Please join us for a virtual talk by Dr. Martin Nekola as he discusses the history of the Czech people building a life in the U.S.
Thousands of people dreamed of leaving poor Bohemian lands, crossing the ocean and entering the country of endless hope. Around 1506, the first news about America in the Czech language had spread across Bohemia and was received with great interest. In 1585, the alchemist and metallurgist Joachim Gans from Prague arrived, as part of an English expedition, on the shores of today´s North Carolina and was probably the first Czech who ever set foot on American soil. In the following two centuries more individuals or small groups of pioneers went through the dangerous journey to find happiness on a mysterious continent in the West.
Only after the middle of the 19th century was there a massive wave of migration. The emigrants’ motivation was the vision of better living conditions and of getting rich easily, but also there was a desire to escape the political, religious and national oppression in Bohemia, at that time part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Their journey carried them by railway to German ports and from there across the Atlantic to New York, Baltimore, New Bern, New Orleans or Galveston. After landing, the settlers moved in various directions. With the outbreak of the First World War in the summer of 1914, statistics state that there were about 350,000 Czechs living in the USA.
The presentation will focus on the development of Czech neighborhoods in New York and Boston, where the Czechs showed an extraordinary desire to associate, and founded a number of compatriot associations, businesses, schools, churches and periodicals. Dr. Nekola will also address the Czech history of Connecticut, where many Czechs were to be found in Hartford and Bridgeport.
This virtual event is free and open to the public. Click here to register through Yapsody. You’ll get a confirmation email and the Zoom link will be in the attached ticket. You’ll also receive a reminder email with the Zoom link the morning of the event.