History of Slovakia

Slovakia can be easily traveled criss-cross by car in one day. The largest span from east to west is 428.8 km and the shortest 77.6 km. Total area of Slovakia is 49 036 km2.

In this relatively small area there are many cultural and historical sites referring to the events that took place in Slovakia during several millennia.

Slovak territory was inhabited in prehistoric times. From this period several archaeological artifacts are preserved and placed in the national history museums in many cities of Slovakia.

To the most valuable preserved artifacts belongs a prehistoric neanderthal skull cast from the prehistoric site of Gánovce. Prehistoric settlements were excavated in Smolenice, Čaka, Očkov, Nitriansky Hrádok; one of Celtic settlements Havránok was discovered near Liptovská Mara and many others…

The territory of Slovakia was the border area of the Roman Empirelimes Romanus of the Roman Empire. Romans led several wars of conquest on the territory of today’s Slovakia. In the year 179, commander of the Roman legions Maximilianus Valerius, after winning the battle with Marcomanns, had carved an inscription dedicated to the goddess of victory on a rock 
reef, on which Trencin Castle was built in later centuries.

As a result of the geographical location of Slovakia in Central Europe, raids and military incursions became frequent. The territory of Slovakia was during the centuries threatened by military incursions of Rome, Frankish Empire, the Tatars, the Turks. Despite these threats Slovaks managed to preserve their historical and national identity. 

A vibrant Middle Ages in Slovakia (especially from the 14th century) saw the construction and ongoing refurbishment of many outstanding castles and several notable cathedrals. Throughout this period, the Slovak lands were under the Kingdom of Hungary, eventually included in the Habsburg Empire of Austria-Hungary.

The 20th century saw several changes in how Slovakia was ruled, for both better and for worse, with a communist regime taking control of Czechoslovakia in 1948. Although the visitor still finds influences of this totalitarian period (which ended in a nonviolent Velvet revolution in 1989), Slovakia’s identity today is above all that of a thriving new market economy.

Important historical events

7th century – Tribal Union of Samo’s Empire

9th century – Great Moravia, the first state formation in Central Europe

11th century – Hungarian state created, divided into Lower Hungary (Hungarians) and Upper Hungary (Slovaks)

16th century – Hungary became a part of Austria, after a lost battle against the Turks at Moháč.

17th century – The period of the Thirty Years’ War was full of the Turkish raids and anti-Habsburg uprisings of Hungarian aristocracy. Imre Tököly’s uprising in 1687 was bloodily suppressed and entered history as “abattoir of Prešov”.

18th century – Slovak national revival, which began in the second half of the 18th century, was a period, which was formed sovereign Slovak nation.

28/10/1918 – Slovak national revival resulted in the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic, the common state of Czechs and Slovaks.

30/09/1938 – Expansion of German fascism and policy of concessions towards it reflected in signing of the Munich Agreement.

14/03/1939 – Czechoslovakia was broken up. Slovakia became a satellite state of the Reich.

01/09/1939 –  World War II broke out. Slovak citizens declared their opposition against the fascist Slovak state on 29/08/1944 at national-liberation fight (SNP – Slovak National Uprising). The German armed forces are trying to stop the spontaneous opposition with cruel reprisals. Telgárt village were burned, along with Ostrý Grúň, Tokajík, Zlatá Baňa.

08/05/1945 – World War II ended. Hopes of Slovaks in a democratic state were ended by a communist putsch called ‘Victorious February” on 25th Feb 1948.

In 1968, the Communist Party tried to revive and reform. Alexander Dubcek became a central personality. The tryout for a socialism with a human face was forcibly ended on 21st Aug 1968, when armies of five socialist countries invaded the territory of Czechoslovakia.

From 1968 – Soviet troops occupied Czechoslovakia for more than twenty years.

17/11/1989 – Totalitarianism and communist dictatorship ended

01/01/1993 – the Czechs and Slovaks agreed to a peaceful state division

04/02/2004 – Slovakia’s accession to NATO

05/02/2004 – Slovakia’s accession to the EU

21/12/2007 – Slovakia is becoming part of the Schengen

01/01/2009 – Slovakia becomes a member of the eurozone