From 1948 to 1990 Czechoslovakia was part of the communist Warsaw Pact and had a command or planned economy. A period of political liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when several other Warsaw Pact countries invaded. In 1989, as communism was ending all over Europe, Czechoslovakians peacefully deposed their government in the Velvet Revolution; socialist price controls were removed after a period of preparation. A few years afterwards, in 1993 the country was separated into two sovereign states, again peacefully.
Population (1991): 15.6 millions, of which Czechs 62.8%, Slovaks 31%, Hungarians 3.8%, Romani people 0.7%, Silesians 0.3%. Ruthenes, Ukrainians, Germans, Poles and Jews (the post-Holocaust community) made up the remainder of the population.
Population growth rate 2.7% in 1985, 1.7% in 1990, with a decreasing tendency – more noticeable in the Czech Republic than in Slovakia. In 1989 life expectancy was 67.7 years for men and 75.3 years for women. About 23.1% of the population was under the age of 15, and 19% was over the age of 60.
Czechoslovakia was one of Europes major transit countries for north-south movement. In 1985, there was:
1. A highly developed transport system consisting of 13,130 kilometres of railway tracks, 73,809 kilometres of roads and 475 kilometres of inland waterways, according to official sources.
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