Slovenia is located in southern central Europe on the northern shore of the Adriatic Sea, east of Italy and northwest of Croatia. The small, ethnically and linguistically distinct region has been a part of numerous countries historically, including Yugoslavia most recently until June 1991.
Slovenia sits on the border between western and eastern Europe. It was here that the Roman Emperor Theodosius fought the usurper Eugenius in 394 A.D., a battle that led to the split of Rome into eastern and western halves. Later, it was part of the eastern ramparts of the Holy Roman Empire, and after that it was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. At the end of World War I, ethnic Slovenia was broken up, with much of it becoming the southern tip of Yugoslavia. A large portion was also swallowed into Italy. This proved disastrous for the Slovenians during World War II, as they were caught geographically between all three Fascist powers. After the war, the rest of Slovenia was added to Yugoslavia, and it remained part of this Communist nation until it fell apart in 1991.
Most of Slovenia is hilly or mountainous, with the far western section containing part of the Alps and the far eastern section marking the beginning of the Pannonian Plain. A large area south of the Alps, the Karst Plateau, is a region filled with caves and sinkholes known as karst topography. More than half the country is heavily forested.