The history of the town goes back to the foundation of Prague Castle which, after 870, bacame the main seat of the oldest ruling dynasty of the state Bohemia, the Premyslid princes. The first to leave a written record of the existence of a busy commercial centre and settlement of a town type below Prague Castle was the Arab-Jewish merchant Ibrahim ibn Jakub, who visited Prague in 965 or 966. In the 13th century three separate medieval towns grew out of the Prague settlement below the castle, each surrounded by walls and endowed with royal charters. They were the Old Town of Prague (c. 1230), Gall's Town (after 1240), which merged with the Old Town before the end of the 13th century, and the Lesser Town of Prague, known as Mala Strana (1257).
Medieval Prague flourished during the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia Charles IV (1346-1378). Charles founded the oldest university in Central Europe in Prague (1348), founded and built the New Town of Prague (1348) and adorned his residential town with numerous structures and public buildings (Charles Bridge, St. Vitus cathedral, the Slavonic Abbey, the church at Karlov, etc.). With its 40 000 inhabitants and covering an area of 8.1 sq. km Prague became one of the largest towns in Europe at that time. The burghers of Prague enjoyed great political power during the Hussite revolution (1419-1434).
In 1526 the Habsburg dynasty ascended the throne of Bohemia and after the defeat of the first anti-Habsburg uprising of the Bohemian Estates (1547) the Prague Towns lost a large part of their property and political privileges. But it was a period when culture flourished thanks to the personality and court of the art-loving Emperor Rudolph II (1576-1612). After the defeat of the major uprising of the Bohemian Estates at the Battle of the White Mountain (1620) Prague lost the rest of its political privileges, landed property and the leading members of the intelligentsia, who were forces to emigrate to avoid the harsh re-introduction of Catholicism. The town definitively ceased to be the residential city of the Austrian Habsburgs. Yet after the Thirty Year's War it underwent a remarkable reconstruction in the characteristic style of "Prague" (Bohemian) Baroque.
In 1784 Emperor Joseph II merged the four historical Prague Towns (the Old Town, New Town, Lesser Town and Hradcany) into one unified Capital City of Prague, which became the core of industrialization of Bohemia and the centre of Bohemian national revival. This process reached a culmination after the revolutionary year 1848 with the emancipation of the Czech nation and the building of Prague as its capital city. Milestones along this path included the construction of the National Theatre (1881-1883), the establishment of a Czech University (1882), the foundation of the Czech Academy of Science and Arts (1890) and the construction of a representative building of the National Museum (1890).
On 28 October 1918 Prague became the capital city of the independent Czechoslovak Republic, which came into being after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Four years later (1 January 1922) 37 neighbouring townships and villages were linked to form Great Prague, which by 1938 became a modern metropolis with almost 1 million inhabitants. On 15 March 1939 Hitler's armies occupied Prague. The anti-fascist resistance of the people of Prague lasted more than six years, and, after the closure of the Czech universities on 17 November 1939 (International Student's Day) and the assassination of the "Reichsprotektor" R. Heydrich (27 May 1942), reached its culmination in the Prague Uprising (5-9 May 1945). This contributed to the rapid end of the second world war in Europe.
In the 1946 elections and February Events of 1948 the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia rose to power in Prague and Czechoslovakia. Its programme of the "Czechoslovak Road" to socialism was from the onset negated by Stalinist deformations and crimes. Despite a striking growth in industrial production (to twelve times than of 1948), intensive housing construction (150 000 flats) and major investment into the Prague Metro, bridges across the r. Vltava, road systems the development of Prague in the period 1948 to 1989 did not reach prewar parameters, and the town gradually began to lag behind other European metropolises. 1968 was squashed when the five countries of the Warsaw Pact occupied Prague (21 August 1968). The subsequent period (1969-1989) of so-called normalization wiped out all democratic trends and intensified the disproportions and stagnation in all sphers of life. The only thing that was successful was the partial renovation of the Historic Town Reservation of Prague, which forms a unique urbanist unit with more than 2000 valuable historic buildings and is one of the most renowned in Europe.
A turn in development and hope for the future of Prague and the people of Prague was brougt bu the "velvet revolution, which began in the capital city of Czechoslovakia on 17 November 1989. Its confirmation were free parliamentary and communal elections in the summer and autumn of 1990.
On January 1st 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic. The history of Prague is, of course, an important part of history of Czech Republic.