Lower Styria (Slovene: Štajerska; German: Untersteiermark) or Slovenian Styria (Slovene: Štajerska) is a traditional region in northeastern Slovenia, comprising the southern third of the former Duchy of Styria.
The Duchy of Styria, which existed as a distinct political-administrative entity from the 12th century to 1918, used to be divided into three traditional regions: the northern two-thirds of the former duchy, known historically as Upper and Central Styria, have been German-speaking and today form the Austrian State of Styria (German: Steiermark). The southernmost third of the former duchy, known as Lower Styria, was predominantly Slovene speaking and is today part of Slovenia, where it is simply referred to as "Styria" (Slovene: Štajerska).
In 1918, after the disintegration of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire following World War I, the Duchy of Styria was divided between the newly established states of German Austria and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. Rudolf Maister, a Slovene major of the former Austro-Hungarian Army, occupied the town of Maribor in November 1918 and claimed it to the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. After a short fight with German Austrian provisional units, the current border was established, which mostly -- with notable exceptions such as Maribor (Marbug an der Drau)itself and other towns in lower Styria and along the new border-- followed the ethnic-linguistic division between Slovenes and ethnic Germans.
Already in December 1918, all of Lower Styria was de facto included in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as Yugoslavia). In 1922, the County of Maribor was formed, comprising most of the territory of Lower Styria, plus the Prekmurje and the Medjimurje regions. After the coup d'etat of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in January 1929, the counties were abolished and replaced with nine Banates (Slovene: Banovina). Following the reorganization implemeted by the Yugoslav constitution of 1931, Lower Styria was incorporated in the newly established Drava Banovina, which was more or less identical with Slovenia, with Ljubljana as its capital city.
In April 1941, Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Lower Styria was annexed to the Third Reich with the aim to re-Germanize the region. After World War II, Yugoslav authority over the region was re-established and Lower Styria became an integral part of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. Since June 25 1991, Lower Styria has been part of the independent Republic of Slovenia.
Lower Styria has no official status as an administrative unit within Slovenia, although the association with an informal province (Slovene: pokrajina) is still quite common.
In 2005 Slovenia was divided into 12 statistical regions. Most of the Štajerska area is now divided into the regions of Podravje (Podravska regija), and Savinjsko (Savinjska regija). An area along the Mura region with Ljutomer as center, known historically as Prlekija, has been incorporated in the Mura region (Pomurje or Pomurska regija), and a number of Lower Styrian municipalities including the town of Slovenj Gradec have been attached to Slovene Carinthia (Slovene: Koroška) thereby doubling the latter's area. The name of Štajerska, however, has thus disappeared from official use. For tourism's sake, however, it continues to be employed .
The cultural and economic centre of Lower Styria has always been the City of Maribor (German: Marburg an der Drau). Other major towns are Celje (German: Cilli), Ptuj (German: Pettau), Velenje (German: Wöllan), Sevnica (German: Lichtenwald), Brežice (German: Rann), and Slovenj Gradec (German: Windisch- Graz), which, of course, has now been separated from Styria  and attached to the region of Koroška forming that enlarged region's new cultural and economic centre
Lower Styria is famous for its white wine, esp. well-known Ljutomer Riesling, the ski resort Pohorje, cultural festivals and pumpkin seed oil. Štajerska is also famous as a hop growing area producing Styrian Goldings, a variety of the English aroma hop Fuggles.
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