František Palacký was, without discussion, on of the greatest Czech historians. He was also a very popular political personality and created the idea of austroslavism. He was born in Moravia and his father was a teacher. František had 11 siblings and he couldn’t go to university because he didn’t have the financial support he needed. He took a job as a teacher and studied on his own.
In 1823 when he decided to move to Prague, he already knew 11 languages, wrote two books on poetry and had an extensive knowledge of history, politics and etiquette. Soon he married the daughter of a rich businessman and could become an intellectual by profession. He contributed to the official magazine of National Museum in Prague and financially supported publishing of Czech books.
In 1830, Palacky was named the national historiographer and started work on his greatest publication – “The history of Czech nation in Bohemia and Moravia”. He finished it in 1848, just in time to comment on the political situation from an expert’s point of view. As an important public persona, he was invited to attend the Frankfurt Congress, where the question of a German state was being discussed. Palacky refused and explained his decision in a public letter, pointing out that the whole Czech history consisted of colliding with the German factor. This comment defined the era in which Palacky lived and the way people felt about it.
After 1851, when Franz Joseph took over the Empire and started ruling it with an iron fist, Palacky lived a very private life and continued to write and study. He lived to see the National Theatre, and was the first one to touch its cornerstone before it was laid. He died in 1876 from pneumonia. That year, 50 000 people filled the streets of Prague to attend his death march.