Through a long period of time, Trieste was seen as being peripheral to Italian commerce and culture; however lately it has been gaining influence as Italy's window to the east (former Yugoslavia). The Kosovo War saw large numbers of refugees passing through the city, which is now negotiating cooperation with Slovenian ports and expanding business with former Yugoslavia.
The local venetian dialect of Trieste is called "Triestino". Italian and the local venetian dialect are spoken in the city center while Slovenian is spoken in many of the immediate suburbs. This linguistic division is historical and cultural and dates back hundreds of years.
By 177 BC, Trieste was under the Roman republic and was granted the status of a colony under Julius Caesar, who also recorded its name as Tergeste in his Commentarii de bello Gallico in 51 BC. After the end of the Western Roman Empire in 476 Trieste was first under the authority of its count-bishop, then from the year 1081 was under the Aquileia's patriarchy, from 1369 under the Venetian Republic, from 1372 a free commune and from 1382 to free themselves from Venice, the Triestins donated the city to Leopold III von Habsburg, duke of Austria.