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This year also saw the arrival of Vojta Naprstek, a radical free thinker and a vocal opponent of the Austrian government who, as part of a general amnesty extended to political refugees, returned in 1857 to his native land where he opened an American museum to acquaint European Czechs with America.By the late 1850s there were an estimated 10,000 Czechs living in the United States.
With the surrender of Austria on October 28, 1918, a revolutionary committee in Prague declared the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic.
Prior to the nineteenth century, few Czechs had immigrated to the United States, and evidence of their presence during the colonial and revolutionary periods is sketchy.
Hermann Augustine (1605-1686), one of the founders of the Virginia tobacco trade and compiler of the first map of Maryland and Virginia, is thought to be the first Czech immigrant.
The majority of Czechs (39.2 percent) are Roman Catholic, with a smaller number (4.1 percent) adhering to Protestant denominations. The capital city, Prague, preserves one of the oldest and richest architectural traditions in Europe, with many buildings, such as the Romanesque Church of St. Masaryk, consists of a blue triangle on a rectilinear background of white and red.
The Czechs are a Slavic people, closely related to the Slovaks in speech and custom, but with a distinct history and national identity.
The term "Czech" denotes the inhabitants of historic Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, while "Slovak" is reserved for those people who settled on the southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains and who historically were dominated by the Hungarians.