Slavic peoples

File:Slavic europe.svg
Countries where most people are Slavic and there is at least one Slavic national language      West Slavic      East Slavic      South Slavic

Slavs are the people who live in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, Central Asia and North Asia. Present-day Slavic peoples are classified into West Slavs (mainly PolesCzechs, and Slovaks), East Slavs (mainly RussiansBelarusians, and Ukrainians), and South Slavs (mainly SerbsBulgariansCroatsBosniaksMacedoniansSlovenes, and Montenegrins)

Albanians, Austrians, Hungarians, Romanians, Estonians, Lithuanians, and Latvians live near the Slavic nations, but they are not Slavs themselves. There are more Slavic peoples than any other ethnic group in Europe. Russians make up the most Slavs, followed by Poles and Ukrainians.

There are many small historic Slavic nations like Lusatia, Rusin, Kashubia and others. Russia is now the most powerful and populated Slavic country, but in the 10th century Serbs and Czechs were powerful, and in the 16th century Poland was the strongest nation in the area.

The Slavic languages are closely related. The largest similarities can be found within the same group (e.g. Polish and Slovak, both West Slavic languages), but similarities exist even between Slavic languages from other different subgroups (e.g. Bulgarian and Russian). However, the greatest similarities exist between Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian - these South Slavic languages are considered separate by the Bosnian and Croatian governments, but most linguists say they are one language called Serbo-Croatian (since the differences between Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian are less significant than those between the variants of English,[1] German,[2] Dutch,[3] or Hindi–Urdu[4] and the mutual intelligibility between their speakers "exceeds that between the standard variants of English, French, German, or Spanish[5]).

Slavic languages are spoken natively by 300 million people, and as second or third languages by many more people in countries as far apart as Germany and China.