One of Europe's smallest countries, with a population of less than 2 million, Slovenia has an ancient and distinct national culture. Traces of the Slovene language are found in documents of the ninth century, a system of peasant democracy is recorded in medieval times, and a Slovene Bible appeared as early as 1557. Slovene culture survived centuries of incorporation within the Habsburg Empire. Emerging as an independent state in 1991 at the breakup of the remnants of Tito's Yugoslavia, Slovenia now faces the challenge of defining itself as a sovereign country within the ""New Europe"", as it deals with problems of political and economic transition from both the communist period and the dissolution of the Yugoslav federation. This comprehensive introduction to the history, culture, and politics of Slovenia shows how Slovenes are working to become part of Europe while striving to preserve their distinctive culture.