Czech Americans

Last updated
Czech Americans
Total population
Czech or Czechoslovak
1,703,930 Americans [1] 0.6% of the US population
Regions with significant populations
Texas, Nebraska, The Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York Metropolitan Area, Massachusetts
American English, Czech
Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Czechs, Moravians, Silesians, Slovaks, Slovak Americans, Sorbs, Sorbian Americans, Poles, Polish Americans
Number of Czech Americans
1980 [2]
1990 [3]
2000 [4]
2010 [5]
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Small coat of arms of the Czech Republic.svg

Czech Americans (Czech : Čechoameričané), known in the 19th and early 20th century as Bohemian Americans, are citizens of the United States who are of Czech descent. Czechs originate from the Czech lands, a term which refers to the majority of the traditional lands of the Bohemian Crown, namely Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia. These lands over time have been governed by a variety of states, including the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Austrian Empire, Czechoslovakia, and the Czech Republic. Germans from the Czech lands who emigrated to the United States usually identified as German American, or, more specifically, as Americans of German Bohemian descent. According to the 2000 US census, there are 1,262,527 Americans of full or partial Czech descent, in addition to 441,403 persons who list their ancestry as Czechoslovak.

Czech language West Slavic language spoken in the Czech Republic

Czech, historically also Bohemian, is a West Slavic language of the Czech–Slovak group. Spoken by over 10 million people, it serves as the official language of the Czech Republic. Czech is closely related to Slovak, to the point of mutual intelligibility to a very high degree. Like other Slavic languages, Czech is a fusional language with a rich system of morphology and relatively flexible word order. Its vocabulary has been extensively influenced by Latin and German.

The Czechs or the Czech people, are a West Slavic ethnic group and a nation native to the Czech Republic in Central Europe, who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and Czech language.

Czech lands

The Czech lands or the Bohemian lands are the three historical regions of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia. Together the three have formed the Czech part of Czechoslovakia since 1918 and the Czech Republic since 1 January 1969, which became independent on 1 January 1993.



The first documented case of the entry of Czechs to the North American shores is of Joachim Gans of Prague, who came to Roanoke, North Carolina in 1585 with an expedition of explorers organized by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618).

Joachim Gans was a Bohemian mining expert, renowned for being the first Jew in North America.

Prague Capital city of the Czech Republic

Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.

Roanoke Colony Former colony in present-day Dare County, North Carolina, United States

The Roanoke Colony, also known as the Lost Colony, was the first attempt at founding a permanent English settlement in North America. It was established in 1585 on Roanoke Island in what is now Dare County, North Carolina, United States. The colony was sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh, although he himself never set foot in it.

Augustine Herman (1621–1686) was the first documented Czech settler. He was a surveyor and skilled draftsman, successful planter and developer of new lands, a shrewd and enterprising merchant, a bold politician and effective diplomat, fluent in several languages. After coming to New Amsterdam (present New York) he became one of the most influential people in the Dutch Province which led to his appointment to the Council of Nine to advise the New Amsterdam Governor Peter Stuyvesant. One of his greatest achievements was his celebrated map of Maryland and Virginia commissioned by Lord Baltimore on which he began working in earnest after removing to the English Province of Maryland. Lord Baltimore was so pleased with the map that he rewarded Herman with a large estate, named by Herman "Bohemia Manor", and the hereditary title Lord.

Augustine Herman Czech traveller and cartographer

Augustine Herman, First Lord of Bohemia Manor was a Bohemian explorer, merchant and cartographer who lived in New Amsterdam and Cecil County, Maryland. In the employment of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, he produced a remarkably accurate map of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay regions of North America, in exchange for which he was permitted to establish an enormous plantation that he named Bohemia Manor in what is now southeastern Cecil County, Maryland.

Technical drawing creation of standards and the technical drawings

Technical drawing, drafting or drawing, is the act and discipline of composing drawings that visually communicate how something functions or is constructed.

New Amsterdam historical Dutch colonial settlement that became New York City

New Amsterdam was a 17th-century Dutch settlement established at the southern tip of Manhattan Island that served as the seat of the colonial government in New Netherland. The factorij became a settlement outside Fort Amsterdam. The fort was situated on the strategic southern tip of the island of Manhattan and was meant to defend the fur trade operations of the Dutch West India Company in the North River. In 1624, it became a provincial extension of the Dutch Republic and was designated as the capital of the province in 1625.

There was another Bohemian living in New Amsterdam at that time, Frederick Philipse (1626–1720), who became equally famous. He was a successful merchant who, eventually, became the wealthiest person in the entire Dutch Province. Philipse was originally from Bohemia, from an aristocratic Protestant family who had to leave their native land to save their lives, after the Thirty Years' War.

Frederick Philipse American colonial

Frederick Philipse, first Lord of the Manor of Philipseborough (Philipsburg) and patriarch of the Philipse family, was a Dutch immigrant to North America of Bohemian heritage. A merchant, he arrived in America as early as 1653. In 1662 he engaged in a fortuitous marriage to a wealthy and driven widow, Margaret Hardenbrook de Vries. Together, and variously in league with slavers, pirates, and other undesirables, the couple combined their industry to amass a fortune.

Bohemia Historical land in Czech Republic

Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.

Thirty Years War War between 1618 and 1648; with over 8 million fatalities

The Thirty Years' War was a war fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. One of the most destructive conflicts in human history, it resulted in eight million fatalities not only from military engagements but also from violence, famine, and plague. Casualties were overwhelmingly and disproportionately inhabitants of the Holy Roman Empire, most of the rest being battle deaths from various foreign armies. In terms of proportional German casualties and destruction, it was surpassed only by the period January to May 1945; one of its enduring results was 19th-century Pan-Germanism, when it served as an example of the dangers of a divided Germany and became a key justification for the 1871 creation of the German Empire.

The first significant wave of Czech colonists was of the Moravian Brethren who began arriving on the American shores in the first half of the 18th century. Moravian Brethren were the followers of the teachings of the Czech religious reformer and martyr Jan Hus (1370–1415), Petr Chelčický and Bishop John Amos Comenius (1592–1670). They were true heirs of the ancient "Unitas fratrum bohemicorum" - Unity of the Brethren, who found a temporary refuge in Herrnhut ("Ochranov," in Czech language) in Lusatia under the patronage of Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf (1700–1760). Because of the worsening political and religious situation in Saxony, the Moravian Brethren, as they began calling themselves, decided to emigrate to North America.

Jan Hus Czech linguist, religion writer, theologist, university educator and science writer

Jan Hus, sometimes Anglicized as John Hus or John Huss, also referred to in historical texts as Iohannes Hus or Johannes Huss, was a Czech theologian, philosopher, master, dean, and rector of the Charles University in Prague who became a church reformer, an inspirer of Hussitism, a key predecessor to Protestantism and a seminal figure in the Bohemian Reformation.

Petr Chelčický 15th century Bohemian Christian radical

Petr Chelčický was a Czech Christian spiritual leader and author in the 15th century Bohemia. He was one of the most influential thinkers of the Bohemian Reformation.

John Amos Comenius Czech teacher, educator, philosopher and writer

John Amos Comenius was a Czech philosopher, pedagogue and theologian from the Margraviate of Moravia who is considered the father of modern education. He served as the last bishop of the Unity of the Brethren before becoming a religious refugee and one of the earliest champions of universal education, a concept eventually set forth in his book Didactica Magna. As an educator and theologian, he led schools and advised governments across Protestant Europe through the middle of the seventeenth century.

Chicago's Czech-born mayor Anton Cermak Anton Cermak cph.3b27410.jpg
Chicago's Czech-born mayor Anton Cermak

This group started coming in 1735, when they first settled in Savannah, Georgia, and then in Pennsylvania, from which they spread to other states after the American Revolution, especially Ohio. The Moravians established a number of settlements, such as Bethlehem and Lititz in Pennsylvania and Salem in North Carolina. Moravians made great contributions to the growth and development of the US. Cultural contributions of Moravian Brethren from the Czech lands were distinctly notable in the realm of music. The trumpets and horns used by the Moravians in Georgia are the first evidence of Moravian instrumental music in America.

Savannah, Georgia City in Georgia, United States

Savannah is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia's fifth-largest city, with a 2018 estimated population of 145,862. The Savannah metropolitan area, Georgia's third-largest, had an estimated population of 389,494 in 2018.

Pennsylvania State of the United States of America

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

American Revolution Colonial revolt in which the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain

The American Revolution was a colonial revolt which occurred between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) with the assistance of France, winning independence from Great Britain and establishing the United States of America.

In 1776, at the time of the Declaration of Independence, more than two thousand Moravian Brethren lived in the colonies. President Thomas Jefferson designated special lands to the missionaries to civilize the Indians and promote Christianity. The free uncultivated land in America encouraged immigration throughout the nineteenth century; most of the immigrants were farmers and settled in the Midwestern states. The first major immigration of Czechs occurred in 1848 when the Czech "Forty Eighters" fled to the United States to escape the political persecution by the Austrian Habsburgs. [6] During the American Civil War, Czechs served in both the Confederate and Union army, but as with most immigrant groups, the majority fought for the Union. Immigration resumed and reached a peak in 1907, when 13,554 Czechs entered the eastern ports. Unlike previous immigration, new immigrants were predominantly Catholic. Although some of the anticlericalism among Czechs in Europe did come to the United States, on the whole Czech Americans are much more likely to be practicing Catholics than Czechs in Europe. By 1910, the Czech population was 349,000, and by 1940 it was 1,764,000. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reported that nearly 800,000 Czechs were residing in the U.S. in 1970. Since this figure did not include Czechs who had been living in the U.S. for several generations, it is reasonable to assume that the actual number was higher.


Distribution of Czech Americans according to the 2000 census. Czech1346.gif
Distribution of Czech Americans according to the 2000 census.

The top 50 U.S. communities with the highest percentage of people claiming Czech ancestry

The top 50 U.S. communities with the highest percentage of people claiming Czech ancestry are: [7]

  1. Conway, ND 55.2% [8]
  2. West, TX 40.9%
  3. Oak Creek NE 38.2%
  4. Wilber, NE 37.3%
  5. Shiner, TX 32.1%
  6. Montgomery, MN (township) 30.9%
  7. Lonsdale, MN 30.5%
  8. Wheatland, MN 29.9%
  9. Tyndall, SD 29.5%
  10. David City, NE 28.0%
  11. Montgomery, MN (city) 26.3%
  12. Franklin, WI 26.1%
  13. Lanesburgh, MN 25.2%
  14. Granger, TX 25.1%
  15. Port Costa, CA 24.0%
  16. Schulenburg, TX 23.7%
  17. New Prague, MN and Erin, MN 23.5%
  18. Wahoo, NE 22.7%
  19. Carlton, WI 22.4%
  20. Wallis, TX 22.0%
  21. Hallettsville, TX 21.5%
  22. Hale, MN 20.8%
  23. Montpelier, WI 19.7%
  24. Flatonia, TX 19.5%
  25. West Kewaunee, WI 19.2%
  26. Schuyler, NE and Webster, NE 19.0%
  27. Gibson, WI 18.9%
  28. Hillsboro, WI 18.4%
  29. Kossuth, WI 18.2%
  30. Lexington, MN 18.1%
  31. Mishicot, WI 16.9%
  32. Kewaunee, WI and North Bend, NE 16.7%
  33. Franklin, WI 15.9%
  34. Oak Grove, WI and Caldwell, TX 15.7%
  35. Lake Mary, MN 15.4%
  36. Solon, IA 15.2%
  37. Mishicot, WI 15.0%
  38. Helena, MN 14.9%
  39. Marietta, NE 14.7%
  40. Stickney, IL 14.5%
  41. Ord, NE (township) and Weimar, TX 14.3%
  42. Crete, NE 14.2%
  43. Park River, ND 14.1%
  44. Ord, NE (city) and La Grange, TX 14.0%
  45. Wagner, SD 13.6%
  46. Needville, TX 13.2%
  47. Calmar, IA and Worcester, WI 13.0%
  48. Webster, MN 12.9%
  49. North Riverside, IL 12.4%
  50. Belle Plaine, IA 12.3%
  51. El Campo, TX 12.2%

U.S. communities with the most residents born in the Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia)

The top U.S. communities with the most residents born in the Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia) are: [9]

  1. Masaryktown, FL 3.1%
  2. Mifflinville, PA 2.2%
  3. Gulf Shores, AL 2.1%
  4. North Riverside, IL and Sharon Springs, NY 2.0%
  5. Lyons, IL 1.6%
  6. Rose, WI, North Lynbrook, NY and Anna Maria, FL 1.5%
  7. Oakbrook Terrace, IL and Danville, AR 1.4%
  8. Bee Ridge, FL, Cameron, TX, Lenox, MA, Verdigre, NE, and Willowbrook, IL 1.2%
  9. Lower Grand Lagoon, FL, Beachwood, OH, Allamuchy-Panther Valley, NJ, Mahopac, NY, Black Diamond, FL, and Glenview, KY 1.1%
  10. Key West, FL, Woodstock, NY, Madison Park, NJ, Belleair Beach, FL, South Amboy, NJ, Colver, PA, Herricks, NY, Horine, MO, Shelburne, MA, and Gang Mills, NY 1.0%

The states with the largest Czech American populations

The states with the largest Czech American populations are:[ citation needed ]

Texas 155,855
Illinois 123,708
Wisconsin 97,220
Minnesota 85,056
Nebraska 83,462
California   77,673
Ohio 70,009
Iowa 51,508
New York 44,942
Florida 42,890
Vermont 38, 000

However, these figures are grossly understated when second and third generation descendants are included.

The states with the top percentages of Czech Americans

The states with the top percentages of Czech Americans are:[ citation needed ]

Nebraska 5.5%
South Dakota   2.3%
North Dakota 2.2%
Wisconsin 2.1%
Iowa 2.1%
Minnesota 2.1%
Illinois 1.2%
Montana 1.0%
Wyoming 1.0%

Notable people


Many cities in the United States hold festivals celebrating Czech culture and cuisine.

Welcome to Praha, Texas, "Czech Capital of Texas". Praha texas.jpeg
Welcome to Praha, Texas, "Czech Capital of Texas".

See also

Related Research Articles

Moravia Historical land in Czech Republic

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  6. Christine Molinari. "Czech americans". Countries and Their Cultures.
  7. "Ancestry Map of Czech Communities". Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  8. American FactFinder, community facts-Conway City, North Dakota- Origins and languages- Census 2000 Selected Social Characteristics (Household and Family Type, Disability, Citizenship, Ancestry, Language, ...)
  9. "Top 101 cities with the most residents born in Czechoslovakia (includes Czech Republic and Slovakia) (population 500+)". Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  10. "Vitame vas Phillips, Wisconsin Czech-Slovak Festival" . Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  11. "Cesky Den". City of Hillsboro.
  12. "NorthEastern Wisconsin CZECH & KOLACHE Festival". Agricultural Heritage & Resources. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  13. "Wilson, KS - Czech Festival". Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  14. "Czech Texans". Texas Almanac. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  15. "Czech Festivals". Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  16. Edita Rybak; Chris Rybak; Bernard Tupa. "Events". Retrieved 2012-07-08.

Further reading