Landlocked in central Europe, Slovakia became a separate state in 1993, splitting ex-communist Czechoslovakia in two. It joined the EU in 2004 and the eurozone five years later.
Geography: The Tatra Mountains stretch along the northern border with Poland. Southern lowlands include the fertile Danube plain.
Climate: Continental. Moderately warm summers and steady rainfall. Cold winters with heavy snowfalls.
People and Society; The majority Slovaks are the dominant group. The Magyars (Hungarians) seek protection of their language and culture, backed by Hungary. Magyar parties exist in the political mainstream, and on occasion form part of the ruling coalition. Ethnic Czechs have dual citizenship. Roma are unrepresented and face significant discrimination. Rural eastern regions are least developed.
The Economy: Emphasis on heavy industry, especially cars. Inexpensive workforce. Rising foreign investment. Successful privatizations. Strong growth until 2009 recession. High unemployment.
Insight: From 1526 to 1784 Bratislava, then known as Pozsony, served as the capital of Hungary
Official Name: Slovak Republic
Date of Formation: 1993
Population: 5.41 million
Total Area: 18,859 sq. miles (48,845 sq. km)
Density: 286 people per sq. mile
Languages: Slovak*, Hungarian (Magyar), Czech
Religions: Roman Catholic 60%, other 22%, Atheist 10%, Protestant 8%
Ethnic Mix: Slovak 86%, Magyar 10%, Roma 2%, Czech 1%, other 1%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: Euro = 100 cents