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Slovenia Information - Page 2
For centuries Slovenia was part of the Empire of Austria ruled by the Habsburg family.

The first political move for a United Slovenia came about in 1848. Unrest and economic problems in the 1860s led to migration to countries such as the United States of America.

Between 1867 and the First World War (1914-1918) Austria (including Slovenia) joined with Hungary in the dual Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918 Slovenia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, known as Yugoslavia from 1929.

During the Second World War Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers and was divided between Hungary, Italy and Germany. Josip Broz "Tito", the leader of the Yugoslav Communist Party, led the Partisan Resistance. After Germany's defeat Yugoslavia became the Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia).

Although Yugoslavia (1945-1991) was run by a communist government Tito distanced himself from the USSR. Tito's form of communism (Titoism) was strongly supported by Edvard Kardelj, a Slovene.

Kardelj died in 1979, followed by Tito in 1980. Tito had planned for succession by a collective leadership but a struggle for political control of Yugoslavia followed his death.

From 1988 there was a movement for Slovenia's independence. Communism ended in Slovenia after democratic elections in 1990 and Slovenia declared independence on 25 June 1991. The Yugoslav Army responded to Slovenia's declaration by taking military action. Fortunately this was short-lived and by the end of October of that year the Yugoslav Army had left Slovenia.

In December 2002 Slovenia took part in EU accession negotiations with nine other countries (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and the Slovak Republic). The Accession Treaty was signed on 16 April 2003 with 1 May 2004 the formal entry date. EU enlargement meant the unification of twenty-five countries after over half a century of political division which followed World War II.

During the second half of the twentieth century all Yugoslav land, industry and business was state owned. Since independence from Yugoslavia, Slovenia has been making the transition to a market economy.

Economic links were established between Slovenia and EU members such as Austria, France, Germany and Italy and on 1 May 2004 Slovenia became a Member State of the EU.

Slovenia's agricultural sector provides a relatively small percentage of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing the smallest number of workers. Agricultural products include wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, grapes, hops and fruit. Dairy products are important. Cattle, sheep and poultry are reared.

Major industries are lead and zinc smelting, ferrous metallurgy and aluminum products, trucks, automobiles, electric power equipment, machine tools, chemicals, wood products, textiles, wine and food processing.

The services sector earns the largest percentage of GDP and employs the largest percentage of the working population.

In April 2013 the European Commission warned Slovenia that action was needed to tackle the problems of Slovenia's banks. However, plans to rescue the banks did not call for an international bailout.

The tourist industry is an expanding sector of the economy.

Well known Slovenian artists include Rihard Jakopic (1869-1943), Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926) and Gabrijel Stupica (1913-1990).

The oldest known Slovene document is the thousand year old Freising Manuscript (Brizinski spomeniki). The publication of the first Slovene books took place in 1550: Trubar's Katekizm and Abecedarium. Later in the sixteenth century Jurij Dalmatin, a Protestant writer, translated the Bible into Slovene.

Ruled by Austria, Slovenes advocated the use of their own language and by the end of the eighteenth century Valentin Vodnik (1758-1819) published the first Slovene newspaper, Lublanske Novice. France Preseren (1800-1849), Slovenia's greatest poet, promoted Slovene language and literature, followed by Ivan Cankar (1876-1918), a Slovene writer and one of Europe's foremost authors during his lifetime.

In the world of music Slovenia is known for the composer Jacobus Gallus Carniolus (1550-1591) and the Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1701, one of Europe's oldest orchestras.

Slovenia is a host of the World Alpine Ski Championships and Ski Jumping Championships. Kranjska Gora is Slovenia's most important winter sports centre followed by Maribor Pohorje. Slovenia is also a venue for world championships in sports such as gliding and parachuting.

The Adriatic Sea and Slovenia's lakes and rivers provide ample opportunities for water sports as well as fishing.

Football is popular in Slovenia and the Slovenian football team participates in matches at international level.

Slovenia observes religious holidays including Easter and Christmas. New Year is celebrated and perhaps the most important national holiday is National Day on 25 June which commemorates Slovenia's independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

News from Slovenia is available from Newslink.

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