Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Name Day, Karel! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Karel.  Happy name day, Karel!
The name Karel is the Czech, Dutch and Slovene form of Charles.  It's also a variant of Carl and Karl, which are of Old German origin.  The meaning of Karel is "free man".  However, an alternative theory states that the name is derived from the common Germanic element hari meaning "army, warrior".

The popularity of the name in continental Europe was due to the fame of Charles the Great (742-814), commonly knows as Charlemagne, a king of the Franks who came to rule over most of Europe.  


It was subsequently borne by several Holy Roman Emperors, as well as kings of France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Hungary.  The name did not become common in Britain until the 17th century when it was carried by the Stuart King Charles I.  It had been introduced into the Stuart royal family by Mary Queen of Scots, who had been raised in France. 

Charles I

 Famous bearers of the name include:

Karel Hynek Mácha, Czech Poet

Karel Gott, Czech singer

Naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) who revolutionized biology with his theory of evolution.

Novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) who wrote such works as "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities"

French statesman Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970)

 And American cartoonist Charles Schulz (1922-2000), the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip
The Peanuts gang