Slovakia’s history is the history of the territory and its inhabitants under changing political organizational forms. Slovakia did not exist as a separate state entity until the 20th century, but the area has been part of various state formations since the early Middle Ages.
In the period 833–907, the area where Slovakia is today belonged to the Slavic Great Moorish Empire, but it fell during the 9th century Hungary, which it was part of until 1918. Between 1918 and 1993, the Slovak territories joined together with Bohemia and Moravia in the Slavic state formation Czechoslovakia. From 1969, Slovakia had the status of state.
On January 1, 1993, the Republic of Slovakia became an independent state after the Czechoslovak Federation was peacefully dissolved.
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In the centuries before our time, Slovakia was inhabited by Celtic tribes. They were eventually supplanted by Germanic tribes, especially the Quad (Latin Quadi) and the Markomans. At the same time, the Roman Empire extended its borders north to the Danube, and in the first two centuries of our time, these tribes’ relations with the Roman Empire alternated between peaceful client relationships and war. The Danube nevertheless continued to be a border river, so that Slovak territories were not directly incorporated into the Roman Empire. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Slovakia.
In the 500 or 600 century, Slavic tribes immigrated from the north. They were periodically subject to the avars, which also settled in these areas. A short-lived Slavic tribal union led by the Frankish merchant Samo emerged in parts of Slovakia and the Moravia in the mid-600s as a defense against the dominion of the Avars. However, the power of the Apes was not permanently broken until the late 700s, when they were defeated by the Franks under Charlemagne.
Part of the great-Moorish kingdom
In 833, a minor state formation under Chief Pribina with the center of Nitra in western Slovakia was incorporated into the so-called Great-Moorish Empire. This kingdom was quite loosely composed and had a short duration, but at its greatest, during the prince Svätopluk (870–894), had a wide geographical extent and covered parts of Bohemia, Moravia (Moravia), Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. It is disputed how the kingdom had its political center; Nitra is one of the possible places. The relatively sparse information about the empire has enabled different interpretations of nationalist historical writing.
All in the 7th century, Irish missionaries from Bavaria tried to Christianize the Slavic areas of which Slovakia was also a part. In the 800s, missionary work was continued from Frankish diocesan sites, including the Archbishop of Salzburg inaugurated a church in Nitra in 828. When the Frankish activity also implied political influence, during the great-Mauritian empire, attempts were balanced with Slavic-speaking missionaries from Byzantium, among others, Cyrillos and Methodios, called the apostles of the slaves.
The Great Moorish Empire collapsed under Frankish pressure around the year 900. To achieve this, East Frankish King Arnulf had also allied himself with the newly arrived Hungarian conquerors. They took control of much of Slovakia from 907. When the Hungarian state was founded in the late 900s, all of Slovakia was incorporated into it. The Slovakians were then subject to Hungary until 1918, and Slovakia was called Upper Hungary.
Numerous Hungarians immigrated and settled in the plains of the south, which had lasting consequences for the population composition. Eventually, the landowner class throughout the country and parts of the urban population became Hungarian.
From the 1100s, a German element also prevailed in the cities, and especially after the Mongol invasion of 1241–1242, the king invited German colonists to the country to strengthen the economy through mining. They got privileges in the cities where they settled. In the 1400s and 1500s, there were several peasant raises against the landlord portion, in part related to the Boisterous movement in Bohemia. The farmers’ duty work for the landlords was sharpened considerably in the 16th century, the so-called second quality of life.
After the Hungarian defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the central parts of Hungary in 1541 came under Turkish (Ottoman) control, while the northern and western parts (with Slovakia) went to the Habsburg King (later Emperor) Ferdinand 1, which also took over the Hungarian crown.
The Bratislava house from 1536 to 1783 the central Hungarian institutions (the parliament of 1848) and thus served as the Hungarian capital, although the political center of gravity under the Habsburg regime was increasingly located in Vienna. The Hungarian Archdiocese of Esztergom was moved to Trnava in Slovakia during the period 1543-1820. Both nobles and peasants from Hungary sought refuge for the Turks in Slovakia and contributed to displacements of the Slovak-Hungarian ethnic border.
There were a number of border crossings with the Turks, and smaller parts of Slovakia were occupied for shorter periods.
Towards a national identity
In the 16th century, the Reformation initially began with a significant influence in Slovakia, especially in the mining towns with many German inhabitants. Luther’s teachings were most telling. Czech Hittites also contributed to the spread of Reformation ideas. The Catholic Counter-Reformation began around 1560 and began in full force in the 17th century. Although Protestantism was repressed in many places, the Lutheran Church in particular continued to be the church of a significant Slovak minority.
The Czech was used as a church language by Slovak Protestants, and was also used in many secular contexts from the 15th century.
A Slovak national consciousness can be traced in some writings from the 17th century. However, although Slovak writers began to challenge the right of Hungarians to rule the Slovakians in the 18th century (among others Jan Baltazar Magin, 1728), the national movement did not acquire a political character until the 1830-1840s.
From the 18th century on, the language question was central, and the Catholic Anton Bernolák developed his own Slovak written language based on West Slovak dialects. Lutheran intellectuals (Ján Kollár, Pavel Šafárik), on the other hand, stayed in Czech for a long time as a written language. The final codification of the written language was based on Middle Slovak dialects and took place in the mid-19th century by the Lutheran priest L’udovít Štúr, who became the central figure in the national movement.
The Hungarian revolutionaries who revolted against the Habsburg emperor in 1848 did not recognize national rights for the Slovakians, which therefore supported the emperor against the Hungarians. Under Austrian rule from 1849 was initially favored by the Czech, but from the 1860s replaced by Slovak, while the national cultural organization Matica Slovenská was allowed to be established in 1863.
When the empire was divided into two kingdoms in 1867 (Ausgleich), Slovakia became part of Hungary and subjected to a harsh Magyarization policy from the 1870s. Many Slovak organizations were disbanded and Slovak language was replaced by Hungarian in most public contexts. This was, for example, the case of Count Apponyi’s school law of 1906, which, among others, Bjørnststar Bjørnson protested vigorously (the basis of Bjørnson’s great popularity in Slovakia). The time around 1900 was otherwise characterized by a weak economic development and one of Europe’s largest emigration rates.
Under Czech domination
During World War I, the idea of a common state for Czechs and Slovaks was also joined by leading Slovaks, but after the founding of Czechoslovakia in October 1918 (from 1920s Czechoslovakia), Slovak reactions to the Czech-dominated centralization soon came.
However, most Slovak political groups organized themselves together with the corresponding Czechs (especially the agrarians and social democrats) and participated in changing governments. Only the Slovak People’s Party (Catholic) under the leadership of the priest Andrej Hlinka advocated for Slovak autonomy (autonomy) within the Czechoslovak state.
From the election in 1925, the People’s Party was the largest in Slovakia, and in 1927 it achieved some state decentralization (but not autonomy) and then participated in the government in the years 1927-1929. In the 1930s, some of the younger members of the party developed fascist sympathies. Hlinka died in 1938 and was succeeded as party leader by Jozef Tiso, also his priest.
German vassal state
Adolf Hitler’s pressure made Slovak detachment from Czechoslovakia into relevant politics in 1939. After Czechoslovakia was forced to relinquish the Sudet country at the Munich settlement in September 1938, the People’s Party at a meeting in Žilina on October 6 caused other Slovak organizations to call for autonomy. The Prague Parliament then accepted Slovak autonomy, which was introduced in November. The country’s name was again Czechoslovakia.
Earlier in November, Czechoslovakia, after German and Italian “mediation”, had to surrender large parts of southern Slovakia (with Košice) to Hungary. In cooperation with the anti-Czech Vojtěch Tuka, Germany used a crisis between the central government in Prague and the state government in Bratislava in March 1939 to pressure the Slovakians to declare independence from Prague, threatening that the alternative could be the division of Slovakia between Hungary, Poland and Germany.
On March 14, 1939, Slovakia was declared a sovereign state with Jozef Tiso as prime minister (president of July 1939). Carpathian Ukraine in the far east of the country was surrendered to Hungary later this month.
Although the new state was largely a German vassal state (including through a “protection agreement” and secret financial agreements), it met the need for many Slovakians to show that they could manage themselves. In fact, the Slovak population had a relatively favorable situation with little rationing during the first years of the war (an “oasis of peace”), and there was economic growth in several sectors.
But in politics party dictatorship prevailed, and from 1942 the guiding principle was introduced. However, there was a tension between the Christian-authoritarian Tiso and the Nazi- radical Tuka. Slovakia participated on the German side in the war against the Soviet Union from 1941, and from March 1942 two-thirds of Slovak Jews were deported, most of whom were killed in camps in Poland. Several times, however, protests came against the Jewish persecution, both from the church and elsewhere. Tiso also sometimes helped to curb deportations, although his role is contested.
When the Second World War ended, Slovakia became part of Czechoslovakia again. Many Slovaks had begun preparing for it after the German defeat at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942-1943, and by the turn of the year 1943-1944 opposition groups (among them communists) created the Slovak National Council, which in August 1944 gave a clear signal to an uprising, after partisan groups some time had been in activity. The uprising caused the country to be occupied by German troops (some were stationed there before). They fought the uprising in bloody battles over a few months.
Soviet forces entered Slovakia in the spring of 1945. In discussions in Moscow in March 1945 with the Czechoslovak exile government under Edvard Beneš, the Slovakians failed to gain a federal solution, as the Slovak National Council had advocated. The reorganized government, which took a temporary seat in Košice in April, admittedly promised some form of Slovak autonomy, but later negotiations reduced this to self-determination in some local matters.
Jozef Tiso was sentenced to death in 1947, which aroused strong reactions in Slovakia. After the war, the borders against neighboring countries were brought back to the situation before the resignations in 1938-1939, with the exception of the incorporation of Carpathian Ukraine into the Soviet Union. Although most Hungarians remained in Slovakia after the war, in 1946 a population exchange was carried out with Hungary, which included about 75,000 Hungarians from Slovakia and just as many Slovaks from Hungary.
After the communist takeover of power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, centralization was strong. Slovakia was again ruled from Prague with Czechs in many key positions. In 1950 and 1954, several leading Slovak communists, including Gustáv Husák, were purged and imprisoned, accused of “bourgeois nationalism” and “Slovak separatism”. They were rehabilitated in 1963. As Slovak Party secretary Alexander Dubček took up the national issue in 1967, and during the ” Prague Spring ” in 1968, the federal principle was adopted, so that from January 1, 1969 Czechoslovakia consisted of two socialist republics, the Czech and Slovak.
The Soviet invasion of August 1968, and the “normalization” that followed, made the constitutional reform of little practical importance during the communist period. However, when the Communist regime fell in Czechoslovakia in November 1989, the federalization meant that there were Slovakian bodies for political action.
In the first free elections of 1990, the loosely composed group “Publicity Against Violence” became the largest party, and Vladimír Mečiar became Slovak prime minister. Constitutional issues and relations with the Czechs came up early, among other things, there was an extensive dispute over the reintroduction of hyphens in the Czechoslovakia name. The desire to dissolve Czechoslovakia was initially not a common requirement in Slovakia, but gained increasing support as the Czechs were little interested in joining such a loose confederation that nationalist Slovak politicians eventually advocated.
In August 1992, Slovak and Czech politicians agreed to dissolve Czechoslovakia. A Slovak Constitution was passed in September 1992. After clarifying some practical issues, the resolution was passed by the Czechoslovak Parliament on November 25, and from January 1, 1993, Slovakia was an independent state.