A Very Short History of Slovakia

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The following map provides you with a reference point, a current over view of Eastern Europe and its respective nations in proximity to each other.



"The Slovak Spirit is edurance, it is patience and it is persistence
-it is love and tolerance" Prof. George Frajkor ceremony on Mar. 14, 1987, in Ottawa.

Our ancestors would have a difficult time relating to a current map of Eastern Europe. Terms such as the Kingdom of Hungary, Upper Hungary and the Austrian Empire were more common place at the turn of the century.

The lands of Slovakia fell during a siege by the Hungarians in 896 A.D. and remained under their control until 1918. Thus, the following map is more reflective of this region in the late 1890s, just prior to the wave of Slovak emigrants to the United States.



Most historians point to the year 1918 when Czecho-Slovakia was created from segments of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The Czech provinces of Bohemia, Moravia and the majority of Silesia from the Austrian Empire were combined with the lands of Slovakia and Ruthenia from the Kingdom of Hungary. After settling under the Tatras (the Carpathian Mountains), Slovak ancestors can be traced to the mountainous land-locked of Europe over 1500 years ago. Celtic tribes, then the Slavs, settled the fertile plains fed by the Danube. In the ninth Century, they were part of the Great Moravian Empire.

It was during this Empire (that writers claimed as their first state), that The Great Moravian Empire emerged in Central Europe as a loose confederation of Slavic people (862 A.D.) It was during his statehood that the Slavic Prince Rastislav invited the Byzantine brothers Constantine and Methodius to the Great Moravia. They are credited for the civilizing and Christianizing of the Slavs. The roots of the Slovak language can be traced to when they translated the Bible and liturgy into a language which Slavic peoples could understand. These two brothers, who helped Christianize the Slavs, were later canonized as Saints Cyril and Methodius by the Papacy. They have come to be known as the apostles of the Slavs. Many wars were taking place around the time of the Magyar invasion. However, it was during this invasion that the Great Moravian Empire (896 A.D.) was conquered, and this resulted in a thousand years of Hungarian rule. Incredibly, the Slovaks kept their identity. Schools taught them in Hungarian; churches saved their souls in Latin; their language survived in the hills and song. A new nations emerge from the oblivion of centuries, their first aspiration is to affirm their national identity. Their deepest hope is for a world where within a framework of international cooperation every country can solve its own problems according to its own traditions and ideals.

"One of Czecho-Slovakia's main problems was, that like the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was an artificial State comprised of not one people, or one nation, but a multinational state made up of four countries - Slovakia, Czechia, Moravia, and Ruthenia, along with some significant numbers of other ethnic groups within the Czecho- Slovak territorial borders, most notabley the Germans in Czechia and Hungarians in Slovakia."

Not until after World War 1, did independence return. Briefly a democratic republic, then controlled by Hitler, it fell to Communists in 1948. As a result of the Velvet Revolution in 1990, the Czechs and Slovaks shrugged off the shackles of the Communist regime.

In 1993, January 1st, the Czechs and Slovaks split to form independent states; thus the Slovak Republic was reborn. Slovakia lies in the very centre of Europe, the majestic Tatra Mountains forming its northern boundary with Poland. To the West lies the Czech Republic, and beyond that Germany. To the southwest lies Austria - Vienna an hour's ride from Bratislava, Slovakia's capital-and to the south, Hungary. To the east lies the Ukraine.

Slovakia's population at 5,000,000 is larger than that of Norway, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland. Today's Slovaks are descendants of the Slavic tribes who crossed the Carpathian mountains at the end of the fifth and during the sixth century. It is a region where Celts once dwelt. As you know, the Irish are the descendants of the Celts. According to the Celtic scholar Nora Chadwick, the Celts resided in Central Europe where Slovaks today are located. This leads one to the irresistible conclusion that the Irish are Slovaks who left home early. "As much as the terms Czechoslovak and "Czechoslovak nation" were thrown around, no such people, nation or language existed or ever existed" ....



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