In 1918 the Slovaks joined the closely related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia. Following the chaos of World War II, Czechoslovakia became a communist country within Soviet-ruled Eastern Block. Soviet influence collapsed in 1989 and Czechoslovakia once again became free.
For many years overshadowed by their north-western Czech neighbors, political representations of Czech and Slovak decided to strike out on their own. The Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully on 1 January 1993 and Slovakia became a country in its own right.
Historic, political, and geographic factors have caused Slovakia to experience more difficulty in developing a modern market economy than some of its Central European neighbors. Finally, however, Slovakia joined the European Union and the NATO in 2004, and finally the Euro on January 1st 2009.