BohemianBohemians are inhabitants of Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic.
Inhabitants come from both Czech and German stock, due to Bohemia's position on the borderlands between Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic and its history, which includes rule by earlier incarnations of each of these countries. Because of the many changes in government and the resulting population migrations, one cannot say with complete confidence that a Bohemian is a German or a Czech. In fact, the Boii, for whom the land was named (by the Roman Empire), were a Celtic people, who moved westward. Since then, the inhabitants of the area have been predominantly Slavic.
A secondary meaning for bohemian emerged in early 19th century France. The term was used to describe a group of artists, writers, and disenchanted people of all sorts who wished to live a non-traditional lifestyle. The term "bohemian" is defined in The American College Dictionary as "a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior."
This often included drugs and poverty, but, overall, many of the most talented men of letters were bohemians. Honoré de Balzac approved of Bohemia, although most bourgeois did not. In fact, the two groups were often cited as opposites. The phrase itself was derived from the name of the Czech province, erroneously considered the homeland of the Gypsies. The term has since become associated with various artistic communities and is used as a generalized adjective describing such people, environs, or situations.
Bohemia was a place where you could live and work cheaply, and behave unconventionally; a community of free souls far beyond the pale of respectable society. Bohemia flourished in many cities in the 19th and early 20th century: in Schwabing in Munich, Germany, Montmartre and Montparnasse in Paris, France, Greenwich Village in New York City, North Beach and later Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, America and in Chelsea, Fitzrovia and Soho in London, England.