Czech Americans

Czech Americans
Total population

Czech or Czechoslovak
1,703,930 Americans

0.6% of the US population
Regions with significant populations
Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York Metropolitan Area
American English, Czech
Roman Catholicism, Protestantism
Related ethnic groups
Czechs, Moravians, Silesians, Silesian Americans, Slovaks, Slovak Americans, Sorbs, Sorbian Americans, Poles, Polish Americans,
Number of Czech Americans
Year Number

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 have been governed by a variety of states, including the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Austrian Empire, the Czechoslovak Republic, 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.[6] 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.


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).

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.

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.

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" - Unity of the Brethren bohemicorum, 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.

They 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. They established a number of Moravian 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.

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.[7] 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 fair to assume that the actual number was much higher.


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:[8]

  1. Conway, ND 55.2% [9]
  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 and Weimar, TX 14.3
  42. Crete, NE 14.2%
  43. Park River, ND 14.1%
  44. Ord, NE 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:[10]

  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:

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

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:

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 Czech Americans

See List of Czech Americans


Czech and Slovak Heritage Festival in Parkville, Maryland, October 2014.

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

See also

Further reading

External links


  1. "US Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Decennial Programs, Census 2000, Data Set Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF 3) – Sample Data, Table: PCT18 ANCESTRY (TOTAL CATEGORIES TALLIED) FOR PEOPLE WITH ONE OR MORE ANCESTRY CATEGORIES REPORTED [109] Universe".
  2. "Rank of States for Selected Ancestry Groups with 100,00 or more persons: 1980" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  3. "1990 Census of Population Detailed Ancestry Groups for States" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 18 September 1992. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  4. "Ancestry: 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  5. "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  8. "Ancestry Map of Czech Communities". Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  9. American FactFinder, community facts-Conway City, North Dakota- Origins and languages- Census 2000 Selected Social Characteristics (Household and Family Type, Disability, Citizenship, Ancestry, Language, ...)
  10. "Top 101 cities with the most residents born in Czechoslovakia (includes Czech Republic and Slovakia) (population 500+)". Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  11. "Vitame vas Phillips, Wisconsin Czech-Slovak Festival". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  12. Hillsoboro WI Cesky Den
  13. "NorthEastern Wisconsin CZECH & KOLACHE Festival". Agricultural Heritage & Resources. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  14. "Wilson, KS - Czech Festival". Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  15. "Czech Texans". Texas Almanac. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  16. "Czech Festivals". Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  17. Edita Rybak; Chris Rybak; Bernard Tupa. "Events". Retrieved 2012-07-08.
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