The Slovak Republic or Slovakia we all know it, was mostly a Celtic region until the Romans arrived, and then the invasion of the Huns and the Avars. Slavic tribes began to settle in the region around the 5th century and developed into part of the Moravian Empire, during which time St Cyril passed through introducing Christianity. It was here that the Cyrillic Alphabet was originated, which then spread around the rest of central and Eastern Europe.

The Moravia Empire gradually disintegrated and got taken over by the Kingdom of Hungary. This situation remained all the way through to 1918 with the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However during that time they were invaded by Mongols, and the Ottoman Turks.

In 1918 the Slovakia joined with Moravia, Bohemia and Silesia to form Czechoslovakia which became internationally recognised as an independent state. Within it was a number of ethnic Germans. Prosperity followed the war years but the Great Depression put great pressure on the political establishment and was increasingly under pressure from the rapidly changing politics of Germany and Hungary. Nazi Germany claimed the Sudetenland under the Munich Agreement in 1938 which was a step towardsĀ WW2.

During WW2 the Slovaks were forced to become a German puppet state in which widescale persecution Jews and Romany people took place. When the Soviets got closer and the Nazis looked like they were going to lose, there was a national uprising between summer 1944 and summer 1945 when they were liberated by the Red Army.

Czechoslovakia became part of the Warsaw Pact after a coup in 1948 and became occupied by Soviet troops after the Prague Spring in 1968.

The Velvet Revolution in 1989 which started the process of the dissolution of the union between the Czech and Slovak Republics. They remain close allies.

Slovakia gets about 1.6 million visitors a year, mostly to the capital, Bratislava, and to the ski fields of the High Tatra mountains.

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