There is a reason Koroška is so small. In the plebiscite ordered by the victorious allies after WWI, Slovenes living on the other side of the Karavanke, the 120-km-long rock wall that separates Slovenia from Austria, voted to put their economic future in the hands of Vienna, while the mining region of the Mežica Valley went to Slovenia. As a result, the Slovenian nation lost 90,000 of its nationals (7% of the population at the time) as well as the cities of Klagenfurt (Celovec) and Villach (Beljak) to Austria.
Understandably, the results of that vote have never sat very well with the Slovenes on the southern side of the mountains. Still, Koroška holds a special place in the hearts and minds of most Slovenes. The Duchy of Carantania (Karantanija), the first Slavic state dating back to the 7th century, was centred here, and the word ‘Carinthia’ is derived from that name.