Facts about Slovakia

Central Europe


Parliamentary republic




49,035 sq km

CET / GMT+1.00


History of Slovakia

Pre-Historical Settlements and First Inhabitants in Slovakia Territory

The oldest signs of human settlement in today’s territory of Slovakia date back to the Palaeolithic era.  Historically relevant sources confirm that the Celts settled in our territory as early as at the end of the 3rd century B.C. The Celts were skilful craftsmen, mostly smiths and potters who used a potter’s wheel and minted coins. The coins found in our area bore the inscriptions ‘Biatec” and Nonnos’. The Celts built fortified settlements known as oppida. The remnants of oppida were found in Bratislava and Plavecky Stvrtok. Later on the Celts were forced out by the Romans who penetrated inland to the western and southern Slovakia (the Morava River region-Pomoravie, the Vah River region-Povazie, the Hron River region-Pohronie, and the Nitra River region-Ponitrie). The inscription ‘Laugaritio” on a rock in Trencin is the most famous memorial from this era (179-180 A.D.). It commemorates the presence of the imperial army of the Caesar Marcus Aurelius and the Roman suppression of the Germanic tribes. The Romans built a fortified frontier called Limes Romanus. Because the frontier reached the Danube River in the north, our territory became a part of the Roman Empire. The Romans also built their military camps in Devin, Rusovce (Gerulata), and Iza near Komarno (Brigetio). Clay dice, a very popular game among Roman soldiers, were found at this location.

Slavs (4th-7th Century)

Slavic tribes first migrated into the Carpathian Basin during the Migration Period starting at the end of the 4th century. In the 6th century the Avars threatened the Slavs. The first political formation to be established in our territory was Samo’s Empire (623-658 A.D.). Samo, a rich Frankish merchant, defeated a Frankish king Dagobert and thus established the Slavs’ independence from the Frankish Empire.  Samo’s death marked the end of his realm. At the end of the 8th century the army of the Frankish king Charlemagne finally defeated the Avars.

Great Moravian Empire (833-907 A.D.)

The Great Moravian Empire was formed as a result of the unification of the Nitra and Moravian Principalities in 833 A.D.  Established in the 8th century, Principality of Nitra was ruled by Prince Pribina at that time.  In 828 A.D. Pribina authorized consecration of a Christian church in Nitra, the very first Christian church in our territory. In 833 A.D. Pribina was forced out by the Moravian ruler Mojmir and settled together with his son Kocel near Blatnograd. Prince Rastislav succeeded Mojmirin 864. During this era the Frankish Empire was the most dangerous enemy of Great Moravia.

To resist Frankish influence in Great Moravia, Rastislav sought help from the Byzantine Emperor Michael III. Consequently, in 863 A.D.Michael III commissioned the two missionaries- Cyril and Methodius to evangelize the people of Great Moravia.  Cyril and Methodius spread Christianity in our territory by translating liturgicalbooks and the Holy Bible (the translation was approved by the Pope Hadrian II in 868 A.D.) into Old Church Slavonic. The brothers also laid the foundations of the Glagolitic alphabet and founded monasteries and schools.

The reign of Prince Svatopluk (870-894 A.D.) marks the most significant period of the Great Moravian Empire. Svatopluk usurped the throne from his uncle Rastislav and had him arrested by Frankish priests. They imprisoned and even blinded Rastislav. However, in 871 Franks also captured  Prince Svatopluk. The Great Moravians organized themselves under the command of the priest Slavomir and revolted against Frankish rule. Later Svatopluk consolidated the Great Moravian Empire and expanded its territory by annexing Bohemia, Silesia, Lusatia and Pannonia in 890.  After his death in 894,King Svatopluk was succeeded by his son Mojmir II. In 895 Bohemia seceded from Great Moravia. Internal struggle for power among nobility and the frequent attacks of the Old Hungarians and the Franks threatened the existence of Great Moravia. Ultimately, the empire began to decline. Svatopluk II, the last monarch of Great Moravia, died in the battle against Hungarians near Tata in 906. Next year the Old Hungarians defeated the Bavarian army and settled in Pannonia. There is no mention of the Great Moravian Empire after the year of 907.


History of Slovakia History of Slovakia Slovakia as a part of Kingdom of Hungary

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