Czech - Slovak Immigration
The first large group of Czech immigrants began arriving in 1735 with the coming of a group of Moravian Brethren in Savannah, Georgia.
The first major immigration wave occurred in 1848 when the Bohemian "Forty Eighters" fled to the United States to escape political persecution by the Habsburgs. By the late 1850s there were an estimated 10,000 Bohemians living in the United States. Chicago, tied to the West by rail and more readily accessible to immigrants, became the most populous Bohemian settlement. By 1870, other cities with Bohemian concentrations included St. Louis, Cleveland, New York, and Milwaukee. Another large wave of Bohemians migration to America occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when Midwestern farmland was widely available at low prices. Most came from Bohemia and Moravia, and were called "Bohemians" in the early part of the 20th century.
Between 1880 and the mid-1920s, approximately 500,000 Slovaks immigrated to the United States. More than half of Slovak immigrants settled in Pennsylvania. Other popular destinations included Ohio, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. Also, Slovak, Arkansas was founded in 1894 by the Slovak Colonization Company.
Immigration to America
The first major migration began when political persecution by the Austrian government forced many well-educated Czechs to flee their homeland. Some had participated in an unsuccessful revolt against the Austrian government in 1848. The majority of Czech and Slovak immigrants arrived before the 20th-century political upheavals. That includes approximately 400,000 Czechs and some 620,000 Slovaks who flocked to America’s shores between 1850 and 1914 — some sought better economic and social conditions; others wanted to avoid political persecution or conscription into the Austrian army.