According to franciscogardening, Slovakia is a Central European country located in the Carpathian mountain range. It is bordered by Austria to the west, Czech Republic to the northwest, Hungary to the south, Poland to the north and Ukraine to the east. Slovakia has a total land area of 49,035 square kilometers and a population of 5.4 million people. The official language of Slovakia is Slovak but other languages such as Hungarian and Ukrainian are also commonly spoken. The main industries in Slovakia include automotive production, electronics, steel production and chemical production. Agriculture also plays an important role in Slovakia’s economy with main products including wheat, potatoes, sugar beets and hops. The main exports from Slovakia include cars, machinery and electronics products. The currency used in Slovakia is the Euro (EUR).
According to Countryaah, during the reign of Svatopluc, 870-894, the territory of Mähr expanded to include the western part of present-day Hungary and the southern part of Poland. Svatopluc severed ties with Byzan’s, forcing Methodio’s students to flee to the Balkans (see Czech Republic).
Greater Moravia experienced its downfall in 906 when it was invaded by the Germanic king Arnulfo, who was in alliance with the Magyars, a nomadic tribe from the Volga region, who controlled much of present-day Hungary. The western part of the old kingdom remained under the control of the Czech dukes in Bohemia, while the part of the country that was squeezed in between the Carpathians and the Danube, corresponding to present-day Slovakia, was occupied by the Magyars. Despite repeated attempts by the Dukes of Bohemia to submit to the area, the Slovakians remained independent of the Hungarian rulers for the next 1000 years.
The Slovakians maintained an independent culture with their own language, and it helped them at no time lose their connection with the Czechs. The University of Prague had in the 15th century. of great importance to the Slovakians. The Bohemian houseites repeatedly invaded Hungary and introduced the national language into the churches instead of Latin.
The invaders of the house made a breeding ground for the subsequent transition to Christianity, which was based on the Kralice Bible translated by Bohemian Brethren. The majority of Slovakians were in the early 16th century. converted to Calvinism, but when Hungary was invaded by the Ottomans in 1525, Slovakia became subject to the Austrians, intensifying the Counter-Reformation throughout the region. The dependence on Austria led to a “Germanization” of Slovak culture.
In 1620, the Czech nobility was wiped out by the Magyars and Slovakia became part of the Hungarian kingdom. The Ottomans’ conquest of central Hungary increased the Hungarian influence in Slovakia. The Hungarian nobility, fleeing the Ottomans, settled in the Slovak villages and withdrew their institutions for their own use.
The Turkish influence in Hungary was replaced in the 17th century. of the Habsburgs. Emperor Johan the 2nd changed at the end of the 18th century. Hungary by “Germanizing” the state apparatus and imposing restrictions on the power of the Hungarian authorities. These left the area and the Slovakians were given the opportunity to revive their cultural connections with the Czechs.
The nationalist “fever” that ravaged Europe after the Napoleonic wars also affected the areas dominated by the Austrians, and the Slovak nationalists came into open conflict with the Hungarians. In 1834 Hungarian replaced Latin as a legal language. The Slovakians, in alliance with the Czechs and German Republicans, launched an armed rebellion against the Hungarians in 1848, which in turn revolted against the Austrians. During this period, the Slovak took control of higher education and founded the first scientific institution, Matica Slovaka.
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The Hungarian authorities banned the end of the 19th century. Slovak as a public language and replaced it with Hungarian. The Slovak leaders, especially the magazine publishers, were persecuted and arrested. The Appony Act of 1907 transformed Slovak schools into Hungarian.
In this republic, independent since 1993, the transition to the 21st century. it was marked by a difficult economic situation, aggravated by the austerity measures launched in 1999 by the government of M. Dzurinda. The distress of the population culminated in a large protest demonstration in Bratislava (Sept.) against rising unemployment and the general deterioration of the standard of living.
In February 2000, Dzurinda officially proclaimed the birth of the new Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ, Slovenská Demokratická a Krest´anská Únia ), heir to the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK, Slovenská Demokratická Koalícia ). To facilitate the process of accession to the European Union (the talks for accession to the EU had started in December 1999), in 2001 the National Council ( Národná Rada ) passed a series of amendments to the Constitution aimed at redefining the legislative system and the powers of the Constitutional Court, as well as guaranteeing greater independence of the judiciary. In the same year, after the replacement (May) of Fr. Hamzik from the post of Minister of European Integration for improper use of EU funds and the motion of no confidence put forward by the opposition parties due to the lack of progress in the process of reform of the economy and public administration towards the Minister of Economy I. Mikloš, the government announced the adoption of a program of extensive economic and administrative reforms. In the regional elections (December) the Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS, Hnutie Za Demokratické Slovensko ), the country’s largest party,146 of the 401 seats on the regional councils and 6 of the new 8 ‘superior territorial units’. The same party secured the highest percentage of votes (19.5 %, 36 seats) in the legislative elections of September 2002, followed by the SDKÚ (15.1 %, 28 seats), by the Directorate ( Sm ě r , 13.5 % and 25 seats) – party founded in 1999 by R. Fico, former deputy secretary of the Democratic Left Party (SDL, Strana Demokratickej L´avice ) -, by the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK, Strana Mad´arskej Koalície ; 11.2 %, 20 seats), by the Christian Democratic Movement (KH, Krest´anskodemokratické Hnutie ; 8.3 %, 15 seats), by the Alliance of the new citizen (ANO, Aliancia Nového Ob è ana ; 8 %, 15 seats), while the Slovak Communist Party (KSS, Komunistická Strana Slovenska ) recorded significant progress compared to previous polls (6.3 %, 11seats). The governing coalition, made up of four center-right parties (SDKÚ, SMK, KH and ANO) and with Dzurinda confirmed at the helm of the executive, launched (November) a severe economic recovery plan which did not fail to provoke popular protests. The return to power of a reformist coalition, however, accelerated the European integration process of the country, which was formally invited to become a member of the EU in 2004. In the national referendum (May 2003) 92.5 % of the voters (52 % of those entitled) voted in favor of the entry of the Slovakia into the Union.
In the presidential elections (April 2004) V. Mečiar, favored in the first round, was beaten in the ballot by I. Gašparovič (59 % of the votes), leader of the Movement for Democracy (HZD, Hnutie Za Demokraciu ), founded in July 2002 by dissident members of the HZDS. On May 1, the Slovakia became a member of the EU, just over a month after its official entry into NATO (March 29). In September 2005, the involvement of the Minister of Economy, P. Ruško, in a financial scandal led to the expulsion of the party he leads (ANO) from the coalition; in February 2006it was the Christian Democrats (KH) who left the coalition due to a disagreement created around the approval of a treaty of ‘conscientious objection’ with the Vatican, by virtue of which hospital staff would have the right to refuse to practice abortions or subjecting patients to fertility treatments based on personal religious beliefs. Judged by the secular camps as a heavy attempt at interference by the Catholic Church in civil matters, and viewed with concern by the EU over its possible impact on women’s rights, the treaty was rejected by Dzurinda. The early elections (June) unexpectedly saw the Directorate-Social Democracy ( Sm ě r-Sociálna Demokracia ) – center-left formation born in January 2005 from the merger between Sm ě r , Social Democratic Party of Slovakia ( Sociálnodemokratická Strana Slovenska ), Alternative Social Democratic ( Sociálnodemokratická Alternativa ) and SDL – which obtained 29 % (50 seats), while the SDK SDKÚ- DS ( Demokratická Strana , Democratic Party) got 18.3 % (31 seats), the Slovak National Party (SNS, Slovenská Národná Strana ) 11.7 % (20 seats), the SMK 11.6 % (20seats), to the LS ( L´udová Strana , People’s Party) -HZDS – new name of the HZDS since 2003 – 8,7 %, (15 seats) and to the KH 8,3 % (14 seats). The post of prime minister went to Fico, leader of Sm ě r-Sociálna Demokracia , who formed a government with the LS-HZDS and the SNS, a component, the latter, which did not fail to cause concern for its nationalistic orientation.