Croats in the Czech Republic
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Croats are one of the 12 recognized minorities in the Czech Republic. They number 850 – 2,000. They have the right to use the Croatian language in communication with Czech authorities and government according to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms of the Czech Republic. They form a portion of the 29% minority in the Czech Republic. They live primarily in Moravia, in the villages of Jevišovka (Frielištof), Dobré Pole (Dobro Polje) and Nový Přerov (Nova Prerava).
The ancestors of the Croats in the Czech Republic arrived in the 1500s from central Croatia, fleeing before the Ottoman Turks. The period of their settling is at the same time as the arrival of the Croats to Austria, Hungary and Slovakia, who are called the Burgenland Croats. The migration of the Croats to Moravia got the attention of ethnographers, linguists, and historians in that era. The first mention of Croats was at the end of the eighteenth century. They tried to explain the reasons for the migration of the Croats from their ancestral homeland. They believed that the colonization of the Croats started from the Croatian regions south of the Kupa and Petrova Gora, better known as Banska Krajina [or today Banovina], was summarized by Adolf Turek.
The Czech Croats lived without a main settlement in parts of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Austria. Once, it used to be a continuous string of villages, especially the so-called "Croatian Corridor", assimilation and repression was brought onto the local Croats which directly affected the ties of the Czech Croats with the other Croatians in the Diaspora, especially the Burgenland Croatians. In fact, this corridor was known as link a between the Western Slavs and the Southern Slavs, more precisely, Slovene-Croat-Serb state or later, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and Czechoslovakia itself. Croat-Prague student groups thought of the idea of a "Slavic corridor" that went between Bratislava and Varazdin. Later, idea of a "Croatian corridor" was given life and personally published by Stjepan Radić. This idea as well as others that were national orientation, and started by the Croats ended ingloriously. However it did allow the creation of the Burgenland, the cradle of the Burgenland Croatians in neighboring Austria.
A saying of the Czech Croats was "We are a people of three languages." Of all the national minorities, only the Croats were trilingual. They spoke German, and Czech and nurtured Croatian at home. Considering that they often used Czech and German in schools, churches, public administration, the grammar and vocabulary of the Moravian Croats did not remain untouched. The Croatian Cakavian and Ikavian language was mixed with loan words of both Czech and German origins. Croatian is not studied in Czech schools, so the majority younger generation does not speak it. The older generation of Czech Croats preserved the language, culture, and customs by gathering in organizations and reading magazines in Croatian.
- Pavlicevic, Dragutin (1994). Moravski Hrvati.