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Czechs, or Czech people (, , archaic ) 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.[1]

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 Celts, early Slavs, and Germanic tribes. According to an international project called Family Tree DNA results a very slight majority of the Czech population forms an offspring of the Celts (28.8%), followed by Slavic (28.4%) and Germanic (13.0%) forefathers.[2] West Slavic tribes have inhabited the regions of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia since the 6th century, and eventually absorbed pre-Slavic populations. 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 ech who settled at p Mountain. In 880, Prague Castle was constructed by Prince Bo ivoj 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.
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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

At the turn of the 20th century, Chicago was the city with the third largest Czech population, after Prague and Vienna.[6][7]

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 H cha 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, Le ky and Javo ko 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.[8][9]

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),[10] 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.[11]


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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

Notable figures

Historical figures

The most successful and influential of all Czech kings was Charles IV, who also became the Holy Roman Emperor.[15] The Luxembourg dynasty represents the heights of Czech (Bohemian) statehood territorial and influence as well as advancement in many areas of human endeavors.[16]

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.[17] The teacher of nations Jan Amos Komensk is also considered a notable figure in Czech history.[18] Josef Jungmann is often credited for expanding the modern Czech language, and preventing its extinction.[19]


There are also ancient folk stories about the Czech people, such as the Forefather ech, who according to legend brought the tribe of Czechs into its land,[20] or P emysl, the Ploughman,[21] who started the dynasty that ruled for 400 years until 1306.

Modern politicians

First President of the Czech Republic V clav Havel
First President of the Czech Republic V clav Havel

One of the most notable Velvet Revolution figures is V clav Havel, who became the first president of the independent Czech Republic.[22] The current president (2nd) is V clav Klaus.[23]

The Czech Republic has had multiple prime ministers the first of which was latter president Klaus, the second under Havel was Josef To ovsk [24] and the last prime minister under Havel was prominent SSD member Milo Zeman.[25] So far Klaus has had five prime ministers, the current one being Petr Ne as.


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

  • Tennis – Ivan Lendl, Martina Navr tilov , Petra Kvitov ,[26] Tom Berdych
  • Football – Pavel Nedv d, Anton n Panenka, Tom Rosick , Karel Poborsk , Patrik Berger,[27][28] Petr ech
  • Hockey – Jarom r J gr, Dominik Ha ek, Bohumil Modry, Patrik Eli , Jiri Holecek
  • Athletics – Emil Z topek, Roman ebrle, Jan elezn , Barbora pot kov

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.[29]The great progress of Czech artificial music has begun in the end of Renaissance and early Baroque era, concretely in works of Adam V clav 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 Mat j ernohorsk in Baroque, Bed ich Smetana and Anton n Dvo k in Romanticism, Leo Jan ek and Bohuslav Martin in modern classical or Miloslav Kabel in contemporary classical music.

Czech musicians played also important role in the development of European music . Jan V clav Anton n Stamic in 18th century contributed to the creation of Classicism in music[30] by innovations of compositional forms and founding of Mannheim school, similarly Anton n Rejcha's experiments prefigured new compositional techniques in 19th century.[31] The influence of Czech musicians has been gone later beyond the borders of European continent, when Anton n Dvo k 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 H ba to microtonal music in 20th century must be also mentioned.


Poet Jaroslav Seifert was awarded the Nobel Literature Prize.[26] Bo ena N mcov has become a cultural icon and gained much fame for her book Babi ka.[32] Writer Franz Kafka (born in Prague) wrote most of his works in Prague (although in German).[33]


Mikol Ale was a painter, known for redesigning the Prague National Theatre.[34]/

Alphonse Mucha was an influential artist in the Art Nouveau movement of the Edwardian period.


Film director Milo Forman, known best for his movie, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest is of Czech origin and started his career in Czechoslovakia.[35]

National performers such as Karel Kryl,[36] Helena Vondr kov ,[37] Karel Gott[38] (singers), Zden k Sv r k (director and actor), Vlastimil Brodsk ,[39] Vladim r Men k[40] (actors) or Ivan Ml dek (comedian), have also made a mark in modern Czech history.


Czech culture boasts many saints,[41] most notably St. Wenceslaus (V clav), patron of the Czech nation,[42] St. John of Nepomuk (Jan Nepomuck ),[43] St. Adalbert (Vojt ch),[44] Saint Procopius or St. Agnes of Bohemia (Ane ka esk ).[45]


Simple map of the Czech Republic
Simple map of the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is compound from 3 historical lands: Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia;[46] today the country is divided into 14 regions.[47] There is a slightly varying culture in each of the lands.[48] Each part speaks Czech but there are certain local dialects.[49]

Czech language

The Czech language is spoken by approximately 12 million people around the world including most of the people in the Czech Republic.[50] It developed from the Proto-Slavic language in the 10th century[50][51] and is mutually intelligible with the Slovak language.[52]

See also

  • List of Czechs
  • Demographics of the Czech Republic
  • The Greatest Czech
  • Czech American
  • Czech Argentinean
  • Czech Australian
  • Czech Brazilian
  • Czech British
  • Czech Canadian

Further reading

  • Berka, Petr and Palan, Ales and Stastny, Petr: Xenophobe's Guide to the Czechs, Oval Books, London, 2008
  • Hol , Ladislav: The Little and the Great Czech Nation, Cambridge University, 1996


External links

an:Checos av: be: be-x-old: bg: bs: esi cv: cs: e i de:Tschechen et:T ehhid es:Checos eo: e oj fr:Tch ques gd:Na Seicich ko: hy: hr: esi id:Bangsa Ceko os: it:Cechi ka: ku: ek (gel) lt: ekai hu:Csehek mk: nl:Tsjechen ja: ps: pl:Czesi pt:Tchecos ro:Cehi ru: simple:Czechs sk: esi sl: ehi cu: sr: sh: esi fi:T ekit sv:Tjecker tr: ekler uk: vi:Ng i S c bat-smg: ek (tauta) zh:

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