The Slavic countries are those countries, mostly located in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, whose majority populations identify with Slavic culture and traditions and who speak the Slavic languages such as Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian. Slavic countries make up about 50% of the continent of Europe (though to be fair, Russia is a significant contributor in this regard).
In total, there are more than 360 million Slavs around the world. Slavic people (Slavs) can be divided into three subgroups based upon their geographic and linguistic distribution: West Slavs (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia), East Slavs (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine), and South Slavs (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia). Countries with substantial Slavic populations, but which aren't majority Slavic countries include Germany and Denmark.
History of the Slavic people
The history of the Slavs dates back to between the 5th century and the 10th century. The ancient Slavs were members of tribal societies throughout Eastern and Central Europe. By the end of the 8th century, Slavs' population expanded and the groups began to extend to other regions. The early Slavs were primarily Christian and lived in Christian states, including Croatia, Serbia, and Poland. These people built sunken settlements known as "Grubenhauser" along the rivers. The stone ovens found in the corners of the buildings are a characteristic still used in Eastern European homes today.
Today, many Slavs follow the Christian faith. Most Slavs in the eastern and southern Slavic countries are Eastern Orthodox, while residents of the western and southwestern Slavic countries are Roman Catholic. Minority religious groups among Slavs include atheists, Muslims and Protestants.
The dominant religion in a Slavic country typically influences the alphabet used by its people. Roman Catholic Slavs use the Latin alphabet, and those who follow the Orthodox faith use the Cyrillic alphabet.
The 13 Slavic countries (and the Slavic populations):
- Belarus - 9,498,700
- Bosnia & Herzegovina - 3,829,000
- Bulgaria - 7,265,000
- Croatia - 4,253,000
- Czech Republic - 10,200,000
- Macedonia - 2,107,000
- Montenegro - 621,383
- Poland - 38,530,000
- Russia - 143,500,000
- Serbia - 7,164,000
- Slovakia - 5,414,000
- Slovenia - 2,060,000
- Ukraine - 45,490,000
Russia has the highest number of Slavs in the world, totaling 143 million. Poland (38+ million) and Ukraine (45+ million) round out the top three highest Slav populations in the world. Montenegro has the lowest population of Slavs with just over 621,000.