Bohemians are the people of
Bohemia, in the Czech Republic, inhabitants of the former Kingdom of Bohemia, located in the modern day Czech Republic. The name derives from the Latinterm for the Celtic tribe inhabiting that area, the Boii, who were called "Boiohaemum" in the early Middle Ages. The word "Bohemians" was never used by the local Czech (Slavic) population. In Czech, the region since the early Middle Ages has been called only "Čechy" (Bohemia) or "Království české" (Kingdom of Bohemia), and its mainly Czech-speaking inhabitants were called "Češi".
In other European vernaculars and in Latin (as "Bohemi"), the word "Bohemian" or a derivate was used to designate all inhabitants of Bohemia. If the Czech ethnic origin was to be stressed, combinations like "Bohemian of Bohemian language" ("Čech českého jazyka"), "a real Bohemian" ("pravý Čech") etc. were used.
It was not until the 19th century that other European languages began to use the word "Czechs" (in English — "Tschechen" in German, "tchèques" in French) in a deliberate (and successful) attempt to distinguish between Bohemian Slavs and other inhabitants of Bohemia (mostly
Germans). Currently, "Bohemians" is still used when there is need to distinguish between inhabitants of the western part of the Czech Republic (Bohemia), and the eastern part ( Moravia) and the north-eastern part (Silesia).
The term "Bohemian" as related to
Bohemianism- i.e. describing the untraditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, musicians, and actors in major European cities - has little or nothing to do with the above, though, often leading to confusion.
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