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The Oriental Institute of Prague was founded under the Act No. 27/1922 passed by the Czechoslovak parliament on January 25, 1922. According to the act, the aim of the Institute was “to cultivate and build up scientific and economic relations with the Orient”. The establishment of the Institute was supported by the first Czechoslovak President T. G. Masaryk, who gave it both moral and financial backing.
On November 25, 1927, the President nominated the first 34 members of the Institute. In 1929, the first issue of the scholarly journal Archiv orientální (published by the Institute) appeared. In May 1931, the library of the Institute was opened. In 1945, the Institute started publishing the Czech language journal Nový Orient.
In 1952, the Oriental Institute was incorporated into the newly formed Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Forty years later, in 1992, shortly before the partition of Czechoslovakia, the Institute became a constituent part of the Czech Academy of Sciences.