For a good chunk of history, at least according to maps I’ve seen, they mark down the geographical area now known as the Czech Republic as Bohemia. However, after Austria-Hungary disbanded, this area becomes part of Czechoslovakia and then eventually after that, becomes what we now know today as the Czech Republic.
So I guess my question is are Czechs and ‘Bohemians’ essentially the same people/ethnic group but then at one point just decided to change their name? Or did they always refer to themselves as Czechs and Bohemian was just an outsiders way of referring to Czech people?
mousefire55: We Czechs have never referred to ourselves in our native tongue as “Bohemians”. In Czech, we use the words “Čech”, “Český”, and “Čechy” to mean (in English) “Bohemian (person)”, “Bohemian (thing)”, and “Bohemia (place)”, but the first two can also mean “Czech (person)” and “Czech (thing)”. Notably, this means the first two words can *also* refer to Moravians, though I know quite a few that would take offence at being called “Čech” in place of “Moravan” (Moravian)^1.
To address then the etymology of the word *Bohemian* and its uses:
The word *Bohemia* comes from a tribe of Celts, who lived in the area that is now modern day Bavaria and Czechlands, called the *Boii*. Whilst these Celts were displaced by Germanic migration into the area, and then later Slavic migration into the Czechlands, the words “Boius” and “Boioi” endured in Latin and Greek respectively to refer to the area, eventually merging with the Germanic word *haimaz* (meaning “home”) to form the word *Boiohaemum*. Thus, the name *Bohemia* means, literally, “Home of the Boii”. Naturally, Latin being the academic language it was, and nobody really caring what a bunch of peasants called their country, the toponym *Bohemia* entered the English language and was maintained there until the late 19th century, when rising Czech nationalism in the Austro-Hungarian Empire resulted in the name Czech (which is borrowed through Polish into English) displacing the words “Bohemia” and “Bohemian” to refer to all parts of the Kingdom of Bohemia (a sub-section of kinds of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Notably, however, in English the word “Bohemia” is still used to refer to the half of the Czechlands called *Čechy* in our own tongue, as opposed to *Morava* and *Slezsko* (Moravia and Silesia in English respectively).
In Czech, if you use the words *bohém*, *bohémský*, or *bohémství*, you are referring to the French sense of the word “bohemian”, meaning an unconventional or nonconformist person.
1. In Czech, *Čech*, *Český*, *Moravan*, *Moravský*, *bohém*, *bohémský*, *Slezan*, and *Slezský* only refer to males in the singular. For the female versions of these words, we have *Češka*, *Česká*, *Moravanka*, *Moravská*, *bohémka*, *bohémská*, *Slezanka*, and *Slezská*. For the rest of the multitude of cases and their respective plural forms, I advise you to find a dictionary with conjugations online, as we’d be here for the rest of the day conjugating these and explaining each conjugation.