The Austro-Hungarian monarchy

Rihemberk Castle, a 13th-century castle above the village of Branik, near the city of Nova Gorica. Photo: Darinka Mladenovič

In the pre-March period modernisation of villages and the first industrialisation started. The most important Slovenian poet, France Prešeren, made his contribution to overcoming language regionalism: he asserted the right to a unified written language for all Slovenes and defended it against attempts to blend it into an artificial Illyrian Yugoslav language.

In 1867, Slovenian representatives received a majority of votes in the provincial elections. In the same year, the Austrian Empire was transformed into the dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Most of the territory of present-day Slovenia remained in the Austrian part of the monarchy, Pomurje was in the Hungarian part, whilst the Slovenes in Veneto had already decided in 1866 that they wished to join Italy. The idea of a unified Slovenia remained the central theme of the nationalpolitical efforts of the Slovenian nation within the Habsburg monarchy for the next 60 years.

By the end of the 19th century, industry had developed considerably in Slovenia and the Slovenian people were similarly socially differentiated as in all the other developed European nations.

The first Slovenian political programme, called ’Unified Slovenia’ emerged during the European ’Spring of Nations’ in March and April of 1848, demanding that all the lands inhabited by Slovenes should be united into one province, called Slovenia. In this province, Slovene would be made the official language. It would be an autonomous province, with its own provincial assembly within the framework of the Habsburg monarchy.