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Updated: Apr 4

Today, Slovakia celebrates 31 years of independence.

On January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia quietly split into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, redrawing the map of central Europe forever.

Parting ways is never simple, but the dissolution of Czechoslovakia was amicable. So much so, that the event is remembered as the Velvet Divorce. Czechs and Slovaks continue to maintain close linguistic, cultural, political and social ties to this day.

For the first time in history, Slovakia gained a meaningful and genuine independence. And as a result, Slovaks would have to learn the ropes of running their own country quickly.

Not only was the nation still undergoing the bumpy post-Soviet bloc transition from communism to free market democracy. It would have to mature fast and accept responsibility over its destiny in a competitive global economy.

Slovakia rose to the occasion.

Over the past 31 years, the country has experienced tremendous growth and change.

Slovakia joined NATO in March 2004, and the European Union in May of that same year.

Many did not believe it would happen, considering the country temporarily slid towards authoritarianism in the 1990s.In December 2007, it became a member of the Schengen zone, guaranteeing its citizens the freedom of movement within Europe.

In January 2009, Slovakia adopted the Euro as its official currency, and joined many other European countries as a member of the European Monetary Union.

In April 2022, Slovakia passed an amendment which opened the door to citizenship by descent - for millions of Slovak descendants living in diaspora around the world. This new and exciting legislation is the beginning of a new chapter in Slovakia’s history, still awaiting to be written.

That and so much more has happened in the last 30 years.

A lot has been accomplished in such a short span of time.

Slovaks have survived through the perils of old and recent history to thrive as a nation and as a country. Rooted in rich history and traditions, our homeland is moving toward the future one step at a time.

The journey is far from over.

There is much to do, fight for, and improve in years and decades to come, for Slovaks both at home and abroad.

But for now, let us celebrate.

Happy birthday, Slovakia!

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