Czech Republic Population - History

Czech Republic Population - History


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Czech Republic

Algeria is a land made up almost exclusively of Arabs who are Muslim. Most Algerians are decendants of the Berbers. Arabic is the primary language of Algeria, with French and Berber spoken by large minorities.
POPULATION GRAPH
Population:
10,235,455 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.4% (male 755,098/female 714,703)
15-64 years: 71.2% (male 3,656,021/female 3,629,036)
65 years and over: 14.5% (male 576,264/female 904,333) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.3 years
male: 37.5 years
female: 41.1 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.06% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
9.02 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
10.59 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.89 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.24 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.22 years
male: 72.94 years
female: 79.69 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.21 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,500 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 10 (2001 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Czech(s)
adjective: Czech
Ethnic groups:
Czech 90.4%, Moravian 3.7%, Slovak 1.9%, other 4% (2001 census)
Religions:
Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59% (2001 census)
Languages:
Czech
Literacy:
definition: NA
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)


People of the Czech Republic

Czechs make up roughly two-thirds of the population. The Moravians consider themselves to be a distinct group within this majority. A small Slovak minority remains from the Czechoslovakian federal period. An even smaller Polish population exists in northeastern Moravia, and some Germans still live in northwestern Bohemia. Roma (Gypsies) constitute a still smaller but distinct minority, having resisted assimilation for the most part.


The historical regions to 1918

The part of Europe that constitutes the modern states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia was settled first by Celtic, then by Germanic, and finally by Slavic tribes over the course of several hundred years. The major political and historical regions that emerged in the area—Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia—coexisted, with a constantly changing degree of political interdependence, for more than a millennium before combining to form the modern state of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Each was subject to conquest each underwent frequent shifts of population and periodic religious upheavals and at times at least two of the three were governed by rival rulers. Bohemia and Moravia—the constituent regions of the Czech Republic—maintained close cultural and political ties and in fact were governed jointly during much of their history. Slovakia, however, which bordered on the Little Alfold (Little Hungarian Plain), was ruled by Hungary for almost 1,000 years and was known as Upper Hungary for much of the period before 1918. Thus, the division of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992 was based on long-standing historical differences.


Prague Culture and Population Demographics

Prague is a cultural hot spot and hosts many international events. It is a popular place for foreign visitors. It seems also a good place for foreigners to settle with 14% of Prague’s inhabitants being foreign.

Prague is an aging city – the oldest in the Czech Republic in fact. The older population is increasing faster than that of children.

Interestingly, over 44% of the male population in Prague are single.

In a recent census of the people over Prague, 46% did not disclose a religion, but of those that did, three-fifths are Roman Catholics. Many notable people from history have born, died or lived in Prague. It has been a popular place for writers and composers which is indicated across the city.


Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Demographic situation

The Czech Republic has an area of 78 866 sq. km and a population of 10 707 839 (30 September 2020). The country is characterised by a high number of usually small municipalities and a relatively even distribution of population. The capital (Prague) has 1 million 331,5 thousand inhabitants (30 September 2020) and there are 5 other cities with a population of over 100 thousand.

Demographic development

Demographic development in the post-war period was uneven. This was largely due to government measures aimed at increasing the birth rate, e.g. by giving preferential treatment in the allocation of flats to families with children, by extending the length of the maternity leave period, by offering favourable loans to newly married couples.

After 1989, the demographic processes were brought into line with the West European pattern: life expectancy has increased, the birth rate has fallen, the ages at marriage and the age of women at the birth of their first child have risen. New methods of contraception were made available to women. In 1996 the total fertility rate (average number of children per woman) fell below 1.2, from a level of 1.89 in 1990. It was not until 2004 that fertility exceeded 1.2 children per woman and the number of children born rose to over 100 thousand. This increase in fertility and natality was primarily due to the fact that large 70's cohorts reached reproductive age. In the period 2008–2010 the fertility rate was around 1.5 children per woman. Since then, the fertility has been slightly increasing (1,71 children per woman in 2019). In 2019, 112.2 thousand children were born in the Czech Republic the average age of mothers at the birth of their first child has been steadily increasing since the 1990s, reaching 28.5 years in 2019. The proportion of births outside marriage has also increased significantly since the 1990s (48 % in 2019). The life expectancy at birth has a steadily increasing trend it was 76.3 years in men and 82.1 years in women in 2019.

Impact on education

Irregularity of demographic development results in fluctuations of numbers of pupils/students at different educational levels which may cause capacity problems in schools. The decline in fertility in the 1990s has led to decreasing numbers of pupils at the upper secondary schools (střední školy) in recent years. In 2018, the number of pupils at first grades of upper secondary schools started to grow for the first time since 1990. According to analyses, the increase, although still moderate, should continue for the following approx. 10 years. The largest segment of upper secondary education consists of pupils in vocational upper secondary education with Maturita examination (approximately 44 %). At tertiary level, there has been a decreasing trend of total number of both students and new entrants lasting one decade already. In contrast, at the basic schools (základní školy) the number of children is increasing since 2010.

The capacity of schools at pre-primary level reflects significant legislative changes in recent years. With effect from 1 September 2017, the compulsory final year of pre-primary education was introduced. Since 2018, three-year-olds have also been eligible for a place in nursery school (mateřská škola). This has led to a lack of places in nursery schools, especially in and around large cities. The capacity of nursery schools varies considerably regionally. According to the Czech School Inspectorate, the lack of places is most noticeable in Prague, Brno, and the Central Bohemian Region (Středočeský kraj), but in some regions, however, places are abundant. According to the law, the responsibility for missing places lies primarily with the organising bodies of nursery schools, which are most often municipalities and towns or city districts, respectively.

Demographic population ageing

The Czech Republic, like some other European countries, is facing demographic population ageing. In 2019, the pre-productive population part (0–14 years) represented 16 %, the productive part (15–64 years) 64.1 % and the post-productive (65 years and more) 19.9 % of the total population. According to the development forecast, the population will be ageing mainly due to higher age groups, i.e. the number of elderly people will increase while the proportion of the productive part of population will decrease.

The proportion of foreigners with residence permits in the Czech Republic (permanent and long-term stays, without refugees) was 5.5 % of the population in 2019. Ukrainians, Slovaks, Vietnamese, and Russians are the largest groups.

Distribution of the population by age

Population (in %) 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2018 2019
0–14 18.3 16.2 14.6 14.4 15.4 15.9 16.0
15–64 68.4 69.9 71.1 70.1 66.3 64.5 64.1
65 and more 13.3 13.9 14.2 15.5 18.3 19.6 19.9
Total 10 321 344 10 232 027 10 251 079 10 532 770 10 578 820 10 649 800 10 693 939

Note: As of 31 December of the given year.

Source: Czech Statistical Office

Czech Republic Population Pyramid 2019

Source: Czech Statistical Office

Vital and employment statistics

1) Population aged 15 + Source: Labour Force Sample Survey (LFSS).

Source: Czech Statistical Office

Legislation and Bibliography:

Official and minority languages

The official language is Czech, which belongs to the western Slavic family of languages. Regional dialects do not possess the status of a language and as groups of people using dialects are small dialect is not a problem in schools.

People have freedom to declare their membership of a national minority and their enjoyment of the related rights. Traditional national minorities include Slovaks, Poles and Germans. Moravians and Silesians speak Czech.

The Roma are an ethnic minority. Their precise number cannot be defined as it depends on whether individuals declare themselves to be Roma or not. In the 2011 official census (5 135 persons declared themselves to be Roma) the number was one half of that in the previous census the qualified estimate is 240 thousand people.

Information about education of minorities is available in Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education in Chapter 12.

Legislation and Bibliography:

Religions

The State is denominationally neutral, which means that there is no official religion. Freedom of religion is granted and everybody has the right to express their own religion or belief.

The traditionally low number of people practising religions has decreased further, following a short period of growth after 1989. In the 2011 census 14 % of all inhabitants claimed that they belong to a denomination, another 7 % declared themselves as believers who do not belong to a denomination. The rest of the people are non-believers (34 %) or did not answer the question (45 %). However, sociological research has repeatedly confirmed that the issue of low religiosity in the Czech population is more complicated. A large proportion of Czechs (between 40 and 50%) believe in some form of transcendence (God as strength, spirit, or energy).

Due to historical developments (the reformation movement at the beginning of the 15th century and the strong counter-reformation associated with the arrival of the Habsburg dynasty which resulted in forcible massive re-catholicisation after 1627), the Roman Catholic Church (74 % of all believers) is the biggest church. The Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren and the Czechoslovak Hussite Church are the other two most important churches. As of January 2021, there were 42 churches and religious societies registered (the condition for registration is a minimum of 300 adult followers).

Schools only opened up to religious influences after 1989, both in the curriculum (re-introduction of a possibility to teach religion as a subject, and the introduction of information on churches into history and civic education), and in organisation (the establishment of denominational schools, abolishing quantitative restrictions on theological studies). Religious education at public schools is governed by law – see details in Framework Education Programme for Basic Education in Chapter 5. Information on denominational schools see in Organisation of Private Education in Chapter 2.


A Historical Look at Czech Chicagoland

Like most ethnic groups that immigrated to America, the Czechs (sometimes called Bohemians) came here for a better life. America was known as the land of opportunity and prosperity, and large numbers of Czech émigrés found both in Chicago.

During the mid-19th century, people living in the Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia were under the rule of the Habsburg Empire. This made the people subjects of a monarchy whose official religion was Roman Catholic and whose official language was German. Most Czech émigrés fled their native country in search of religious and political freedom and to achieve economic prosperity. Later, during the Cold War era, a main reason for Czech emigration was the desire to escape communism.

Chicago was the destination for many of these newly arrived immigrants. After the arrival of Chicago’s earliest Czech settlers in the 1850s, many sent letters back to the old country extending Pozdrav z Chicaga, and boasting of available land, plentiful jobs, religious freedom, and the prospect of entrepreneurship, opportunities that did not exist in their native land.

During the 1860s, Chicago was on the fast track to becoming the premier metropolis of the Midwest. Strategically located on the Great Lakes, Chicago served as a hub for railroads and in time became a giant in industry and commerce. There was an abundance of employment opportunities for newly arrived immigrants in the stockyards, lumber yards, and the hundreds of factories located within the Chicago area. However, life in Chicago was not easy. Like all urban areas of the time, the city was dirty, the neighborhoods were overcrowded and unsanitary, and the oppressive working conditions were unsafe for the tens of thousands of immigrants who labored long hours at low-wage jobs. Czechs were at the center of the struggle of workers to organize and form labor unions that fought for higher wages and improved working conditions in Chicago.

The immigrant neighborhoods of Chicago were very insular their inhabitants preferred to live, worship (if they so desired), socialize, and do business with people from their same ethnic group. Chicago’s Czechs settled together in areas where housing was affordable and their native language and customs could be understood by others around them. Religion also played a part in the decision of where some Czech immigrants would settle within the city. Czechs of the Catholic faith organized St. Wenceslaus church in 1863, and had the building constructed by 1866 on Des Plaines and De Koven Streets on the city’s near west side. This area, just outside of the downtown district in the vicinity of 12th and Canal Streets, was known as Praha. While the neighborhood name is no longer used in Chicago, the area itself would forever be remembered as the originating point of the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871. It was that historic conflagration which would displace many of Praha’s residents to the lower west side in the vicinity of 18th Street and Blue Island Avenue, an area that would become known as Pilsen.

After the fire, Pilsen began developing overnight. Land ownership was particularly important to the Czechs, who equated it with wealth, and Bohemian real estate men sold lots to families, who built small houses of wood or brick on the rear sections of the lots. Bohemian men started building and loan organizations where savers could pool their money together. Members could then borrow money to build more substantial brick structures on the front of their lots, which could house small businesses and apartments. These enterprising homeowners were able to use the money generated by rents to pay off their properties at an advanced rate. Many Bohemians started small businesses such as saloons, grocery and meat markets, and other retail establishments, where fellow immigrants living in close proximity to the businesses could shop for their daily needs. By the late 1870s, Pilsen was exploding with growth, and the neighborhood’s main business district, 18th Street, was sprouting new businesses every day.

The Czech community in Chicago was divided by religion. Many immigrants rejected the Catholic religion once they arrived in America. Some opted for Protestant churches but many identified themselves as Freethinkers or Rationalists. One source estimated that one-third to one-half of the immigrants turned away from Catholicism another source estimated as many as 70% of the Czechs in Chicago considered themselves non-religious, i.e., neither Catholic nor Protestant. This dichotomy resulted in parallel institutions developing among the Czechs, and the Pilsen neighborhood exemplified this division. Pilsen saw the building of churches across the religious spectrum, including Protestant churches, Catholic churches like St. Vitus and St. Procopius, which was established in 1875 on 18th and Allport Streets, and even a Jewish synagogue. The Bohemian Freethinkers (Svobodná Obec), founded in 1870, offered secular baptisms, marriages and funerals for their followers. In 1877, they led Czech fraternal organizations in establishing the non-sectarian Bohemian National Cemetery at the corner of Crawford (now Pulaski Road) and Foster Avenues.

Czech immigrants were in the forefront in establishing fraternal and benevolent societies to help preserve their culture and serve as safety nets for families stricken by unemployment, illness, or death. These institutions, too, broke down along religious lines, Catholic and non-Catholic. One of the largest national organizations, originally founded by Freethinkers, C.S.P.S., or Česko-Slovanský Podporující Spolek (Czech Slavic Benevolent Society) had its building on 18th & May Streets. The C.S.P.S. survives to this day as CSA Fraternal Life, headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook. Gymnastic Sokol organizations were also very popular: Plzenský Sokol was established in 1879 on 18th Street and Ashland Avenue. The slogan of the Sokol movement was “a sound spirit in a sound body.”

With businesses, churches, and organizations established, the Pilsen Bohemian colony became an intricately woven, self-sustaining community where the people had little need to travel outside the confines of their neighborhood. This inspired the residents of Pilsen to reach out to their friends and relatives back home and encourage them to come to America. Pilsen would serve as a port of entry for newly arrived Czechs from the old country into the turn of the twentieth century.

By the dawn of the twentieth century, the Czechs had done much to establish themselves in the city of Chicago. The flow of new immigrants continued, and early Czech settlers were assimilating and becoming more and more ingrained into the fiber of America. Czech immigrants tended to be more literate than many other ethnic groups—97% of those who arrived after 1890 could read and write in their native language—and they highly valued formal education. The children of early immigrants received a quality education, and some even sought higher education in the colleges, universities, law, and medical schools of the city. Culture and art were also flourishing in the Bohemian community at this time. In Pilsen, Thalia Hall, built in 1892 at 18th and Allport Streets, served as a venue for Czech theatrical productions and other important cultural events for the community. Česká Beseda (Bohemia Club), founded in 1899, was located at 3659 W. Douglas Boulevard in the Lawndale neighborhood by 1912. Chicago’s Czech elite, as well as the visiting Czech elite of the rest of the United States and Czech lands, frequented the club. This was the place for its refined members to celebrate and enjoy literature, drama, and music by the most celebrated and talented Czech artists. By 1900, the Chicago Czech community supported six nonprofessional acting troupes and one professional company, Ludvík’s Theatrical Troupe. Czech newspapers also flourished, and editors were among the most influential voices in the community. The newspapers, like other institutions, reflected the beliefs of the community: there were different newspapers for Catholics, Socialists, Freethinkers, Independents, etc. So prolific were the presses that there were even newsletters or gazettes for special interest groups, including feminists and farmers. It was said that every cause had its own Bohemian press—except for the cause of Prohibition.

With Chicago’s landscape continually expanding, and the Bohemian people becoming upwardly mobile, it was natural for their community to grow. At the turn of the twentieth century, Bohemians began their westward migration to what could become known as Česká Kalifornie (Czech California) in the vicinity of 26th Street and California Avenue. Chicago's long established Pilsen district to the east of the neighborhood was becoming too crowded for many of its Bohemian residents. There were also many first-generation Bohemian-American children of immigrants who were achieving economic success and wanted to own their own homes, which served as the ultimate symbol of owning a piece of the New World. Česká Kalifornie, or Lawndale-Crawford as the neighborhood was also known, was still largely undeveloped and had an abundance of land to build new housing. The other great advantage of Czech California was its close proximity to many manufacturing plants that provided steady, well-paying employment to willing, hard-working Bohemians.

It did not take long for the word to spread. The Bohemian people wanted to live among their countrymen, and once they heard of the advantages and prosperity of Czech California, they began migrating there in large numbers. At a time of growing anti-immigrant bias and nativist sentiment in the United States, these new arrivals did not sit well with many of Lawndale-Crawford's original settlers, and the Bohemians were not given a warm welcome and were looked upon with distrust and prejudice. The neighborhood’s first settlers felt threatened by this group who spoke a different language, had funny-sounding names, and, worst of all, drank beer. As a result, many of the neighborhood’s original settlers moved away, and by World War One, the Bohemians had become the dominant ethnic group in Czech California.

The Czech California neighborhood expanded westward to include the small communities of Lawndale and Crawford in the vicinity of 26th Street and Crawford Avenue (Pulaski Road). Ethnic-themed businesses now lined 26th Street and every other commercial district in the area. “Česká Kalifornie” was now known as the center of Czech life, culture, and business in Chicago. The neighborhood was plentiful in theatres, Sokols, (Sokol Chicago and Sokol Havliček-Tyrš), halls, churches, and schools. Czech California had several first-class public elementary and high schools, including Farragut and Harrison Technical. The neighborhood also had two Bohemian Freethinker schools: Vojta Náprstek, which was built in 1911 at 2548 S. Homan Avenue, and Jan Neruda, located at 2659 S. Karlov, built in 1912.

The greatest single wave of Czech immigration to the United States happened in the decade 1900-1910, when more than 95,000 Czechs arrived in the United States. Where earlier immigrants had come from mostly rural areas and small towns, these were predominantly urban Czechs, skilled workers who could read and write. While Czechs eagerly embraced their adopted country, they did not forget their homeland, and when World War One broke out, many Czech immigrants and first-generation Czech-American young men volunteered to fight for the independence of their homeland, either with the Czech legionnaires (draftees who deserted from the army of the Austro-Hungarian rulers of the Czech lands) or the American Army. On May 5th, 1918, Professor Tomáš G. Masaryk, who would become the first president of the newly formed Czechoslovakia after the war, came to Chicago to rally American political leaders and Chicago’s Czech people to support his vision of an independent, democratic Czechoslovakia. This historic visit raised awareness of the cause of oppressed people throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including the Czech and Slovak peoples. At the end of the Great War, the Czech people, after 400 years of foreign rule, finally had their own country, with the birth of Czechoslovakia.

Being a very civic-minded people, the Bohemians readily entered the political arena at the city and state levels. Bohemians gained prominent positions within local government andcivic organizations. In the early decades of the twentieth century, the Czech districts of Chicago, which included Pilsen, Lawndale-Crawford, Merigold (Nový Tábor), and Town of Lake, were represented by Bohemian aldermen and other city officials. In 1907, Adolph Sabath was elected to represent a district of Chicago in the U.S. House of Representatives, an office he held until 1952. There were also Czechs in important positions in county government, serving as judges, police and fire officials, as well as others like John Cervenka, who was elected Treasurer of the City of Chicago in 1923, and John Toman, who was elected Sheriff of Cook County in 1934. The pinnacle of the Czechs’ climb to the top of Chicago's political world was the 1931 election of Czech California resident Antonin Josef Čermák as Mayor of Chicago. Anton Cermak was a brilliant politician who was the architect of what would become the Chicago Democratic machine. Czechs and other immigrant groups in Chicago rallied around Cermak, ensuring his victory over the incumbent mayor “Big Bill” Thompson. Anton Cermak changed the face of Chicago politics, his impact carrying forward into the 21st century. The Czech community, as well as the rest of Chicago, was stunned and devastated by his assassination in 1933. Soon after his murder, the City of Chicago paid tribute to their beloved slain mayor by renaming 22nd Street, Cermak Road this particular street was chosen for the honor because of its path through the Czech neighborhoods of Chicagoland.

Numbering only 10,000 in 1870, the population of Czech immigrants and second-generation descendants in Chicago had grown to around 200,000 by 1920. Czech owners and managers could be found in virtually every trade and business, including building firms, restaurants, grocery stores, jewelry stores, photography studios, real estate companies, music studios, law firms, lumber yards, travel companies, and import-export firms. By 1924, 15 state and federal banks in Chicago were controlled by Czechs they also controlled more than half of the assets of Chicago’s building and loan associations. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Czech Chicagoland community had reached its pinnacle. During this time, immigration had slowed and Czechs were moving farther west to the newer sub-divisions in the suburban areas of the

Town of Cicero and City of Berwyn. The Czechs saw this area as a new land of opportunity. There was plenty of land to build modern housing and establish businesses that would no doubt be successful with the large amounts of people moving there. In Cicero, manufacturing plants such as the Western Electric Hawthorne Works provided many jobs to the new ethnic middle class of the Chicago area. The Czechs helped build Cicero and Berwyn into world-class modern cities. The main commercial district of Cermak Road became a shopping destination for Czechs all over the Chicago area and was home to some of the most significant buildings in the Czech community, such as the Sokol Slávský building on Cermak Road and Lombard Avenue in Cicero. Berwyn and Cicero were also home to highly rated schools that educated generations of Czechs. Many of these students went on to attend institutions of higher learning and joined the professional ranks of working people in the Chicago area. These suburbs were the pride of Czech-American people, being home to tens of thousands of multi-generational Czech families, and it was the aspiration of many to move there. It was often said, “If you were a Czech living in Berwyn, you had made it.” The Czech people were well-known for keeping immaculately maintained homes, and their frugality, especially after the Great Depression, was legendary in the Chicago area. Some Czechs moved further west to suburbs like Brookfield, while more affluent Czechs settled in Riverside and Oak Park. Like they did in their old neighborhoods, Czechs sought out and won elected offices in Cicero and Berwyn, including that of mayor. In the decades following the 1920s, Cicero saw mayors with the Czech last names of Klenha, Stedronsky, and Sandusky. For nearly half of the 20th century, Berwyn saw Czech mayors run their city with names like Janda, Novotny, Janura, Mraz, Kriz, Dolezal, and Vacin.

The Cicero and Berwyn area continued as the new center of the Czech-American community well into the 1980s, while the Czech populations in the old neighborhoods of Pilsen and Czech California began to diminish in the 1960s, and were mostly gone by the late 1970s. The story of Czechs in Chicagoland is the quintessential American immigration story of people coming to the New World for a better life and achieving their goal. In fact, Czech immigration continues in Chicago today. Young immigrants arrive here regularly from the Czech Republic to work and attend schools in Chicago.

While there are still a number of Czechs living in Cicero and Berwyn, most have moved further west and beyond, having assimilated into the great melting pot of people and cultures of America. The descendants of Chicago’s Czech immigrants are very proud of their heritage and accomplishments, and some still belong to organizations where their Czech culture, traditions, and history are celebrated and kept alive for future generations. There are annual picnics, Czech women’s clubs, Czech men’s lodges, dance groups, and Sokols. Old organizations like Česká Beseda, the Bohemian Lawyers Association, and the Czechoslovak Garden Club are still active and newer organizations like the Moravian Cultural Society, the Czech and Slovak American Genealogical Society of Illinois, and Friends of Bohemian National Cemetery (a group dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the cemetery), are coming into their own.

The establishment of a Czech American Community Center in the Chicago area will provide a much-needed center where these various groups can hold their meetings and host events for the wider public. We ask for your support and financial assistance in this historic venture. Be part of the continuing history of Czech Chicagoland.


Czechs

The Czech people are the largest ethnic group in the country with its population accounting for 63.7% of the country’s population, translating to 6.7 million people. The group was initially called the Bohemians because of their initial settlement in Bohemia during the late Iron Age. However, they migrated into the various modern day settlements in the 20th century. Czechs are also found in US, UK, Italy, Germany, and Canada. Czechs are believed to have been brought into the Czech Republic by their forefather Cech or by Václav Havel who established a dynasty that ruled for 400 years up to 1306. Some of the notable figures associated to Czechs include Charles IV, a Holy Roman Emperor, Vaclav Hava who was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of Czech Republic. Czechs are famous for sports, music, art and literature. The ethnic group lives mainly in three regions of Czech Republic, namely Bohemia, Czech Silesia, and Moravia.


The Geography of Czech Republic

Total Size: 78,866 square km

Size Comparison: slightly smaller than South Carolina

Geographical Coordinates: 49 45 N, 15 30 E

World Region or Continent: Europe

General Terrain: Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country

Geographical Low Point: Elbe River 115 m

Geographical High Point: Snezka 1,602 m

Climate: temperate cool summers cold, cloudy, humid winters

Major cities: PRAGUE (capital) 1.162 million (2009), Brno, Ostrava


10 Facts About Refugees in the Czech Republic


Although the current refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII, the uptick of Syrian refugees coming into Europe in 2015 has been continuously met with hostility from post-communist Central European countries, such as the Czech Republic. Discussed below are the leading facts about refugees in the Czech Republic and their implications.

10 Key Facts about Refugees in the Czech Republic

  1. The Czech President, Miloš Zeman, opposes the quota system (which is based on a country’s population and wealth) proposed by the EU but has not yet followed Slovakia and Hungary in challenging the courts. Rather than meeting the quota to take in about 2,600 refugees, Czech leaders are now discussing broader security steps.
  2. The Czech Republic, along with Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have the most opposition towards the quotas set by the EU.
  3. Before the Syrian refugee crisis, there was only one detention center located in Bělá-Jezová. There are now three the center located in Bělá-Jezová has been dedicated to vulnerable migrants, such as families with women and children.
  4. Under the 2015 EU relocation quota, the Czech Republic has to accept around 4,300 people seeking asylum, which is about 410 refugees per one million of its population.
  5. In 2015, 3,644 people made up the population of refugees in the Czech Republic.
  6. In 2016, 1,475 people applied for internal protection. The government granted asylum to 148 applicants and subsidiary protection for 302 people.
  7. President Zeman has stated, “Our country simply cannot afford to risk terrorist attacks like what occurred in France and Germany. By accepting migrants we would create fertile ground for barbaric attacks,” according to his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek.
  8. The Czech Republic accepted 12 refugees and does not plan to take in anymore according to Interior Minister Milan Choyanec. The EU may take action against the Czech Republic in September if they continue to deny refugees.
  9. Since May 2016, there has been no offer of resettlement by the Czechs for any refugee within the EU program.
  10. President Zeman has stated that all refugees must prove that they are politically persecuted if they seek asylum and “the fact itself that they come from a country in which fighting is underway is no reason for being granted it.”


Although these facts are disheartening, the Czech Republic maintains its embassy in Damascus, Syria. The Czech Republic will also continue to provide humanitarian aid to Syria, as well as provide help for refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.


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