The Slavic people are a race that descends from Indo-European roots that once shared a common language as well as area of descent. Today, the majority of these people — also called "Slavs" — live in Central and Eastern Europe. Slavic populations are particularly concentrated in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, the Republic of Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Today, their language roots and geographical locations are divided into West, East and South Slavic, further dividing the people. Those from a particular group tend to speak the language accorded to that area. Of course, with modern immigration, there are many people of Slavic descent living throughout the world, so it becomes more difficult to specifically define a “Slavic” people, according to language.
These people are thought to possibly have inhabited parts of Germany at one point, before migrating eastward, southward and northward in the 6th century. The first Slavic state was recognized in the 7th century and was ruled by Samo, who was not in fact, of Slavic origin. However, he supported the people in fighting oppression by the Avar rulers. This state was located in Moravia, a region now within the borders of the Czech Republic.
As a whole, the Slavic people became absorbed into the cultures that became more firmly established in the Middle Ages. They embraced Christianity very early, around the 6th century. Most of these people who are still residing in Europe and who are Christians are either Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox or Uniate. A few Slavs, like the Pomaks in Bulgaria, are Muslim.
Many Slavic people met their unfortunate demise in Poland during the Nazi occupation. Hitler hated the Slavs, and thus forced many into slave labor. In fact, one of the most devastating evils for this group at the hands of Hitler was his systematic killing of thousands of the best intellectuals in Poland who were of Slavic descent.
However, because the Slavs had holdings in parts of Russia that remained untouched by the Nazis, the race fared better than did the Jews during WWII. The culture is still known for its beautiful and elaborate costuming and folk dancing. As well, the first man in outer space, Yuri Gagarin, is of Slavic descent. Other famous Slavs include the author Leo Tolstoy, the composer Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the astronomer Mikołaj Kopernik, the geneticist Gregor Mendel, the scientist Marie Curie, and the inventor Nikola Tesla.