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The Land Between

A History of Slovenia

Edited By Oto Luthar

This is a history of a space – a space between the Panonian plain in the East and the most northernmost bay in the Adriatic in the West, from the eastern Alps in the North and the Dinaridic mountain area in the South. It is also a history of all the different people who lived in this area. The authors show that the Slavs did not settle an empty space and simply replace the Celto-Roman inhabitants of earlier times; they are, on the contrary, presented as the result of reciprocal acculturation. The authors show that the Slovenes made more than two important appearances throughout the entire feudal era; the same holds for later periods, especially for the twentieth century. This book offers a concise and complete history of an area that finally became an integral part of Central Europe and the Balkans.

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MODERNIZATION AND NATIONAL EMANCIPATION 255

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255 MODERNIzATION AND NATIONAL EMANCIPATION FRENCH RULE In 1792, eight years before the end of the 18th century, the Habsburg crown passed to Francis II, the untried and conservative emperor. His imposition of stringent censorship and political pressure and his persecution of defend- ers of the Enlightenment and sympathizers with French revolutionary ideas hampered the reformist impetus in the Habsburg Monarchy. However, it did not completely paralyze the adherents of new ideological movements, who continued to meet in secret societies and Masonic lodges. One border regi- ment officer, Baron Siegfried von Taufferer, not only embraced the ideas of the French Revolution but also tried to use them to bring change to the monar- chy. He established direct contact with the revolutionary government in Paris and organized volunteer companies of Austrian war prisoners to fight for the French, whose assistance and revolutionary experience he found instrumen- tal in replacing the absolutist system with a government formed on the prin- ciples of the French Revolution. He also drew up a plan for the secession of the Slovenian and Croatian provinces and their incorporation into the French Empire. In 1795 he was captured by the Austrians and executed in Vienna. However, the Slovenian territory not only experienced French influence ideologically and spiritually, but also directly. In 1797 French troops nipped at the heels of the defeated Austrians, who were retreating across northern Italy and along the Soča River towards Carinthia. Gorizia fell first on March 20, af- ter the French army had...

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