Bohemia (population)

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The patron saints of Bohemia Wenceslaus , Adalbert , Prokop and Ludmilla , Prague chapter manuscript, 1197/1214

Bohemia (Singular Böhme , Czech Češi , Singular Čech ; Latin Bohemi ) is the name for the population of Bohemia . Historically, it included various national groups, such as all Czechs , as well as Germans and Jews in the area.

In the Czech language , the term Češi is synonymous with both Czechs and Bohemians .

Word origin

The name was derived from the Celtic tribe of the Boier (Latin Boii ), who lived around the 1st century BC. Lived in this area.

Beheimarus was first mentioned in the 9th century in the Descriptio civitatum et regionum of the Bavarian geographer .


Bohemian costumes, illustration by Mikoláš Aleš in Ottův slovník naučný

The Slavic inhabitants of the Duchy of Bohemia and the Kingdom of Bohemia were referred to as "Bohemia" - in an expanded sense also with the neighboring countries of the Bohemian Crown (Moravia, Silesia and Lusatia). In later centuries non-Slavic-speaking residents were also referred to as Bohemia .

After the revolution of 1848/49 , with the increased Czech emancipation, an increasing distinction was made between Czechs and German Bohemians in the Habsburg monarchy . Belonging to Czech or German nationality became more important and led to the Bohemian language conflict . On the other hand, Bernard Bolzano propagated a common Bohemian patriotism, the so-called Bohemism . After the founding of Czechoslovakia in 1918, the conflict between the two language groups continued, under different circumstances. With the expulsion of the Germans from Czechoslovakia after 1945, the name of Bohemia lost its meaning.

In French, bohémien (Bohemia) has been used for Roma from Bohemia since the 15th century. Until the 19th century it was generally used for traveling people or for the Lumpenproletariat . Since the 1860s, bohemian was used for unconventional artists.

The German Schimpfwörterbuch (1839) lists "Böhme" as a dirty word . In Austrian, the term is still in use today, sometimes derogatory. In the past it was mainly used for immigrant workers from Bohemia and Moravia , the so-called Ziegelböhm . In Viennese there is also the boehmak variant . The German with a strong Czech accent is called Böhmakeln there . A disparaging personification for Czechs is the Bohemian Wenceslas .

Famous Bohemia (selection)


  • Walter Kosglich , Marek Nekula, Joachim Rogall (eds.): Germans and Czechs: History - Culture - Politics. 2nd edition, CH Beck Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-45954-4 (= Becksche series 1414).
  • Karl Bosl : Handbook of the history of the Bohemian countries. 4 volumes, Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1966–1971, ISBN 3-7772-6602-7 .


  1. In the writings of Karl Marx
  2. Peter Becher , Jozo Džambo: Same pictures, same words. Austrians and Czechs in the caricature (1848–1948) . Munich 1997, p. 42.