The Czech Republic (sometimes known informally as Czechia) is in the heart of Europe, bordering Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland. It was united with its neighbor Slovakia in a single country, Czechoslovakia, from 1918 until 1993, when Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two separate countries. The Czech Republic developed quickly, earning investment-grade credit ratings from the major rating agencies by the mid-1990s, the first formerly Communist country to reach this milestone. The Czech people have long been known for their mechanical skills and engineering proficiency. Vehicle production is the largest industry in the country. Machinery, glass, and chemicals are among the country’s many other industries. Efforts are underway to diversify the economy and continue the expansion of the country’s growing service sector.