February 17, 2006

How to tell Slovakia from Slovenia

One of the puzzlements of the Winter Olympics is how to distinguish among the small nationalities of central Europe. Americans have a hard enough time remembering that Switzerland and Sweden are different countries to deal with Slovakia and Slovenia. So, as a public service, I present an email from a Slovak-American reader who delineates the huge differences between the two Slov-countries:

Slovaks and Slovenes get confused all the time. But both groups are, in fact, very similar: both are basically Slavic-speaking Catholic peasant peoples with no history of political independence before the 20th century. The main difference is that Slovenia is more prosperous, since it had the good fortune to be part of Austria for centuries, whereas the Slovaks were stuck with the Hungarians. Even their flags are very similar.

Lots of both settled here in Cleveland during the heyday of Ellis Island immigration (with the Slovenes also getting a healthy number of anti-Communist refugees after WW II).

Well, that clears that up.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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