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The term "Czech" refers to the cultural characteristics of the Czech-speaking inhabitants of the Czech Republic ( Česká republika ), which includes Bohemia ( Čechy ), the larger western part, and Moravia ( Morava ), the eastern part.Northern Moravia includes Silesia ( Slezsko ), a historical region that lies mostly in southwestern Poland.The Silesians ( Slezané ) of the Czech Republic tend to maintain their ethnic character, but many agree that they constitute a subculture within the Czech culture. The historical and geographic term "Bohemian" is misleading, as it not only excludes Czech-speaking Moravians but includes members of several ethnic minorities that live in Bohemia but do not speak Czech. The origin of the words Čechy (Bohemia ( Čech ([a] Czech) is not clear.
Čechy originally may have referred to a dry place, or it may have been a place-name that eventually gave rise to the name of its inhabitants. Češi or Čechové ) is explained as an abbreviated pet name for a groom (a person responsible for the care of horses, čeledín ), or it might have been someone's name.The words Čech , hemia) and C Čechy , and česká ("Czech" or "Bohemian") first occur in the oldest rhymed Czech chronicle ( Dalimilova kronika ), which dates back to the beginning of the fourteenth century. The area of the Czech Republic is 30,450 square miles (78,866 square kilometers), with Bohemia being twice as large as Moravia.The republic is bounded by Poland on the north, Germany on the northwest and southwest, Austria on the south, and the Slovak Republic on the east. Sněžka in the north is the highest point at 5,256 feet (1,602 meters).The chief rivers are the Labe (Elbe) and its main tributaries, the Vltava (Moldau) and the Ohře (Eger); the Elbe flows into the North Sea.
Moravia's dominant geographic feature is the basin of the Morava River, which empties into the Danube west of Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic. The population of the Czech Republic in 1999 was about 10.3 million according to the Statistical Yearbook of the Czech Republic (in recent years there have been small population losses).The ethnic composition is 94 percent Czech (Moravians and Bohemian Czechs), 3 percent Slovak, 0.6 percent Polish, 0.5 percent German, 0.3 percent Romany (Gypsy) officially but perhaps as much as 2.5 percent, and about 0.4 percent Ukrainian.Other ethnic minorities are numerically insignificant. For example, the Jewish population is probably no more than 12,000 because over 80,000 Jews died in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The differences among those dialects mainly involve the pronunciation of vowels and the names of local or regional dishes, plants, and costumes.