Slovene minority in Italy (1920–47)

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The Slovene minority in Italy (1920–1947) was the indigenous Slovene population—approximately 327,000 out of a total population of 1.3[1] million ethnic Slovenes at the time[2]—that was cut from the remaining three-quarters of the Slovene ethnic community after the First World War. According to the secret Treaty of London and the Treaty of Rapallo in 1920, the former Austrian Littoral and western part of the former Inner Carniola were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. Whereas only a few thousand Italians were left in the new South Slavic[lower-roman 1] state, a population of half a million Slavs,[3] both Slovenes and Croats, was subjected to forced Italianization until the fall of Fascism in Italy.

The annexed western quarter of Slovene ethnic territory, and approximately 327,000 out of the total population of 1.3[1] million Slovenes,[2] were subjected to forced Italianization. On the map of present-day Slovenia with its traditional regions' boundaries.


At the end of 19th century, Trieste was the largest Slovene city, with more Slovene inhabitants than even Ljubljana.[4] After being ceded from multiethnic Austria, the Italian nationalist milieus sought to make Trieste a città italianissima, committing a series of attacks led by Black Shirts against Slovene shops, libraries, lawyers' offices, and the central place of the rival community in the Trieste National Hall.[5] Forced Italianization followed, and by the mid-1930s several thousand Slovenes, especially intellectuals from the Trieste region, emigrated to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and to South America.

Notable Slovenes affected by Italianization included the poet Srečko Kosovel and the writer Boris Pahor. Slovenes that emigrated included the writers Vladimir Bartol and Josip Ribičič, the legal theorist Boris Furlan, and the architect Viktor Sulčič. In order to fight the Fascist repression, the militant anti-fascist organization TIGR was formed in 1927.


The estimated number of today's Slovene minority in Italy is 83,000 to 100,000.[6]

Notable members of the Slovene minority in Italy (1920–1947)


  1. In the beginning called the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, renamed Yugoslavia in 1929.


    1. 1 2 Lipušček, U. (2012) Sacro egoismo: Slovenci v krempljih tajnega londonskega pakta 1915, Cankarjeva založba, Ljubljana. ISBN 978-961-231-871-0
    2. 1 2 Cresciani, Gianfranco (2004) Clash of civilisations, Italian Historical Society Journal, Vol.12, No.2, p.4
    3. Hehn, Paul N. (2005) A Low Dishonest Decade: Italy, the Powers and Eastern Europe, 1918-1939., Chapter 2, Mussolini, Prisoner of the Mediterranean
    4. Plut-Pregelj, Leopoldina, & Carole Rogel. 2007. The A to Z of Slovenia. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, p. 467.
    5. Morton, Graeme; R. J. Morris; B. M. A. de Vries (2006).Civil Society, Associations, and Urban Places: Class, Nation, and Culture in Nineteenth-century Europe, Ashgate Publishing, UK
    6. "The world directory of minorities and indigenous peoples".

    See also

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