Infobox Ethnic group
group=Slovenes/Slovenians ( _sl. Slovenci)
population= 2.5 million (est.)cite web |url= |title=Ethnic Structure of Slovenia and Slovenes in Neighbouring Countries |work=Slovenia: a geographical overview |first=Jernej |last=Zupančič |publisher=Association of the Geographic Societies of Slovenia |year=2004 |month=August |accessdate=2008-04-10|format=PDF]
region1 =flag|Slovenia
pop1 = 1,800,000 (est.)
ref1 = lower| [ [ Census 2002] ]
region2 = flag|USA
pop2 = 178,415
ref2 = lower| [ [ 2002 Community Survey] ] [cite web |url= |title=Ancestry: 2000 (Census 2000 Brief) |author= Angela Brittingham |coauthors=G. Patrizia de la Cruz |work=United States Census 2000 |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau |month=June |year=2006 |accessdate=2008-06-01|format=PDF]
region3 = flag|Italy
pop3 = 83,000-100,000 (est.)
ref3 = lower|Zupančič, Jernej (author), Orožen Adamič, Milan (photographer), Filipič, Hanzi (photographer): "Slovenci po svetu". In publication: "Nacionalni atlas Slovenije" (Kartografsko gradivo) / Inštitut za geografijo, Geografski inštitut Antona Melika. Ljubljana: Rokus, 2001.COBISS|ID=18593837sl icon]
region4 = flag|Canada
pop4 = 35,940 (2006)
ref4 = lower| [ [ Ethnic Origin (247), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data ] ]
region5 = flag|Argentina
pop5 = 30,000
ref5 = lower|
region6 = flag|Austria
pop6 = 24,855
ref6 = lower|cite web |url= |title=Tabelle 5: Bevölkerung nach Umgangssprache und Staatsangehörigkeit |work=Volkszählung 2001: Hauptergebnisse I - Österreich |publisher=Statistik Austria |year=2002 |accessdate=2008-06-02 |language=German|format=PDF]
region7 = flag|Germany
pop7 = 50,000 (2003)
ref7 = lower|
region8 = flag|Australia
pop8 = 20,000-25,000 (2008)
ref8 = lower| [cite web |url= |title=Zavest o slovenskih koreninah |work=Spletna Demokracija |author=Lucija Horvat |date=2008-02-06 |accessdate=2008-04-10 |language=Slovene]
region9 = flag|Croatia
pop9 = 13,173 (2001)
ref9 = lower| [cite web |url= |title=Population by ethnicity, by towns/municipalities |work=Republic of Croatia: Census 2001 |publisher=Croatian Bureau of Statistics |accessdate=2008-06-01]
region10 = flag|Serbia
pop10 = 5,104 (2002)
ref10 = lower| [cite journal |url= |title=Final results of the Census 2001: Population by national or ethnic groups, gender and age groups in the Republic of Serbia, by municipalities |journal=Communication |volume=295 |issue=LII |date=2002-12-24 |accessdate=2008-06-01 |publisher=Republic Statistical Office of Serbia |issn=0353-9555|format=PDF]
region11 = flag|France
pop11 = 4,000 - 15.000 (est.)
ref11 = lower|
region12 = flag|Sweden
pop12 = 4,000
ref12 = lower|
region13 = flag|Hungary
pop13 = 3,025 (2001)
ref13 = lower| [cite web |url= |title=Population by mother tongue and main age groups, 1910–1941, 1970–2001 |work=Population Census 2001 |year=2004 |publisher=Hungarian Central Statistical Office |accessdate=2008-06-01]
region14 = flag|Uruguay
pop14 = 2,000-3,000 (est.)
ref14 = lower|
region15 = flag|Bosnia and Herzegovina
pop15 = 2100 (1991)
ref15 = lower| [ [ Numbers in 1991] ]
region16 = flag|Switzerland
pop16 = 2,433
ref16 = lower| [ [ Bericht 2006] ]
region17 = flag|Brazil
pop17 = 1,500 (est.)
ref17 = lower|
region18 = flag|Belgium
pop18 = 1,500 (est.)
ref18 = lower|
region19 = flag|Netherlands
pop19 = 1,000-2,000 (est.)
ref19 = lower| [ [] Dead link|date=May 2008] Dead link|date=June 2008
region20 = flag|Venezuela
pop20 = 1,000 (est.)
ref20 = lower|
region21 = flag|Spain
pop21 = 758 (2007)
ref21 = lower| [ [] Dead link|date=June 2008] Dead link|date=June 2008
region22 = flag|Montenegro
pop22 = 415
ref22 = lower| [Montenegrin 2003 census - [] ]
region23 = flag|Macedonia
pop23 = 403 (1994)
ref23 = lower|Trebše-Štolfa, Milica, ed., Klemenčič, Matjaž, resp. ed.: "Slovensko izseljenstvo: zbornik ob 50-letnici Slovenske izseljenske matice". Ljubljana: Združenje Slovenska izseljenska matica, 2001.COBISS|ID=115722752]
region24 = flag|Chile
pop24 = 200 (est.)
ref24 = lower|
region25 = flag|Ireland
pop25 = 135 (2006)
ref25 = lower| [ [ CSO Ireland - 2006 Census] Failed verification|date=June 2008]
region26 = flag|South Africa
pop26 = 100 (est.)
ref26 = lower|
languages = Slovene
religions = Predominantly Roman Catholic, Protestant
related = other Slavic peoples, especially South Slavs

Slovenes or Slovenians (Slovene "Slovenci", dual "Slovenca", singular "Slovenec", feminine "Slovenke", dual "Slovenki", singular "Slovenka") are a South Slavic people primarily associated with Slovenia and the Slovene language.


Most Slovenes today live within the borders of the independent Slovenia (2,007,711 est. 2008). There are autochthonous Slovene minorities in northeastern parts of Italy (estimated at 83,000 - 100,000), southern Austria (18,000), Croatia (13,200) and Hungary (3,180). Slovenes are recognised as national minorities in all four countries with which Slovenia shares a land border (Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy).

In the Slovenian national census of 2002, 1,631,363 people ethnically declared themselves as Slovenes [cite web |url= |title=Table 15: Population by ethnic affiliation, age groups and sex, Slovenia, Census 2002 |work=Census of population, households and housing 2002 |publisher=Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia |accessdate=2008-06-01] , while 1,723,434 people claimed Slovene as their mother tongue [cite web |url= |title=Table 9: Population by mother tongue, Slovenia, Census 1991 and 2002 |work=Census of population, households and housing 2002 |publisher=Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia |accessdate=2008-06-01] .

The total number of Slovenes in Austria is 24,855, of whom 17,953 are representatives of the Slovene national minority, while 6,902 are foreign nationals .


Early Alpine Slavs

In 6th century, Slavic peoples settled the region between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea in two consecutive migration waves: the first wave took place around 550 and came from the Moravian lands, while the second wave, coming from the southeast, took place after the retreat of Langobards to Italy in 568 (see "Slavic settlement of Eastern Alps").

From 623 to 658, Slavic peoples between the upper Elbe River and the Karavanke mountain range were united under the leadership of King Samo ("Kralj Samo") in the what was to become known as "Samo's Tribal Union". The tribal union collapsed after Samo's death, but a smaller Slavic tribal principality Carantania (Slovene: "Karantanija") remained, with its center in the present-day region of Carinthia.

Alpine Slavs during the Frankish Empire

Due to pressing danger of Avar tribes from the east, Carantanians accepted union with Bavarians in 745 and later recognized Frankish rule and accepted Christianity in the 8th century. The last Slavic state formation in the region, the principality of Prince Kocelj, lost its independence in 874. Slovene ethnic territory subsequently shrank due to pressing of Germans from the west and the arrival of Hungarians in the Pannonian plain, and stabilized in the present form in the 15th century.

Slovenes between the 18th century and the Second World War

Slovene lands were part of the Illyrian provinces, the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary (in Cisleithania).

Many Slovenes emigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century, mostly due to economic reasons. Those that settled in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania came to be called Windish. The largest group of Slovenes eventually ended up settling in Cleveland, Ohio and the surrounding area. The second largest group settled in Chicago principally on the Lower West Side, Chicago. The American Slovenian Catholic Union (Ameriško slovenska katoliška enota) was founded as an organization to protect Slovene-American rights in Jolliet, Illinois and Cleveland, OH. Today there are KSKJ branches all over the country offering life-insurance and other services to Slovene-Americans. Freethinkers were centered around 18th and Racine Ave. in Chicago where they founded the Slovene National Benefit Society, other Slovene immigrants went to southwestern Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio and the state of West Virginia to work in the coal mines and lumber industry. Some Slovenes also went to the Pittsburgh or Youngstown, Ohio areas to work in the steel mills.

Following the 1st World War (1914-1918), they joined other South Slavs in the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, followed by Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and finally Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In the new system of banovinas (since 1929), Slovenes formed a majority in the Drava Banovina.

In 1920 people in the bilingual regions of Carinthia decided in a referendum that most of Carinthia should remain in Austria. Between the two world wars the westernmost areas inhabited by Slovenes were occupied by Italy.

Slovene volunteers also participated in the Spanish Civil War, and the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.

Slovenes during and after World War II

Yugoslavia was invaded by Axis Powers on April 6, 1941 after a coup d'état in the Yugoslav government ended Yugoslavia's participation in the Tripartite Pact and enraged Adolf Hitler. Territory in Yugoslavia was quickly divided between German, Italian, and Hungarian control, and the Nazis soon annexed Lower Styria (Untersteiermark) to the "Greater Reich". About 46,000 Slovenes in the Rann (Brežice) Triangle region were forcibly deported to eastern Germany for potential Germanization or forced labor beginning in November 1941.

The deported Slovenes were taken to several camps in Saxony, where they were forced to work on German farms or in factories run by German industries from 1941-1945. The forced labourers were not always kept in formal concentration camps, but often just vacant buildings where they slept until the next day's labour took them outside these quarters. Toward the close of the war, these camps were liberated by American and Soviet Army troops, and later repatriated refugees returned to Yugoslavia to find their homes in shambles.

In 1945, Yugoslavia liberated itself and shortly thereafter became a nominally federal Communist state. Slovenia joined the federation as a socialist republic; its own Communist Party having been formed in 1937.

Most of Carinthia remained part of Austria and around 42,000 Slovenes (per 1951 population censusFact|date=June 2008) were recognized as a minority and have enjoyed special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) of 1955. The Slovenes in the Austrian state of Styria (4,250) are not recognized as a minority and do not enjoy special rights, although the State Treaty of July 27, 1955 states otherwise.

Many of the rights required by the 1955 State Treaty are still to be fully implemented. There is also an undercurrent of thinking amongst parts of the population that the Slovene involvement in the partisan war against the Nazi occupation force was a bad thing, and indeed "Tito partisan" is a not an infrequent insult hurled against members of the minority. Many Carinthians are (quite irrationally) afraid of Slovene territorial claims, pointing to the fact that Yugoslav troops entered the state after each of the two World Wars. The current governor, Jörg Haider, regularly plays the Slovene card when his popularity starts to dwindle, and indeed relies on the strong anti-Slovene attitudes in many parts of the province for his power base. Another interesting phenomenon is for some German speakers to refuse to accept the minority as Slovenes at all, referring to them as "Windische", an ethnicity distinct from Slovenes (a claim which linguists reject on the basis that the dialects spoken are by all standards a variant of the Slovene language).

Yugoslavia acquired some territory from Italy after WWII but some 100,000 Slovenes remained behind the Italian border, notably around Trieste and Gorizia.

In 1991, Slovenia became an independent nation state after a brief ten day war.


The earliest documents written in a Slovene dialect are the Freising manuscripts ("Brižinski spomeniki", "Freisinger Denkmäler"), dated between 972 and 1022, found in 1803 in Freising, Germany. The first books printed in Slovene were "Catechismus" and "Abecedarium", written by the Protestant reformer Primož Trubar in 1550 and printed in Tübingen, Germany. Jurij Dalmatin translated the Bible into Slovene in 1584. In the second half of the 16th century Slovene became known to other European languages with the multilingual dictionary, compiled by Hieronymus Megiser.


:"see National symbols of Slovenia

ee also

* Carinthian Slovenes
* Hungarian Slovenes
* List of Slovenes
* Slavic peoples
* Slovene Americans
* Slovene Australians
* Slovene Canadians
* Argentines of Slovene descent
* Slovenes in Somogy
* Wendish question


External links


* [ Brestanica Museum of Political Prisoners, Internees and Deportees]
* [ National Museum of Contemporary History - Brestanica]
* [ Gottschee History, Culture, and Archives]
* [ Association of Victims of the Occupying Powers 1941-45 (in Slovene)]
* [ Slovenian Law on Reparation of Injustices]
* [ - Slovenes in the 9th and 20th century]

The origin of Slovenes

* [ History of Slovenes]
* [ Slovenes in the USA]
* [ Slovenes between 1918 and 1941]
* [ Slovenes living abroad]

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