National Geographic : 1990 Aug
GERMANY One f the "peaant nations" of the Habsburg empire, Slovenia emerged in 1918 from six centuries of Austrian rule s Yugoslavia's most westernized republic. Through the centuries its cities were outposts of German culture. That the Slovenian language was preserved is a tributeto continued use by the peasant population and Roman Catholic clerics. GEORGESMERILLON,GAMMALIAISON Flash point of ancient rivalries, Kosovo was stained with blood this past January when ethnic Albanians rioted in Podujevo (above) and other towns to demand more autonomy from the Serbs, who view the province as the cradle of their culture. Several days of violence left 28 dead. An important part of Yugoslavia's polyglot population, Albanians outnumber Serbs in Kosovo nine to one. Land of the South Slavs On the Balkan Peninsula, between the Black and Adriatic Seas, a band of tribes had arrived by A.D. 600. These South, or "Yugo," Slavs-like their kin the Czechs and Poles migrated from a homeland still occupied by other Slavs, the Russians and Ukrainians. Under foreign domination for centuries, the Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes decided to join together in a kingdom after the carnage of World War I. Today such Pan-Slavic nationalism is on the wane in Yugoslavia's six republics and two provinces, as eight major and a score of minor ethnic groups flounder in a leader ship vacuum left by the death of President Tito in 1980. AREA: 255,804 sq km (98,766 sq mi). POPULATION: 23,701,000. CAPITAL: Belgrade, pop. 1,087,900. RELIGION: Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Muslim. LANGUAGE: Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Albanian. LITERACY: 90%. LIFE EXPECTANCY: 71 yrs. ECONOMY: Food processing, machinery, textiles, nonferrous metals, chemicals. The kingdom of Serbia reached for control of the Croats and The Ottoman Turks achieved the height of its power under the Slovenes. The Byzantine a strategic victory in Europe Stefan Dusan, self-proclaimed Empire, encroached on by by defeating the Serbs at emperor of Serbs and Greeks the Bulgarians to the north Kosovo Field in 1389. In 1453 (1346-1355), while Hungary, and the Turks to the east, had they took Constantinople, end Venice, and the Habsburgs vied shrunk to a remnant. ing the Byzantine millennium. ITALY SRome Tyrr henian Sea By 1529, when they laid siege to Vienna, the Ottomans controlled most of southeastern Europe. Slass, Albanians, / l and other groups maintained strong national identities.