Earliest traces
The Celtic kingdom and the Roman Empire
The first independent duchy
Under the Franks and Christianity
600 years under the Habsburgs
A time of revival
The Austro-Hungarian monarchy
The State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
The appearance of federal Yugoslavia
The independent state of Slovenia

250,000 BC: The first evidence of human habitation on the territory of the present-day Slovenia
120,000 to 33,000 BC: Remains from the early Stone Age - the Palaeolithic; among them the oldest musical instrument in the world, found in Slovenia
5,000 BC: Remains found as evidence of a hunting and gathering way of life
3,900 BC: Pile dwellings on the Ljubljana Marshes
1,300 BC: Urnfield culture
8th to 7th century BC: Bronze and Iron Age fortifications
4th and 3rd century BC: The arrival of Celts; the Noricum kingdom
circa 10 BC: The Roman Empire; the appearance of the first towns
5th and 6th century AD: Invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes
after 568: Dominance of Slav people on the territory of Slovenia
7th to 11th century: The Duchy of Carantania, the oldest known independent Slavonic state in this area
8th century: The start of the conversion to Christianity
9th century: The spread of the Frankish feudal system and the beginning of the formation of the Slovene nation
10th century: The appearance of the Freising Manuscripts, the earliest known text written in Slovene
11th century: The beginning of the development of the Carniola, Styria, Carinthia and Gorizia regions, and intensive German colonisation
11th to 14th centuries: The development of medieval towns in Slovenia
14th to 15th centuries: Most of the terri-tory of Slovenia including all its hereditary estates is taken over by the Habsburgs; in 1456, the Celje counts become extinct - this was the last Slovene feudal dynasty
15th century: Turkish invasions begin
15th to 17th centuries: Peasant revolts
1550: Protestantism; the first book written in Slovene
18th century: Enlightenment and compulsory universal education
1809-1813: Illyrian Provinces
1848: Unified Slovenia, the first Slovene political programme
1918: The State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs; the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
1945: The end of the Second World War and the formation of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia
1990: Plebiscite on independence
25 June 1991: Proclamation of the independent Republic of Slovenia

gor Earliest traces

The oldest proof of human habitation on the territory of Slovenia are two implements made of stone from the Jama cave in the Loza wood near Orehek, which are around 250,000 years old. From the Wurm glacial age, when the area was inhabited by Neanderthals, the most important find is the flute found in Divje babe, above the Idrija valley. In the late Stone and Bronze Ages, the inhabitants of the area were engaged in livestock rearing and farming. During the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age, the Urnfield culture existed in this area. Typical of the Hallstatt period were fortified hilltop settlements called gradišče (Most na Soči, Vače, Rifnik, St. Vid near Stična) and beautifully-crafted iron objects and weapons. The ethnicity of the inhabitants of these settlements cannot be determined.

gor The Celtic kingdom and the Roman Empire

In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, the territory of the present-day Slovenia was occupied by Celtic tribes, which formed the first state called Noricum. The names of many present places (Bohinj, Tuhinj) date from this time, as well as the names of rivers (the Sava, the Savinja, the Drava). Around 10 BC, Noricum was annexed by the Roman Empire and Roman cities started to appear, among them Emona (Ljubljana), Celeia (Celje) and Poetovia (Ptuj).
Well-constructed trade and military roads ran across Slovene territory from Italy to Pannonia. Under the Roman Empire, the population became Romanized and Christianity began to assert itself.

gor The first independent duchy

In the 5th and 6th centuries, the area was exposed to invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes during their incursions into Italy. After the departure of the last Germanic tribe - the Langobards - to Italy in 568, Slavs began to dominate the area, but it is not quite clear as to exactly when they first arrived here. After the successful resistance against the nomadic Asian Avars (from 623 to 626), this Slavonic people united with King Samo's tribal confederation, which had its centre in the present Czech Republic. The confederation fell apart in 658 and the Slav people on the territory of the present-day Carinthia formed the independent duchy of Carantania, with its centre at Krn Castle, north of Klagenfurt. From this period onwards, until 1414, a special ceremony of the enthronement of princes, conducted in Slovene, took place.

gor Under the Franks and Christianity

In the middle of the 8th century, Carantania became a vassal duchy under the rule of the Bavarians, who began to spread Christianity. In 788, Carantanians together with Bavarians came under Frankish rule. At the beginning of the 9th century, the Franks removed the Carantanian princes because of rebellions, replacing them with their own border dukes. The Frankish feudal system started spreading to Slovene territory.
At the end of the 9th century, Magyars invaded the Pannonian Plain. They intruded into Slovene territory and cut it off from the other western Slavs.
Thus the isolated Slavs of Carantania and of Carniola to the south, started developing into an independent nation of Slovenes. After the victory of Emperor Otto I over the Magyars in 955, Slovene territory became divided into a number of border regions of the Holy Roman Empire, the most important of which, Carantania, was in 976 elevated into the duchy of Great Carantania. The Freising Manuscripts date from this period - a few prayers written in the Slovene language of the time. In the late Middle Ages, the historic states of štajerska (Styria), Koroška (Carinthia), Kranjska (Carniola), Gorizia, Trieste and Istria were formed from the border regions and included in the medieval German state.

gor 600 years under the Habsburgs

In the 14th century, most of the territory of Slovenia was taken over by the Habsburgs. Their powerful competitors were the counts of Celje, a feudal family from this area, which in 1436 acquired the title of 'state counts'. This large dynasty, important at a European political level, which had its seat on Slovene territory, died off in 1456, and its numerous large estates became the property of the Habsburgs, who retained control of the area right up to the beginning of the 20th century. Intensive German colonisation between the 11th and the 15th centuries narrowed Slovene lands to an area only a little bigger than the present-day Slovene ethnic territory. At the end of the Middle Ages, in the 15th and the 16th centuries, life in this area was marked by Turkish incursions. Dissatisfaction with the ineffective feudal defences against the Turks and the introduction of new taxes, particularly tribute, as well as bonded labour, brought about peasant revolts. The biggest revolt in 1515 took place across nearly the whole Slovene territory. From 1572 to 1573, Slovene and Croatian peasants organised a united revolt. Uprisings, which met with bloody defeats, continued right up until the first half of the 18th century.

gor A time of revival

In the middle of the 16th century, the Reformation, mainly Lutheranism, spread across Slovene territory, helping to create the foundations of the Slovene literary language.
In 1550, Primož Trubar published the first two books in Slovene, Katekizem in Abecednik (Catechism and Abecedary). The Protestants published approximately another 50 books in Slovene, among them the first Slovene grammar and, in 1584, Dalmatin's translation of the entire Bible.b At the beginning of the 17th century, princely absolutism and the Catholic church suppressed Protestantism, hindering for a long period the development of literature in Slovene. The Enlightenment in Central Europe, particularly under the Habsburg monarchy, was a positive period for the Slovene people. It speeded up economic development and facilitated the appearance of a Slovene middle class.
The reign of Emperor Joseph II (1765-1790) which saw, among other things, the introduction of compulsory education and primary education conducted in Slovene (1774), together with the start of cultural-linguistic activities by Slovene intellectuals, was a time of Slovene national revival and of the birth of the Slovene nation in the modern sense of the word. Before the Napoleonic Wars, Slovenes acquired some secular literature, the first historical study based on the ethnic principle (by Anton Tomaž Linhart) and the first serious written grammar (by Jernej Kopitar).
At the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon captured south-eastern Slovene regions and on the territory of Koroška, Kranjska, Gorizia, Trieste, Istria, Dalmatia and Croatia south of the Sava, created the Illyrian Provinces (1809-1813) of the French state, with Ljubljana as their capital. The short-lived French rule changed the taxation system and improved the position of the Slovene language in schools; it did not, however, abolish feudalism.

gor The Austro-Hungarian monarchy

In the pre-March period modernisation of villages and the first industrialisation started.
The most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren, made his contribution to overcoming language regionalism: he asserted the right to a unified written language for all Slovenes and defended it against attempts to blend it into an artificial Illyrian Yugoslav language. The first Slovene political programme, called 'Unified Slovenia' emerged during the European 'Spring of Nations' in March and April of 1848, demanding that all the lands inhabited by Slovenes should be united into one province, called Slovenia.

The map of Slovene land and provinces

The map of Slovene land and provinces, published in 1853 by Slovene geographer, jurist and politician Peter Kozler.

In this province, Slovene would be made the official language. It would be an autonomous province, with its own provincial assembly within the framework of the Habsburg monarchy.
In 1867, Slovene representatives received a majority of votes in the provincial elections. In the same year, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was established, split into two equal parts. Most of the territory of present-day Slovenia remained in the Austrian part of the monarchy, Pomurje was in the Hungarian part, whilst the Slovenes in Veneto had already decided in 1866 that they wished to join Italy. The idea of a unified Slovenia remained the central theme of the national-political efforts of the Slovene nation within the Habsburg monarchy for the next 60 years.
By the end of the 19th century, industry had developed considerably in Slovenia and the Slovene people were similarly socially differentiated as in all the other developed European nations.

gor The State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs

During the First World War, which brought heavy casualties to Slovenia, particularly on the bloody Soča front, and with the imperialistic policies of the superpowers, which threatened to split Slovene territory among a number of states (the London Pact of 1915), Slovenes tried to arrange a unified common state of Slovenes, Croats and those Serbs living within the Habsburg monarchy. This demand, known as the May Declaration, was made by the Slovene, Croatian and Serbian representatives in the Vienna parliament in the spring of 1917.
The ruling circles of the Habsburg monarchy rejected this demand, even though it was supported by a strong Slovene national pro-declaration movement. After Austro-Hungarian defeat, the Croatian assembly in Zagreb and a national gathering in Ljubljana on 29 October 1918 declared national freedom and the formation of an independent state of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, with its capital in Zagreb. The danger from Italy, which had occupied Primorska and Istria as well as some parts of Dalmatia, and the pressures from the Serbs for unification into a common state, forced the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, on 1 December 1918, to unite with the Kingdom of Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was in 1929 renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Following a plebiscite in 1920, the Slovene part of Carinthia was annexed to Austria. Thus, a unified Slovenia never became a reality. The majority of the Slovene nation in Yugoslavia, which was completely centralised, had no constitutional or legal autonomy, but because of its ethnic compactness and because of the domination of the Slovene People's Party (SLS), which strove for autonomy, the nation actually lived a fairly autonomous existence, which even the centralised Belgrade legislation could not spoil. Slovenia managed to develop both economically and culturally. But on its domestic political stage there was an intense struggle between the conservative-Christian SLS and the Liberal Party.

gor The appearance of federal Yugoslavia

During the Second World War, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia disintegrated, and Slovene territory was divided between Germany, Italy and Hungary. In 1941, the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation was founded in Ljubljana and began armed resistance against the occupying forces. The Communist Party soon adopted the leading role within the Liberation Front, gradually redirecting the liberation fight into a socialist revolution and taking total control.
At the end of the war, the partisan army liberated the whole of ethnic Slovenia. The assembly of representatives of the Slovene nation in October 1943 in Kočevje decided to include Slovenia in the new Yugoslavia, which was formed at the AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia) meeting in Jajce in 1943 and two years later, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FPRY) was declared. Slovenia, as its constituent part, was renamed the People's Republic of Slovenia. By 1947, all private property had been nationalised.
After the break with the Soviet Union in 1948, Yugoslavia began introducing a milder version of socialism, based on common ownership and self-management. In 1963, the FLRY was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and Slovenia was now called the Socialist Republic of Slovenia.
Slovenia's economy developed rapidly, particularly in the fifties, when it was strongly industrialised. After the economic reform and further economic decentralisation of Yugoslavia in 1965 and 1966, of the six republics, Slovenia was the one most rapidly approaching a market economy. In spite of restrictive economic and social legislation determined mainly by the largest - Serbian - nation, which based its centralist strategy on the less-developed republics, Slovenia managed to preserve a higher level of economic development, had a higher than average skilled workforce and better working discipline and organisation.
Slovenia's domestic product was 2.5 times the state average, which strengthened national confidence among the Slovenes. This confidence showed in both the economic and cultural areas.

gor The independent state of Slovenia

After the death of Josip Broz Tito in 1980, the economic and political situation started to become very strained and this ultimately led, ten years later to the end of the SFRY. The first clear demand for Slovene independence was made in 1987 by a group of intellectuals in the 57th edition of the review Nova revija. Demands for democratisation and resistance against the centralised Yugoslavia were sparked off by the arrest of three journalists from the political weekly Mladina and a non-commissioned officer of the Yugoslav Army.
In 1988 and 1989 the first political opposition parties emerged, which in the 1989 May Declaration demanded a sovereign state for the Slovene nation. In April 1990, the first democratic elections in Slovenia took place and were won by DEMOS, the united opposition movement. In the same year more than 88% of the electorate voted for a sovereign and independent Slovenia. The declaration of independence followed on 25 June 1991. The next day, the newly-formed state was attacked by the Yugoslav Army. After a ten-day war, a truce was called and in October 1991 the last soldiers of the Yugoslav Army left Slovenia. In November, a law on de-nationalisation was adopted and in December, a new constitution. The European Union recognised Slovenia in the middle of January 1992, and the UN accepted it as a member in May 1992. In February 1999, an association agreement with the EU came into effect and Slovenia also applied for full membership.