Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Slovakias territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5 million and comprises mostly ethnic Slovaks, the capital and largest city is Bratislava. The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries, in the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samos Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra. In the 10th century, the territory was integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary, which became part of the Habsburg Empire. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a separate Slovak Republic existed in World War II as a client state of Nazi Germany. In 1945, Czechoslovakia was reëstablished under Communist rule as a Soviet satellite, in 1989 the Velvet Revolution ended authoritarian Communist rule in Czechoslovakia.
Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The country maintains a combination of economy with universal health care. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and 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. The Slovak economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and its legal tender, the Euro, is the worlds 2nd most traded currency. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes, in 2016, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 165 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 11th in the world. Slovakia is the world’s biggest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone, the car industry represents 43 percent of Slovakia’s industrial output, and a quarter of its exports. Radiocarbon datingputs the oldest surviving archaeological artefacts from Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad Váhom – at 270,000 BC and 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 near Bojnice, the most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal cranium, discovered near Gánovce, a village in northern Slovakia. The most well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone, 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 these findings provide the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean and Central Europe. The Bronze Age in the territory of modern-day Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BC