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Slovakia

The Slovak Republic

Population: 5,446,000

Area (sq km): 49,035

Capital City: Bratislava

National Holiday: 1992-09-01

Slovakia is a small country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Czechia (the Czech Republic) to the Northwest, Poland to the North, Ukraine to the East, Hungary to the South, and Austria to the West.

The capital of Slovakia is the city of Bratislava, which is also its largest city. The rest of the population is fairly spread out across the country, with a higher concentration of people along the Northwestern border with Czechia.

The economy of Slovakia is based mainly on farming (wheat and potatoes mostly), tourism, and manufacturing (especially woodworking, metalworking, vehicles, and clothing).

Slovakia can be traced back to around the ninth century, when it was known as the state of Great Moravia. They became part of the Hungarian Empire around the tenth century, even though they were ethnically distinct from Hungarians. In 1867, Hungary joined Austria to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which enforced new language policies consisting solely of Magyar (Hungarian). The Slovak people began wanting independence, and found similar views with the nearby Czech people (from the Austrian side of the empire). After the First World War, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved, and the Slovaks and Czechs joined to form Czechoslovakia in 1918.

At the start of World War 2, Czechoslovakia was invaded by Germany, and was under Nazi rule until it was liberated by the USSR in 1945. After the end of the war, and through the ensuing Cold War that followed, Czechoslovakia was under heavy Soviet rule. Czechoslovakia tried to form independence movements, but the country was invaded in 1968 by Warsaw Pact (the Soviet counter to NATO) troops, quelling the independence movements and repressing the people of the country to be a more pro-Soviet state. This period of repression was referred to by the Soviets as "normalization". In 1989, the people rebelled in a people protest known as the Velvet Revolution, where the entire populace went on a two-hour strike. The Communist leaders resigned, and Czechoslovakia became a democracy.

In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This is generally thought to be the result of the major differences between the two ethnic groups within Czechoslovakia. In 2004, Slovakia joined NATO and the European Union.

The national holiday of Slovakia is September 1st, 1992, which is when the constitution of Slovakia was adopted ahead of the split from Czechoslovakia.

The Slovakian flag was adopted in 1992, when its constitution was written. An older version of the flag was used since 1848, which doesn't have the coat of arms on it. The three colour bands are the Pan-Slav colours, representing the flag Russia used in the nineteenth century, which was just a re-arranged version of the Dutch flag. Off-centred on the flag is the Slovakian coat of arms. The double-cross represents the country's Christian faith, and it is sitting on three mountains representing three symbolic ranges: the Tatra, the Fatra, and the Mátra.

Slovakia gets its name from the people of the region, the Slovaks. Their name is derived from the word "Slověnin", which is an old Slavic word for the Slavic people. Around 1400, the name was changed to Slovák due to other linguistic influences.

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