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After centuries of foreign domination, mainly by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia came to exist at the end of World War I. The strong lobbying of the Czechs and Slovaks in the United States played an important part in the formation of the new country. The Cleveland and the Pittsburgh Agreement signed in 1918, by the leaders of the Czechs and Slovaks in America, was the final step in the birth of the Republic of Czechoslovakia.

 
At the end of World War II, Czechoslovakia was aligned with the Iron Curtain block and remained under the communist regime until11989. Slovakia became independent in 1993. This was accomplished peacefully in what is known as the Velvet Divorce.


Official Name
Slovak Republic
Location
Central Europe
Population
Approximately 5 ½ million
Area
Size of West Virginia or New Hampshire
Terrain
Rugged mountains in central and north; low lands in south
Climate
Mild summers, cold winters
Boundaries
Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria (land-locked)
Official Language
Slovak
Nationality
85.6% Slovak, 10.8% Hungarian
Religion
60.4% Roman Catholic; 6.2% Evangelical Lutheran; 3.4% Greek Catholic; 1.6% Calvinist; .7% Russian Orthodox
Transportation
Airports = 10 (2 International); Railway = good
Capital
Bratislava (450,000 population)
Other Cities
Kosice = 242,000
Presov = 93,000
Nitra = 88,000
Zilina = 87,000
Banska Bystrica = 85,000
Trnava = 70,000
Martin = 61,000
Trencin = 59,000
Government
---1999 Constitution = President (Head of State) elected by popular
vote (2-5 yr. terms) Ivan Gasparovic
---Parliament = 150 members
---Prime Minister (appointed by Parliament) Robert Fico
Holidays

JAN 1 -Independece Day
JAN 6 -Epiphany
MAY 1 -Labor Day
MAY 8 -End of World War II
JULY 5 -St. Cyril & St. Methodius Day
AUG 29 -Slovak National Uprising Day
SEP 1- Slovak Constitution Day
SEP 15 - The Day of the Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows
NOV 1 -All Saints Day
NOV 17 - Day of the Fight for Freedom and Democracy
DEC 24 - Christmas Eve
DEC 26 -St. Stephen´s Day

Currency
Euro (since 2009)
Education
18 universities; 500 high schools
Wages
Average monthly =769 Euros
Unemployment rate
8.5%
Inflation
3.5%
Historic Sites
219 castles; 20 spas; 3 UNESCO sites