The Slovaks are descendants of Slavic people who settled near the
Danube between 400 and 500 AD. Slovaks comprise about 86 percent
of the country's inhabitants; Hungarians, who constitute the largest
minority group, comprise close to 11 percent; and Roma (Gypsies)
represent less than 2 percent.
Small numbers of Czechs, Moravians, Silesians, Ruthenians, Ukrainians,
Poles, and Germans also live in Slovakia.
About 60% of Slovaks are Roman Catholics. Protestant churches, including
the Lutheran Church, the Slovak Evangelical Church, and the Reformed
Christian Church, are also widely supported, and the Orthodox and
Uniate churches maintain active followings among the Ruthenians
and Ukrainians of Eastern Slovakia.
Most of Slovakia's Jewish community died during World War II in
the Holocaust. Religion plays a major role in everyday life in Slovakia,
with 73 percent of Slovaks claiming church membership.