Slovakia, Republic of, a country in east-central Europe. From 1918 until 1993 it was a part of Czechoslovakia. Slovakia is bordered by Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Facts in brief about Slovakia
Capital: Bratislava.
Official language: Slovak.
Official name: Slovenska Republika (Slovak Republic).
Area: 18,932 mi2 (49,033 km2). Greatest distances—east-west, 260 mi (418 km); north-south, 130 mi (209 km).
Elevation: Highest—Gerlachovsky Stit, 8,711 ft (2,655 m) above sea level. Lowest—308 ft (94 m) above sea level, near the Bodrog River on the Hungarian border.
Population: Current estimate—5,395,000; density, 285 per mi2 (110 per km2); distribution, 56 percent urban, 44 percent rural. 2001 census—5,379,455.
Chief products: Agriculture—barley, corn, livestock, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat. Manufacturing—ceramics, chemical products, machinery, petroleum products, steel. Mining—coal.
Flag: Slovakia's three horizontal stripes of white, blue, and red (top to bottom). The national coat of arms appears on the left side of the flag.
National anthem: "Nad Tatrou sa blyska” ("Lightning Flashes over the Tatra").
Money: Basic unit—Slovak koruna. One hundred halierov equal one koruna.
Physical Geography
SlovakiaSlovakia is a country in the middle of Europe.

Slovakia's terrain is generally mountainous. Most of the country is covered by the Carpathian Mountains and branches of this range, including the Tatra and Nizke Tatry mountains. Gerlachovský Peak, in the Tatra Mountains, is Slovakia's highest point, it reaches 8,711 feet (2,655 m) Lowlands occur in the Danube Basin in the southwest, and near where the Slovakian, Ukrainian, and Hungarian borders meet.

Major rivers in Slovakia include the Danube (which forms part of Slovakia's border with Hungary and with Austria), Váh, Hron, Hornád, and Laborec. Most of these rivers are important sources of hydroelectric power.

Slovakia has a continental climate. Average temperatures in Bratislava, the capital, range from 70° F. (20° C.) in July to 31° F. (-1° C.) in January Average annual precipitation is generally between 25 and 30 inches (645 and 760 mm).

Economy

Until the Communists came to power in Czechoslovakia in 1948, Slovakia's economy was dominated by agriculture. By the mid-1970's, the Slovakian economy had been transformed into one based on manufacturing, especially important were such heavy industries as metalworking and chemical production. After Czechoslovakia broke apart Slovakia suffered from numerous economic problems, largely because its factories were inefficient and the production of consumer goods was negligible.

Manufacturing is concentrated in and around Bratislava, Kosice, Komarno, and Nitra Products made here include machinery, electrical equipment, cement, refined petroleum, chemicals, and beer. Fine glassware is an important specialty product.

About a third of the land is cultivated. The main crops are wheat, barley, corn, sugarbeets, rye, oats, and potatoes. Cattle, pigs, and sheep are the most numerous livestock. The production of timber is important.

Metals are Slovakia's most important mineral resources They include antimony, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, and zinc Petroleum, natural gas, and lignite are produced in small amounts.

Slovakia is well served by roads, and railroads link most of the major cities. Slovakia's main airport is in Bratislava. Bratislava and Komarno are the chief river ports.

The People

About 85 per cent of the people are Slovaks. Hungarians, who account for about 10 per cent of the population, are the largest minority. Other groups include Czechs, Ruthenians, and Ukrainians. Slovak, a Western Slavic language, is the official language. German and Hungarian are also spoken. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion. Comenius University of Bratislava is Slovakia's largest institution of higher learning.

Government and History

Under the constitution of 1992, Slovakia is a parliamentary democracy. The parliament is made up of 150 members The president is the head of state and is elected by the parliament. The prime minister is the head of government and is appointed by the president.

The area that is now Slovakia was first settled by Illyrian, Germanic, and Celtic tribes. Western Slavic tribes first settled in the region during the sixth and seventh centuries. In the ninth century Slovakia was included in a Slavic kingdom created by Moravia. The Moravian kingdom was conquered by Magyars in the 10th century and Slovakia became a part of their Hungarian kingdom, which in 1526 came under Hapsburg rule. With the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, Slovakia became a part of the new nation of Czechoslovakia.

During 1939–45 Slovakia was a nominally independent state dominated by Nazi Germany. In 1948 Slovakia, along with the rest of Czechoslovakia, came under Communist rule. In 1989 the Communist government of Czechoslovakia fell from power and was replaced by a democratic regime. During 1990–92 nationalist sentiment among Slovaks intensified, and in 1993 Slovakia became an independent nation. In 2004, Slovakia was admitted to the European Union.