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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.
Many thousands of noblemen were expelled from the country, and Bohemia was completely absorbed into the Habsburg empire, with German becoming the primary language of instruction in the schools.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.Although for a time assimilated into the neighboring Moravian Empire, Bohemia emerged as the stronger power and absorbed Moravia in the eleventh century.
Under its ruling dynasty, the Přemsylides, Bohemia became Christian in the ninth century and a member of the Holy Roman Empire in the eleventh century, led by the German kings but retaining its own monarchy.
Under Communist rule until 1989, the Czech Republic (Ceska Republika), which shared a common federal government with Slovakia until 1992, is now an independent state with democratic, multiparty institutions.