Officially the Republic of Slovenia is a nation state in southern Central Europe, located at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. It covers 20,273 square kilometers (7,827 sq mi) and has a population of 2.06 million. It is a parliamentary republic and a member of the United Nations, European Union, and NATO. The capital and largest city is Ljubljana.
The territory is mostly mountainous with a mainly continental climate, with the exception of the Slovene Littoral that has a sub-Mediterranean climate and the north-western area that has an Alpine climate. Additionally, the Dinaric Alps and the Pannonian Plain meet on the territory of Slovenia. The country, marked by a significant biological diversity, is one of the most water-rich in Europe, with a dense river network, a rich aquifer system, and significant karst underground watercourses. Over half of the territory is covered by forest. The human settlement of Slovenia is dispersed and uneven.
The Slavic, Germanic, Romance, and Hungarian languages meet here. Although the population is not homogeneous, the majority is Slovene. Slovene is the official language throughout the country. Slovenia is a largely secularized country, but its culture and identity have been significantly influenced by Catholicism as well as Lutheranism. The economy of Slovenia is small, open, and export-oriented and has been strongly influenced by international conditions. It has been severely hurt by the Eurozone crisis, started in the late 2000s. The main economic field is services, followed by industry and construction.
Historically, the current territory of Slovenia was part of many different state formations, including the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, followed by the Habsburg Monarchy. In October 1918, the Slovenes exercised self-determination for the first time by co-founding the internationally unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, the Slovenians, mostly wanted to be with Germany and Austria, but merged that December with the Kingdom of Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929). During World War II, Slovenia was occupied and annexed by Germany, Italy, and Hungary, with a tiny area transferred to the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi puppet state. Afterward, it was a founding member of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, later renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a communist state which was the only country in the Eastern Bloc never a part of the Warsaw Pact. In June 1991, after the introduction of multi-party representative democracy, Slovenia split from Yugoslavia and became an independent country. In 2004, it entered NATO and the European Union; in 2007 became the first former Communist country to join the Eurozone; and in 2010 joined the OECD, a global association of high-income developed countries.