Origin of the Name :
in Latin texts - Caplicium
in German texts - Kaplitz
Town History :
The first mention of the town is from 1257. The town Kaplice is situated in the pleasant region at the foot of the Novohradské mountains. It was founded in the early Middle Ages as the market village on the important trade route. It connected Upper Austria with South Bohemia. The route which was used for transportation of salt had important stopping places in the Austrian town of Freistadt and in Kaplice, so it was named after these towns. The advantageous position of the town was the reason for its change from a little settlement to a prosperous town.
The Czech name of the town is usually connected with St. Mary’s Chapel which was built in the place of today’s Church of St. Florian. The first written note about Kaplice originated from the year 1257 and it recorded the existence of the parish church under the patronage of the monastery in Milevsko.
The ground plan of the newly established town, on the high left bank of the Malše river, is evidence of the well - thought out colonizing project. From the oblong square not far from the church there is a rectangular network of streets, which is limited only in the north by the flow of the river.
The first stream of colonizers from the interior of our country was later inundated by exterior colonization and it was the reason for the co-existence of Czech and German elememts in the town. In the written documents from the first half of the 14th century, Kaplice is mentioned as the markettown but the town privilege was not given to it until the year 1382. This privilege was later reestablished by the new lords.
Kaplice as a tributary town belonged to the Pořešín estate, then to the Nové Hrady estate. In 1434, both Kaplice and Pořešín were acquired by Ulrich II. von Rosenberg. After the Rosenbergs died out, the estates were inherited by the Švamberks, then to be handed over to the victors of the Battle of White Mountain, the empirical general Karel Bonaventura Buquoy. The town obtained a number of privileges which positively influenced its economic development. Nevertheless, this development had many times in the past been seriously afflicted with such catastrophes as frequent fires, desolation and robberies during the wars, especially during the Hussite Revolution and Thirty Year’s War. The vitality of inhabilitants of the town always got them through these catastrophes.
During the years 1771-1775 the priest Ferdinand Kindermann, the famous pedagogue and later bishop in Litoměřice, worked here and organized an exemplary school which became famous even beyond the borders of Bohemia.
After the abolition of serfdom and the system of authority, according to the new administrative system, the town became the seat of the political and judicial district. It remained the district centre after many reversals till the year 1960.
Although Kaplice was the administrative centre of the large territory of Southern Bohemia, including the Territory of Vyšší Brod and Nové Hrady, it remained the provincial town without a larger economic base. In the year 1869 it had only 2,252 inhabitants and until the year 1921 the number had not changed. In this year Kaplice had 361 houses. It was mentioned as a market-town and the statute of the town was bestowed to it in July 9 of the year 1936.
Co-existence of the German majority with the Czech minority in the town was peaceful and almost without any problem. Kaplice was the common homeland for both nationalities. However, the growth of German nationalism at the end of the 19th century, and especially in the first half of the 20th century, raised the first serious conflicts.
The Germans in Kaplice first tried to break the town away from Bohemian after the fall of the Habsburg monarchy at the end of WW I and the proclamation of the Czech Republic but they did not succeed. During the first republic, Kaplice remained a town with a majority of German inhabitants. The life of the Czechs could develop freely. Nevertheless, it did not continue for a long time. In the second half of September, 1938 the members of the fascist Henlein’s Sudeten - German party began to initiate disturbances, armed incidents and invectives against Czechoslovak authorities and they demanded annexation to Hitler’s Germany. Their desire was fulfilled after the Munich Agreement and the minority of the Czech inhabitants of the town and villages had to move to the interior of Bohemia.
After the end of WW II Czechoslovakia was restored and Kaplice became a Czech town again. After six years of being expelled, the Czech inhabitants began to return to their homes and together with them the next Czech and Slovak people came here to complete the settlement of the Bohemian borderlands. In the town only 109 Germans (antifascists and in marriages with the Czechs) remained.
It was a complicated period of development for the town and this region during the next years. A lot of new-comers were defeated in the duel with hard conditions and the region of Kaplice did not become their homeland. It was also due to the Communist regime which started to take away the land from the new-comers by means of forced founding of state farms and co-operative farms.
The town began to develop again in the 60’s. New schools, new industrial factories and new housing estates were built here as new people were coming. Even though Kaplice is not the district centre, it remained the natural centre of this region.
In the year 1953, the eleventh year secondary school was established and after 3 years the first students graduated from the school. It was the foundation of the secondary school system in Kaplice. After temporary existence of the secondary agricultural school, the commercial academy and apprentice training centres were established here too.
The number of inhabitants declined after the exile of the Germans. In 1947, two years after the end of WW II, only 1,588 inhabitants lived here. During the next decades the number of inhabitants rose, especially in the 70’s and 80’s. By the end of the year 1997, there were 6 466 inhabitants in the town and 638 people in affiliated villages; Blansko, Dobechov, Hradiště, Hubenov, Květoňov, Mostky, Pořešín, Pořešínec, Rozpoutí, Rožnov, Žďár.
Until the year 1989 there was no possibility of travelling abroad - the location of the town near the closed border was disadvantageous. After the fall of totalitarism and the removal of „the iron curtain“, the town was restored to life. There are many rebuilt and reconstructed houses. New shops attract our attention with the diversity of their offering. Contemporary Kaplice would like to be a pleasant homeland for its inhabitants and an attractive place for Czech and foreigner visitors.