Centuries ago, Slovenia was inhabited by Illyrian tribes. Around 400 BC they were joined by the Celtic tribes. In 200 BC they were ruled over by the Romans, who built military fortifications along new roads all the way to the Danube. The Germanic Langhobards only settled in the territory when the power of the Roman Empire began to decline.
After the downfall of the Roman Empire, at the end of the 6th century, the Langhobards moved east to Italy, and the provinces they abandoned were settled by our ancestors – the Slovenes. At the same time, Roman social order based on slavery came to its end. The Slovenes based their social order on old tribal structures.
Over a few following centuries, the Slovenes lived in freedom. Their princes were elected in Gosposvetsko polje ( Saalfeld in Austrian Carinthia ). Slovene settlements were scarce and they were divided among different tribes which led to a complete overrule of their Germanic neighbors in the 10th century. The land was fragmented and given to foreign dignitaries, aristocratic families, and the bishops of Brixen, Freising, and Salzburg. In that period the Slovenes accepted Christian faith and culture.
It was not until the 16th century that national consciousness started to spring up among rare intelligentsia. The Slovene language was at first used only in Christian preaching. The first Slovene grammar book was published. In the 18th century, the Slovene language came to greater use.
During the “spring of nations” in 1848, the Slovene issue also came up in politics. A major character in the first political program called “Slovenia United” was the poet France Preseren. After the downfall of the Habsburg Empire one-third of the Slovene territory remained under Italy and the rest of it was together with Serbia and Croatia united into a new country. Its social order was Unitarian and centralist. Because of great cultural and national differences, it could only be ruled by a strong hand. That state did not acknowledge all national rights to the Slovenes, either.
Second World War In Slovenia
The second world war left deep scars in the Slovene nation. The Germans deported all intelligentsia, ecclesiastics, and ten thousand farmers. Their homes were given to German immigrants. The Slovene language was banned in public and from schools and churches, Slovene books were burnt and patriots shot.
Soon after the occupation first partisan units sprang up from the underground and became part of the Yugoslav partisan army led by the Communist Party under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito. This army was also recognized by the Russians, Americans, and the British as their ally in the fight against the Germans.
After WW II Slovenia as a part of Yugoslavia remained behind the iron curtain. Complete control was taken by the Communist Party. All companies and large estates were nationalized. Strict political control over society and a centralized economy were introduced.
After 1948 borders slowly began to open and the strict control tended to become less strict. It was only after Tito’s death in 1980 that modem civil society began to emerge in Slovenia. In those years Slovenia strongly resisted the resurrection of the strong hand of Belgrade.
On 23. December 1990., more than 88% of the voters voted for a sovereign independent state. After that Slovenia was no longer part of Yugoslavia. Six months after the promulgation of plebiscite results Slovenia became legally independent by the Basic Constitutional Charter.