The Czech is a landlocked country in Central Europe and a member state of the European Union. The country has borders with Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and southwest, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. The Czech lands were under Habsburg rule from 1526, before the independent republic of Czechoslovakia was created in 1918, following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire after World War I. Czechoslovakia became a Communist party-ruled state from 1948 until the 1989 Velvet Revolution. On 1 January 1993, the country peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Citizens of the US and Europe are entitled to stay in the Czech Republic for up to 90 days without a visa.