Slovak history

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Slovak history

Archaeology indicates the existence of man in the area from the Middle Palaeolithic Era (200,000 - 35,000 BC). The Slovaks are one of the oldest nations of Central Europe. During the migrations of nations, they settled in the very centre of Europe, between the Carpathians and the Danube River.
In the Bronze Age the area of Slovakia was a significant European centre of bronze production.
The Celts entered the region in the 5th century BC.
Shortly before the birth of Christ, the Roman Empire spread to the Danube.
In the era of the migration of peoples (the 5th - 6th centuries AD.) the Gaels and the Longobards passed through Slovakia on their way to northern Italy
The Slavs came to the territory of Slovakia during the 5th century.
The first important state organisation among the western Slavs, the Empire of Samo, was established in the 7th century.
In the 9th century Christianity first emerged in the territory of Slovakia by Great Moravian Empire. This empire encompassed the lands of modern Slovakia and Moravia as well as parts of Hungary, Austria, Bohemia and the southern part of Poland. In 862, during the reign of Prince Pribina, the first Christian Church in Central Europe was built in Nitra, the ancient home of the Slovak princes.
In 863, the brothers Constantin and Method headed a mission to Great Moravia at the invitation of Prince Rastislav. They devised the oldest Slavonic alphabet - Glagolitic - and translated liturgical books into Old Church Slavonic, which they codified. At the beginning of the 10th century, Great Moravia fell to the onslaught of the Magyars. They had created a new state of Hungary in the Carpathian basin. By the end of the 11th century, Slovakia had become an integral and the most developed part of old Hungary, a relationship which was to last for almost one thousand years. Between the 11th and 15th centuries, the region experienced a period of great economic growth and cultural advancement. At the end of the 15th century, this favourable trend was weakened by the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. The Hapsburgs sat upon the Hungarian throne and incorporated Hungary into their multi-national central European empire. In 1536, Bratislava became the capital city of old Hungary, and for three centuries the Hungarian kings were crowned there.
The reforms of Marie Theresa and her son Joseph II formed the basis of a modern state administration, tax and transportation system, army and schools.

The Slovak national movement developed a mature political and constitutional programme in the spring of 1848 when the Slovaks stepped upon the stage of European history as a modern, individual nation. The Slovak National Council developed as the first representative Slovak political organ of modern history. In 1849 its members endeavoured, through co-operation with Vienna, to effect the separation of Slovakia from Hungary and its incorporation as an autonomous entity within the system of the federal Hapsburg monarchy.
In 1915 representatives of the Slovak and Czech ethnic organisations signed the Cleveland Agreement in the USA to establish a common federal state. Under the Pittsburgh Agreement, the autonomous position of Slovakia within a democratic Czecho-Slovak Republic was proclaimed.
By the end of the First World War, the notion of the establishing an independent Czecho-Slovakia was fully supported by the United States, England, France and Italy. On October 28 th, 1918 the Czecho-Slovak National Committee in Prague proclaimed the existence of Czecho-Slovakia. Two days later the Slovak National Council declared its desire for Slovakia to join with the Czech lands in one common state.
On March 14th, 1939, the autonomous parliament proclaimed the independence of the Slovak State. However, although recognised by more than 25 states, its independence was greatly limited by its strong economic, military and political dependence upon Germany.
The Slovak National Uprising was one of the largest armed resistance which took place on the German-occupied territories during the Second World War. The 1944 uprising was a key event of modern Slovak history. After the renewal of Czecho-Slovakia in 1945, a complicated three year struggle between the forces supporting parliamentary democracy and the communists who called for a Soviet type regime concluded in February 1948 with the defeat of democracy in Czecho-Slovakia.
Strong social and cultural changes resulted after the terror of the 1950s. The next decade witnessed a form of relaxation with the appearance both within and outside the communist party of a few strong groups who tried to abolish the system or reform it. This complicated process was known in history as "socialism with a human face" with Alexander Dubcek as its symbol. The occupation of the country in August 1968 by the troops of the Warsaw Pact nipped the reform policy in the bud.
In 1968, parliament passed a constitutional law on federation in which Czecho-Slovakia was changed into a federal state.

In November 1989, the fall of the so-called Iron Curtain enabled the establishment of a democratic government, the restoration of civil freedom and human rights. The break-up of the Council of Mutual Economic Aid - Comecon - and the Warsaw Pact, and ultimately of Soviet Union as the main commercial partner of Slovakia has made the situation a complex one. As a result, Slovakia is opening up to the world, searching for commercial and mutually-beneficial partnerships and information exchange.
In tandem with the democratic changes in Czecho-Slovakia, the decision was made to separate the country into two independent and sovereign states. A customs and currency union has been established.
The Slovak parliament proclaimed the sovereignty of the Slovak Republic in July 1992 and the Slovak Constitution was signed on September 3rd of that year. On January 1, 1993 the newly independent and sovereign Slovak Republic came into being, followed six weeks later by the election of the first democratic Slovak president.

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