To begin to understand this relatively new nation, we need to take a look back in history to see how Slovakia got to where it is today.
Present-day Slovakia was originally settled in the 6th century by the Slavic Slovaks, who populated mainly the lowland regions of the country where the farming was more conducive to better harvests and where the climate wasn’t so dramatic as it is in the Tatra mountains in the north of the country. After a brief period of time being politically connected with the Moravian Empire, the Magyars – today known as the Hungarians – took over and regained tight control all the way up to the time of the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
It should also be noted here that under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Slovaks were considered as being lowly farmers and were not able to enjoy the same full rights which Hungarian citizens enjoyed. So essentially, Hungary had aggressively annexed the Slovak lands. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 – following the end of World War 1 – Slovakia formed a union with the Czech lands and the nation of Czechoslovakia was formed. After the end of World War 2, when Czechoslovakia was largely liberated by the Soviet army, Slovakia was once again joined at the hip to a centralized, Czech-dominated government.
In 1989, after nearly 42 years of Russian Communist rule, the Velvet Revolution dissolved Czechoslovakia’s iron curtain and the country waltzed into an open market economy; embracing western politics and ideals. And on January 1st, 1993, Slovakia won independence after so many centuries and proceeded to join the EU and NATO. And (more recently) adopted the Euro as their official currency.
Slovaks today are fiercely independent, and it is clear to understand why, and I must add kudos to them for voting to leave Czechoslovakia with their Slexit. It would have been much easier to stay connected to the Czech lands, but they placed independence above economic security and as history now shows, it has worked out in their favor.