Capital: Prague (Praha)
Population: 10.49 million
Size: 30,500 sq. miles
Religion: Largely Roman Catholic
Geopolitical: EU member since 2004
The Czechs have a long and proud history in the State of Tex-as. In Texas’ fight for independence it was a Czech fifer who spurred Texans on to battle at San Jacinto.
The State of Texas is home to one of the largest Czech‐American populations in the US. As many as 750,000 Texans trace at least part of their ancestry to the Czech lands of Bohe-mia and Moravia.
Evidence of this heritage can be seen in annual Texas Czech festivals and celebrations, fraternal organizations, music and cultural programs, Czech‐language newspapers, and publica-tions of books about the Czechs in Texas.
The name “Czech” has two connotations: the people of the province of Cechy, or Bohemia, and the people who use the Czech language, which includes the people of the province of Moravia, in the present‐day Czech Republic. Prior to World War I, they were also known as Bohemians. The name came from the Latin description for the Celtic Warrior tribe who lived in the area, the Boii. Their land was called Bohemia.
The 1850s began the great migration of Czechs to Texas when a Czech named Ar-nost Bergmann settled in the Cat Spring area of Austin County and wrote back to his Czech and Moravian friends, describing the beauty, freedom and opportunities in Texas. This was the beginning of the large influx of Czechs to Texas. These early immigrants were a hard‐working lot and depended on each other for support in times of sickness and for the care of widows and orphans. They brought with them their Old World heritage, and this soon led to the formation of a multitude of mutual aid societies throughout the state.
In 1889, the PTCPS (prvni texasky cesko‐moravsky popporujici spolek – 1st Texas Czech‐Moravian Benevolent Society) split away from the 2nd Roman‐Catholic Cen-tral Society CPS (Cesky podpurna spolek) to form the KJT (Katolicka Jednota Texas-ka, now the Catholic Union of Texas). The CSPS had similar growing pains and in 1897 twenty‐five units broke away to form the SPJST (Slovanska Podporujici Jedno-ta Statu Texas).
The 20th century brought with it a new demand for the struggling immigrants: aid for the cause of Czechoslovak freedom during World War I. In addition to the estab-lished Czech aid societies, this need brought about the formation of new organiza-tions. Two of these were the CNS (Ceske Narodni Sdruzeni, Czech National Alliance), with 87 chapters organized in Texas, and the Vcelky (Bees, a Czech women’s sewing and kni ng society to make sweaters and other items for soldiers in the Allied coun-tries), with chapters in Dallas, Nelsonville, Novy Tabor and Rosenberg.
Czech organizations in Texas by 1950 included: CESAT (Czech Ex‐Students Associa-tion of Texas, formerly the Cechy Ex‐Students Association of Texas, formerly the Cechy Club at UT), CNS (Ceske Narodni Sdruzeni), CSPS (Cesko‐Slovanska Popporu-jici Spolecnost), KD (Katolicky Cesko‐Americky Delnik), KJT (Katolicka Jednota Tex-aska: http://www.kjtnet.org/), KJZT (Ceska Rimsko‐Katolicka Jednota Zen Tex-askych: h p://www.catholicfamilyfraternal.com/), NSCK (Narodni Svaz Ceskych Katoliku), IRKUJ (Prvni Rimska Katolicka Ustredni Jednota), RPJSI (Rolnicka Pod-porujici Jednota Sv. Isadora), RVOS (Rolnicky Vzajemme Ochranny Spolek ze Texas: P.O. Box 6106, Temple TX 76503‐6106, 1‐800‐792‐3084; http://www.rvos.com), SOKOL (physical fitness/cultural/social organization: h p://www.american‐sokol.org/), SPJST (Slovanska Popporujici Jednota Statu Texas: http://www.spjst.com), SVPS (Slovansky Vzajemni Pojistujici Spolek Proti Ohni a Bouri), Vcelky, and the ZCBJ (Zapadni Cesko‐Bratrska Jednota). Texans of Czech Ancestry (http://www.czechs.org/pages/toca.html), and Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Cen-ter (Box 6, La Grange TX 78945; http://www.czechTexas.org), Texas Czech Genea-logical Society in Ennis (http://www.brazosport.cc.tx.us/~czech) and the Tex-asCzechs email group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/texasczechs/), Texas Dis-trict of National Alliance of Czech Catholics, www.TDNACC.org