A landlocked country of central Europe. Settled by Slavic peoples c. 6th century A.D., the region was conquered by Magyars in the early 10th century and was generally under Hungarian rule until 1918, when it became part of Czechoslovakia. Slovakia became a German puppet state during World War II. It was taken by the Soviets in 1945 and again made part of Czechoslovakia, which came under Communist rule in 1948. After the end of Communist rule in 1989, government leaders reached an agreement to separate the country into two fully independent republics. The Republic of Slovakia came into existence on January 1, 1993. Bratislava is the capital and largest city. Population: 5,450,000.