HISTORICAL AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND
The Northern Hungarian Highlands form the Northern arc of the Carpathian Mountains and have been a part of the Hungarian state for over 1000 years. Previously, this area had also been a part of the Hun and Avar empires (5th-8th c. AD), and when the Magyars took possession of this region at the end of the 9th c. AD, they found a significant Avar population. The Huns, Avars and Magyars were all ethno-linguistically related Turanian peoples. Just as the Huns defeated, subjugated and relocated the Germanic tribes accross Europe during the 4th and 5th centuries AD, the Avars held under their control and re-settled various Slavic tribes into Central Europe and the Balkans during the 6th-7th centuries. The areas which became known as Bohemia and Moravia were also part of the Avar Empire at that time. During the 9th c., Slavs from Moravia began to encroach upon the Avar territories in the Northwest Carpathians, but they were expelled by the Magyars who established the Hungarian state in 896 AD as the continuation of the Hun and Avar empires.
During the Middle Ages, various other ethnic groups were settled in Northern Hungary: Saxons, Bohemians, Moravians, Vends, Ruthenes. These peoples cohabited peacefully with the indigenous Turanian Hun-Avar-Magyar (Hungarian) population and developed their own local culture with significant Hungarian influence. From this ethno-linguistic and cultural intermingling, the local "Slovak" ethnic group developed. The Slovaks have therefore had close historical, ethnic and cultural ties with the Hungarians, as they were part of the Hungarian Kingdom during centuries.
However, after the end of the First World War, the Czechs invaded and annexed Northern Hungary in violation of the armistice which had put an end to hostilities (Padua, Nov. 3, 1918). Since then, the Hungarians of this region have been subjected to a wide range of hostile and discriminatory measures enforced by the "Czechoslovak" state, and these anti-Hungarian policies are still in force today in "Slovakia", as this region is now under Slovak control since the Slovaks separated from the Czechs in the 1990's. When the Czechs occupied and annexed Northern Hungary in 1918, there were approximately 1 million Hungarians living there. Today, the official statistics mention only about 500 000 Hungarians. Under the Czech and Slovak rule, tens of thousands of Hungarians were forcibly expelled or deported, and all Hungarian-owned property was confiscated. The Hungarians are still treated as second-class citizens, and the entire Hungarian community is falsely accused of "collective war guilt" by the so-called "Benes Decrees" which are still in force. The Hungarian language, culture, and institutions are banned or restricted, Hungarians are pressured to assimilate (Hungarian names are "Slovakized"), Slovaks are being settled into Hungarian-majority areas and the administrative divisions have been redrawn in order to reduce the Hungarians to minority status in every region and at every level of government.