Before 1918, when the former Czechoslovakia was established, 23 protected areas had appeared. The oldest of them include the Veltrusy Park (1826), Velký & Malý Bezděz (1838), Hojná voda Primeval Forest (1838) and Žofín Primeval Forest (1838), even currently considered as the oldest intentionally established protected area in the Czech Republic. All the areas were established by educated private owners. In 1919, due to huge efforts made by Zdeněk Wirth and Rudolf Maximovič, the State Nature Conservancy was established. In 1918–1938, during the so-called First Republic, 142 nature reserves were declared. The efforts to pass a nature conservation act were become even more intensive, but they were terminated by the World War II. Because of the above lack of the legislation, new protected areas were established after they had been agreed with owners, or during the land distribution reform. The New Years Eve Decree, i.e. a list of most of by that time declared nature reserves in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia issued by the then Ministry of Education and National Education in 1933, was one of the most important steps in nature conservation in that period.