 1348 by the emperor Charles IV, whose name it bears.

Charles University originally had faculties of liberal arts, law, medicine, and theology. During the time of the Hussite revolutionary movement, it was the center of the national-liberation and anti-Catholic struggle, and Jan Hus was twice elected rector. In an attempt to lessen the influence of the university, a Jesuit academy was established in Prague in 1562. In 1654 the academy was united by the emperor Ferdinand III with Charles University to form the Charles-Ferdinand University. During the period of national revival from the late 18th to mid-19th centuries, the university’s students and professors actively strove for the liberation of Bohemia from Austrian domination and took part in the revolutionary movement of 1848-49. In 1882, Charles University was divided into separate Czech and German institutions. During the fascist German occupation of Czechoslovakia the Czech university did not function; it resumed operation in 1945.

As of 1975, Charles University had faculties of mathematics and physics, natural sciences, general medicine (with a branch in Plzeň), medicine (in Hradec Králové), pediatrics, medical hygiene, philosophy, law, culture and journalism, physical education and sports, and pedagogy. Attached to the university are the Astronomical Institute (founded 1887) and the Institute of Teacher Education (founded 1960). The university library (founded 1348) is a part of the State Library of the Czech Socialist Republic and has total holdings of approximately 2 million volumes.

During the 1974–75 academic year the university had an enrollment of more than 21,000 students and about 3,000 faculty members. It has published collections of scholarly works since 1958.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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