The New York Times, October 23, 1921, p.26:|
Of the three races, or branches, of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the last are perhaps least known both in Europe and the United States, though there must be between 100,000 and 200,000 in this country. The Zagreb correspondent of The Near East gives us some interesting details, many of them not to be extracted from the cyclopedias, about this people, dwellers in a country of mountains and lakes, of a pure Slav type, blue-eyed, big-boned, fair or reddish.
While many of them are farmers, as a whole the people are more given to industrial pursuits, especially to coal and mercury mining. The most westerly of the South Slavs, and longest exposed to Italian and German culture, Western influences have penetrated them thoroughly. They have become essentially Europeans. But they have preserved their national identity, consciousness and language.
In Serbo-Croat, "Sloven" means "Slav" in the broadest sense. The Slovaks, who are nearest in every way to the Czechs, call themselves "Sloveni." But the people whom we call Slovenes, and the Germans, until recently, Weden, are "Sloventsi" and their language is "Slovenacki."
This is the most nearly allied language to Serbo-Croat, but yet is quite distinct, and the two tongues are only to a moderate degree mutually intelligible. Slovenish retains the dual number and other grammatical archaisms. Never having been subjected to Byzantine or Turkish influence, Slovenish has none of the Eastern words or idioms common in Croat and much more so in Serb.
The Slovenes belong not to the Balkans, but to Central Europe. They are first heard of in the latter part of the sixth century. Then they were encompassed by three great military nations, the Teutonic Bavarians and Lombards, and the Turanian Avars.
They were subject to the last people till the seventh century. Then, invading Istria with the Avars and Lombards, many of them settled there. Some ran over into Lombard territory, into the Friuli, and finally were absorbed into the Friulian Italians.
They fought the Lombards sporadically for years, and in the early part of the eighth century many of them had permanently settled in Lombard Friuli. By the end of that century they had been Christianized and brought under the ecclesiastical rule of the Archbishop of Salzburg.
By the beginning of the ninth century all the Slovenes, including the Istrian colonists, were subject to the Frankish Empire.
After 861 they lived permanently under a foreign ruler, and became simply "cannon fodder" fo the Germans, ceasing to have any further history of their own. The vitality and obstinacy of the Slovene character kept the national patriotism alive through more than a thousand years of foreign domination.
The secular continuous efforts to Germanize them never fully succeeded. NAPOLEON, by his recognition of the national language and hs issue of proclamations in it, revived and stimulated the national movement.
In spite of the characteristically cruel Hapsburg espionage and oppression, the national movement, with its headquarters at Liubliana [now Ljubljana, called by the Germans Laibach], spread and deepened. Philology and literature and a systematic propaganda, imitated from the Germans, were made means to the great end of Jugoslav liberation.
Serbia was the head and front of the Jugoslav campaign. The Slovenes, squeezed between the Germans to the north and the Italians to the south, had to depend largely on the Serbs; but they did what they could, and contributed many fine qualities to the common cause.
Austria: Her People & Their Homelands, by James Baker, 1913, p.126:|
CARNIOLA (KRAIN) — LJUBLJANA (LAIBACH).
The scenery as we enter Carniola, or Krain, along the banks of the Save, is full of beauty, I and just a mile or two before crossing the frontier at Trifail we have great cliffs that are really open coal quarries; and at Sagor, the frontier town, are grand hills and cliffs rising sheer 400 to 800 feet in height.
We are not far from Hungary, and by following the Save eastwards Agram is quickly reached; but we journey on, along its banks to the westward, emerging from the ravines, and soon get a fine view of the Julian Alps that promise plenty of work for the rock and mountain climber, and glorious scenery for the lover of nature.
The capital of the province, Ljubljana, or Laibach, forms an excellent centre for exploring the district, and is a most interesting and pleasant place to sojourn in. Railways branch off to that most fascinating district of Alpine heights and idyllic lakes, Veldes and Wochein Feistritz, and into Gorizia; southward into Istria and on to Triest and the Adriatic; and eastwards to Hungary.
Both history and modern development tend to hold the traveller for some days in the capital of Carniola, or Krain as the Germans call this Duchy; and in the near neighbourhood we can study the peasant life in this homeland of Austria. If in the Steiermark Germans predominate, here in Carniola the Slav is in the ascendant, there being over 500,000 Slowenisch to about 28,000 Germans, and patriotism and race devotion is shown in the eagerness of the people to be abreast with all developments.
With the military garrison there are about 50,000 inhabitants in the capital, and the diet house for the local Parliament is a handsome building, with club and reading rooms for the members, who are elected by four classes of voters: the rich domain holders, the towns, the peasants, and the general voter. The Justice Palace, or Law Courts, is also a fine building, and around it are pleasant gardens and lakes and avenues of chestnut trees.
The Government House is another handsome building, the residence of the Stadthalter; and in passing from this through the poorer part of the town, that is well kept and clean, one sees a part of the old Roman walls. The view from the south embraces the pleasant shady avenues and gardens, the river from which the town is named, and above all rises the great mass of the castle, upon its dominating tree-covered hill, whilst beyond are the green picturesque hills.
The town has been greatly developed of late; one passes through the old Ghetto, but no Jews are there now. The old town hall is a picturesque building with balconies and arches, but the building that will hold the visitor, wherein he can study the history of this district and the folklore of the people, is the Rudolphinum, where the museum of the province is installed.
Here the life of the district can be gleaned from the well-arranged exhibits, and it was interesting on one occasion when there to see a school of lads, some without shoes, but decidedly clean, others well dressed, all studying the life and history of their homeland.
The finds go back to the earliest lake-dwellers and Neolithic times, including some remarkable pottery with encrusted ornamentation, etc.; thence to the Bronze epoch, and a very rich collection of the Iron period, that a local writer gives here as 900-400 B.C. Belonging to the later Iron or Celtic epoch are richly decorated swords, and a beautiful helmet collar, with cheek pieces, upon which birds are chiselled. The collection of the Roman period is also very rich, especially in glass, and what is perhaps yet more interesting, are the finds of the folk migration period and the first Slavic settlers.
The history is carried on to later days, when the struggle with the Moslem was desperate, and a flag of 1593 recalls this epoch in their history. Here, as elsewhere in Austria, the life of the folk of to-day and yesterday is illustrated by models and actual furniture, and household utensils of their homes, and figures in the bright costumes.
We went out on the balcony of the museum, and looked out over the town. As we had entered the city on this occasion, on the eve of Corpus Christi, many peasants were flocking in for the procession, and we noted the tone of colour of many was a quiet grey, with a whitish head-dress, but on the morrow we were to see all the more brilliant-coloured dress of Upper Carniola, and these dresses and the whole home-life of the folk is illustrated in the museum.
Before climbing up to the castle we made an excursion with the learned curator of the museum out to the village of Roznik, and in chatting with the peasants learnt that the small-holders worked about 5 acres of ground, and that the pay for workers at harvest time was 4 Kronen a day, in winter 2 to 3 Kronen, but most of the hands engaged in this work were women.
In the factories the girls earned 1.50 to 3 Kroner the men 3 to 5, really less than on the fields, because they were also insured against sickness. From this village we went on to St Veit, where we found then; busy sweeping the roads and decorating with youus trees and flags for Corpus Christi.
We had a chat in the house of a young carpenter who was also a small-holder of about 1½ acres. A smart, bright young fellow, full of life and keenness in his work with wood, and in his fowls and pigs, and in his garden. We went into his workshops; the technical schools had made him love and know his work. In his kitchen all was clean. A white towel was hung up for drying hands. The cooking utensils were of bright metal, well polished; there was a cake-mould amongst them.
In the sleeping-room for the children all was clean and airy, and a big room, with two beds in it, served as sitting-room, the beds having tidy, pretty coverlets over them. Here were flowers on a table, and flowers were wreathed over a pier-glass and a crucifix. Everything was absolutely sweet and pure.
We next visited a well-to-do farmer's house, who farmed 60 to 70 acres. He cultivated hops and corn, and kept cows. We went into his sitting-room and kitchen and three bedrooms, all clean and orderly. He was just putting up a new hop-oven with expensive screen methods, and an excellent and unusual arrange- ment was his smoke chamber above the kitchen, that utilised all the smoke for drying meats, etc.
From the farmer we got the prices of food for the towns, and found that it averaged: bread, l½d. per lb; potatoes, ½d. per lb. ; meat, 6d. to 1s. per lb. At first he was very reticent and reserved, but at last became very friendly, and his wife came and offered us a slice of their excellent brown bread, which, with a Slav, is a mark of friendship...
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Republic of Slovenia: The Slovene lands were part of the Holy Roman Empire and Austria until 1918 when the Slovenes joined the Serbs and Croats in forming a new multinational state, renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. After World War II, Slovenia became a republic of the renewed Yugoslavia, which though Communist, distanced itself from Moscow's rule.
Dissatisfied with the exercise of power of the majority Serbs, the Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independence in 1991 after a short 10-day war.
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