Slovenian History

Slovenia Population, Foreign Policy and History



95.3% of the population are Slovenes. The minorities include Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats, Hungarians, Albanians, Italians and Macedonians. The share of foreign nationals in the total population is (2017) 5.54%; there are also 614 refugees.

The average population density is (2017) 103 residents / km 2. The population is mainly concentrated in the often basin-like widened valleys of the Save (especially in the Ljubljana basin), the Sann (Savinja in Slovenian) and the Krka as well as in the Ptuj plain on both sides of the Drava and in the Mur region (Prekmurje) in the extreme northeast. The proportion of the urban population is (2017) 50%. The largest cities by far are Ljubljana and Maribor.

The biggest cities in Slovenia

Biggest Cities (Inh. 2019)
Ljubljana 284 400
Maribor 95 800
Celje 37 900
Kranj 37 500

Foreign Policy

In March 1994, the country joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. After Italy had given up its blockade due to property claims in 1945/46, the association agreement initialed with the EU in 1995 was signed on June 10, 1996; It was ratified by the EU on October 24, 1996 and by Slovenia on July 18, 1997. The start of EU accession negotiations on March 31, 1998 went smoothly; after graduation in December 2002, membership took place on May 1, 2004. In the 1999 Kosovo conflict, the Slovenian government supported the policies of the EU and NATO. The western military alliance used the Slovenian airspace. In November 2002 the NATO decision to accept Slovenia as a future member was made, which was implemented on March 29, 2004. With a large majority, the population voted in the referendum on March 23. In 2003 agreed to join the EU (89.6% of voters) and NATO (66.6%). On January 1, 2007, Slovenia became a member of the Eurozone.

Border closures in Hungary against the background of the escalating refugee crisis in Europe resulted in more refugees arriving in Slovenia in autumn 2015. Slovenia responded in November 2015 by building border fortifications with Croatia. From November 19, 2015, the authorities of Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia only allowed refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to pass through unhindered, and from March 9, 2016 only people with valid visas and passports. Between January 2015 and March 2016, around 478,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Slovenia, most of whom wanted to get to Germany or Northern Europe via Austria.

Relations with neighboring Croatia are strained because of border disputes. In 2009 the two countries signed an agreement in which they undertook to let the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague decide to settle the disputes. On June 29, 2017, he passed a judgment through which, among other things, Most of the Piran Bay was awarded to Slovenia. In addition, the arbitration ruling obliged Croatia to grant Slovenia a corridor into international waters. Croatia, which withdrew from the proceedings in 2015 because of Slovenian rule violations, did not accept the judgment.


According to, Ljubljana (German Laibach) is capital of the Republic of Slovenia, on the Save, with (2019) 284 400 residents.

Ljubljana is the country’s cultural, educational and economic center. With over 63,000 students, the university is one of the largest universities in Europe. The most important branch of the economy is telecommunications and software development.

The Gothic mountain castle lies above the city. The old town is almost completely preserved and is a listed building; Baroque buildings predominate here.

Ljubljana belonged to Austria until 1918 and was the capital of the Crown Land of Carniola.


Slovenia, inhabited by Celtic-Illyrian tribes in antiquity, was annexed to the Roman Empire from the coast and romanised in the 1st century AD. After the Lombards withdrew to Italy in 568, Slavic tribes (Slovenes) immigrated in the 6th century and penetrated far into the Eastern Alps. After they had freed themselves from Avar supremacy after 624 as part of the Samo Empire, the first political unit in their settlement area was the tribal principality of Carantania (with its center in the Karnburg on the Zollfeld near Klagenfurt), which became tributary to the Bavarian duchy and in 788 by Charlemagne was conquered (incorporated into the Franconian district constitution in 822). To support the Karantan mission, which was largely directed from Salzburg, the Bavarian Duke Tassilo III. the monasteries Innichen (769), a Freising subsidiary, and Kremsmünster (777) donated. The so-called Freising monuments are written evidence of the missionary workfrom the 10th century. Endangered by the Bavarian-Franconian colonization coming from the west and the Hungarian kingship advancing from the east, Slovenia was in the 11th to 13th centuries in the possession of smaller dynasties and the Patriarch of Aquileja, before the Marches, duchies and counties settled by Slovenes between 1282 (Inheritance of the Babenbergers and Spanheimers) and in 1500 (Grafschaft Görz / Gorica) fell to the House of Habsburg and remained politically and culturally very closely connected to the German-speaking area until 1918. The core of the Slovenian settlement area was the (from 1394) Duchy of Carniola.

The Reformation doctrine (Bible translations by P. Trubar and J. Dalmatin) and the Theresian-Josephine reforms provided impetus for the development of a Slovene written language and a Slovene self-confidence in the majority of the rural population. The Illyrian movement (Illyrism) and the Greater Serbian propaganda found growing support in the 19th century. Plans for a South Slav trialist solution within the Habsburg monarchy failed, whereupon Slovenia became the “Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes” (since 1929 Yugoslavia) was connected. Claims to the whole of Southern Carinthia could not be enforced in the referendum of October 10, 1920; it stayed with Austria. In the Treaty of Rapallo (1920) Istria and Gorizia, the western Inner Carniola with Idrija and Postojna, came to Italy (Adriatic question). About 30% of the Slovenes stayed outside the new state borders.

Together with the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was occupied and divided up by German, Hungarian and Italian troops in April 1941: Upper Carniola (excluding Ljubljana) and the former Carinthian and Styrian territories came to the Greater German Reich (Austria), which enforced its racial policy; Ljubljana and Lower Carniola (with the Gottschee / Kočevje) fell to Italy, the Übermur area (Slovene Prekmurje) to Hungary. A Slovenian “Liberation Front” and a “Slovenian Council for the Liberation of the People” emerged. From spring 1945 to 1946 in particular, bloody “settlements” between communist partisans and “traitors” accused of collaboration, especially Ustasche, Četnici, Domobrancen (home guard), “ethnic Germans” (Danube Swabians) and “old Austrians”, as well as Stalinist repression, deportations and expulsions on. Subordinated to AVNOJ; In its earlier territorial form, Slovenia became a federal state of the “Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia” in 1946. The Italian-Yugoslav peace treaty (1947) confirmed the expansion of Slovenia to include essential parts of the former Italian Julisch-Veneto; In 1954 the northern part of Zone B of the Free State of Trieste was actually added. The economy of Slovenia, which has been known as the »Socialist Republic« since 1963, made an increasing contribution to the gross national product of Yugoslavia.

From 1989/90 Slovenia followed a reform course together with Croatia to turn away from the communist system and to transform the Yugoslav federal state dominated by Serbia into a confederation of independent republics (including the introduction of the multi-party system). After Slovenia was renamed the »Republic of Slovenia« (March 1990), free elections were held for the first time in April 1990; the bourgeois seven-party alliance “Demos” achieved an absolute majority and formed the government, the former reform communist M. Kučan was elected President (re-election on December 5, 1992 and November 23, 1997). With the “Declaration on the Sovereignty of the State of Slovenia” (July 2, 1990), the process of detachment continued in growing tension with the Republic of Serbia and the Yugoslav Federal Army ruled by it. After the people of Slovenia approved the independence of the state on December 23, 1990 with 88.2% of the votes, on June 25, 1991 the parliament passed fundamental laws on the independence of Slovenia. After the proclamation of independence (June 26, 1991, at the same time as Croatia), heavy fighting broke out between the Slovenian civil service and the Yugoslav federal army between June 27 and July 7, 1991, which – also through EC mediation and in contrast to Croatia – were quickly ended and in which the Slovenian vigilante group was able to assert itself. In the context of the compromise brokered by the EC, independence actually only came into force on October 7, 1991, and since January 15, 1992 it has been internationally recognized. On June 22nd, 1992 Slovenia became a full member of the UN. With the complete withdrawal of the Federal Army by October 26th, agreed on July 18, 1991, the Yugoslav Federal Presidium had de facto recognized the independence of Slovenia and thus the beginning of the dissolution of Yugoslavia in its previous form; On August 13, 1992, the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia recognized its sovereignty (mutual recognition under international law and establishment of diplomatic relations on November 30, 1995).

Slovenian History