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Top 10 Countries That Have Officially Changed Their Names

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Do you know it’s not a simple process to change the name of a country? It cost millions of dollars or equivalent to the local currencies to do so.

In 2019, Macedonia changed its name. The Balkan country became the Republic of North Macedonia, after a long dispute with neighbouring country Greece.

But it’s not the only country that has had a name change. In fact, plenty of nations have had their own identity crises.

Here is the list of countries that changed their names.

1. Turkey to Turkiye

Turkey is now known as Turkiye. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently announced tweaking the country’s internationally recognised name to Turkiye. He added that this decision, going forward, will be impacting how public and foreign nations address the country. As per his statement, the term ‘Turkiye’ represents and expresses the country’s culture, values, and civilisation in the best way.

2. Czech Republic to Czechia

In April 2016, Czech Republic became Czechia in a move to facilitate the naming of the country at sporting events, and as a part of companies’ marketing efforts. This move was in discussion for as long as 20 years, until it was finally decided to shorten the name, and also make the pronunciation easier in each of the country’s six official languages, i.e., English, Russian, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.

3. Swaziland to Eswatini

The king of Swaziland, Africa, released a statement in April 2018, stating that the country’s name would be changed to Eswatini. If reports are to go by, this change didn’t surprise its people as they have already been using the said name. Eswatini means the Land of Swazis, and is just the translation of Swaziland in the local language. Plus, the old name was confusing, as many mistook it for Switzerland.

4. Holland to the Netherlands

The government of this country decided to change the name as a marketing move from January 2020. As per the said decision, the official name of the Netherlands instead of Holland would now be used for all promotional purposes. Apart from this, there is also another reason for this change, and i.e., to present the Netherlands as an open, inventive, and inclusive country.

5. Republic of Macedonia to Republic of North Macedonia

This change happened recently when in February 2019, the Republic of Macedonia changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. If reports are to go by, the primary reason behind this name change was to become a part of NATO and to also to differentiate itself from Greece, its neighbour, which also has a region named Macedonia.

6. Ceylon to Sri Lanka

Records state that was the name that was given to this country by the Portuguese when they discovered it in 1505. Later on, it became part of the British Empire, and became independent in 1948. However, the island’s government after many years decided to go for a name change and all references to Ceylon were removed from companies and official bodies that still carried the old name in 2011.

7. Irish Free State to Ireland

In 1922, the Irish Free State was created, with Dominion status, following the Anglo-Irish Treaty. However, according to the reports, a new constitution was adopted in 1937, in which it was renamed Ireland, and effectively became a republic, with an elected non-executive president.

8. Cape Verde to Republic of Cabo Verde

In 2013, this island registered its name with the UN using the full Portuguese spelling, and honouring its nation’s official language. The previous name, as per the records, was a linguistic hybrid, which used ‘cape’ as the English translation of ‘cabo’, but kept the Portuguese word ‘verde’, which means green. But not following other countries in this context, Cabo Verde changed its version and officially became the Republic of Cabo Verde.

9. Siam to Thailand

This development did not happen just recently. The word Siam is Sanskrit in origin, and came from the word Śyāma, meaning brown or dark, which is in reference to the skin colour of the native people. If reports are to go by, Siam’s name was changed to Thailand in 1939 before becoming Siam once more between 1946 and 1948. However, in 1948, the name was changed again to Thailand again, officially as the Kingdom of Thailand, and it has been going by this name ever since.

10. Burma to Myanmar

The country’s leading military government in 1989 decided to change the country’s name to Myanmar from Burma, in an attempt to protect the way it’s written in the local language. As per the reports, not everyone was in sync with the said decision, the reason why some parts of the world still insist on referring to this Asian country as Burma.


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