This surname of BEHRLE was an ethnic name for a native or inhabitant of Bohemia (the Czech part of Czechoslavakia) derived from BOHMEN, the German name of Bohemia. It originally derived its name from the tribal name BAII + HEIM (homeland). The Baii were a tribe, probably Celtic, who inhabited the region in the 1st century AD and were gradually displayed by Slavic settlers up to the 5th century. The same tribe also gave their name to Bavaria. Bohemia was an independent Slavic kingdom from the 7th century to 1526, when it fell to the Habsburgs. In 1627 it was formally declared a Habsburg Crown Land. It did not gain independence until 1918 after the defeat of Austria-Hungary in the First World War. The modern state of Czechoslovakia is going through a transitional phase as a result of the fall of the Iron Curtain. Its various regions encompassed the medieval provinces of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. The first two of these, where the language properly called Czech is spoken, were heavily subject to German cultural and linguistic influence from the Middle Ages onwards, being administratively a Crownland of Austria for much of the time until independence in 1918. This influence is reflected in the many Czech surnames derived from German, both from given names, and from vocabulary words. Occupational names are quite common in Czech as are nicknames, especially those referring to some physical feature. Many of the most common Czech surnames have the diminutive ending 'CEK', which is often found attached to these names. The name has numerous variant spellings which include Bohm, Bohme, Boehme, Behaim, Bohmig, Bohmisch and Bomak. A notable member of the name was Ernst BEHM (1830-84) the German geographer. He was the compiler with Wagner of the 'Bevolkerung der Erde' (1872-82). The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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