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origin of the name Slovenia (or Slovenija in Slovene) is unknown, but likely describes
the people as Slavs. In Slovenian the word Slovani means "Slavic"
and the people are Slavs. In this way the people may simply refer to themselves
as Slavs, but using the more historic form of the word, Slovani.
Slovenia seems to mix nearly all of Europe into one tiny country. Geographically
it stretches from the beautiful Adriatic Sea to the high Alps and culturally it
mixes Slavic, Germanic, and Italic people. The Slovenian people are ethnically and
linguistically Slavic, but there are traces of Germanic and Italian in them as well.
While this diversity isn't seen in their language, it is more definitely present
in their foods, religion, and lifestyle.
As the Slovenian people changed over time, there were multiple outside influences
that can still be seen today. The people fell under the rule of the Roman Empire
and later the Austrian Empire, meaning the people have generally looked west and
north for inspiration, not east. The people adopted Catholicism along with Italian
and Austrian foods, clothes, and other cultural aspects.
The colors of Slovenia's flag
are taken from the coat of arms of the Duchy of Carniola, which ruled over the approximate
region of the country from the 1300s to the early 1900s. In the foreground of the
flag is the Slovenian seal, which includes Mt. Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak,
two wavy lines representing the seas and rivers, and three stars, which are taken
from the coat of arms of the Counts of Celje, one of the greatest Slovene dynasties,
who ruled in the 1300s and 1400s.
Name: Republic of Slovenia
Independence: June 25, 1991
Population: 1,992,690 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Slovene & others
Religion: Roman Catholic
Slavic identity wasn't truly created in Slovenia until the 1800s when a stronger
self-identity and independence movements began. The people began to turn towards
their ethnic and linguistic origins as Slavs and helped form Yugoslavia the following
Yugoslavia continued to change the culture, primarily in the form of the lifestyle.
The communist government encouraged urbanization and industrialization, while changing
the economy. It also united the Southern Slavs politically, but likely also helped
the Slovenes realize their many differences.
In recent years the Slovenes have continued to develop their culture and lifestyle,
which now includes a political entity. Politically and economically the Slovenes
have quickly shifted west as they joined the European Union and seem to have again
found their ties to Western Europe from religion and food to mentality and lifestyle.
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