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Between 18, the Slovenian-born scholar, missionary, and bishop, Frederic Baraga, labored on a vast 80,000 square mile piece of virgin territory, including parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada, where he and his followers built some of the first churches and schools.
Father Andreas Skopec (Skopez) reached Fryburg, Pennsylvania, in 1846 and was joined by several of his Slovenian compatriots.
Correspondingly, the climate of tiny Slovenia is Mediterranean along the Adriatic Sea, alpine in the mountains, and continental (Central European) in the plains.
Bordering on Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the east, and Croatia to the south, Slovenia has a population of just a little over two million. Slovenians, the westernmost Slavic people, have always been geographically and culturally a part of Central Europe rather than of the Balkans.
The most famous missionaries were the Irish bishop St.
Modestus in the mid-eighth century who labored in Karantania, and the brothers St. Methodius from Salonica who spread the Christian faith in Slovenian Pannonia in the late 860s and 870s and established a seminary to educate Slovenian boys for the priesthood.
France Preseren (1800-1849), and in the prose of Ivan Cankar (1876-1918), and share with the Scandinavians the reputation of being the best-read people of Europe.
In addition to constant Germanization pressures, which began with the Christianization process, the Slovenians suffered almost two centuries of sporadic Turkish raids, especially from 1408 to 1578.
An estimated 100,000 Slovenians perished and an equal number of young boys and girls were taken to Turkey where boys were trained as Turkish soldiers ( janizaries ) and the girls were put into harems.
Slovenians were also involved in numerous uprisings against the exploitative foreign nobility, the most famous of which was the joint Slovenian-Croatian revolt of 1573 in which over a third of the revolutionaries perished in battle, while many of the survivors were tortured and executed.
Although German-speaking Austrians and Germans wanted to Germanize the Slovenians in order to establish a secure land-bridge to the Adriatic and the Mediterranean Seas, the bulk of Slovenians resisted bribes and threats, occasionally gaining genuine friends and supporters, thus preserving their ethnic and cultural identity.
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