History of Slovenia is a history of all the people on the area of today’s Republic of Slovenia, and its close neighbourhood, since prehistory till today. The meaning of the name Slovenia, which remained unchanged through the years, appears only in year 1934 in a book of Russian historian Jurij Venelin: Ancient and today’s Slovenians. It also appears ten years later in a song from Koseski, when Slovenia is first constituted as political unit after the year 1945. Slovenia became independent in the year of 1991.
The oldest evidence of human settlements on Slovenian territory are two stoned tools from a cave in Loza near Orehek, around 250.000 years old. The most important discovery from würm ice age period, when the territory of Slovenia was inhabited by Neanderthals, is the flute from Divje babe near the village Šebrelje on Idrija-Cerkljansko. In younger stone and copper age the people were already engaged with livestock and agriculture. In transition from copper to iron age, the culture of urn burial had existed. From the hallstatt era there are typical fortified settlements on the slopes named forts, beautifully made iron objects (for example situlas) and weapons (Bridge on river Soča, Vače, Rifnik, Šentvid in Stična). Their residents are not ethnically identifiable.
CELTS AND THE ROMANS
In the 4th and 3rd century BC, today’s territory of Slovenia was occupied by tribes of Celts, who established the first state formation, named Noricum kingdom. From that time, a lot of names of today’s cities (Bohinj, Tuhinj) and rivers (Sava, Savinja, Drava) come from. Roman penetration on territory of today’s Slovenia started after the establishment of Aquileia (181 BC). In the second half of 2nd century Romans conquered Histre, Tavrsike (129 BC) and Karne (115 BC) in Istrian wars. Then in year 35-33 BC they moved the border all the way to Danube and, around 10 BC, peacefully took over Noricum kingdom. Occupied territories were included into provincial organization: western Slovenia with Istra was included into 10th region of Italy, eastern part and Dolenjska were included into province Panonija, Alp territory and Posavinje was included into province Noricum in the middle of 1st century.
Cities started to emerge (Emona, Celeia, Poetoviona), which were occupied by immigrants from Italy and romanized indigenous people. Road system was built on the main axis Aquileia-Emona-Celeia-Poetoviona-Carnutum (Petronell at Donava).
First organized Christian churches were created at the end of 3rd century. In 4th, 5th and 6th century diocese were formed, which fall under the dominion of metropolitan in Aquileia.
Due to defence of the border of Italy, in 3rd century, on the edge of karst, fortification system Claustra Apium Luliarium was created. In 5th and 6th century the Roman power on Slovenian territory started to weaken due to intrusions of Germanic tribes, which were moving towards Italy. Domestic population started to emigrate from the cities to the high shelters. In the middle of 5th century, through Slovenia to Italy, Huns invaded and devastated a series of cities on the way. At the end of 5th century, eastern Goths (Ostrogoths) occupied Italy and till year 536 their Italic kingdom also included Noricum, Dalmatia and Pannonia.
MIGRATION OF THE SLAVS
In the 6th century, on wider territory of eastern Alps, Slavs have settled. First Slavic migration wave is dated around year 550. It was held from direction of today’s Moravska. Second migration wave came from after Lombards that emigrated from today’s Slovenian territory to Italy in year 568. On that emptied place Avars and Slavs started to migrate.
Area, which was settled by Slavs, was inhabited also by the rest of Romanized indigenous, who partly maintained Christianity. Migration of the Slavs to eastern Alps (second half of 6th century) was confirmed by a fall of dioceses in this area, the changing in settlements and material culture, but above all with the enforcement of a new, slavic speech. The border with Bavarians was stabilized on eastern Tyrol. In the 8th century, the border with Lombards was stabilized on the edge of Friulian plain, and in Istria on the karst edge.
SLAVIC TRIBAL PRINCIPALITIES (KARANTANIJA AND CARNIOLA)
Slavs in eastern Alps were, as Slavs in Pannonia, subordinated by authorities of Avar kegans. With impairment of Avars power at the beginning of 7th century, on territory of southern Koroška, there was developed a relatively independent ”landscape of Slavs” (marca Vinedorume), with its own prince. In year 623, it probably joined to Alps Slavs under the leadership of the king Sam. After the fall of Sam’s tribal association in year 658, the ”landscape of Slavs” with centre on Krn castle north of today’s Klagenfurt, took over the name of Carantania and maintained its independence. When Carantanians, around year 743, asked Bavarians for help in defence against Avars, they had to admit their supremacy and were obliged to send them a son of prince Borut, Gorazd, and prince’s nephew Hotimir, as hostages, who were Christianized. With governance of prince Hotimir in year 751, Christianization of Carantanians started, which triggered three unsuccessful uprisings. After the defeat of Bavarian prince Tasila III., in year 788, Carantania was also included in Frankish country of Karl the Great, together with Bavaria. When prince of slovanian Slavs Ljudevit Posavski started a resistance, in year 819, due to dissatisfaction with Frankish Friulian border Carantanians had also joined him.
After the suppression of resistance in the year 828, Francs reorganized their administration and replaced domestic Slavic princes with Frankish counts. From the time of Carantania and all till the year 1414 a special ceremony was preserved, the enthronement of dukes, this was held in Slav language. Slav tribal principality Carniola, in transition from 8th to 9th century, has developed also on southern part of Karavanke, on the territory of central Slovenia. In the year 795 was attested the only alleged prince Vojnomir. At the end of 8th century Carniola was included into Frankish Friuli, but it kept its tribal arrangements till the year 828, when Franks, after unsuccessful resistance of Pannonian Slav prince Ljudevit Posavski, changed the entity into a border county.
After unsuccessful Bulgarian penetration in Pannonia and its reconquest, the king Ludvik the German, around year 840, assigned Pannonia into a feud to a refugee from Moravska, named Pribina. Pribina was appointed for count in year 847, and territory of lower Pannonia became his property. Seat of the government was in Blatenska kostel in today’s Hungary. In year 861, Pribina’s son, Kocelj, took his place and snatched from Frankish influence. Kocelj was supporting Slavik mission of St. Cyril and St. Method and has hampered the functioning of the Habsburg missionaries. But around year 876 he was removed and that ended a short period of independence of lower-pannonian Slav principality.
Territory was again included into eastern mark. In the time of government of Arnulf Koroški, Koroška became the centre of eastern mark and got significant independence inside of the empire. On Slovenian territory, feudalisation was strengthening, but a process was stopped by penetration of Hungarians at the end of the 9th century. After the defeat of Bavarians in battle with Hungarians near Bratislava in the year 907, the territory of central Slovenia dropped under Hungarian government for about half a century. Feudal system was formed only after the defeat of Hungarians in Ausburg in the year 955 and with re-integration of this territory under empire, in the 10th and 11th century.
THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
After newly gained independence, administrative organization was also changed; this was now based on border counties (marks or landscapes). Koroška become a duchy in year 976, and Emperor Oton II. Subjected to it the following neighbouring border counties: Karantanija mark, Podravska and Savinja mark, Kranjsko, Istrian mark, Friulian mark and Verona mark. This half independent formation existed till the beginning of 11th century, when provinces started to create. In this period, feudal system consolidated, important noble families migrated here, first castles were built and system for sharing arable land was established. The Freising Manuscripts are from this era.
From the border countries and some closed territories, which were controlled by big noble families, the historic lands of Štajerska, Koroška, Kranjska, Goriška, Trieste and Istria were formed and included into Holy Roman Empire (high middle ages).
ARRIVAL AND CONSOLIDATION OF THE HABSBURGS
When all dukes Babenberg (Austrian) and Spanheim (Kranjska and Koroška’s) were extinct, in years 1246 and 1269, Czech king Otokar II. Přemsyl was established on the Slovenian territory. In year 1260 he ripped Štajerska from Hungarian king Beil IV., and in the year 1269 occupied Kranjska and Koroška. He already had Austria in his hands from the year 1254 and in year 1272 he became Friulian general captain, and therefore dominated territories from Czech to Adriatic Sea. But Emperor Rudolf I. Habsburg didn’t recognize these acquisitions and started the war, which ended with the fall of Otokar in the year 1278. In the year 1282, Rudolf gave, to his sons Albreht and Rudolf, Austria and Štajerska; Koroška and Kranjska were obtained by Tyrol branch of Gorica counts. When in year 1335 also this big family extincted, Habsburgs gain even Kranjsko and Koroška, in year 1374 they inherited also Istrian Pazin country and Slovenian mark from the second branch of Gorica counts. Finally in the year 1382 they gained also Trieste and with that the exit to the Adriatic Sea.
Power of Habsburgs was temporarily threatened by the rise of domestic families, Celje counts. It started in second third of 14th century: in the year 1333 they inherited after Vovbržan, in year 1341 they got counts title, connection with the emperor Sigismund Luxembourg provided them, that their possessions were spread also to Hungary and Croatia. Sigismund increased their title in year 1436 into state princes, what allowed development of special land, Celje principality. Increase in the title also started a war with Habsburgs, which ended in year 1443 with settlement between Friderik II. of Celje and Friderik III. of Habsburg. With this settlement families concluded a contract about inheritance, which obliged Habsburgs to defend this Celje heritage in war (till year 1460), after the death of the last resident of Celje, Ulrik II. In the year 1456.
At the end of Middle Ages, in 15th and 16th century, happenings on this territory were marked by Turkish raids. Dissatisfaction with too weak feudal defence against Turks, and introduction of new, mainly neutral taxes and pressures, caused peasant revolts on Slovenian territory. The biggest was in the year 1515, which captured almost all Slovenian territory. In years 1572/73 Slovenian and Croatian peasant’s merged together in resistance. Revolts have continued with bloody losses all till the first half of 18th century.
FROM THE REFORMATION UNTIL THE SPRING OF NATIONS
In the middle of 16th century, on Slovenian territory reformation expanded mainly in Lutheran way. It set the foundations for Slovenian literary language, and with the creation of Slovenian language established the beginnings of linguistic communities. Primož Trubar had, in the year 1550, issued the first two books in Slovene language, Abecednik and Katekizem. Protestants issued around 50 more other books in Slovene language, among others also first Slovenian grammar in the year 1584, Jurij Dalmatin’s translation of the Bible.
In the beginning of 17th century, princely absolutism and Catholic Church crushed Protestantism and for long time undermined the literature in Slovenian language. Enlightenment civilization campaign in middle Europe, in particular in Habsburgs monarchy, had positive effects on Slovenian people. It accelerated economic development and enabled the formation of Slovenian bourgeoisie.
In times of government of Marija Terezija and her son, emperor Jožef II. (1765 – 1790), when general school obligation and primary education in Slovenia was also introduced (1774), the cultural language campaign of Slovene intellectuals started the formation of Slovene language.
At the end of 18th century Slovenian lands were reached by fights of French revolutionary wars. In the year 1797, at the end of first coalition and for a short period of time, French troops occupied parts of today’s Slovenian territory. After the signing of campoformian peace agreement, all Slovenian ethnic territory came under Habsburgs monarchy, since Habsburgs, in exchange for Lombardy and Austrian Netherland, got former Venice Istria and Venetia. But after the defeat in war of third coalition and signing of Bratislava peace agreement (1805), monarchy lost both provinces, which belonged to French-Italian kingdom.
After a new defeat of Austrian kingdom in year 1809 Napoleon took, with Schönbrunn peace agreement, south-western Slovenian provinces (to river Sava) from Habsburgs monarchy and founded Illyrian provinces on the territories of western Koroška, Kranjska, Goriška, Trieste, Istria, Dalmatia and Croatia south of river Sava (1809 – 1813) with capital city in Ljubljana. Short French government changed taxes, introduced reforms of law (Code Napoleon) and improved the situation of Slovene language in schools, but Feudalism was not eliminated, although that was a plan.
French occupation of almost half of today’s Slovenia improved the position of Slovene language and had some other influences; the ideas of French revolution have also accelerated the creation of consciousness about existence of special Slovenian nation. Anton Tomaž Linhart in historiography, Jernej Kopitar in linguistics and some others contributed to the implementation of presentation of ethnic unity of Slovene people of Kranjska, south part of Štajerska and Koroška and Goriška with part of Istria and Trieste hinterland. But that belief was typically spread mainly in the intellectual community, between general population French occupation remained in memories mainly because of high taxes.
IN THE PRE-MARCH ERA, THE MODERNIZATION OF VILLAGES CONTIUED AND THE FIRST INDUSTRIALIZATION STARTED
The greatest Slovenian poet France Prešeren contributed in overcoming the linguistic regionalism and established united literary language for all Slovenians, he also kept it safe against attempts of fusion in an artificial Illyrian-Yugoslav language.
During the European spring of nations, in march and April 1848 first Slovenian political programme named ”United Slovenia” was created, which requested a merge of all lands, populated with Slovenians, into one land Slovenia.
In the year 1867, Slovenian deputies already got the majority in provincial elections on Kranjska. When Austria-Hungary was formed with the distribution of the country on Hungary and Austria parts, the bigger part of today’s Slovenian territory stayed in Austrian part of the monarchy. Only Prekmurje stayed in Hungarian part. Since the year 1866, after losing the war with Italy and Prussia, Italy got Venetia; Venetian Slovenians came under Italy, which was confirmed by a formal plebiscite.
Slovenian political movements at that time were at first marked as common ethnic fight of all Slovenians. Later the political discrepancy deepened, particularly in the 80. and 90. of the 19th century; this was an era of cultural fight between clerical and liberal sites of bourgeois politicians. In the beginning of 20th century socialist political associations were also established, led by intellectuals. They were in the search for co-workers between numerous workers. We can still trace the reflections of political relationships set at that time, even after 100 years, at the beginning of the 21st century.
Programme United Slovenia had stayed for the next 60 years, a red thread of national political effort of Slovenian nation in Habsburg’s monarchy. It is typical from this era, that Slovenians weren’t recognized in the world, although many memorable Slovenians reached the world’s top with their work (Stefan, Potočnik, Jakopič, Puh, Rusjan, Plemelj, Miklošič, Pregl, Vidmar, …)
FIRST WORLD WAR
During WWI, which badly hurt Slovenia, in particular with bloody Soča front and with imperialistic policies of the superpowers, which threatened with dissection of Slovenian territory among several countries (London agreement 1915), Slovenians tried to regulate their national position with common state unity with Croatians and Serbs in Habsburgs monarchy.
Request, known as May declaration, was offered to Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian deputies in Wien parliament in summer of 1917. The ruling circles of Habsburg monarchy, at first, rejected the request. Later request of the government for feudalisation of monarchy (for example October manifestation of Emperor Karl) was rejected by most of the Slovenian politicians, which was already leaning towards independency. Preservation of formed country was the longest defended by former chief of Slovenian people’s party and Kranj provincial governor, Ivan Šusteršič, who had influence and small number of followers.
TIME BETWEEN WORLD WARS
After the defeat of Austria-Hungary and central forces, Croatian sabor in Zagreb and peoples rally in Ljubljana on the 29th October 1918, declared independence and establishment of independent state of Slovenians, Croatians and Serbs (SHS) with centre in Zagreb. Several factors contributed that on the 1st December of 1918 there was the merge of country SHS into a kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenians. Among them was the danger presented by Italians, which on the London based agreement in the year 1915 occupied Primorska, Istria and part of Dalmatia, with the undefined borders, the absence of international recognition and the pressure from the Serbs after the merger into common country under their lead. The kingdom’s official name was changed into the Kingdom Yugoslavi on the 3rd October 1929.
In year 1919 Yugoslavian troops occupied Prekmurje and joined it to the kingdom. After defeat on Koroška plebiscite in year 1920, southern Koroška went to Austria. After the signing Rapallo contract (1920), the border with Italy was established, which got the whole western Slovenia.
The major part of Slovenian nation in Yugoslavian country, which had completely centralized regulation, did not enjoy none any of constitutional autonomy. However, because of compact ethnic settlement and because the dominance of political party SLS, which advocated for autonomy, Slovenian nation actually lived quite autonomous national life, which even centralized Beograd legislation could not overthrow. Slovenian development of economy and culture was good. In its political life, untill the introduction of sixth-January dictatorship (1929), the intense fight between Slovenian people party and Liberal Yugoslavian democratic party were common.
SECOND WORLD WAR
Germany was getting ready to attack the Soviet Union, after Hitler tried to expand triple pact into quadruple, but the conflict of interests between Germany and Soviet Union prevented that, since both had strong territorial trends towards Bosporus and Dardanelles. In the year 1940, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania joined that triple pact. This strongly increased the pressure on Yugoslavia, so that she also would sign the approach, for what Hitler endeavoured, with this he wanted to protect his southern flank before attacking Soviet Union.
On 27th March 1941, the signing of the contract between Yugoslavia and Germany happened, which two days later, on 27th March, followed puts, led by aviation general Dušan Simović. Regent prince Pavel was dismissed and his successor was young Peter. Temporary management was taken over by general Simović. Yugoslavia wasn’t reliable anymore and on 6th April 1941, after the war plan of Marita and without any military prediction, Germany invaded into Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The attack began with famous bombing of Beograd, wherein 20.000 people were killed. Resistance of Yugoslavian royal army was only symbolical, as a consequence of slow mobilization, they only were able to collect half of recruits and also military equipment and doctrine of Serbia from Balkan wars and WWI were obsolete. That’s why Germany passed Zagreb on 10th April and entered Beograd on 12th April. Italian army started its attack only on 11th April, when Hungary was also included. At that time, German army was already in Karlovec. Italian army split into two parts: part one that was penetrating towards Ljubljana and further on through Kočevje and second part was penetrating through Dalmatia. German army also penetrated into Bulgaria and, with mobilized units, easily prevented withdraw of Yugoslavian armies on Thessaloniki front. Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded by four invaders; Slovenian territory was divided between Germany, Italy and Hungary. Croatian authorities won the right of establishment of NDH, despite that the territory was still under invaders control. North of NDH was controlled by Germans, south by Italians. Soon after the occupation was created National council under the leadership of Dr. Marko Natlačen, who called for a peaceful surrender of weapons and surrender to invaders, what military command rejected. Hungary occupied most of the Prekmurje and Medžimurje, the fourth invader of first Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Bulgarija, occupied eastern Macedonia. To a greater Albania were attached parts of eastern Montenegro and Macedonia.
Milder policy was led by Italians on their occupied territory, what was against the wartime events, when they tried, with ethnocide, to destroy 300.00 Slovenians, who were left outside of their homeland. In time of occupation, bilingualism was allowed and Italian language was introduced in schools only as learning subject, they allowed all non-political, cultural and sport societies. German form of occupation was the worst of all three, they banned all Slovenian newspapers, German language was introduced as learning language, and adults were forcefully signed in Štarjeska homeland association and Koroška people association or in emergency armed departments. German language became official language. They violently took 600 children, who by their appearance meet German criteria for Aryan race and were assigned to organization Lebensborn, they introduced Nazi laws and later started with military mobilization of population, which was against international law.
On 26th April 1941 was formed in Ljubljana Anti-Imperialist front (at the attack of Germany on Soviet Union renamed into Liberation front), which started an armed fight against the occupier. Constitutive groups of Anti-Imperial font were: Communist party of Slovenia, part of Christian socialists, democratic part of liberal gymnastics club Sokol and part of culturals, who were unrelated. On 22nd June 1941 main command of partisan forces was established and on the same day were published the Passwords of Liberation movement OF. Later on 1st November 1941 Fundametnal points of OF were also published, in which 8th and 9th point were written under influence of Atlantic charter. Leading part of Liberation front, was with signing of Dolomiti statement on 1st March 1943, assumed by Communist party of Slovenia.
In the year 1943 on Kočevje area occurred significantly liberated territory on which OF organized Kočevje assembly, on which was elected the highest authority of Slovenian state, which adopted a decision about connecting Primorska to Slovenia and elected delegation for II. Session AVNOJ.
APPEARANCE OF FEDERAL YUGOSLAVIA
Assembly of delegates of Slovenian nation in Kočevje on October 1943 decided to integrate Slovenia into new Yugoslavia, which was established on assembly AVNOJ in Jajce November 1943 and was two years later declared for Federal People ’s Republic Yugoslavia (FLRJ). Slovenia, as its part renamed itself into People’s Republic Slovenia. Until year 1947 all private activities were nationalized.
After the turn of with the Soviet Union in year 1948, Yugoslavia started to introduce a mild form of socialism, which was based on social ownership and self-management. City Trieste with its surroundings was part of Italy. In year 1963 the FLRJ was renamed into Socialist federal republic Yugoslavia (SFRJ), Slovenia consequently turned into Socialist republic Slovenia.
Slovenia’s economy developed rapidly, especially in the fifties, when it was strongly industrialized. After economic reform and further economic decentralization of Yugoslavia in years 1965 and 1966, Slovenia was the fastest growing country among all four republics and approaching to market economy. Despite inhibitory economy and social legislation, which was provided mainly by the biggest Serbian nation and in its centralistic efforts with relying on undeveloped republics, Slovenia kept its bigger economic development, from state averages, better qualification structure, better working discipline and organization.
Slovenia made 2,5-times more income of domestic product from states average, which was among Slovenians strengthening their national confidence. This confidence was shown on economic as well as on cultural area.
After the death of Josip Broz Tito in the year 1980, the economic and political conditions started to became strained and after ten years it led to the end of SFRJ. First clear demand of independence of Slovenia was in year 1987 and was set by group of intellectuals in 57th number of magazine Nova. Demand for democracy and resistance against centralized Yugoslavia initiated arrest of three workers of political weekly magazine Mladina and a sergeant of JLA.
In years 1988 and 1989 were formed first opposition political parties that in the May declaration in year 1989 demanded sovereign country of Slovenian nation. First democratical elections in Slovenia were on April 1990, on which the opposition, joined into DEMOS won. On 23rd December the same year, on plebiscite, over 88% of voters decided for autonomous and independent Slovenia. On 25th June 1991, Slovenian parliament adopted constitutional law for realization of the Fundamental charter about autonomous and independent Slovenia, Declaration about independency and several laws, with which Slovenia assumed former competences of federation on its territory. Next day, newly formed country was attacked by Yugoslavian armada. After 10 day war, was on 7th July with Brijuni declaration concluded ceasefire. On 18th July bureau of SFRJ accepted the decision, that JLA with weapons and equipment moves out of Slovenia and on October 1991 the last JLA soldier left Slovenia. On November new law on denationalization was accepted, however on December new constitution was accepted. European Union recognized Republic of Slovenia in the middle of January 1992, OUN accepted Slovenia as its member on May 1992.
SLOVENIA IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
In February 1999 association agreement came into effect with European Union, Slovenia became a member of NATO on 29th March 2004 and on 1st May also a member of European Union. Slovenia assumed common European currency euro on 1st January 2007.