The Czechmate Diary…


A Little bit of history…Czechs in America (Part I) May 3, 2007

Filed under: Czech-American history — Tanja @ 1:53 am

      I found the greatest paper  on the history of Czechs in America!! The article is 82 pages long so I will try to summarize it here a little and pull out the most interesting points:

The most important waves of imigration happened  first after the Battle of White Mountain (1620),  after the revolutionary year 1848,  with the outbreak of WWII1948 (when communists seized power) and in 1968 (Soviet occupation). In  1990 the  national census showed 1,300,000 Czechs living in the US!!! (52% in MW, 22% in the South, 16% in the West and 10% in NW) So I guess there is a lot of us!!!

The first really big wave of Czech immigrants happened in the 1900’s. The Moravians went to TEXAS, some went to WISCONSIN. There they built a city called Tabor (Hello!! It would be nice to know if it’s still there). Czechs preferred Wisconsin over Texas since the weather was similar to their former home and also because Wisconsin already had a large German population. Most Czechs understood German so they just felt more “at home”. Lots of Czechs also ended up in IOWA.

Which US cities seemed most appealing to the Czech immigrants? Well, it looks like we have three winners: Saint Luis(which had the 1st Czech catholic church in the US and also the 1st Czech Sokol – can’t forget about the exercise!!), New York (this is interesting: they all came from Sedlec and all worked in the cigar factory there; I guess the connection is that Sedlec had a cigar factory so they were already skilled) and of course, Chicago. Chicago had a thriving Czech community at one time, with several Czech quarters such as Prague and Pilsen (!!) where the Czech language was used exclusively. In 1920 the city homed 200,000 Czechs!!

To be continued……

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