THE CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS
The distribution of the population in the Carpathians depends on natural land features and on socioeconomic conditions; hence it is very much diversified. In the valleys between the mountains and again on the northern slopes of the Western Carpathians, the population density is heavy, whereas, close by, practically uninhabited mountain massifs are to be found. On the whole, the Southeastern Carpathians are less densely settled than the Western Carpathians, but there also marked aggregations of people occur in the valleys.
The western slope of the Western Carpathians is inhabited by Czechs, the northern slope by Poles, the entire central part of the Western Carpathians by Slovaks, and the southern portion by Hungarians. The northern part of the Eastern Carpathians, both its outer and inner sectors, is occupied by Ukrainians; but south of latitude 47º a Romanian population predominates. Inside the arc of the Eastern Carpathians and also partly on the Transylvanian Plateau lives a compact island of Hungarian population and some remnants of German colonists dating from the Middle Ages. Finally, the southwestern margin of the Carpathians, beyond the Danube gap, is occupied by Serbs. Generally speaking, the greater part of the Western Carpathians and the northern part of the Eastern Carpathians is inhabited by a Slav population, and the southern part of both these Carpathian provinces, with the exception of the mountains of eastern Serbia, by Romanians and Hungarians.
In the 13th and 14th centuries Romanian shepherds, wandering with their flocks, moved along the Carpathians into what is today Ukrainian, Slovakian, and Polish territory, and traces of this penetration have survived in geographic nomenclature and in economic methods and also in types of buildings, garments, and customs, although by the second half of the 20th century many of the latter were gradually disappearing. In general outlines, but by no means in detail, the diversity in nationality coincides with today's pattern of the political boundaries.