Slovakia is a small cental European country south of Poland. The Slovaks were for centuries ruled by the Hapsburgs. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire when it was created (1867). The Austro-Hungarian Empire disentegrated following Wrld War I (1918). The Slovaks joined the related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia, although there were tensions between the two ethnic groups. As Hitler prepared to seize Czechoslovakia, the Slovaks seceeded from the union and set up a pupet government subservient to the NAZIs. After World War II, Czehoslovakis was reserected. The Soviets engineered a Communist coup (1948). Czechoslovakia became one of the Eastern European Soviet satellites. Soviet control collapsed (1989). Czechoslovakia emerged as a free democratic country. Tensions developed between the Slovaks and Checks and two groups decided separate peacefully (January 1, 1993), creating Slovakia and the Czech Republic. We know relatively little about clothing styles in Slovakia. As far as we can tell, clothing trends and styles are similar to hose w havenoted in Austria and Germany. We see many of the same styles and garments as worn in Germany. The close association of these countries and the large German clothing industry are important factors. Hopefully our Slovakian readers will provide more details.
Slovakia is a small cental European country south of Poland. The Slovaks were for centuries ruled by the Hapsburgs. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire when it was created (1867). The Austro-Hungarian Empire disentegrated following World War I (1918). The Slovaks joined the related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia, although there were tensions between the two ethnic groups. As Hitler prepared to seize Czechoslovakia, the Slovaks seceeded from the union and set up a pupet government subservient to the NAZIs. After World War II, Czehoslovakia was reserected. The Soviets engineered a Communist coup (1948). Czechoslovakia became one of the Eastern European Soviet satellites. Soviet control collapsed (1989). Czechoslovakia emerged as a free democratic country. Tensions developed between the Slovaks and Checks and two groups decided to separate peacefully (January 1, 1993), creating Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
We know relatively little about clothing styles in Slovakia. As far as we can tell, clothing trends and styles are similar to hose w havenoted in Austria and Germany. We see many of the same styles and garments as worn in Germany. The close association of these countries and the large German clothing industry are important factors.
We do not yet have much information on Slovakian boys' garments. As far as we can tell, they were very similar to the garments worn in Germany and Hungary. We do note that suspender shorts were very common in the inter-war years. Long stockings were widely worn, especially in the colder months. Children both boys and girls in the mid-1950s began wearing tights. They are still popular.
Slovak folk costumes appear to be based on clothing worn by the ordinary Slovakian peasant in the 18th or ealy 19th century. Slovakia was largely an agrarian region controlled by an Hungarian nobility. The towns were of mixed ethnicity while the rural areas prediminately Slovakian. Male folk costuming in Slovakia as is generally the case of folk costuming did not differentiate between men and boys. Costumes were normally linnen which in the 19th century began to be replaced with cotton. Men and boys wore breeches, a shirt with wide sleeves and a a kind of apron. There was also a kind of drapery dress consisting of narrow trousers and a shirt with cuffs on the sleeves.
Embroidery is an important decorative element of Slovak folk costumes. Embroidery was especially important in western and central Slovakia. There were many loval styles of embroidery. Decorative weaving and application was more common in eastern Slovakia. A patterned blue and white print textile was especially popular. The varying regional preferences are not fully understood. Variations in social and economic development were probably factors. Economic factors such as general prosperity were reflected in e both costuming and decoration.
As far as we know, boys' activities in Slovakia are similar to those in neigboring countries. The same is true for the clothing associated with those activitie. We do not yet have an adequate image archive to assess Slovak activities, but we hope to persue this subject over time.
Slovakia is a largely Catholic country. Martin Luther's reforms not only proved popular in Germany, but in much of Central Europe as well. Slovak's were early and eager followers of Luther. John Calvin for some reason proved more popular in Hungary. It was a translation of Luther's Catechism published in Bardejov (eastern Slovakia) that was the first book printed in Slovak (1581). A Roman Catholic prelate (Archbishop Pazmany) writing to the Vatican from Trnava (western Slovakia) advised, "in Habsburg Hungary (meaning modern Slovakia) hardly a tenth of the population are Catholics, the rest are of the Lutheran, or Calvinist persuasion."(1613) During the counter-Reformation, primarily military operations of the Thirty Years War, Slovakia was forced back to Catholocism. Hungary and Hungarian tended Slovakia, however, tended to be more tolerant than other areas involved in the Counter Reformation. Into the 20century Slovaks wre mostly very traditionl Catholics. Even after a half century of Communist rule most Slovaks remained Catholic. The Communists discouraged religious practice, but most Slovaks continue baptize their children and married, and buried according to their religious traditions. Slovakia into the 20th century remained a very traditional society and largely agrarian. One finds a church at the center of a traditional Slovak village. In a 2001 census, about 85 percent if Slovaks identified a religiou affilation. Rgis is a much higher percentage than most of the European community, especially Western Europe. It is even a much higher percentage than in the neighboring Czech Republic. Most Slovaks or nearly 70 percent indicated Roman Catholic. There are much smaller numbers of many different faiths. Most Slovak Jews were murdered in the World War II Holocaust with the eager cooperation of Slovak officials. Most Slovaks have done First Communion, although I'm not sure to wht extent this was affected by Communist rule. Until recently many Slovks attended church on Sunday for the Mass. Church officials, however, complain that with the opening of hypermarkets on Sunday that church attendance has fallen notably.
Significant Slovak immigration to the United States, like that of other central and Eastern European countries, began in 1870s. Slovakia at the time was a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Empire was a dual monarchy with the Austrians sharing power with the Hungarians. Other nationalities had few rights. Slovakia was administered by Hungary. Slovaks like other subjects of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire had to get permission to emmigrate. but except for youths of military age there were no significant restrictions placed on emigration. There are no precise details on Slovak immigration because U.S. immigration officials recorded the Austro-Hungarian Empire as the country of origin and not the specific ethnicity. Pne source suggests that 0.5 million Slovaks entered the United States in the late-19th and early 20h centuries.
We can not yet cionfirm this estimate. Men were the most likely to emmigrate, again the general pattern. About two thirds of the immigrants were men. And they mostly came from rural areas of Slovakia. A very large number were illiterate, primarily because Hungarian authorities did not encourafe school attendance which they belieced, probany correctly, would cause a greater degree of ethnic identity. Language notations though are helpful in estimsting Slvak immigrants. Many of the Slovaks living in Austria-Hungary, unlike the Poles, did not yet have a string national identity. One immigrant speaking after World War I explained, "Us Slovaks didn't know that we were Slovaks until we came to America and they told us." [Daniels, p. 218.] The Slovaks primary interest was in finding jobs. They mostly looked for industrial jobs in the East rather than trying to establish farms in the West. Thus many of the Slovaks settled in Pennsylvania where their were jobs for unskilled laborors available in the expanding steel and coal industries. We are unsure why Pennsylvania was so important. Pennsyklvania was not the only state with expanding industries. The general pattern is that where the first immigrants from any country settled that was where the following immigrants headed for because rhey could contact family and friends. About half of the Slovaks immigrants set down roots in Pennsylvania. The other half of the Slovak immigrants chose other industrial states, mostly Ohio, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. When World War I broke out (1914) immigration to the United States dropped sharply even though the United States was a neutral until 1917. After the War, the United States passed restrictive emmigration laws. As a result, most Slovak-Americans immigrated before World War I.
We do not yet have information about Slovak ethnic groups. Much of theCzecoslovak Jewish population before World War II lived in Slovakia. We do have a page on Slovak Gypsies.
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