Stefan Banic (1870-1941) - parachute - constructed a prototype of a parachute in 1913 and tested it in Washington D.C. in front of the U.S. Patent Office and military representatives by jumping from a 41-floor building and subsequently from an airplane in 1914. Banic kindly gave away his patent rights to the U.S. Army. Although the parachute proved to be extremely important during WWI, he received little fame or fortune for his invention.
Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734-1804) - Poly-technician and inventor, built the first fountain and pressure water piping, designer of a chess and speaking machine and a special typewriter for the blind.
Jozef Karol HELL (1713-1789) - water pump machine (water-pillar). His first machine could pump water up from the depth of 212 meters.
Jozef Maximilian PETZVAL (1807-1891) - camera zoom lens. Is considered by many to be the founder of modern photography. Petzval is most renowned for his work on optical lenses in the 1840's, which was instrumental in the construction of modern cameras. He is also remembered for greatly improving the telescope, microscope and designing the opera glass.
Maximilian HELL (1720 – 1792) - Astronomer and mathematician who calculated as a first one the Sun parallax and the distance between the Earth and the Sun
Johann Andrea von SEGNER (in Slovak: Ján Andrej Segner)(1704-1777) - physician, physicist, mathematician, designed a reactive water engine - the so-called Segner wheel
Prince PRIBINA was the first known ruler of what is called the Slovak nation today. He lived in the town of Nitra at the beginning of the 9th century, and ruled over the territory of Slovakia (except for easternmost parts) from the Nitra castle, called the Nitrian Principality (Principality of Nitra). Initially, Pribina probably was a pagan, but he probably later became a Christian. He is responsible for building the first known church of Western and Eastern Slavs on Slovak soil in 828. Later, in 839, he founded and became the ruler of the Balaton Principality.
Prince MOJMÍR probably lived in Devín castle and initially ruled over present-day southern Moravia and a small part of western Slovakia. In 833, Mojmir crossed the White Carpathians, and attacked Pribina and his Nitrian Principality (see above). Prince Mojmir successfully defeated Pribina, who fled Nitra, and so Mojmir became the first ruler of what was to become known as the Great Moravian Empire.
Matthew CSÁK (Matúš Čák) (about 1260 – 1321) - was called the ruler of the Váh and the Tatras region, and lived in Trenčin castle in Slovakia. Although never being an official king of Slovakia, he - as a very rich and influential Hungarian magnate - de-facto became the ruler of what is today Slovakia at the beginning of the 14th century. He owned 14 counties and 50 castles and fortresses in the region of present day central and western Slovakia, had an own army and was conferring the same degrees and functions as are awarded by the Hungarian king. After his defeat in the battle near Rozhanovce (at the river Torysa) in 1312, where his army fought against the troops of King Charles Robert of Anjou, his influence started to decrease and his "empire" ceased when he died in 1321 in Trencin.
Andy Warhol (1927-1987) - one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. He introduced Pop Art to the world, and was the first artist to use a photographic silk-screen technique in his work. He was born in the USA as the son of emmigrants from eastern Slovakia (members of the Ruthene nationality from the village Mikova), his first language was Slovak (Ruthene),he took over the religious views of his parents (and of eastern Europe) and he always wanted to return to the country of his parents, which obviously was not possible because of the communist regime in eastern Europe. There is a Warhol museum with some of his works in eastern Slovakia.
Pavol Országh HVIEZDOSLAV (1849-1921) - is one of the most significant Slovak poets that ever lived. As well as his poetry, he also wrote many fine plays and was an accomplished translator.
Master PAUL of Levoča (Majster Pavol z Levoče) (1470-?) - Gothic Sculptor, most famous piece is his magnificent Gothic High Altar in St. James Church, in Levoca. This is the highest wooden altar in the world, at a height of 18.6 meters.
Ľudovít ŠTÚR (1815-1856) - best known for his development of the modern Slovak language. 1844 it was declared that the central Slovak dialect would be used as the literary language of Slovakia and in 1846 the new language standard was codified for the first time by Štúr in his "Nauka reči slovenskej" (Theory of the Slovak language).
Milan Rastislav ŠTEFÁNIK (1880-1919) he was an astronomer, scientist, politician and a general in the French Army. One of the founders of Czechoslovakia. He tragically died in a plane crash near Bratislava (the plane was shot down).
Alexander DUBČEK (1921-1992) - created a limited democracy, called 'Socialism with a human face', when leader of Communist Czechoslovakia in 1968. Censorship was abolished, which was unheard of before in a Communist State. Moscow frowned upon Dubcek's actions, scared that his liberalization Policy may spread throughout the Warsaw Pact countries. Their reaction was one of force, sending in tanks from the Soviet Union, GDR, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria to restore 'order' back to the hardline communists. Died in a car crash in 1992, aged 70. Like so many of Slovakia's heroes, Dubcek died under suspicious circumstances, just when it looked like he would play an important role in the post-Communist Slovakia.
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