Vratislaus IICharles IVJan Hus

ComeniusFrantišek PalackýJan Evangelista Purkyně
Alfons Mucha Antonín DvořákTGM

Clockwise from upper left: Vratislaus II, Charles IV, Jan Hus, Comenius, František Palacký, Jan Evangelista Purkyně, Alfons Mucha, Antonín Dvořák and Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Total population
c. 11-12 million
Regions with significant populations
 Czech Republic 9,249,777 [1]
Moravians: 380,474 (2001)
Silesians: 10,878 (2001)

 United States 1,462,000 [2]
(including German Bohemians)
 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 450,000[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



Non-religious 59%, Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, Czech Orthodox (<25,000) other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%[8]

Related ethnic groups

Other Slavs, especially other West Slavs[9]
Slovaks are the most related[10]

Czechs, or Czech people (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, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries. They speak the Czech language, which is closely related to the Slovak and Upper Sorbian language.[11]

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 the early Slavs, with Celtic and Germanic admixtures.[12][dubious ] West Slavic tribes have inhabited the regions of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia since the 6th century. Within the West Slavs, the Czechs form part of the Czech-Slovak group (together with the Slovaks), alongside the Lechites and the Sorbs.

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

At the turn of the 20th century, Chicago was the city with the third largest Czech population, after Prague and Vienna.[16][17]

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" (Resttschechei). 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, Ležáky and Javoříčko the Nazi authorities committed war crimes 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 the 1990s, the Czech Republic has been working to repatriate Romania and Kazakhstan's ethnic Czechs.[18][19]

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),[20] typically of highly qualified people.

Following the Czech Republic's entry into the European Union in May 2004, Czechs gained the right to work in some other EU countries.[21]


Indications suggest that modern Czechs are a genetic mixture of the Slavic, Celtic, and Germanic people that have inhabited the Czech territory throughout its history.

Czechs show the characteristic R1a genes of the paternal ancestorship at 34.2%. Such large frequencies of R1a have been found in Eastern Europe among Slavs and in India.[22]

According to a 2000 study by Semino, 35.6% of Czech and Slovak males have y-chromosome haplogroup R1b[57], which is very common among Celts but also quite rare among Slavs.[23] Additionally, a high frequency of mutation of the G551D gene CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator), causing Cystic fibrosis is found in the Czech Republic, Austria, and among the Celtic Nations: Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany.[24]

Notable figures

Historical figures

The most successful and influential of all Czech kings was Charles IV, who also became the Holy Roman Emperor.[25] The Luxembourg dynasty represents the heights of Czech (Bohemian) statehood territorial and influence as well as advancement in many areas of human endeavors.[26]

Many people are considered national heroes and cultural icons, many national stories concern their lives. Jan Hus was a religious reformist from the 15th century and spiritual father of the Hussite Movement.[27] The teacher of nations Jan Amos Komenský is also considered a notable figure in Czech history.[28] Josef Jungmann is often credited for expanding the modern Czech language, and preventing its extinction.[29]


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,[30] or Přemysl, the Ploughman,[31] who started the dynasty that ruled for 400 years until 1306.

Modern politicians

First President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel

One of the most notable Velvet Revolution figures is Václav Havel, who became the first president of the independent Czech Republic.[32] The current president (2nd) is Václav Klaus.[33]

The Czech Republic has had multiple prime ministers the first of which was latter president Klaus, the second under Havel was Josef Tošovský[34] and the last prime minister under Havel was prominent ČSSD member Miloš Zeman.[35] So far Klaus has had five prime ministers, the current one being Petr Nečas.


Sports have also been a contributor to famous Czechs especially tennis, soccer, hockey and athletics:

The arts

The Czechs are accomplished in the field of music, painting, film and literature.


Czech music started develop by first signifiant pieces, created in 11th century. [39]The great progress of Czech artificial music has begun in the end of Renaissance and early Baroque era, concretely in works of Adam Václav Michna z Otradovic, where the specific character of Czech music was rising up by using the influence of genuine folk music. This tradition determined the development of Czech music and has remained the main sign in the works of great Czech composers of almost all eras – Jan Dismas Zelenka and Bohuslav Matěj Černohorský in Baroque, Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák in Romanticism, Leoš Janáček and Bohuslav Martinů in modern classical or Miloslav Kabeláč in contemporary classical music.

Czech musicians played also important role in the development of European music . Jan Václav Antonín Stamic in 18th century contributed to the creation of Classicism in music [40] by innovations of compositional forms and founding of Mannheim school, similarly Antonín Rejcha's experiments prefigured new compositional techniques in 19th century. [41] The influence of Czech musicians has been gone later beyond the borders of European continent, when Antonín Dvořák brought into life new American classical music style, using the potential of the richness of ethnic music of that country during his mission in USA. The contribution of Alois Hába to microtonal music in 20th century must be also mentioned.


Poet Jaroslav Seifert was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize.[36] Božena Němcová has become a cultural icon and gained much fame for her book Babička.[42] Writer Franz Kafka (born in Prague) wrote most of his works in Prague (although in German).[43]


Mikoláš Aleš was a painter, known for redesigning the Prague National Theatre.[44]/

Alphonse Mucha


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.[45]

National performers such as Karel Kryl,[46] Helena Vondráčková,[47] Karel Gott[48] (singers), Zdeněk Svěrák (director and actor), Vlastimil Brodský,[49] Vladimír Menšík[50] (actors) or Ivan Mládek (comedian), have also made a mark in modern Czech history.


Czech culture boasts many saints,[51] most notably St. Wenceslaus (Václav), patron of the Czech nation,[52] St. John of Nepomuk (Jan Nepomucký),[53] St. Adalbert (Vojtěch),[54] Saint Procopius or St. Agnes of Bohemia (Anežka Česká).[55]


Simple map of the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is compound from 3 historical lands: Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia;[56] today the country is divided into 14 regions.[57] There is a slightly varying culture in each of the lands.[58] Each part speaks Czech but there are certain local dialects.[59]

Czech language

The Czech language is spoken by approximately 12 million people around the world including most of the people in the Czech Republic.[60] It developed from the Proto-Slavic language in the 10th century[60][61] and is mutually intelligible with the Slovak language.[62]

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. ^ "Ethnologue - Slavic languages". Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  11. ^ Czech language, alphabet and pronunciation
  12. ^ Kroeger, Alix (2003-04-30). "Czechs return to Celtic roots". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  13. ^ Ethnic German Minorities in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia
  14. ^ The Habsburg Monarchy and Rudolph II
  15. ^ Agnew, Hugh (2004). The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. Stanford: Hoover Press. p. 72. ISBN 0817944923. 
  16. ^ Czechs and Bohemians
  17. ^ Czech and Slovak roots in Vienna,
  18. ^ The Czech ethnic minority in Romania, 29-12-2004 - Radio Prague
  19. ^ Government completes 13-year program to integrate Kazakh Czechs, The Prague Post, October 31, 2007
  20. ^ "Day when tanks destroyed Czech dreams of Prague Spring" (Den, kdy tanky zlikvidovaly české sny Pražského jara) at Britské Listy (British Letters)
  21. ^ Czech politicians say restrictions on free movement of workers within EU should be removed, Radio Prague
  22. ^ F. Luca, F. Di Giacomo, T. Benincasa et al., "Y-Chromosomal Variation in the Czech Republic," American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132:132–139 (2007).
  23. ^ O. Semino et al, The genetic legacy of paleolithic Homo sapiens sapiens in extant Europeans: a Y chromosome perspective, Science, vol. 290 (2000), pp. 1155-59.
  24. ^ Doc. Dr. Milan Macek, CSc., Dr. Milan Macek ml., Dr. Alice Krebsová, Doc. Dr. V. Vávrová, DrSc. ,Centrum pro diagnostiku a léčbu cystické fibrosy, RELATIVNĚ VYSOKÝ VÝSKYT MUTACÍ G551D A CFTRDEL21KB CFTR GENU V ČESKÉ REPUBLICE U PACIENTŮ S CYSTICKOU FIBROSOU OBJEKTIVNĚ PROKAZUJE, ŽE NAŠE POPULACE JE SLOVANSKÉHO A KELTSKÉHO PŮVODU. Dostupné on-line
  25. ^ Charles IV (Karel IV.) - Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor
  26. ^ Travel guide - Luxembourg dynasty (1310–1378) - accommodation in hotels and apartments
  27. ^ Jan Hus
  28. ^ Jan Amos Comenius
  29. ^ Josef Jungmann (1773–1847)
  30. ^ The Polish Eagle
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^ Václav Havel
  33. ^ Václav Havel - Radio Prague
  34. ^ Vláda České republiky | Jmenný rejstřík předsedů vlád
  35. ^ Milos Zeman - outgoing prime minister - 19-06-2002 - Radio Prague
  36. ^ a b CzechSite: Famous Czechs
  37. ^ Antonin Panenka - the footballer Pele described as "either a genius or a madman" - 20-06-2007 10:19 UTC - Radio Prague
  38. ^ Josef, Ladislav. "Masopust's memory lingers on". Archived from the original on 2007-12-22. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  39. ^ History of Czech music
  40. ^ Jan Václav Antonín Stamic (in Czech)
  41. ^ Antonín Rejcha
  42. ^ Partridge, James. "Book Review: The Grandmother". Central Europe Review. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  43. ^ "Franz Kafka (1883–1924)". Grolier Incorporated. 1993. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  44. ^ Tyman, Jaroslav. "Mikoláš Aleš". Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  45. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Milos Forman, biography". Allmovie. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  46. ^ Karel Kryl
  47. ^ The official website of Helena Vondráčková
  48. ^ "Karel Gott". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  49. ^ Vlastimil Brodsky - Czech Film -
  50. ^ "Czech-Slovak film Database, Vladimír Menšík". POMO Media Group. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  51. ^ 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. 
  52. ^ Mershman, Francis. "St. Wenceslaus". Kevin Knight. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  53. ^ Krčmář, Luděk. "St. John of Nepomuk - life". MultiMedia Activity. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  54. ^ Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-140-51312-4.
  55. ^ Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star - 757 years
  56. ^ Political subdivision of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia
  57. ^ Area size - Czech republic
  58. ^ Czech regions - Czech republic
  59. ^ Czech
  60. ^ a b "Czech Language". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  61. ^
  62. ^

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