Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 460,000, the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River and on the left bank of Morava river. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.
Bratislava is the political, cultural, and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament, and the Slovak Executive. It is home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other important cultural and educational institutions. Many of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions also have headquarters there.
The history of the city has been strongly influenced by people of different nations and religions, namely by Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks, and Jews. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, a part of the larger Habsburg Monarchy territories, from 1536 to 1783 and has been home to many Slovak, Hungarian, and German historical figures.
The city got its modern name in 1919. Beforehand it was mostly known in English by its German name, Pressburg. Its first recorded name, in the 10th century Annales Iuvavenses, was probably Brezalauspurc (literally: Braslav's castle). This is the term which the German, the pre-1919 Slovak (Prešporok) and Czech name (Prešpurk) derive from. The origin of the city's Hungarian name, Pozsony, is unclear: it might come from the Hungarian Poson (name of the city's first castellan), the Czech Pos or the German Poscho, which are personal names. The Hungarian name is still used by Hungarian speakers today. The city's modern name is attributed to Ľudovít Štúr's misinterpretation of Braslav as Bratislav when analyzing medieval sources, thus coming up with the term Bratislava.
During the revolution of 1918–1919, the name 'Wilsonov' or 'Wilsonstadt' (after the American president) was proposed by American Slovaks. The name Bratislava, which was used before only by some Slovak patriots, became official in March 1919.
Other alternative names of the city in the past: Greek: Ιστρόπολις Istropolis (meaning "Danube City", also used in Latin), Czech: Prešpurk, French: Presbourg, Italian: Presburgo, Latin: Posonium, Croatian: Požun, Romanian: Pojon, Serbian: Požun/ Пожун. The name Pressburg was also used in English language publications until 1919, and it is still occasionally used today.
In older documents, confusion can be caused by the Latin forms Bratislavia, Wratislavia etc., which refer to Wrocław (Breslau), Poland – not to Bratislava .