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Prekmurje (Hungarian: Muravidék) is the easternmost region of Slovenia. It borders Hungary to the north-east, Austria to the north-west, Croatia to the south and the Slovenian region of Styria to the south-west.
It is named after the Mura River, which separates it from the rest of Slovenia (a literal translation from Slovene would be Over-Mura or Transmurania). In Hungarian, the region is known as Muravidék, and in German as Übermurgebiet. The name Prekmurje has been introduced relatively recently. Before 1919, the Slovenian-inhabited lands of the Vas County in the Kingdom of Hungary were known under the name "Slovenian March" or "Vendic March" (in Slovenian: Slovenska krajina, in Hungarian: Vendvidék). The part of modern Prekmurje that belonged to the Zala County (the area between Lendava, Kobilje and Beltinci) was not considered to be part of the Slovenian March. However, until the early 19th century, this region of the Zala county belonged ecclesiastically to the Archdiocese of Zagreb and in the legal documents of the Archdiocese it was called as "Transmurania" or "Prekmurje", that is the "territory on the other side of the Mura river". After 1919, this name was rediscovered and introduced again, now for administrative purposes, by the new Yugoslav administration. It however did not gain much popularity among the locals: the name "Slovenian March" was still used by the local inhabitants till mid 1920s, but was later replaced by the term "March of the Mura" (Slovenian: Murska krajina), which became the most used name for the region till World War II. The current Hungarian name for Prekmurje, Muravidék, still dates from that period and is a translation of the Slovenian Murska krajina. It was only after the war that the name Prekmurje became predominant and quickly replaced all previous denominations.
The region is flat in the south near the Mura River and its smaller tributary the Ledava, and hilly in the north (Goričko). The capital city of the region is Murska Sobota. Other towns include Lendava, Dobrovnik, Turnišče, Beltinci, Črenšovci.
In 1921, the total population of the area numbered 92,295 people, including 74,199 speakers of Slovene language, 14,065 speakers of Hungarian language, and 2,540 speakers of German language.
The region has had a pretty turbulent history: it has been inhabited since the Stone Age, it was later included the Roman Empire and subsequently in the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths, the Kingdom of the Lombards, the Kingdom of the Avars, the Frankish Empire, the Balaton Principality (9th century), Arnulf's Kingdom of Carantania (10th century). In the late 10th century it was invaded by the Magyars and it remnained part of the Kingdom of Hungary until 1919, when it was annexed to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
During the Roman rule, the region was part of the province of Pannonia. Although, some earlier Slavic settlements had probably existed in the area, the ancestors of modern Slovenes moved from eastern Alps and settled in Prekmurje after Franks defeated the Avars during the reign of Charlemagne. In the 9th century, this area was part of the Slavic state known as the Balaton Principality. The center of this state was in the city of Blatnograd near the Balaton lake. The principality was later dissolved and integrated in the Kingdom of Carantania established by the German Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia. This political entity in which all the ancestors of modern Slovenes were united under one ruler was soon destroyed by the Magyar invaders who conquered the Pannonian plain and was incorporated it into the Kingdom of Hungary. The area inhabited by Slovenes shrank to the present extent by the end of the 12th century and has remained stable since. The region was part of the Vas County between 11th century and 1526.
In 1526, like the rest of western Hungary, Prekmurje came under Habsburg rule, although some villages had to pay the tribute to the Ottoman administration during short periods between 1566-1688. In 1687, the Vas County was restored: with the small interruption from 1849 to 1867, the region belonged to this county except for Lendava district, which was part of Zala county until 1918.
In 1919, Prekmurje was incorporated in the newly established Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, renamed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Between 1918 and 1922, the region belonged to the Maribor county, between 1922 and 1929 to the Maribor oblast, and between 1929 and 1941 to the Drava Banovina. During World War II it was occupied and annexed by Horthy's Hungary from 1941 to 1944 and by Nazi Germany between 1944 and 1945. It was liberated by Soviet troops in May 1945. After the war it became part of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, which was one of the newly formed republics of Yugoslavia.