World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
Devín is a borough of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, located in the Bratislava IV district. A separate village at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers, Devín maintained its rural character and today, it is one of the smallest boroughs of Bratislava by population, it is an important archaeological site. Geographically, Devín lies on the foothills of Devínska Kobyla next to the Devín Gate, a narrow stretch on the river Danube, viewed as the western gateway to the Kingdom of Hungary, it lies near the border between Slovakia and Austria which runs down the middle of the Morava and Danube rivers, which formed part of the Iron Curtain between the Eastern and the Western Bloc. The word Devín stems from the Slovak word deva, which signifies "a girl". Devín is bordered by Austria from the south and from the west, the borough of Devínska Nová Ves from the north, the borough of Dúbravka from the east and the borough of Karlova Ves from the south-east. Thanks to its strategic location at the confluence of the rivers Danube and Morava, the nearby cliff was an ideal place for a fort.
The site has been settled since the Neolithic and both the Celts and Romans built forts here. Devín was first mentioned in a document from 1237 under the name Villa Thebyn, it was a small village, belonging to the Devín Castle, but attained the status of a small town in the 15th century. In 1568, Devín became separated from its former owner. Croats fleeing from the approaching Ottomans in the south settled here in the 16th century; the castle above the village was burned down by Napoleon's troops in 1809. Due to its German population the village was ceded to Germany as part of the Munich agreement in 1938. From October 1938 to April 1945, Devín was part of the German Third Reich, being part of Lower Austria. In 1946, Devín became part of Bratislava; the German inhabitants were expelled. During the Cold War Devín was just inside the Iron Curtain and the northern banks of the Danube and Morava rivers were fortified; the border fortifications were dismantled after the Velvet Revolution of 1989, there is now free access to the riverbank.
Devín differs from the rest of the city due to its rural character. As a popular recreation center, it offers an ancient castle located on a spectacular cliff, hiking trails in the hilly areas around the village, large gardens and vineyards, as well as opportunities for quiet walks along the Danube. Good bus connections with the center of Bratislava are a part of the municipal public transportation system. Most of the people commute to work elsewhere in Bratislava. Devín is quite flooded by the Morava and Danube rivers, with the strongest flood in recent history being in August 2002. To fight the floods the use of a Wide Net has been cast. Results still pending to determine efficacy; the borough hosts the oldest organized running event in Slovakia, the Devín-Bratislava run, 12 kilometres long and takes place each year after Easter. Devín Carpathians Official municipal website of Devín
Ottokar II of Bohemia
Ottokar II, the Iron and Golden King, was a member of the Přemyslid dynasty who reigned as King of Bohemia from 1253 until his death in 1278. He held the titles of Margrave of Moravia from 1247, Duke of Austria from 1251, Duke of Styria from 1260, as well as Duke of Carinthia and Margrave of Carniola from 1269. With Ottokar's rule, the Přemyslids reached the peak of their power in the Holy Roman Empire, his expectations of the imperial crown, were never fulfilled. Ottokar was the second son of King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia. Through his mother, daughter of Philip of Swabia, he was related to the Holy Roman Emperors of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, which became extinct in the male line upon the execution of King Conradin of Sicily in 1268. Named after his grandfather King Přemysl Ottokar I, he was educated for the role of an ecclesiastical administrator, while his elder brother Vladislaus was designated heir of the Bohemian kingdom, he was educated by the Bohemian chancellor Philip of Spanheim, who would become a rival for the rule of the Duchy of Carinthia.
When his brother Vladislaus died in 1247, Ottokar became the heir to the Bohemian throne. According to popular oral tradition, he was profoundly shocked by his brother's death and did not involve himself in politics, becoming focused on hunting and drinking, his father appointed the new heir as Margrave of Moravia, Ottokar took up residence in Brno, where he was occupied with the reconstruction of the Moravian lands devastated by Mongol raids of 1242. In 1248 some discontented nobles enticed him into leading a rebellion against his father King Wenceslaus. During this rebellion he was elected "the younger King" on 31 July 1248 and temporarily expelled his father from Prague Castle. Přemysl Ottokar II held the title of King of Bohemia until November 1249. However, Pope Innocent IV excommunicated Ottokar, whereafter Wenceslaus managed to defeat the rebels and imprisoned his son at Přimda Castle. Father and son reconciled to assist the king's aim of acquiring the neighbouring Duchy of Austria, where the last Babenberg duke, Frederick II had been killed in the 1246 Battle of the Leitha River.
King Wenceslaus had attempted to acquire Austria by marrying his heir, Vladislaus, to the last duke's niece Gertrude of Babenberg. That marriage came to an end after half a year with Vladislaus's death in January 1247, in 1248 Gertrude married the Zähringen margrave Herman VI of Baden. Herman, rejected by the Austrian nobility, could not establish his rule. Wenceslaus used this as pretext to invade Austria when Herman died in 1250 — according to some sources, the estates called upon him to restore order. Wenceslaus released Přemysl Ottokar soon and in 1251 again made him Margrave of Moravia and installed him, with the approval of the Austrian nobles, as governor of Austria; the same year Ottokar entered Austria. To legitimize his position, Přemysl Ottokar married the late Duke Frederick II's sister Margaret of Babenberg, his senior by 30 years and the widow of the Hohenstaufen king Henry of Germany, their marriage took place on 11 February 1252 at Hainburg. In 1253 King Wenceslaus died and Přemysl Ottokar succeeded his father as King of Bohemia.
After the death of the German King Konrad IV in 1254 while his son Conradin was still a minor, Ottokar hoped to obtain the Imperial dignity - as King of the Romans - for himself. However, his election bid was unsuccessful and Count William II of Holland, the German anti-king since 1247, was recognised. Feeling threatened by Ottokar's growing regional power beyond the Leitha River, his cousin King Béla IV of Hungary challenged the young king. Béla formed a loose alliance with the Wittelsbach duke Otto II of Bavaria and tried to install his own son Stephen as Duke of Styria, which since 1192 had been ruled in personal union with Austria under the terms of the Georgenberg Pact of 1186. Papal mediation settled the conflict: the parties agreed that Ottokar would yield large parts of Styria to Béla in exchange for recognition of his right to the remainder of Austria. Subsequently King Ottokar II led the two crusade expeditions against the pagan Old Prussians. Königsberg, founded in 1255 by the Teutonic Order, was named in his honour and became the capital of the Duchy of Prussia.
After a few years of peace the conflict with Hungary resumed: Ottokar defeated the Hungarians in July 1260 at the Battle of Kressenbrunn, ending years of disputes over Styria with Béla IV. Béla now ceded Styria back to Ottokar, his claim to those territories was formally recognized by Richard of Cornwall king of Germany and nominal ruler of all the German lands; this peace agreement was sealed by a royal marriage. Ottokar ended his marriage to Margaret and married Béla's young granddaughter Kunigunda of Halych, who became the mother of his children; the youngest of them became his only legitimate son, Wenceslaus II. During the Imperial Imperial interregnum of 1250 to 1273, Ottokar could increase his personal influence while Richard of Cornwall and Alfonso of Castile jostled to attain the Imperial dignity. In 1266 he occupied the Egerland in north-west Bohemia, in 1268 he signed an inheritance treaty with the Sponheim duke Ulrich III of Carinthia, succeeding him in Carinthia and the Windic March the next year.
In 1272 he acquired Friuli. His rule was once again contested by the Hungarians on the field of battle. After another victory, Ottokar became the most powerful king within the Empire. After Richard of Cornwall died in April 1272 and Pope Gregory X rejected the claims raised by Alfonso of Ca
Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169, he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire, his personal philosophical writings, now known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death. Marcus was born into a Roman patrician family, his father was a praetor, after whose death in 124 Marcus was raised by his paternal grandfather, his mother was a wealthy heiress. He was educated at home, as children from Roman aristocratic families were, credited his maternal grandmother's step-father Lucius Catilius Severus – who helped Marcus' grandfather to raise him – for his education.
His tutors included the artist Diognetus, who may have sparked his interest in philosophy, Tuticius Proclus. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of Lucius Aelius, his relative Emperor Hadrian's first adopted son and heir. Aelius died in 138 and Hadrian chose as his new heir Antoninus Pius, the husband of Marcus' aunt, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius Commodus. Antoninus became emperor that year upon Hadrian's death, Marcus and Lucius became joint heirs to the throne. While imperial heir, Marcus studied Latin, his tutors included Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterwards. Marcus was introduced to Stoicism by Quintus Junius Rusticus and by other philosophers such as Apollonius of Chalcedon, he was made the symbolic head of the Roman equites. He was appointed consul with Antoninus in 140 and 145, with his adoptive brother Lucius in 161. On 7 March 161, Antoninus died and the two succeeded to the imperial throne.
Marcus' reign was marked by military conflict. In the East, the Roman Empire fought with a revitalized Parthian Empire and the rebel Kingdom of Armenia. Marcus defeated the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in the Marcomannic Wars; however and other Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus modified the silver purity of the denarius. Persecution of Christians is believed to have increased during his reign; the Antonine Plague that broke out in 165 or 166 devastated the population of the Roman Empire. It caused the deaths of a quarter of those it affected. Marcus never adopted an heir unlike some of his predecessors. Marcus became the first emperor to die with a living, adult son since Titus succeeded his father Vespasian a century earlier, but Commodus is considered a disappointment as emperor and his succession has long been the subject of debate among both contemporary and modern historians; the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of Marcus' military victories.
The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus are patchy and unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta, claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but were in fact written by a single author from about 395 AD; the biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are unreliable, but the earlier biographies, derived from now-lost earlier sources, are much more accurate. For Marcus' life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus and Lucius are reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are not. A body of correspondence between Marcus' tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. 138 to 166. Marcus' own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are undateable and make few specific references to worldly affairs; the main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books.
Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific details: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus' legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Marcus was born in Rome on 26 April 121, his name at birth was Marcus Annius Verus, but some sources assign this name to him upon his father's death and unofficial adoption by his grandfather, upon his coming of age, or at the time of his marriage. He may have been known as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, at birth or at some point in his youth, or Marcus Catilius Severus Annius Verus. Upon his adoption by Antoninus as heir to the throne, he was known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar and, upon his ascension, he was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus until his death.
House of Habsburg
The House of Habsburg called the House of Austria, was one of the most influential and distinguished royal houses of Europe. The throne of the Holy Roman Empire was continuously occupied by the Habsburgs from 1438 until their extinction in the male line in 1740; the house produced emperors and kings of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Germany, Kingdom of Hungary, Kingdom of Croatia, Kingdom of Illyria, Second Mexican Empire, Kingdom of Ireland, Kingdom of Portugal, Kingdom of Spain, as well as rulers of several Dutch and Italian principalities. From the 16th century, following the reign of Charles V, the dynasty was split between its Austrian and Spanish branches. Although they ruled distinct territories, they maintained close relations and intermarried; the House takes its name from Habsburg Castle, a fortress built in the 1020s in present-day Switzerland, in the canton of Aargau, by Count Radbot of Klettgau, who chose to name his fortress Habsburg. His grandson Otto II was the first to take the fortress name as his own, adding "Count of Habsburg" to his title.
The House of Habsburg gathered dynastic momentum through the 11th, 12th, 13th centuries. By 1276, Count Radbot's seventh generation descendant Rudolph of Habsburg moved the family's power base from Habsburg Castle to the Duchy of Austria. Rudolph became King of Germany in 1273, the dynasty of the House of Habsburg was entrenched in 1276 when Rudolph became ruler of Austria, which the Habsburgs and their descendants ruled until 1918. A series of dynastic marriages enabled the family to vastly expand its domains to include Burgundy and its colonial empire, Bohemia and other territories. In the 16th century, the family separated into the senior Habsburg Spain and the junior Habsburg Monarchy branches, who settled their mutual claims in the Oñate treaty; the House of Habsburg became extinct in the 18th century. The senior Spanish branch ended upon the death of Charles II of Spain in 1700 and was replaced by the House of Bourbon; the remaining Austrian branch became extinct in the male line in 1740 with the death of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, in 1780 with the death of his eldest daughter Maria Theresa of Austria.
It was succeeded by the Vaudémont branch of the House of Lorraine, descendants of Maria Theresa's marriage to Francis III, Duke of Lorraine. The new successor house styled itself formally as the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, because it was confusingly still referred to as the House of Habsburg, historians use the unofficial appellation of the Habsburg Monarchy for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1521 and 1780 and by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918; the Lorraine branch continues to exist to this day and its members use the Habsburg name. The Habsburg Empire had the advantage of size, but multiple disadvantages. There were rivals on four sides, its finances were unstable, the population was fragmented into multiple ethnicities, its industrial base was thin, its naval resources were so minimal. It typified by Metternich. Along with the Capetian dynasty, it was one of the two most powerful continental European royal families, dominating European politics for nearly five centuries.
Their principal roles were as follows: Holy Roman Emperors, kings of Germany, kings of the Romans) Rulers of Austria Kings of Bohemia Kings of Hungary and Croatia Kings of Spain Kings of Portugal Kings of Galicia and Lodomeria Grand princes of Transylvania Numerous other titles were attached to the crowns listed above. The progenitor of the House of Habsburg may have been Guntram the Rich, a count in the Breisgau who lived in the 10th century, forewith farther back as the early medieval Adalrich, Duke of Alsace, father of the Etichonids from which Habsburg derives, his grandson Radbot, Count of Habsburg founded the Habsburg Castle, after which the Habsburgs are named. The origins of the castle's name, located in what is now the Swiss canton of Aargau, are uncertain. There is disagreement on whether the name is derived from the High German Habichtsburg, or from the Middle High German word hab/hap meaning ford, as there is a river with a ford nearby; the first documented use of the name by the dynasty itself has been traced to the year 1108.
The Habsburg Castle was the family seat in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Habsburgs expanded their influence through arranged marriages and by gaining political privileges countship rights in Zürichgau and Thurgau. In the 13th century, the house aimed its marriage policy at families in Upper Swabia, they were able to gain high positions in the church hierarchy for their members. Territorially, they profited from the extinction of other noble families such as the House of Kyburg. By the second half of the 13th century, count Rudolph IV had become one of the most influential territorial lords in the area between the Vosg
Danube-Auen National Park
Donau-Auen National Park covers 93 square kilometres in Vienna and Lower Austria and is one of the largest remaining floodplains of the Danube in Middle Europe. The German word Aue means "river island, floodplain, riparian woodland", i.e. a cultivated landscape in a riparian zone. The words Aue and Au occur in a large number of German place names—including Donau, the German word for the Danube River—and refer to forests and wetlands in river and stream lowlands and floodplains; the Danube-Auen National Park protects a large area of lowland forests, meadows and other riparian habitat along the Danube just downstream of Vienna. The Park was designated an IUCN category II national park and spans the areas of Vienna, Groß-Enzersdorf, Orth an der Donau, Engelhartstetten, Bad Deutsch-Altenburg, Petronell-Carnuntum, Haslau-Maria Ellend and Schwechat; until the 19th century the Danube was an untamed river. In the 19th century, extensive engineering began to alter the natural balance of the river landscape dramatically.
Many side-channels were dammed. More intrusive engineering interventions were accompanied by decades of heavy forestry use in many parts of lowland forests. In the 1950s, development began of a nearly unbroken chain of hydroelectric power plants and associated dams on the Austrian section of the Danube River. In 1984, the planned construction of the Hainburg hydroelectric power plant, just downstream from Vienna, threatened the destruction one of two remaining free-flowing sections of the Danube in Austria and its riparian forests. An outcry by environmental and nature protection groups caused nationwide protests against the project; the operator of the power plant project began work to clear the area. Protests stepped up leading to the occupation of the Hainburg wetlands by thousands of people from all ages and professions. After police tried several times to clear protestors from the area, in December 1984 the Federal Government declared a pause for reflection. In January 1985 the Austrian Supreme Court forbad further deforestation.
In March 1985, the so-called Konrad Lorenz-Volksbegehren, signed by 353,906 people, demanded the prohibition of large power plants such as Hainburg and the establishment of a national park in the area of Hainburg. On 1 July 1986, the Administrative Court released a decision cancelling the water rights of the planned power plant. Extensive scientific studies were made of the area, with surprising discoveries. More species of fish were observed; the most important result of these studies was that the Danube lowlands area in and east of Vienna was determined to be worthy of becoming a national park. It was determined that creating a power plant in the area would not be compatible with national park status for the region. On October 27, 1996, a State Treaty between the Republic of Austria and the federal states of Vienna and Lower Austria was signed. With that treaty, Donau-Auen National Park was opened. In the National Park area there are more than 700 species of higher plants, more than 30 mammals, 100 species of breeding birds, 8 reptiles, 13 amphibian species, around 50 species of fish.
Among the most characteristic inhabitants of the wetlands of the National Park are the Danube crested newt, European pond turtle, European mudminnow, white-tailed eagle, Eurasian kingfisher, Eurasian beaver. With the variety of insects living on both land and water, other invertebrates, the total number of species in Donau-Auen National Park is estimated to be at least 5,000. Www.donauauen.at
Slovakia the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the west, the Czech Republic to the northwest. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mountainous; the population is over 5.4 million and consists of Slovaks. The capital and largest city is Bratislava, the second largest city is Košice; the official language is Slovak. The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 6th centuries. In the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samo's Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra, conquered by the Principality of Moravia to establish Great Moravia. In the 10th century, after the dissolution of Great Moravia, the territory was integrated into the Principality of Hungary, which would become the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000. In 1241 and 1242, much of the territory was destroyed by the Mongols during their invasion of Central and Eastern Europe.
The area was recovered thanks to Béla IV of Hungary who settled Germans which became an important ethnic group in the area in what are today parts of central and eastern Slovakia. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czechoslovak National Council established Czechoslovakia. A separate Slovak Republic existed during World War II as a totalitarian, clero-fascist one-party client state of Nazi Germany. At the end of World War II, Czechoslovakia was re-established as an independent country. A coup in 1948 ushered in a totalitarian one-party state under the Communist regime during whose rule the country existed as a satellite of the Soviet Union. Attempts for liberalization of communism in Czechoslovakia culminated in the Prague Spring, crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. In 1989, the Velvet Revolution ended the Communist rule in Czechoslovakia peacefully. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia, sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce.
Slovakia is a developed country, with a high-income advanced economy and a high Human Development Index, a high standard of living and performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness. The country maintains a combination of market economy with a comprehensive social security system. Citizens of Slovakia are provided with universal health care, free education and one of the longest paid parental leave in the OECD; the country joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2009. Slovakia is a member of the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the WTO, CERN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes. In 2018, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 179 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 10th in the world; as part of Eurozone, Slovak legal tender is the world's 2nd-most-traded currency.
Slovakia is the world's largest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone and the 7th largest car producer in the European Union. The car industry represents 43% of Slovakia's industrial output, a quarter of its exports; the first written mention of name Slovakia is in 1586. It derives from the Czech word Slováky; the native name Slovensko derives from an older name of Slovaks Sloven what may indicate its origin before the 15th century. The original meaning was geographic, since Slovakia was a part of the multiethnic Kingdom of Hungary and did not form a separate administrative unit in this period. Radiocarbon dating puts the oldest surviving archaeological artefacts from Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad Váhom – at 270,000 BCE, in the Early Paleolithic era; these ancient tools, made by the Clactonian technique, bear witness to the ancient habitation of Slovakia. Other stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic era come from the Prévôt cave in Bojnice and from other nearby sites.
The most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal cranium, discovered near Gánovce, a village in northern Slovakia. Archaeologists have found prehistoric human skeletons in the region, as well as numerous objects and vestiges of the Gravettian culture, principally in the river valleys of Nitra, Ipeľ, Váh and as far as the city of Žilina, near the foot of the Vihorlat and Tribeč mountains, as well as in the Myjava Mountains; the most well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone, the famous Venus of Moravany. The statue was found in the 1940s in Moravany nad Váhom near Piešťany. Numerous necklaces made of shells from Cypraca thermophile gastropods of the Tertiary period have come from the sites of Zákovská, Podkovice and Radošina; these findings provide the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean and central Europe. The Bronze Age in the geographical territory of modern-day Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BCE.
Major cultural and political development can be attributed to the significant growth in production of copper in central Slovakia and northwe