Facts about Slovakia

Central Europe


Parliamentary republic




49,035 sq km

CET / GMT+1.00


History of Slovakia

Slovak National Aspirations (18th-19th Century)

Codification of the Slovak Language

The 18th century is in Slovak history characterized by the initial language codification efforts. An early pioneer of the Slovak language, linguist Anton Bernolak is credited with the first but unsuccessful attempt to codify national language in 1787. Only in 1843, an outstanding linguist Ludovit Stur and his group succeeded in codification of Slovak. The new codification was based on the “purest” central  Slovak dialect. The Stur group had also prepared and presented a national and political program called the Demands of the Slovak Nation on May 11, 1848. In the Demands the group requested equal status of Slovaks and Hungarians within Hungary. Stur and his followers also joined in the Revolution of 1848. They organized an army of volunteers and proclaimed the independence from the Hungarian government on September 19, 1848. On this day, during the gathering of Slovaks in Myjava, the utmost Slovak political body called the Slovak National Council was formed. Despite Stur’s emancipation initiatives and the wide national support, the group’s requests had not been granted. In 1849 the Hungarians suffered defeat from Austrian troops in the Battle of Vilagosz, but the Slovak national issues had not been solved. This period is called Magyarisation-an attempt to form a unified Hungarian nation.

After the fall of Bach Absolutism in 1861, a group of Slovak patriots led by the Catholic bishop Stefan Moyzes presented a petition called the Memorandum of the Slovak Nation directly to Emperor Franz Joseph. In the document Slovaks requested an autonomous Slovak territory (Okolie). On August 4, 1863 a cultural and educational institution-Matica slovenska was founded in Martin.  Matica served as a defender of the Slovak national heritage, promoted edification, the amateur theater, and published calendars and Slovak books. The first president of Matica slovenska was Stefan Moyzes and the evangelical priest Karol Kuzmany became the Vice-President. The first Slovak grammar schools opened in Velka Revuca (1862), Turciansky Svaty Martin (1867), and Klastor under Zniev (1869). Sadly, the Hungarian government closed all three grammar schools in 1874, as it did Matica slovenska in 1875.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire

In 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was transformed into a dual state – Austria-Hungary. The newly founded states shared the ruler, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of War. Remaining political and economical departments were governed independently. Regional differences between Austria and Hungary deepened, as the 60% of Hungarian territories was mostly agricultural. For Slovaks the dual system meant nothing else than a period of national oppression and discrimination. The situation worsened in 1907 when the Apponyi’s Educational Law imposed compulsory spoken and written Hungarian language on pupils in grades 1-4. Unfavorable political and socio-economic situation forced many Slovaks to emigrate and look for a job abroad. Approximately half a million of Slovaks emigrated before 1914. At the beginning of the 20th century, Slovak political aspirations revived. The most active was the Slovak National Party and then the Slovak People’s Party led by Andrej Hlinka since 1913. In 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire had to face a serious event-World War I.

Slovakia as a part of Habsburg Empire History of Slovakia World War I

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