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Resident of the High Tatras
Slovak men in traditional folk costume
Slovak boy in East Slovakian costume

The Slovaks (up to the 19th century also Slavaks ; Slovak Slováci ; singular male Slovák , female Slovenka ) are a West Slavic ethnic group . They are the titular nation of the central European state of Slovakia , in which they form the majority of the population with 80.7% (2011) and are defined as the state people of Slovakia in the Slovak constitutional preamble of 1992 . Outside Slovakia, around 6 million people profess themselves to be Slovaks.


The self-designation of the West Slavic Slovaks (Slovak: Slováci ) is derived, like that of the South Slavic Slovenes, from the Old Slavic self-designation of all Slavs ( Old Slavic : Sloveni ), whose root in the Slovak language is still in the feminine form Slovak ( Sloven -ka), contains the adjective slovak ( sloven -sky) and the country name Slovakia ( Sloven -sko). The male form "Slovák" was created as a result of a redesign in the 15th century, in which the original form "Sloven (in)" was transformed into "Slovák" (similar to the Polish form from " Polan " to " Polak ").

Historians, however, disagree about the point in time when the Slovaks chose their Slavonicity as their ethnonym. The following three concepts are basically discussed in the professional world:

  1. The Slovaks were originally part of the West Slavic Moravian tribe . This theory is based on the fact that the sources of the 9th century report of no other Slavic tribe in this area apart from the Moravians or Moravian Slavs ( Maravi , Sclavi Marahenses ). Only after the end of the Moravian Empire and the division of the Moravians between Bohemia and Hungary would the Slovaks have developed from their eastern half within the Kingdom of Hungary.
  2. The Slovaks kept the name “Sloveni” as their tribal name when they differentiated the Slavs and formed individual Slavic tribes. This thesis is mainly represented by historians close to the Slovak cultural association Matica slovenská .
  3. The original tribal name of the Slovaks in the early Middle Ages was "Nitrans". This designation is for the Slavic population of Upper Hungary in early Hungarian chronicles used (Latin Nitrienses or Nytrienses Sclavi ). The Slovaks would have adopted the ethnonym Sloven from the 12th century. The main proponent of this thesis is the Slovak medievalist Ján Steinhübel.


Slovak minorities live in the USA 797,764 (2000), the Czech Republic (190,000 to 350,000), Hungary 17,693 (2001), Canada (50,000 to 100,000), Serbia (59,000, including over 56,000 in the AP Vojvodina ), Poland (10,000 to 47,000 ), Romania (18,000), Ukraine (7,000 to 17,000), Austria (10,000), Croatia (mainly in Eastern Slavonia ), other EU countries, Australia and Latin America .


Like Czech , Polish , Kashubian and Sorbian , Slovak is a West Slavic language . Due to the proximity of the languages ​​and the 70-year association of the two peoples in Czechoslovakia , Slovaks and Czechs understand each other relatively easily, but the younger generation in the Czech Republic, who were linguistically socialized after the separation of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, is having a much harder time .


There are 15 state-recognized religious communities in Slovakia. The largest is the Roman Catholic Church . According to the 2011 census, 62% of the population belong to it. In the 16th and 17th centuries, however, the majority of the Slovaks were Lutherans . Other communities are:

There are also Baptist and Seventh-day Adventist churches . There are also 11,469 active Jehovah's Witnesses in Slovakia whose belief was forbidden during the time of the ČSSR . In 2007 they were active in 160 municipalities across Slovakia.

13.4% of the population are non-denominational and 10.6% give no answer. The others include Jews who had numerous communities before the war. Today there are several parishes again, two in Bratislava (800 members), one in Košice (700 members) and in the cities of Prešov , Nové Zámky , Komárno , Dunajská Streda , Galanta , Nitra and Trnava . During Czechoslovakia there was no longer any Jewish life in Slovakia. For many years, Jewish communities did not have religious leaders. It was only after the Velvet Revolution that today's Chief Rabbi of Slovakia, Baruch Myers from the USA , and Goldstein from Israel , who now lead the communities in Bratislava and Košice, came.

The official number of Muslims in Slovakia is not known as Islam was not a separate category in the 2011 census. The local foundation estimates the number of believers at 5,000.

See also


Overall and overview displays

  • Hannes Hofbauer, David X. Noack: Slovakia: The arduous way to the west. Promedia Verlag, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-85371-349-5 .
  • Stanislav J. Kirschbaum: A History of Slovakia: The Struggle for Survival. 2nd, illustrated reprint, St. Martin's Press, 2005.
  • Dušan Kováč: Dejiny Slovenska [= history of Slovakia]. Nakladatelství Lidové Noviny, Prague 2000, ISBN 80-7106-268-5 . [Slovak]
  • Antoine Marès : Histoire des Tchèques et des Slovaques. Perrin Editions, Paris 2005, ISBN 978-2-262-02323-2 . [French]
  • Roland Schönfeld: Slovakia: From the Middle Ages to the Present. Verlag Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2000, ISBN 3-7917-1723-5 .
  • Anton Špiesz, Dušan Čaplovič: Illustrated History of Slovakia. A Struggle for Sovereinity in Central Europe. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2004.
  • Mikuláš Teich, Dušan Kováč, Martin D. Brown (Eds.): Slovakia in History. Cambridge University Press 2011, ISBN 978-0-521-80253-6 .

Special studies

  • Lubomír E. Havlík: Kronika o Velké Moravě [= Chronicle of Great Moravia]. 3rd edition, Jota, Brno 2013, ISBN 978-80-85617-06-1 . [Czech]
  • Eduard Krekovič: Kto sme a odkedy sme tu? [= Who are we and how long have we been here?]. In: Eduard Krekovič, Elena Mannová, Eva Krekovičová (eds.): Mýty naše slovenské [= Our Slovak myths]. 2nd edition, Premedia Group, Bratislava 2013, ISBN 978-80-8159-026-9 . Pp. 19-23. [Slovak]
  • Titus Kolník: Sloveni - starí Slovaci - Slováci [= Sloveni - Old Slovaks - Slovaks]. In: Richard Marsina, Peter Mulík (eds.): Etnogenéza Slovákov. Kto sme a aké je naše meno [= ethnogenesis of the Slovaks. Who we are and what our name is]. Matica slovenská, 2011, ISBN 978-80-8128-023-8 . Pp. 24-32. [Slovak]
  • Matúš Kučera: Postavy veľkomoravskej histórie [= shaping of Great Moravian history]. 4th edition, Perfect, Bratislava 2013, ISBN 978-80-8046-632-9 . [Slovak]
  • Richard Marsina: Ethnogenesis of Slovaks. In: Human Affairs, 7, 1997, 1, pp. 15-23.
  • Richard Marsina: K problematike etnogenézy Slovákov a ich pomenovania [= On the problem of the ethnogenesis of the Slovaks and their naming]. In: Richard Marsina, Peter Mulík (eds.): Etnogenéza Slovákov. Kto sme a aké je naše meno [= ethnogenesis of the Slovaks. Who we are and what our name is]. Matica slovenská, 2011, ISBN 978-80-8128-023-8 . Pp. 14-23. [Slovak]
  • Ján Steinhübel: Odkedy môžeme hovoriť o Slovensku a Slovákoch [= From when we can speak of a Slovakia and a Slovak]. In: Eduard Krekovič, Elena Mannová, Eva Krekovičová (eds.): Mýty naše slovenské [= Our Slovak myths]. 2nd edition, Premedia Group, Bratislava 2013, ISBN 978-80-8159-026-9 . Pp. 24-29. [Slovak]

Web links

Wiktionary: Slovaks  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Hilde Weiss, Christoph Reinprecht: Democratic patriotism or ethnic nationalism in East Central Europe? Vienna / Cologne / Weimar / Böhlau 1998, p. 43.
  2. ^ Marsina: The Ethnogenesis of Slovaks. P. 22.
  3. Krekovič: Kto sme a odkedy sme tu? Pp. 22-23; Havlík: Kronika o Velké Moravě. Pp. 380-382.
  4. Kučera: Postavy veľkomoravskej history. P. 67.
  5. Steinhübel: Odkedy môžeme hovoriť o Slovensku a Slovákoch. P. 25.
  6. USA census, 2000 (PDF; 480 kB)
  7. Hungarian Census (in Hungarian), 2001 , Hungarian Census (in English), 2001
  8. An overview of the official and estimated number of Slovaks can be found here ( Memento from October 31, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) ( MS Word ; 124 kB).
  9. Population by denomination, Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic ( Memento from November 14, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 202 kB)
  10. Moslimovia na Slovensku by chceli mať mešitu , on August 11, 2010, accessed on October 1, 2010.