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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a nation that constitutes, along with the Czechs, the main population of Czechoslovakia. Some 4.2 million Slovaks live in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1970 census), about 3.9 million of them in Slovakia. Another 1.5 million Slovaks live abroad—in Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Canada, the USA, and other countries. They speak Slovak. More than 75 percent of the believers among them are Catholics, and most of the rest are Protestant.

According to archaeological data, Slovak tribes appeared in what is now Slovakia during the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. By origin, they were related to the Czechs. In the ninth and early tenth centuries, Czech and Slovak tribes were included in the Great Moravian State. After the Magyar invasion, the territory occupied by the Slovak tribes was absorbed by the Hungarian state, and from the 11th to the 20th century the Slovaks were separated from the Czechs. As part of Hungary, the Slovaks were subjected to Magyarization, but the broad masses retained their indigenous culture. The growth of national consciousness was stimulated by the national movement, which gained force during the development of capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the Czechoslovak bourgeois republic that was established at the end of World War I, the Slovaks found themselves in the position of a nation without equal rights. After World War II, when a people’s democratic system was established in Czechoslovakia, the Slovaks and Czechs had an opportunity to develop socialist relations. In the course of socialist construction, the Slovak people achieved great successes in the development of their economy and culture. Folk creativity has played a major role in the development of the national culture—literature, music, and art. A law enacted in October 1968 established a federal state structure in Czechoslovakia. Two equal republics were formed within the unified Czechoslovak state—the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic.


Narody zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 1. Moscow, 1964. (With bibliography.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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