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During the postwar Communist period, Slovenia was the most prosperous region of Yugoslavia.After Tito's death in 1980, serious disagreements and unrest among Yugoslavia's regions began to grow, and the central government in Belgrade sought to further strengthen its control.Nevertheless, the majority of the country is hilly to mountainous with about ninety percent of its land at least 650 feet (200 meters) above sea level.Slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, Slovenia is approximately 7,906 square miles (20,273 square kilometers) in area.The Adriatic coast of Slovenia is about 39 miles (50 kilometers) in length, running from the border with Italy to the border with Croatia.

In 1918, at the end of World War I, Slovenia joined with other Slavic groups to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.During the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Slovenia's language, which had been considered a peasant language compared to the more prestigious German, was used by political and religious factions as an instrument of propaganda.Although initially a political tool, Slovene eventually gained a new level of prestige and provided a linguistic identity that helped shape Slovenia's national identity. Two important national symbols are the linden tree and the chamois, a European antelope, both of which are abundant throughout the country.These non-Slavic influences are reflected in the Slovene language, which is written in the Latin alphabet, while most Slavic languages use the Cyrillic alphabet.The variety of dialects is also a result of the shared borders with four different nations.

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