1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kuttenberg

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KUTTENBERG (Czech, Kutná Hora), a town of Bohemia, Austria, 45 m. E. by S. of Prague. Pop. (1900), 14,799, mostly Czech. Amongst its buildings are the Gothic five-naved church of St Barbara, begun in 1368, the Gothic church of St Jacob (14th century) and the Late Gothic Trinity church (end of 15th century). The Wälscher Hof, formerly a royal residence and mint, was built at the end of the 13th century, and the Gothic Steinerne Haus, which since 1849 serves as town-hall, contains one of the richest archives in Bohemia. The industry includes sugar-refining, brewing, the manufacture of cotton and woollen stuffs, leather goods and agricultural implements.

The town of Kuttenberg owes its origin to the silver mines, the existence of which can be traced back to the first part of the 13th century. The city developed with great rapidity, and at the outbreak of the Hussite troubles, early in the 14th century, was next to Prague the most important in Bohemia, having become the favourite residence of several of the Bohemian kings. It was here that, on the 18th of January 1419, Wenceslaus IV. signed the famous decree of Kuttenberg, by which the Bohemian nation was given three votes in the elections to the faculty of Prague University as against one for the three other “nations.” In the autumn of the same year Kuttenberg was the scene of horrible atrocities. The fierce mining population of the town was mainly German, and fanatically Catholic, in contrast with Prague, which was Czech and utraquist. By way of reprisals for the Hussite outrages in Prague, the miners of Kuttenberg seized on any Hussites they could find, and burned, beheaded or threw them alive into the shafts of disused mines. In this way 1600 people are said to have perished, including the magistrates and clergy of the town of Kauřim, which the Kuttenbergers had taken. In 1420 the emperor Sigismund made the city the base for his unsuccessful attack on the Taborites; Kuttenberg was taken by Žižka, and after a temporary reconciliation of the warring parties was burned by the imperial troops in 1422, to prevent its falling again into the hands of the Taborites. Žižka none the less took the place, and under Bohemian auspices it awoke to a new period of prosperity. In 1541 the richest mine was hopelessly flooded; in the insurrection of Bohemia against Ferdinand I. the city lost all its privileges; repeated visitations of the plague and the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War completed its ruin. Half-hearted attempts after the peace to repair the ruined mines failed; the town became impoverished, and in 1770 was devastated by fire. The mines were abandoned at the end of the 18th century; one mine was again opened by the government in 1874, but the work was discontinued in 1903.