Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chekh, or Czech, the national name of the westernmost branch of the Slav race, occupying the greater part of Bohemia and the whole of Moravia, and numbering (1890) 5,250,000. The Chekhs were noted in mediaeval times for their extreme fanaticism, shown both in politics (thus, town councillors were hurled from the windows of the municipal palace, Prague), and especially in religion (e.g. the bodies of the slain were used as weapons by the survivors in the Hussite wars). Then followed a long period of apathy and debasement, during which they became almost Teutonised. But since the revival of the national spirit [Bohemia] a great change has taken place, and the Chekh element has now become one of the leading factors in the political and social life of the Austrian Empire. In appearance the Chekhs have been largely assimilated to their German neighbours, from whom they differ chiefly in their more prominent cheek-bones, more deep-set eyes, taller figures, and darker complexion. The brain pan also is much larger, and so far as this is a test of mental capacity the Chekhs rank amongst the most intellectual peoples of Europe. The language, which has been cultivated since the tenth century, forms with Polish the Slovak of North Hungary, and the Sorb (Wendish) of Lusatia, the western division of the Slavonic branch of the Aryan family. It has undergone great structural changes since the eighth century, from which period dates its oldest monuments, the famous Kralovdor and Zelenohora MSS., discovered in 1817. It possesses a copious literature, abounding in historical, religious, and poetical works, and is now freely used in scientific treatises. The so-called "Gothic" character, formerly used with little method, was set aside for the Roman in 1830, when the whole orthographic system was thoroughly reformed and greatly simplified.