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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also called Horutans, Karantans, Wends, or in Russian 19th-century writings Slovintsy), a nationality in Yugoslavia, numbering about 1.7 million (1971 census), of whom 1.6 million live in the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. In addition, about 400,000 Slovenes live outside of Yugoslavia, mainly in the USA, in neighboring parts of Italy and Austria, and in Hungary. They speak Slovene. Most religious Slovenes are Catholics, and the rest are Protestants or Orthodox.

In the sixth and seventh centuries the ancestors of the modern Slovenes settled large parts of the Middle Danube basin, the Pannonian Lowland, and the Eastern Alps (Carantania), as well as along the Adriatic coast. In the middle of the eighth century the Slovenes of Carantania fell under Bavarian rule, and at the end of the century, along with the Slovenes of lower Panno-nia, they became part of the Frankish state. For almost a thousand years, from the end of the ninth century, most of the Slovene lands were ruled by German feudal lords and were settled by German and Hungarian colonists. The eastern Slovene lands were occupied by Hungarian magnates, and some of the Pannonian Slovenes were magyarized. From circa 1260 a large part of the Slovene lands was annexed by the Austrian Hapsburgs.

In 1918 most of the Slovenes, along with the other Yugoslav (South Slav) peoples, became part of a single state, called Yugoslavia after 1929. However, about 500,000 Slovenes in Julian Carniola came under Italian rule, and about 100,000 Slovenes in Carinthia and Styria remained within Austria. After World War II most of Julian Carniola, which was populated by Slovenes, was included in Yugoslavia.

The historical destiny of the Slovenes, who for many centuries were not united in a single state, and their lack of geographic contiguity led to the formation of a number of Slovene ethnographic groups—Carniolans, White Carniolans, Prek-murci, Styrians, and Resians. The Slovenes along the Adriatic coast and those in Istria and the area known as Venetian Slovenia underwent Italian influence (most are bilingual), and the Slovenes of Carinthia came under considerable Austrian influence. After the establishment of a people’s democracy in Yugoslavia in 1945, the Slovenes had the opportunity to develop a socialist economy and a national culture on an equal footing with the other nationalities of Yugoslavia.


Narody zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 1. Moscow, 1964.


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