The Visegrád Group, Visegrád Four, or V4, is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, that are members of the European Union and NATO – for the purposes of advancing military, cultural and energy cooperation with one another along with furthering their integration in the EU. The Group traces its origins to the summit meetings of leaders from Czechoslovakia and Poland held in the Hungarian castle-town of Visegrád on 15 February 1991. Visegrád was chosen as the location for the 1991 meeting as an intentional allusion to the medieval Congress of Visegrád in 1335 between John I of Bohemia, Charles I of Hungary and Casimir III of Poland. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent members of the group, thus increasing the number of members from three to four. All four members of the Visegrád Group joined the European Union on 1 May 2004; the name of the Group is derived, the place of meeting selected, from the 1335 Congress of Visegrád held by the Bohemian and Hungarian rulers in Visegrád.
Charles I of Hungary, Casimir III of Poland, John of Bohemia agreed to create new commercial routes to bypass the city of Vienna, a staple port, to obtain easier access to other European markets. The recognition of Czech sovereignty over the Duchy of Silesia was confirmed; the second Congress took place in 1339, where it was decided that after the death of Casimir III of Poland, the son of Charles I of Hungary, Louis I of Hungary, would become King of Poland provided that Casimir did not have a son. From the 1500s, large parts of the present-day countries became part of or were influenced by the Vienna-based Habsburg Monarchy, until after the end of World War I and the dissolution of the Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary. After World War II, the countries became satellite states of the Soviet Union as the Polish People's Republic, the Hungarian People's Republic and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. In 1989, the Berlin wall was demolished and after the Fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, three countries had abandoned Communism and embraced capitalism and democracy.
In December 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. In between, the Visegrád Group was established on 15 February 1991. All four nations in the Visegrád Group are high-income countries with a high Human Development Index. V4 countries have enjoyed less steady economic growth for over a century. In 2009, Slovakia adopted the euro as its official currency and is the only member in the Group to do so. If counted as a single nation state, the Visegrád Group would be the fifth largest economy in Europe and the 12th largest in the world. Based on gross domestic product per capita estimated figures for the year 2020, the most developed country in the grouping is the Czech Republic, followed by Slovakia and Poland; the average GDP in 2019 for the entire group is estimated at around US$34,865. Within the EU, the V4 countries are pro-nuclear-power, are seeking to expand or found a nuclear-power industry, they have sought to counter what they see as an anti-nuclear-power bias within the EU, believing their countries would benefit from nuclear power.
The economy of the Czech Republic is the group's second largest. Before the Second World War, Czechoslovakia was one of the most advanced countries in the world. Within the V4, the Czech Republic has the highest Human Development Index, Human Capital Index, nominal GDP per capita as well as GDP at purchasing power parity per capita. Hungary has the group's third largest economy. Hungary was one of the more developed economies of the Eastern bloc. With about $18 billion in foreign direct investment since 1989, Hungary has attracted over one-third of all FDI in central and eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union. Of this, about $6 billion came from American companies. Now it is an industrial agricultural state; the main industries are engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and food industries. The services sector accounted for 64% of GDP in 2007 and its role in the Hungarian economy is growing; the main sectors of Hungarian industry are heavy industry, energy production, mechanical engineering, food industry, automobile production.
The industry is leaning on processing industry and accounted for 29.32% of GDP in 2008. The leading industry is machinery, followed by the chemical industry, while mining and textile industry seemed to be losing importance in the past two decades. In spite of the significant drop in the last decade, the food industry still contributes up to 14% of total industrial production and amounts to 7-8% of the country's exports. Agriculture accounted for 4.3% of GDP in 2008 and along with the food industry occupied 7.7% of the labor force. Tourism employs nearly 150,000 people and the total income from tourism was 4 billion euros in 2008. One of Hungary's top tourist destinations is Lake Balaton, the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, with 1.2 million visitors in 2008. The most visited region is Budapest. Hungary was the world's 24th most visited country in 2011. Poland has the region's largest economy. According
Virginia "Ginny" Thrasher is an American sports shooter who won a gold medal in the women's 10 meter air rifle at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She won the first gold medal awarded at the 2016 Olympics. Thrasher's gold medal came during the first time she had competed in the Olympics, beating two Chinese athletes, previous Olympic gold medalists Du Li and Yi Siling. Before the 2016 Olympics, Thrasher wanted to be a figure skater, she has said she was never any good and by her freshman year of high school, she realized she had no future in it. She switched sports in 2011 after going hunting with her grandfather. Thrasher grew up in Springfield and graduated from West Springfield High School in 2015, she has two brothers. She graduated from West Virginia University in 2019. Thrasher received, she qualified 6th in the first round of the women's 10m air rifle competition with a score of 416.3. She went on to win the final of that event with an Olympic Record score of 208.0, one point ahead of silver medalist Du Li of China.
Joe Cuba, was an American conga drummer of Puerto Rican descent regarded as the "Father of Latin Boogaloo". Cuba was born in New York City, Cuba's parents moved from Puerto Rico to New York City in the late 1920s and settled in Spanish Harlem, a Latino community located in Manhattan. Cuba was raised in an apartment building where his father had become the owner of a candy store located on the ground floor, his father had organized a stickball club called the Young Devils. Stickball was the main sport activity of the neighborhood. After Cuba broke a leg he took up playing the conga and continued to practice with the conga between school and his free time, he graduated from high school and joined a band. In 1950, when he was 19 years old, he played for Joe Panama and for a group called La Alfarona X; the group soon disbanded and Cuba enrolled in college to study law. While at college he attended a concert in which Tito Puente performed "Abaniquito", he went up to Tito and introduced himself as a student and fan and soon they developed what was to become a lifetime friendship.
This event motivated Cuba to organize his own band. In 1954, his agent recommended that he change the band's name from the José Calderón Sextet to the Joe Cuba Sextet and the newly named Joe Cuba Sextet made their debut at the Stardust Ballroom. In 1962, Cuba recorded his first album with the Joe Cuba Sextet called To Be With You, featuring the impressive vocals of Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater Sr; the band became popular in the New York Latin community. The lyrics to Cuba's music used a mixture of Spanish and English, becoming an important part of the Nuyorican Movement. In 1965, the Sextet got their first crossover hit with the Latin and soul fusion of "El Pito"; the "I'll Never Go Back to Georgia" chant was taken from Dizzy Gillespie's intro to the seminal Afro-Cuban tune "Manteca." Sabater revealed that "None of us had been to Georgia."Along with fellow Nuyorican artists such as Ray Barretto and Richie Ray, Cuba was at the forefront of the developing Latin soul sound in New York, merging American R&B styles with Afro-Cuban instrumentation.
Cuba was one of the key architects behind the emerging Latin Boogaloo sound, which became a popular and influential Latin style in the latter half of the 1960s. In 1966, his band scored a hit on the United States National Hit Parade List with the song "Bang Bang"— which helped kick off the popularity of the boogaloo, he had a No. 1 hit that year on the Billboard charts with the song "Sock It To Me". On April 1999, Joe Cuba was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was named Grand Marshal of the Puerto Rican Day Parade celebrated in New York, he was the director of the Museum of La Salsa, located in Spanish Harlem, New York. Joe Cuba died on February 2009 in New York City after being removed from life support, he had been hospitalized for a persistent bacterial infection. Cuba's remains were cremated at Woodhaven Cemetery, he is survived by his 2 adult children from his first wife, son Mitchell and daughter Lisa, 3 grandchildren Nicole and Rebecca. Greatest Hits El Alcalde del Barrio The Best of Joe Cuba - Fania Original Anthology Jimmy Sabater Boogaloo Gonzalez, David, "Mourning Joe Cuba, a Bandsman Whose Legacy Was Joy", The New York Times, February 19, 2009 Living Memories of Joe Cuba Joe Cuba Sextet discography at MusicBrainz The Latin boogaloo’s history and short-lived popularity are explored in the documentary We Like It Like That