| From as early as the 9th century, Slovenia had fallen under foreign
rulers, including partial control by Bavarian dukes and the Republic of
Venice. With the exception of Napoleon's 4-year tutelage of parts of
Slovenia and Croatia--the "Illyrian Provinces"--Slovenia was
part of the Hapsburg empire from the 14th century until 1918.
Nevertheless, Slovenia resisted Germanizing influences and retained its
unique Slavic language and culture.
In 1918, Slovenia joined with other southern Slav states in forming the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes as part of the peace plan at the end of World War I. Renamed in 1929 under a Serbian monarch, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia fell to the Axis powers during World War II. Following communist partisan resistance to German, Hungarian, and Italian occupation and elimination of rival resistance groups, socialist Yugoslavia was born under the helm of Josip Broz Tito. During the communist era, Slovenia became Yugoslavia's most prosperous republic, at the forefront of Yugoslavia's unique version of communism. Within a few years of Tito's death in 1980, Belgrade initiated plans to further concentrate political and economic power in its hands. Defying the politicians in Belgrade, Slovenia underwent a flowering of democracy and an opening of its society in cultural, civic, and economic realms to a degree almost unprecedented in the communist world. In September 1989, the General Assembly of the Yugoslav Republic of Slovenia adopted an amendment to its constitution asserting Slovenia's right to secede from Yugoslavia. On December 23, 1990, 88% of Slovenia's population voted for independence in a referendum, and on June 25, 1990, the Republic of Slovenia declared its independence. A nearly bloodless 10-day war with Yugoslavia followed; Yugoslav forces withdrew after Slovenia demonstrated stiff resistance to Belgrade.
As a young independent republic, Slovenia pursued economic stabilization and further political openness, while emphasizing its Western outlook and central European heritage. Today, with a growing regional profile, a participant in the SFOR deployment in Bosnia and the KFOR deployment in Kosovo, and a charter WTO member, Slovenia plays a role on the world stage quite out of proportion to its small size.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of State
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