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Slovenia

slv´n, Slovene Slovenija, officially Republic of Slovenia, republic (2005 est. pop. 2,011,000), 7,817 sq mi (20,246 sq km). It is bounded in the north by Austria, in the northeast by Hungary, in the southeast by Croatia, and in the west by Italy. It has a small strip of seacoast on the Adriatic. Ljubljana is the capital.

Land, People, and Economy

Most of Slovenia is situated in the Karst plateau and in the Julian Alps. The largely mountainous and forested republic is drained by the Drava and Sava rivers. Ljubljana, Maribor and Celje are the chief cities. The Slovenes constitute nearly all of the population, but there are Hungarian and Italian minorities. They are mostly Roman Catholic. Although farming and livestock raising are the chief occupations, with grains, potatoes, and fruit the main crops, Slovenia is the most industrialized and urbanized of all the former Yugoslav republics. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Slovenia's economy grew and tourism increased markedly, unimpeded by the warfare that devastated other regions. Iron, steel, aluminum, machine tools, motor vehicles, cement, chemicals, textiles, and leather, as well as light engineering and some electronics, are the main industries. There are mineral resources of oil, coal, and mercury. The country's chief trading partners are Germany, Italy, and Croatia. Slovenia is a member of the European Union.

Government

Slovenia is a parliamentary democratic republic. The executive consists of an elected president, aided by a council of ministers, and a prime minister. It has a bicameral legislature, the Skupšcina Slovenije (Slovenian Assembly), consisting of the 90-member Državni Zbor (State Chamber) and the 40-member, advisory Državni Svet (State Council). Administratively, the country is divided into 136 municipalities and 11 urban municipalities.

History

In ancient times the region was inhabited by the Illyrian and Celtic tribes. In the 1st cent. BC they fell under the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Noricum. The region was settled in the 6th cent. AD by the South Slavs, who set up the early Slav state of Samo, which in 788 passed to the Franks. At the division of Charlemagne's empire (843) the region passed to the dukes of Bavaria. In 1335, Carinthia and Carniola passed to the Hapsburgs. From that time until 1918 Slovenia was part of Austria and the region was largely comprised in the Austrian crownlands of Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria. In 1918, Slovenia was included in the kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (called Yugoslavia after 1929), and in 1919 Austria formally ceded the region by the Treaty of Saint-Germain.

In World War II Slovenia was divided (1941) among Germany, Italy, and Hungary. After the war, Slovenia was made (1945) a constituent republic of Yugoslavia and received part of the former Italian region of Venezia Giulia. In early 1990, Slovenia elected a non-Communist government and stepped up its demands for greater autonomy with the threat of possible secession. In Feb., 1991, the Slovenian parliament ruled that Slovenian law took precedence over federal law. Slovenia declared independence on June 25, and federal troops moved in, but after some fighting withdrew by July. Slovenia, along with Croatia, was recognized as an independent country by the European Community and the United Nations in 1992. Milan Kučan was elected president of Slovenia in 1990 and continued as president of the independent republic; he was reelected in Nov., 1997. In 2002, Janez Drnovšek, a Liberal Democrat, was elected president after a runoff election; Drnovšek had been the country's prime minister. Slovenia became a member of NATO and the European Union in 2004, and adopted the euro as its currency three years later. The current prime minister, Janez Janša, has served since Nov., 2004, and heads a center-right coalition government. A dispute over Slovenia's right to access to the Adriatic through waters that Croatia claims has been a source of tension between the two newly independent nations.