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ComeniusJan HusFrantišek PalackýJan Evangelista PurkyněCharles IVAlfons MuchaVratislaus IIBedřich Smetana
ComeniusJan HusFrantišek Palacký
Jan Evangelista PurkyněCharles IVAlfons Mucha
Vratislaus IIBedřich Smetana
Total population
over 12 million estimated
Regions with significant populations
 Czech Republic: 9,246,000 (July 2007 est.)[1]

 United States: 1,462,000 [2]
 Canada: 98,090 (2006)[3]
 Italy: 80,000-90,000
 United Kingdom: 30,000–90,000
 Germany: 20,000–50,000
 Slovakia: 46,000
 Argentina: 38,000
 Australia: 21,196[4]
 Austria: 20,000
 Switzerland: 20,000
 Ukraine: 11,000
 France: 10,731 (1990)
 Croatia: 10,510 (2001)
 Israel: 8,000
 Sweden: 7,175 (2001)
 Ireland: 5,278[5]
 Spain: 5,622 (2006)
 Russia: 5,000–6,000
 Brazil: 5,000[6]
 Netherlands: 3,500
 Romania: 3,339 (2002)
 Poland: 3,000
 South Africa: 2,300
 Serbia: 2,211 (2002)
 Mexico: 2,000
 Bosnia and Herzegovina: 600–1,000[7]
 Bulgaria: 436
in the Czech Republic include




Non-religious 59%, Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%[8]

Related ethnic groups

Other West Slavs, especially Slovaks and Poles[9]

Czechs (Czech: Češi, Czech pronunciation: [ˈtʃɛʃɪ], archaic Czech: Čechové [ˈtʃɛxɔvɛː]) are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries. They speak the Czech language, which is closely related to the Slovak and Upper Sorbian language.[10]

Among the ancestors of the Czechs are ancient Slavic tribes who inhabited the regions of Bohemia, Moravia, and Upper Silesia from the 6th century onwards.



The Czechs are descended from ancient Slavic tribes, with significant Celtic and Germanic admixtures.[11] The Slavic tribes have inhabited the regions of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia since the 6th century. According to a popular myth, the Czechs come from a certain Forefather Čech who settled at Říp Mountain. In 880, Prague Castle was constructed by Prince Bořivoj and the city of Prague was established. Vratislav II was the first Czech king in 1085.

St. Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia. A famous patron saint of the Czech people. Statue at the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc.

The second half of the 13th century was a period of large-scale German immigration into Czech lands. The number of Czechs who have at least partly German ancestry probably runs into hundreds of thousands.[12] The Habsburg Monarchy focused much of its power on religious wars against the Protestants. While these religious wars were taking place, the Czech estates revolted against Habsburg from 1546 to 1547 but were ultimately defeated by the Duke of Saxony. The wars between the Catholics and the Protestants finally ended in 1555 with the legalization of the Protestant faith which exists to this day in small numbers.[13]

Czech patriotic authors tend to call the following period, from 1620 to 1648 until the late 18th century, the "Dark Age". It is characterized by devastation by foreign troops; Germanization; and economic and political decline. It is estimated that the population of the Czech lands declined by a third due to the Thirty Years' War and the expulsion of Protestants.[14]

At the turn of the 20th century, Chicago was the city with the third largest Czech population, after Prague and Vienna.[15][16]

In 1918, independent Czechoslovakia was proclaimed, and Czechs formed the leading class in the new state from the remnants of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. In 1938 the Munich Agreement severed the Sudetenland, with a considerable Czech minority, from Czechoslovakia, and in 1939 the German Nazi regime established the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia for the so-calling "remaining Czechia" (Rest-Tschechei). Emil Hácha became president of the protectorate under Nazi domination, which only allowed pro-Nazi Czech associations and tended to stress ties of the Czechs with the Bohemian Germans and other parts of the German people, in order to facilitate assimilation by Germanization. In Lidice the Nazi authorities committed a war crime against the local Czech population. On May 2, 1945 the Prague Uprising reached its peak, supported by the Russian Liberation Army. The post-war expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia and the immediate reprisals against Germans and Nazi collaborators by Czech resistance and the Czechoslovak state authorities, made Czechs - especially in the early 1950s - settle alongside Slovaks and Roma people in the former lands of the Sudeten Germans, who had been deported to West Germany and Austria according to the Potsdam Conference and Yalta Conference.

Tens of thousands of Czechs had repatriated from Volhynia and Banat after World War II. Since 1990s, the Czech Republic has been working to repatriate Romania and Kazakhstan's ethnic Czechs.[17][18]

The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 was followed by a wave of emigration, unseen before and stopped shortly after (estimate: 70,000 immediately, 300,000 in total),[19] typically of highly qualified people.

Following Czech Republic's entry into the European Union in May 2004, Czechs gained the right to work in some other EU countries. Many young Czechs have come to work in UK since then.[20]

Notable figures

Historical figures

The most successful and influential of all Czech kings was Charles IV (Karel IV.), who also became the Holy Roman Emperor.[21] The Luxembourg dynasty represents the heights of Czech (Bohemian) statehood territorial and influence as well as advancement in many areas of human endeavors.[22]

Many people are considered national heroes and cultural icons, many national stories concern their lives. Jan Hus was a religious reformist from the 1400s.[23] The teacher of nations Jan Amos Komenský is also considered a notable figure in Czech history.[24] Josef Jungmann is often credited for expanding the modern Czech language, and preventing its extinction.[25]


There are also ancient folk stories about the Czech people, such as the Forefather Čech, who according to legend brought the tribe of Czechs into its land,[26] or Přemysl, the Ploughman,[27] who started the dynasty that ruled for 400 years until 1306.

Modern politicians

One of the most notable Velvet Revolution figures is Václav Havel, who became the first president of the independent Czech Republic.[28] The current president (2nd) is Václav Klaus.[29]

First President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel

The Czech Republic has had multiple prime ministers the first of which was latter president Klaus, the second under Havel was Josef Tošovský[30] and the last prime minister under Havel was prominent ČSSD member Miloš Zeman.[31] So far Klaus has had five prime ministers, the current one being Jan Fischer.[32]


Sports have also been a contributor to famous Czechs especially tennis, soccer, hockey and athletics:
Tennis – Ivan Lendl, Martina Navrátilová[33]
Football – Pavel Nedvěd, Antonín Panenka,[34][35] Petr Čech
Hockey – Jaromír Jágr, Dominik Hašek, Tomáš Plekanec
Athletics – Emil Zátopek, Roman Šebrle, Jan Železný

The arts

The Czechs are accomplished in the field of literature, painting and music. Poet Jaroslav Seifert was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize.[33] Božena Němcová has become a cultural icon and gained much fame for her book Babička.[36] Writer Franz Kafka (born in Prague) wrote most of his works in Prague (although in German).[37]Mikoláš Aleš was a painter, known for redesigning the Prague National Theatre.[38] Composers Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák have also been praised and the latter continued his work in New York, USA.[33] Film director Miloš Forman, known best for his movie, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest is of Czech origin and started his career in Czechoslovakia.[39] National performers such as Karel Kryl,[40] Helena Vondráčková,[41] Karel Gott[42] (singers), Zdeněk Svěrák (director and actor), Vlastimil Brodský,[43] Vladimír Menšík[44] (actors) or Ivan Mládek (comedian), have also made a mark in modern Czech history.


Czech culture boasts many saints,[45] most notably St. Wenceslaus (Václav), patron of the Czech nation,[46] St. John of Nepomuk (Jan Nepomucký),[47] St. Adalbert (Vojtěch)[48], Saint Procopius or St. Agnes of Bohemia (Anežka Česká).[49]


Simple map of the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is compound from 3 historical lands: Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia;[50] today the country is divided into 14 regions.[51] There is a slightly varying culture in each of the lands.[52] Each part speaks Czech but there are certain local dialects.[53]

Czech language

The Czech language is spoken by approximately 12 million people around the world including most of the people in the Czech Republic.[54] It developed from the Proto-Slavic language in the 10th century[54][55] and is mutually intelligible with the Slovak language.[56]

External links

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Czech Republic
  2. ^ 2004 survey
  3. ^ "Statistics Canada". 
  4. ^ 2006 census Data : View by Location
  5. ^ CSO - Statistics: Persons usually resident and present in the State on Census Night, classified by place of birth and age group
  6. ^ Moschella, Alexandre. "Edição 214, Um atalho para a Europa". Editora Globo. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ 1-19 Population by denomination and sex: as measured by 1921, 1930, 1950, 1991 and 2001 censuses (PDF), Czech Demographic Handbook 2006.
  9. ^ Slav (people) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  10. ^ Czech language, alphabet and pronunciation
  11. ^ Kroeger, Alix (2003-04-30). "Czechs return to Celtic roots". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  12. ^ Ethnic German Minorities in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia
  13. ^ The Habsburg Monarchy and Rudolph II
  14. ^ Agnew, Hugh (2004). The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. Stanford: Hoover Press. p. 72. ISBN 0817944923. 
  15. ^ Czechs and Bohemians
  16. ^ Czech and Slovak roots in Vienna,
  17. ^ The Czech ethnic minority in Romania, 29-12-2004 - Radio Prague
  18. ^ Government completes 13-year program to integrate Kazakh Czechs, The Prague Post, October 31, 2007
  19. ^ "Day when tanks destroyed Czech dreams of Prague Spring" (Den, kdy tanky zlikvidovaly české sny Pražského jara) at Britské Listy (British Letters)
  20. ^ Czech politicians say restrictions on free movement of workers within EU should be removed, Radio Prague
  21. ^ Charles IV (Karel IV.) - Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor
  22. ^ Travel guide - Luxembourg dynasty (1310–1378) - accommodation in hotels and apartments
  23. ^ Jan Hus
  24. ^ Jan Amos Comenius
  25. ^ Josef Jungmann (1773–1847)
  26. ^ The Polish Eagle
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ Václav Havel
  29. ^ Václav Havel - Radio Prague
  30. ^ Vláda České republiky | Jmenný rejstřík předsedů vlád
  31. ^ Milos Zeman - outgoing prime minister - 19-06-2002 - Radio Prague
  32. ^ Mirek Topolánek
  33. ^ a b c CzechSite: Famous Czechs
  34. ^ Antonin Panenka - the footballer Pele described as "either a genius or a madman" - 20-06-2007 10:19 UTC - Radio Prague
  35. ^ Josef, Ladislav. "Masopust's memory lingers on". Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  36. ^ Partridge, James. "Book Review: The Grandmother". Central Europe Review. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  37. ^ "Franz Kafka (1883–1924)". Grolier Incorporated. 1993. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  38. ^ Tyman, Jaroslav. "Mikoláš Aleš". Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  39. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Milos Forman, biography". Allmovie. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  40. ^ Karel Kryl
  41. ^ The official website of Helena Vondráčková
  42. ^ "Karel Gott". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  43. ^ Vlastimil Brodsky - Czech Film -
  44. ^ "Czech-Slovak film Database, Vladimír Menšík". POMO Media Group. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  45. ^ Maurice, Edmund (1908). The story of Bohemia from the earliest times to the fall of national independence in 1620;: With a short summary of later events. Fisher, Unwin. 
  46. ^ Mershman, Francis. "St. Wenceslaus". Kevin Knight. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  47. ^ Krčmář, Luděk. "St. John of Nepomuk - life". MultiMedia Activity. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  48. ^ *Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-140-51312-4.
  49. ^ Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star - 757 years
  50. ^ Political subdivision of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia
  51. ^ Area size - Czech republic
  52. ^ Czech regions - Czech republic
  53. ^ Czech
  54. ^ a b "Czech Language". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  55. ^
  56. ^

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