1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moravia

MORAVIA (Ger., Mähren; Czech, Morava), a margraviate and crown land of Austria, bounded E. by Hungary, S. by Lower Austria, W. by Bohemia and N. by Prussian and Austrian Silesia. Area, 8583 sq. m. Physically Moravia may be described as a mountainous plateau sloping from north to south, just in the opposite direction of the adjoining Bohemia plateau, which descends from south to north, and bordered on three sides by mountain ranges. On the north are the Sudetes, namely the Altvater Gebirge, with the highest peaks the Grosser Schneeberg (4664 ft.) and the Altvater (4887 ft.), which sink gradually towards the west, where the valley of the Oder forms a break between the German mountains and the Carpathians. The latter separate Moravia from Hungary. Parallel to the Carpathians are the Marsgebirge (1915 ft.) and its continuation, the Steinitzer Wald (1450 ft.). On the west are the so-called Bohemian-Moravian Mountains, forming the elevated east margin of Bohemia. The principal passes are those at Iglau and Zwittau to Bohemia and the Wlara Pass to Hungary. Almost the whole of Moravia belongs to the basin of the March or Morava, from which it derives its name and which rises within its territory in the Sudetes. It traverses the whole country in a course of 140 m., and enters the Danube near Pressburg. Its principal tributaries are the Thaya, the Hanna, the Iglawa with the Zwittawa and the Schwarzawa, &c. The Oder also rises among the mountains in the north-east of Moravia, but soon turns to the north and quits the country. With the exception of a stretch of the March, none of the rivers are navigable. Amongst the mineral springs worth mentioning are the sulphur springs at Ullersdorf, the saline ones at Luhatschowitz and the alkaline springs at Toplitz.

Owing to the configuration of the soil, the climate of Moravia varies more than might be expected in so small an area, so that, while the vine and maize are cultivated successfully in the southern plains, the Weather in the mountainous districts is somewhat rigorous. The mean annual temperature at Brünn is 48° F. Of the total area 54·8% is occupied by arable land, 7% by meadows, 5·7% by pasturages, 1·2% by gardens, 0·5% by vineyards, while 27·4% are forests. The principal products are corn, oats, barley, potatoes, rye, beetroot, hemp, flax, hay and other fodder. Forestry is greatly developed; the breed of sheep in the Carpathians is of an improved quality, and the horses bred in the plain of the Hanna are highly esteemed. The mineral wealth of Moravia, consisting chiefly of coal and iron, is very considerable. Coals are extracted at Neudorf, Lesitz, Ratiskowitz and Cěič; lignite at Rossitz, Oslavan and Mährisch-Ostrau. Iron-ore is found at Zöptau, Blansko, Adamsthal, Witkowitz, Rossitz and Stefanau. Other minerals found here are graphite, alum, potter's clay and roofing-slate, and, besides, famous silver mines were worked at Iglau during the middle ages. From an industrial point of view Moravia belongs to the foremost provinces of the Austrian Empire. The principal manufactures are woollen, linen, cotton, cast-iron goods, beet-sugar, leather and brandy. The cloth industry was introduced in the 14th century at Iglau, where it soon obtained a great reputation; it developed afterwards at Olmütz, and since the middle of the 18th century it has its principal centre at Brünn. The linen industry is concentrated at Schonberg, Mistek, Wiesenberg and Heidenpiltsch; while the cotton industry has its principal seat at Sternberg. The chief iron-foundries are to be found at Witkowitz, Stefanau, Zöptau and Rossitz; while industrial machines are manufactured at Brünn, Blansko and Adamsthal. Large works of earthenware are established at Znaim and Frain.

Moravia had in 1900 a population of 2,435,081 inhabitants, which is equivalent to 284 inhabitants per sq. m. It belongs to the group of old Slavonic states which have preserved their nationality while losing their political independence. Of the total population 71·36% were Slavs, who were scarcely distinguishable from their Bohemian neighbours. The name of Czech, however, is usually reserved for the Bohemians, while the Slavs of Moravia and West Hungary are called Moravians and Slovacs. The Germans form 27·9% of the population, and are found mostly in the towns and in the border districts. Fully 95% of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the archbishop of Olmütz and the bishop of Brünn; 2·7% Protestants and 2% Jews. In educational matters Moravia compares favourably with most of the Austrian provinces. It is well provided with schools of every description, and the number of illiterates is steadily decreasing. The local diet is composed of 100 members, of which the archbishop of Olmütz and the bishop of Brünn are members ex officio. To the Reichsrat at Vienna Moravia sends 36 members. For administrative purposes Moravia is divided into 34 districts and 6 towns, with autonomous municipalities: Brünn (pop., 108,944), the capital, Iglau (24,387), Olmütz, (21,933), Znaim (16,261), Kremsier (13,991) and Ungarisch-Hradisch (5137). Other principal towns are Königsfeld (11,O22), Göding (10,231), Mährisch-Ostrau (30,125), Witkowitz (19,128), Mährisch-Schönberg (11,636), Zwittau (9063), Neutitschein (11,891), Prerau (16,738), Prossnitz (24,054), Sternberg (15,195) and Trebitsch (10,597).

History.—At the earliest period of which we have any record Moravia was occupied by the Boii, the Celtic race which has perpetuated its name in Bohemia. Afterwards it was inhabited by the Germanic Quadi, who accompanied the Vandals in their westward migration; and they were replaced in the 5th century by the Rugii and Heruli. The latter tribes were succeeded about the year 550 A.D. by the Lombards; and these in their turn were soon forced to retire before an overwhelming invasion of Slavs, who on their settlement there took the name of Moravians (German, Mehranen or Mähren) from the river Morava. These new colonists became the permanent inhabitants of this district, and in spite of the hostility of the Avars on the east founded the kingdom of Great Moravia, which was considerably more extensive than the province now bearing the name. Towards the end of the 8th century, they aided Charlemagne in putting an end to the Avar kingdom, and were rewarded by receiving part of it, corresponding to North Hungary, as a fief of the German emperor, whose supremacy they also acknowledged more or less for their other possessions. After the death of Charlemagne the Moravian princes took advantage of the dissensions of his successors to enlarge their territories and assert their independence, and Rastislaus (c. 850) even formed an alliance with the Bulgarians and the Byzantine emperor. The chief result of the alliance with the latter was the conversion of the Moravians to Christianity by two Greek monks, Cyril and Methodius, dispatched from Constantinople (863). Rastislaus finally fell into the hands of Louis the German, who blinded him, and forced him to end his days as a monk; but his successor, Svatopluk (d. 894), was equally vigorous, and extended the kingdom of Great Moravia to the Oder on the west and the Gran on the east. At this period there seemed a strong probability of the junction of the north-western and south-eastern Slavs, and the formation of a great Slavonic power to east of the German empire. This prospect, however, was dissipated by the invasions of the Magyar hordes in the 10th century, the brunt of which was borne by Moravia. The invaders were encouraged by the German monarchs and aided by the dissensions and mismanagement of the successors of Svatopluk, and in a short time completely subdued the eastern part of Great Moravia. The name of Moravia was henceforth confined to the district to which it now applies. For about a century the possession of this march land was disputed by Hungary, Poland and Bohemia, but in 1029 it was finally incorporated with Bohemia, and so became an integral part of the German empire. Towards the close of the 12th century Moravia was raised to the dignity of a margraviate, but with the proviso that it should be held as a fief of the crown of Bohemia. It henceforth shared the fortunes of this country, and was usually assigned as an apanage to younger members of the Bohemian royal house. In 1410 Jobst, margrave of Moravia, was made emperor of Germany, but died a few months after his election. In 1526, on the death of Louis II. of Hungary Moravia came with the rest of that prince's possessions into the hands of the Austrian house. During the Thirty Years' War the depopulation of Moravia was so great that after the peace of Westphalia the states-general published an edict giving every man permission to take two wives, in order to "repeople the country." After the Seven Years' War Moravia was united in one province with the remnant of Silesia, but in 1849 it was made a separate and independent crown land. The most noticeable feature of recent Moravian history has been the active sympathy of its inhabitants with the anti-Teutonic home-rule agitation of the Bohemian Czechs.

See Die Länder Oesterreich-Ungarns in Wort und Bild, vol. 8 (Vienna, 1881–1889, 15 vols.); Die österreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild, vol. 17 (Vienna, 1886–1902, 24 vols.); B. Bretholz, Geschichte Mährens (Brünn, 1893, &c.).