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Czechs (outdated Bohemia , Czech : Češi ) are a West Slavic ethnic group . Their ethnonym gives their name to the Czech Republic , where almost ten million citizens declared themselves “Czechs” in the last census . In addition, there are Czech minorities in the United States , Germany , Canada , France , the United Kingdom , Slovakia , Croatia , Austria , Romania , Poland and other countries in Europe and America .


After a pedigree say the self-designation of the Czech people of the mythical ancestor is Čech [tschech] derived, which should have led the Czechs at the time of immigration to the new home. The oldest version of this legend was handed down by the chronicler Cosmas of Prague in his Chronica Boemorum around 1120 .

According to one theory, the word “Czech” (Čech, [tschech]) is related to today's word “člověk” ([tschlowjek], human, compare to this day “tschelovek” in Russian); the "ch" (in Czech, "ch" is considered a separate letter and sound) is an archaic suffix that denotes people. It is still used occasionally today e.g. As in words like "staroch" instead of "Stařeč" (old man) and "broke" instead of "bratr" (brother).

According to another theory, the Czechs , like the Saxons , are derived from the original nomadic peoples customary name in this area, who called themselves Saken in Latin , while člověk is associated with Slavs (Slovaks).

Furthermore, there is an ancient example, on which later educational institutions oriented themselves in the naming of ethnic groups, as far as a connection to the name of one of the oldest Etruscan cities Chiusi , which was called Clevsi by the Etruscans , can be made. Another clue is the name of a village in Slovenia Klavže , whose Italian name is Chiusa .

Ethnic groups

Within the Czech population there are ethnic groups such as B. the Moravians (ethnic group) , the Czech Silesians and the Chods .

Some of the Moravians and the Silesians see themselves as an independent people . In the 2011 census , 630,897 people declared themselves to be Moravian (108,423 of them in a linguistic combination, the majority as "Moravian-Czech"). In the 2001 census, 11,000 people professed their Silesian nationality.


The Slavs immigrated in two waves in the second half of the 6th century and in the first half of the 7th century from their previously eastern settlement areas to the area of ​​today's Czech Republic , which had previously been populated by Elbe Germans (especially Marcomanni ) and Nariska . After the conquest of the land, the various West Slavic tribes later merged into one people, which also included the Marcomanni remaining in Bohemia (last traces of Germanic settlement in Bohemia in the 7th century). The Western Slavs first formed the Samo Empire in the 7th century , while the Moravians - who are often Czechs today - formed Greater Moravia in the 10th century . The direct predecessor of today's Czech state probably originated at the end of the 9th century. It became part of the Holy Roman Empire , yet it was largely independent until 1620 ( Battle of the White Mountain ).

The Czechs received their independence as an independent nation in 1918 together with the Slovaks ( Czechoslovakia ), which was split into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the Slovak Republic, which was dependent on Germany , from 1939 to 1945 , re-established as a communist state in 1948 and in 1993 with the creation of The Czech Republic and Slovakia were finally split in two.

For a very long time the Czech population concentrated exclusively on what is now the Czech Republic. From the 13th century there were also smaller Czech enclaves in the area around Zhytomyr and from around 1600 around Lviv (both located in today's Ukraine ) and from the beginning of the industrial revolution to 1945 also in Volhynia . In addition, there are still larger emigrant colonies in the USA to this day. Since the expulsion of the German Bohemians and German Moravians (who were recruited as settlers to Bohemia by Czech rulers, especially in the 13th century) after the Second World War, Czechs have also formed the majority of the population in the Sudetenland, which was previously mainly inhabited by Germans .


The Czechs speak the Czech language , a West Slavic language closely related to the Polish , Slovak, and Sorbian languages. It is written in Latin script .

Religious affiliation

In the last census in 2011 (which also included citizens other than Czech nationality), 44.7% of the respondents gave no information about their religious affiliation. 34.5% described themselves as unbelievers and 6.7% as religious and non-denominational. Most of those questioned who belonged to a religious community described themselves as Roman Catholic (10.5% of the population), along with Protestants and the Czechoslovak Hussite Church (both around 0.5%). The followers of other denominations and religions made up a total of 2.4%.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. -ek is a Pannonian as well as Basque and Ossetian suffix and corresponds to the German -er (German er )
  2. Romanesque name
  3. Note Clevsi / Clev esi / člověk and sound shift towards regionally typical throat sounds as a replacement for / tsch /, / sch / and sometimes / s /
  4. Note the Etruscan city names such as Velc (Vulci), Volsinii etc., from which the names of the Wallachians , such as the German word people and the Macedonian people for wolf, are derived.
  5. / ch / or / sh / with / k /; from člověk or Slav
  6. K moravské národnosti se při sčítání přihlásilo přes půl milionů lidí na
  7. Data from the Czech Statistical Office The population by age, religion and gender (in Czech).