Slovakia, a thrilling changing history
Slovakia, a thrilling changing history

Located deep in the heart of Central Europe, Slovakia; an intriguing country, plays host to many marvels and fascinating historical facts. Some of them, despite their intrinsic importance to the tumultuous history of the region, seem to have passed inadvertently in other latitudes. So it's not surprising to experience blank expressions and puzzled faces if you were to ask someone about the Venus of Monravany or the Velvet Revolution.

church kopcany

Church Kopcany

The territory occupied by Slovakia today, was many centuries ago a home to early tribes who left some remains of their civilization, ancient artifacts dating back to the year 270,000 BC, in the Early Paleolithic era. The most important archeological discovery in Slovakian history to date, has been that of Venus of Monravany, the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone (22,800 BC).

As the years passed by, Slavs settled in the land around the 5th century after the departure of the Huns and Avars. The Slavs developed a rich culture and strong empire called Great Moravia, a land of vast territory extending not only to present-day Moravia and Slovakia but also present-day northern and central Hungary, Lower Austria, Bohemia, Silesia, Lusatia, southern Poland and northern Serbia. In the Empire, Catholicism was the main religion, dominant to such an extent that Pope John VIII set up an ecclesiastical province. Today, the church in Kopčany, is the only remaining Great Moravian building in Slovakia.

After the Moravian Empire disintegration in the 10th century, the Kingdom of Hungary began to rule its lands. However, after the revolution of 1848–49 the Slovaks supported the Austrian Emperor, leading to a breakdown in relations between Slovakia and Hungary and resulting in the secession of Slovakia from Hungary following World War I.

It was during this era that the famous Czechoslovakia was established, with the borders confirmed by the Treaty of Saint Germain and Treaty of Trianon. During those days, the country was formed by a important number of Germans and Hungarians, which led to a partial division of the territory in 1938, allowing Slovakia to be turned into a 'puppet state' of the German Nazi regime.

During the war, as in many other Nazi countries, thousands of individuals were deported and murdered until the Soviet Regime and its Red Army started their campaign to push the invading Germans to the West. An anti-Nazi movement launched a fierce armed insurrection, known as the Slovak National Uprising and was followed by a bloody German occupation and a guerilla war. Finally, the territory of Slovakia was liberated by Soviet and Romanian forces at the end of April 1945.

     

velvet revolution

The Velvet Revolution

vladimir meciar

Vladimir Meciar

After the war, the old Czechoslovakia was reconstituted and a regime of communism was established in the country. Despite its closeness with the Soviet Union, the country was never part of it and instead became a federation of the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic.

The era of communism of Czechoslovakia ended up in a rather peaceful way through the so-called Velvet Revolution. The movement started in November with a peaceful student's demonstration answered violently by the police. The people's reaction was a series of strikes and demonstrations which led to the country's dissolution into two successor states.

In July 1992 Slovakia, led by Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar, declared itself a sovereign state.

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