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What Is the Difference between Slavonia, Slovakia and Slovenia?

L. S. Wynn
By L. S. Wynn
Updated May 23, 2024
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Slavonia, Slovakia, and Slovenia are three distinct regional areas in Eastern Europe. The biggest difference between them is geography, as the three are in separate places, have independent cities, and wholly distinct governing systems and citizens. The languages spoken in each place usually vary, too. There is also a big difference when it comes to basic organization. Slavonia is a region in the eastern part of Croatia, and is known for its historic significance, among other things. Both Slovakia and Slovenia are countries in their own right. Slovakia comprises essentially half of what was formerly known as Czechoslovakia, the remainder of which is known as the Czech Republic; these entities split peaceably in 1993. Slovenia, on the other hand, split out of what was formerly known as Yugoslavia in 1991 after what most scholars agree was several years of brutal warfare. Slovenia, Slovakia, and Croatia are all members of the European Union and use the Euro as currency.

Role of Regional Politics

Countries in the region known as “Eastern Europe” — basically everything past Austria, Germany, and Italy when looking eastward on a map — have generally lacked stability, either politically or economically, since at least the early parts of the 20th century. The recurring rise and fall of Communism has had a lot to do with this, as have the clashes and disputes between prominent ethnic groups. The landscape in the Eastern part of Europe has accordingly been somewhat transient, with new countries and regions emerging and realigning every few decades. Slovakia and Slovenia are two of these countries; Croatia is another.

The names sound very similar in part because of the peoples’ shared ancestry; their languages, while distinct, also share the same root. In ancient times, all of the land that makes up these regions was contained within the same kingdoms and empires. Modern borders represent different nationalistic identities and modern conceptions of countries and people groups, but the history of most places in this zone shares a lot.

The Croatian Region

Slavonia is a region in eastern Croatia. Croatia itself has a complex and divided history, and has been separated, re-formed, and re-imagined repeatedly over the past several centuries. The region known specifically as Slavonia is in the far east of the country, and shares borders with Hungary, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The region is known as one of Croatia’s four “historical regions” and there is a lot of history that has been preserved there, both culturally and architecturally. In terms of geography, it includes two primary rivers, the Drava and the Sava. It is a fertile agricultural area that is home to about 750,000 people. The biggest cities are Osijek and Slavonski Brod. Most people here speak Croatian.

Slovak Republic

Slovakia, known more formally as the Slovak Republic, is a small country. The capital is Bratislava, and the population is about 5.5 million. The relatively new nation began its statehood when Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993. The split was peaceful, and the two countries are not known to be rivals or antagonists today. Slovakia is bordered by Austria to the west, the Czech Republic and Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, and Hungary to the south. The official language is Slovak.

Republic of Slovenia

Slovenia, or the Republic of Slovenia as it is officially known, was created under much more dramatic circumstances. It was occupied by the Nazi forces during the Second World War, but after the Nazi defeat it fell into Communist rule and eventually became incorporated into the country that would become Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia dissolved in a bloody battle that dominated most of the 1980s and early 1990s, and the region today called Slovenia broke away from the fighting in 1991.

It has a population of about 2 million and the capital is Ljubljana. The country is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the east and Croatia to the south. People here mostly speak Slovene.

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Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
By anon1003288 — On Jun 11, 2020

The old devision of "Eastern Europe" doesen't exist anymore. That applied to the "Iron Curtain" era, the Eastern Block. And technicly Slovenia and Croatia were never part of the "Eastern Block". Plus the fact that by religion, it's Western Roman Catholic, not the Eastern Orthodox.

and, stare31: The term "Central Europe" or "Mitteleuropa" does exist and it goes way back in history then the Communist past. Back to the Austrian Epire, Holy Roman Empire.

By anon961233 — On Jul 15, 2014

How about interrelatedness of Slovak and Slovenian people of today like cousins in the other country? Do they immigrate between the countries often?

By anon928718 — On Jan 29, 2014

Haha, Slovenia and Croatia are not "new" nations. They have existed for a thousand years. What they have been though is part of different unions and federation. Example, Austria or Yugoslavia.

By anon343470 — On Jul 30, 2013

All three territories are leftovers of a once great Europe's native population called Sloveni (Sclaveni, Sclavani, Sclavini, Sclavi, Sclabeni, Sclabenoi, Slavi, Schiavoni, etc).

Even today Slovenians and Slovakians speak almoast the same language and the name Slavonia is from an older name Sclavonia/Slovenje/Slovinje/Slovenjeh which came from the inhabitants Slovenes.

Today only Slovenia (Republika Slovenija) and Slovakia (Slovenská republika) carry on the name Sloveni in their state name.

By anon336754 — On May 31, 2013

It's really annoying when someone confuses your country.

I said, "I'm from Slovakia."

And my friend from America said, You mean like Czechoslovenia?"

Just -- facepalm.

I mean, if someone confused Slovakia and Slovenia, I'd understand it, but please... Czechoslovenia? Really?

By anon258052 — On Mar 30, 2012

I don't agree. The Slovak language and Czech language are very similar, but I don't understand Polish or the Slovenian language.

It's true that the Slovak nation is not a new one. It is very, very old, older than the Hungarian. Slovaks came to central Europe earlier.

By anon213413 — On Sep 11, 2011

I'm from Serbia and I can say that I can understand about 40 percent of Slovenian language. On the other hand, I find that Slovakian is not as understandable. I can understand a few words only.

By anon203438 — On Aug 05, 2011

Yeah right, do Slovakians understand Slovenians. I speak Slovakian, Czech, Serbian, Russian and still you can't always make the Slovanian because its so heavily germanized and in general a not so understandable version of Serbo-Croatian. If you have no knowledge of the South Slavic languages, you don't understand a thing. Not more than a Spanish and an Italian person.

By anon201385 — On Jul 30, 2011

queen jadwiga and the poles ruled this area before hapsburgs moved east from ferdinand and isabel

in the 1400's. what languages did they speak while

under polish-lith-hungarian clan rule?

By anon152445 — On Feb 14, 2011

Slovakian and Slovenian language is similar

slovakian well as understand Slovenian, because many words are similar in Slovenian, dialects in Slovakian or Czech language.

By anon146584 — On Jan 26, 2011

Slavic people settled in Europe between the fifth and seventh centuries. They came from a land between the Carpathian mountain range and the Baltic sea. All descendants of the Slavic people have a similar language (some words have the same meaning).

The Slovenian language is similar to Slovak language, as it is to Russian language or any other of the Slavic people, but i can't imagine they would understand each other because of the many differences (I am Slovenian, so i know what I'm talking about).

Nations began forming when they arrived here, but changed over the hundreds of years.

I think it is fair to say that slovenia, slovakia and the czech republic are new countries, but the nations are much, much older (Slovenian nation had it's own language in the 19th century and so did the Slovakian nation).

And to answer to post 9, in the 1910s, both countries were under the rule of the Austria-Hungary empire, but the term slovenian was used for the same people who now live in Slovenia.

By anon137810 — On Dec 29, 2010

Many slavic tribes were already populating the eastern Europe in time of ancient romans, according to the roman historian Pliny the elder.

By anon126558 — On Nov 13, 2010

Wow the "hungarian-australian kingdom", that must have been huge! Spanning half the globe.

By anon114986 — On Sep 30, 2010

@anon60683: It's Slovenian.

By anon60683 — On Jan 15, 2010

slovakian nation is from large slavic family. the first of slavic tribes was in europe in fifth century. The first invasions of Magyars from Asia was in the 9th century.

By anon56596 — On Dec 16, 2009

Question, if one persons nationality is referred to as Slovenian on Ethnicity/Nationality on passenger papers to immigration during the 1910's, would that person be considered Czechoslovakian? I am just trying to understand. Thanks

By anon48192 — On Oct 10, 2009

In 884 Cyril and Metod created first Czechoslovakian language-or what was the base for it. just because slovakian people were under hungarian-austrian kingdom, doesn't mean they came "later."

By anon15020 — On Jun 29, 2008

Anon15015 -- the Magyars entered the Carpathian Basin in 895. The Slovaks came much later.

By stare31 — On Jun 29, 2008

The term "nation" has multiple meanings including a group of people within an ethnic family, speaking the same language, and, *more commonly*, a group of people within a particular territory with its own government.

And, when did Eastern Europe become such a bad term? My family is from Slovakia, and when people don't know where it is, I say it's in Eastern Europe. The term "Central Europe" didn't really exist anyway until the end of the Cold War. Even after that time, there is dispute as to what countries are part of Central versus Eastern Europe. Plus, there's Northern, Southern, and Southeastern Europe. Who cares about these minor distinctions anyway?

By anon15015 — On Jun 29, 2008

Slovakia is *not* in eastern Europe. And if the state of Slovaks is new, it doesn't mean that nation is new. Slovaks have been living in central Europe for many centuries.

By anon3939 — On Sep 25, 2007

Even though Slovak and Slovenian languages are different, they sound very similar and a long time ago they were probably one language, as both nations call their own language "slovenski" (slovenian) or "slovensky" (slovak).

By anon3938 — On Sep 25, 2007

The Slovak nation is not a new one. It is very, very old, older than than the Hungarian nation because Slovaks were in Slovakia and Hungary earlier than Hungarians who assimilated with the Slovaks living in Hungary.

By anon117 — On Apr 15, 2007

All three, Slavonia, Slovakia, and Slovenia are inhabited by Slavic people, but all three have different languages.

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