Slovenia Country Overview
The struggle for independence and the right to freedom marked the life of Slovenia, invaded and dominated from the 6th century until the last decade of the 20th century.
Recognized as an independent state in January 1992, when it separated from the former Yugoslavia , Slovenia is located at the northwest end of the Balkan peninsula, bathed by the Adriatic Sea. It occupies an area of 20,256 km2 and borders Austria to the north, Croatia to the south, Hungary to the east and Italy to the west. The official language is Slovenian.
Geography and population
According to LOCALBUSINESSEXPLORER, Slovenian territory is mountainous and covered with forests, with numerous fertile rivers and valleys. The northwestern part reaches the Julian Alps, where Mount Triglav rises, with 2,864m, in the middle of a region of great beauty. From there, the Sava River flows through the country.
Before independence, Slovenians constituted less than a tenth of the Yugoslav population, but they managed to maintain a strong linguistic and cultural cohesion, more identified with Western Europe than with Eastern Europe, thanks mainly to the educational effort of Slovenian Catholic priests. This certainly explains why the vast majority of the population is Roman Catholic, although the country has no official religion. Slovenians dominate the demographic picture, with more than ninety percent of the population. The rest is distributed among Croats, Serbs, Bosnians and Magyars.
Slovenian heavy industry, mainly steel, is located in the capital and in Jesenice and Javornik; the textile industry, in Maribor, Kranj and Trzic. There are coal mines in Zagorje, Trbovlje and Hrastnik. Potatoes, wheat, corn, oats, rye and fruit trees are grown all over the country.
Slovenians have been living in today’s territory since the 6th century, when they were dominated by the Avars. Around 748, they were incorporated into the Carolingian empire. In the 9th century the Germans reduced them to servitude, dividing their territory in the provinces of Carinthia, Carníola and Styria. From the 13th century, under the Habsburgs, they began to organize and promote revolts, such as that of Matija Gubec. In the 18th century, they came under the control of Austria, whose monarchs, Maria Teresa and José II, implemented reforms that mitigated the situation. Between 1809 and 1814, under Napoleonic rule, they were allowed to use their language and care for their traditions. With the Habsburgs restored, Slovenians promoted nationalist demonstrations. From the 1870s, a favorable trend for the political union of serfs began to form, Croats and Slovenians; Slovenia’s first political parties were founded in the 1890s.
In 1918, at the end of the first world war, Slovenian political leaders came together to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed Yugoslavia in 1929). At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the Allies delivered Gorizia and adjacent territories, inhabited by large contingents of the Slovenian population, to Italy.
When the Second World War began, Slovenia was again divided: Italy was with the southwest, Germany with the northwest and Hungary with a smaller portion. Then several resistance movements emerged, the most important of which was the Communist Front of Slovenia’s Liberation.
With the victory of the Allies in 1945, Slovenia became part of the former Yugoslav Federation, with a socialist orientation. Two years later, by the Treaty of Paris, Italy returned the lands conquered to the west, but not Gorízia. In 1974, it was renamed the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. But independence movements did not cease. In 1989, sovereignty and autonomy were proclaimed. The following year, the first multi-party elections were held, but in 1991 differences between Slovenians, Croats and Serbs sparked the civil war. On January 15, 1992, Slovenia was recognized as an independent nation by the European Community and in May the United Nations admitted it as a member.