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Johann Amos Comenius (in Czech, Jan Amos Komensky; 1592–1670) is among the most influential figures in the history of education. He lived during a century when revolutionary changes were taking place in Europe: on the one hand, a series of highly destructive wars (the “Thirty Years’ War”), which basically changed the political balance, impoverished large areas for decades, and deepened the schism between religious denominations, and, on the other hand, the emergence of the modern world—the territorial state, the mercantilist economy and industrial production, and the modern sciences.

Comenius was raised in the community of the Bohemian Brethren, a Protestant movement within the Catholic Habsburg territories of Bohemia and Moravia, now incorporated into the modern Czech Republic. He studied theology, served as a minister and schoolteacher, ...

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