Facts about Slovakia

Central Europe


Parliamentary republic




49,035 sq km

CET / GMT+1.00


History of Slovakia

Slovakia as Part of Hungary (1000-1918)

After the fall of the Great Moravian Empire, Slovak territory had been annexed to the Hungarian Kingdom founded by Saint Stephen in 1000. King Stephen I became an appanage Prince in 995. In 12th century the Diocese of Nitra (originally established in 880) had been re-established, and the first Catholic monastery in Slovak territory was built on the Zobor Hill in Nitra (the originals of the letters dating back to 1111-1113 had been found and preserved). The Benedictine monks Svorad Andrew and Benedict who lived at Zobor were canonized as the first Hungarian saints in 1083. In 1150 the first German colonists came to Slovakia and formed the settlements temporarily exempted from rents and taxes (lehota) in the sparsely inhabited regions of Spis, Banska Stiavnica, and Gelnica. The experienced Germans brought advanced mining techniques to the region and replaced surface mining with more efficient under ground mining. The second half of the 13th century marks the period of the internal struggle for power among magnates. Among the barons, the most prominent was Matthew Csak of Trencin. Since he took control of the majority of Slovakia, Csak was nicknamed “The Lord of the Vah River and Tatra Mountains.”

The oldest written record of the word Slovak (slovensky) dates back to Matthew Csak’s era (1294) and can be found in the letter of a church dignitary from Klastor under Zniev. At this period the original timber castles had been rebuilt and transformed into the stronger stone castles. Castles made with stone were harder to invade. They were built especially to withstand the attacks of the Tartars moving into our territory from the Asian Steppe in 1294. After the last member of the Arpad Dynasty Andrew III died in 1301, various local dynasties ruled in Hungary. For example, King Louis I of Anjou supported the development of towns, mining, and trade. In 1381 he granted the officials representing Slovaks in the municipal council of Zilina the same privileges as those granted to the local Germans (Privilegium pro Slavis). In 15th century Matthias Corvinus, the wealthiest magnate in the Hungarian Empire, succeeded Louis I. Corvinus temporarily defeated the Turks, reorganized the country, and granted privileges especially to the Vlach shepherds or “Wallachians” who migrated into Slovakia from Romania (our language had its domesticated vocabulary enriched by the Wallachian words such as bryndza-sheep’s cheese, valaska–a light, thin axe, and baca- shepherd). He also patronized the mining towns. Importantly, in 1467 Matthias Corvinus founded the first university in our territory called Academia Istropolitana with its seat in Bratislava.

Turks in Slovakia (1526-early 1700s)

When the Turks defeated the Hungarians in the Battle of Mohacs in 1526,the Royal Hungarian Army suffered enormous casualties. Even King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia was killed in an unsuccessful attempt to escape from the battlefield. Ferdinand I of Habsburg succeeded Louis II in November 1526. The 150-year Turkish occupation of the territories in today’s Slovakia began in 1530. Sadly, Turks plundered and destroyed the area, seized the cities, villages, and castles, and enslaved the native population. Nearly 80,000 Slovaks were abducted to become slaves in the Ottoman Empire. To protect towns and villages against Turkish savagery, the fire watchtowers were built in order to notify of the approaching Turkish invaders. Because of the Turkish raids, our ancestors were frequently forced to evacuate, thus continuously changing demographics of the area. Finally, Polish King Jan III Sobieski and Charles V, the Duke of Lorraine conquered the Turkish army led by Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa at the Battle of Vienna in 1683.  The Treaty of Karlowitz signed in 1699 officially ended the Turkish occupation of Hungary.

First Settlements, Great Moravia History of Slovakia Slovakia as a part of Habsburg Empire

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