With the exception of four years of rule by Napoléon (1809–1813), when, along with Croatia, it was a part of the Illyrian Provinces, Slovenia was a part of the Austrian Hapsburg Empire, from 1335 to 1918.
These non-Slavic influences are reflected in the Slovene language, which is written in the Latin alphabet, while most Slavic languages use the Cyrillic alphabet.
The variety of dialects is also a result of the shared borders with four different nations.
During the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Slovenia's language, which had been considered a peasant language compared to the more prestigious German, was used by political and religious factions as an instrument of propaganda.
Although initially a political tool, Slovene eventually gained a new level of prestige and provided a linguistic identity that helped shape Slovenia's national identity. Two important national symbols are the linden tree and the chamois, a European antelope, both of which are abundant throughout the country.
The local Slovene government resisted and in September 1989, the General Assembly of the Yugoslav Republic of Slovenia adopted an amendment to its constitution asserting the right of Slovenia to secede from Yugoslavia.
On 25 June 1991, the Republic of Slovenia declared its independence.
Nevertheless, the majority of the country is hilly to mountainous with about ninety percent of its land at least 650 feet (200 meters) above sea level.
Slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, Slovenia is approximately 7,906 square miles (20,273 square kilometers) in area.
There are other minority groups, most of whom immigrated, for economic reasons, from other regions of the former Yugoslavia after World War II. Slovenia is situated in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula and is bordered by Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Italy and the Adriatic Sea to the west.