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The history of tiny Slovenia is one of outside rule and annexation, with independence arriving only in the late 20th century. In ancient times the region was inhabited by the Illyrian and Celtic tribes. In the first century BC these tribes fell under the rule of the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Noricum. The region was later settled in the sixth century AD by the South Slavs, who set up the early Slav state of Samo, which in AD 788 became part of the Carolingian Empire.
At the division of Charlemagne’s empire in AD 843, Slovenia passed to the dukes of Bavaria. In 1335, the region came under the control of the Hapsburg Empire. From that time until 1918, Slovenia was part of Austria and the region was largely comprised in the Austrian crownlands of Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria.
In 1918, Slovenia was included in the kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (called Yugoslavia after 1929); in 1919, Austria formally ceded the region by the Treaty of Saint-Germain. At the outset of World War II, Slovenia was invaded by the Axis powers and divided among Germany, Italy, and Hungary. After the war, Slovenia was made a constituent republic of communist Yugoslavia and received part of the former Italian region of Venezia Giulia.
In early 1990, Slovenia elected a non-communist government and stepped up its demands for greater autonomy with the threat of outright secession from Yugoslavia. In February 1991, the Slovenian parliament ruled that Slovenian law took precedence over federal law. Slovenia declared independence on June 25, and federal troops moved in, but withdrew by July, after a short period of fighting.
Slovenia, along with Croatia, was recognized as an independent country by the European
Community and the United Nations in 1992. Milan Kučan was elected president of Slovenia in 1990 and continued as president of the independent republic; he was reelected in November 1997. Slovenia became a member of NATO and the European Union in 2004, and adopted the euro in 2007. Slovenia was the first post-Communist country to hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the first six months of 2008.