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Bordering on Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the east, and Croatia to the south, Slovenia has a population of just a little over two million. Slovenians, the westernmost Slavic people, have always been geographically and culturally a part of Central Europe rather than of the Balkans.
In 1999, about 92 percent of the population are Slovenians. Outside of Slovenia, significant Slovenian communities live in Italy and Austria, and a small community exists in Hungary.
, this has been challenged by a group of writers who argue that Slovenians are descendants of an ancient West Slavic people called Veneti, Vendi or Wends—a people that predate the Romans.
All scholars agree that Slovenians settled in present-day Slovenia by 650 They enjoyed a brief independence at the dawn of their known history when they developed a form of representative democracy, which was well known to several leading figures, including Thomas Jefferson; this ancient Slovenian democracy was, according to Harvard historian Crane Brinton in the Catholic Historical Review, a variable that "went into the making of modern Western institutions." After allying themselves with the Bavarians against the warlike Avars and jointly defeating them in 743, the northern Karantanian Slovenians lost their independence to their Bavarian allies who refused to leave, and a year or two later to the Franks who subdued the Bavarians.
Modestus in the mid-eighth century who labored in Karantania, and the brothers St. Methodius from Salonica who spread the Christian faith in Slovenian Pannonia in the late 860s and 870s and established a seminary to educate Slovenian boys for the priesthood.
Since its independence in 1991, intensified tourist and other economic relations with Western countries, and admission as a member of the European Union, the country has received more attention.France Preseren (1800-1849), and in the prose of Ivan Cankar (1876-1918), and share with the Scandinavians the reputation of being the best-read people of Europe.They have also made numerous contributions to the world, including Jurij Slatkonia, who became the first regular bishop of Vienna in 1513 and founded the internationally acclaimed Vienna Boys choir.Due to the leadership of Count Andrej Turjaski (Andreas of Turjak, Slovenia), the threat of subsequent Turkish raids on Slovenian lands was considerably diminished.Slovenians were also involved in numerous uprisings against the exploitative foreign nobility, the most famous of which was the joint Slovenian-Croatian revolt of 1573 in which over a third of the revolutionaries perished in battle, while many of the survivors were tortured and executed.
Slovenia is aspiring to become a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) member, and its admission will be considered in the year 2002.