World Facts

Countries Which Changed Their Names

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Countries Which Changed Their Names

Countries Which Changed Their Names

Republic of Macedonia Changed To Northern Macedonia

Countries Which Changed Their Names Recently the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia finally approved their name changed to northern Macedonia. Something that can end decades of dispute with their Greek neighbours over the name. But northern Macedonia isn’t the only case in which a country’s name has changed. I thought we’d take a look at a few of these examples.


First Bolivia a country in the middle of South America Bolivia got its name from Simon Bolivar a famous leader in these South American wars of independence against the Spanish when it got its independence. Bolivia’s leaders considered uniting yet with recently independent Peru or with United Provinces of Rio de la Plata a short lived state in the region. However they decided to go with the creation of a fully independent new state in honour of the man who helped them achieve independence.

They named the Country republic of Bolivar however this name only lasted for a few days. A while later a congressman from the country proposed a change. He stated if from Romulus came Rome then from Bolivar should come Bolivia. A few months later in October of 1825 the name change was made official. An interesting fact is that very recently in 2009 a slight change was also made and changed the official name of the country to the PLO’s National Republic of Bolivia to recognise its various ethnicities especially the indigenous population of the country further north. Czech Republic. Now I found this one really interesting because I had no idea about this.

Czech Republic

You’re probably thinking I’m going to talk about the change from Czechoslovakia to Czech Republic but no this is about the adoption of Shakira. Very recently in 2013 the Czech government recommended the wider use officially of Shakira as a short version of Czech Republic and even more recently in 2016 they proposed that this name should be fully implemented in all international context as the official name of the country. This is justified by the historical usage of this name.

Cape Verde

The region in which Shakira is located has been known as Bohemia for a long time and this name in Czech is shaky. So I guess Shakira comes closer to that since 2016 international institutions have applied the change on an official level. In fact if you go to Google Maps right now in English that is play named for the region is no longer Czech Republic it is instead Shakira next. Cape Verde. Now this isn’t technically a name change it’s more of a reinforcement of their actual name. Cape Verde Islands were uninhabited before the arrival of Europeans being discovered by the Janjaweed and the Portuguese in the 15th century.

The Portuguese became their rulers until the country’s independence in the 20th century and therefore named it in their language. However the name is said to come from the nearby Cape Verde on the Senegalese coast which the Portuguese also named after being green. One can assume from the forest and being a cape. We can also assume that when they discovered the islands and settled them since they were nearby they just used that same name and the name has always stayed the same.

Yet there was an interesting event in 2013 a delegation that you when requested the English speaking world or the international community to refer to the country by its Portuguese name and not translate the words to the English language. Therefore instead of Cape Verde it asks to be called the original Portuguese name of of it the same thing happened with Ivory Coast.

It was discovered by the Portuguese again and also by the French at this time European colonists had the habit of dividing these African provinces into coasts depending on what item was more commonly traded there. In this case the region traded a lot of ivory and so it was named Ivory Coast both in Portuguese and French. There were other regions known as pepper coast grain coast or Gold Coast. It really just varied depending on what item was traded there. Ivory Coast is an interesting example of this because at times it was known under different names like coast of teeth or coast of Quark WA.

A name given by the Dutch to the local population coast of the five stripes because of a type of cotton fabric that was traded there coast of wind amongst others. But given that it was the French who retained rule of the region until its independence in 1960 the name Cote d’Ivoire was the one who lasted. The issue was that each country kept translating the name to their own language which made diplomatic and trade deals very problematic. And so in 1986 the government declared that for all diplomatic purposes the official name of the country would be Cote d’Ivoire in the original French.

Persia to Iran

Moving to Asia. A big one. Persia. This is a really interesting one. We always have the idea at least I did that the name change from Persia to Iran. Happened with the revolution the country had in which the monarchy came to an end and an Islamic republic was implemented. And that’s partially true. However this story is a bit more complicated. Persia was the official name of Iran in the western world only before 1935. While the revolution took place in 1979 despite the fact that the Western world called the country Persia internally the people of the region had called it differently since around 1000 B.C.

names like you then Shah’s udon Zemin or even actually Iran had already been put into use. In 1935 the Iranian government simply decided to ask the international community to apply this change as well. And so they did. However during World War Two to avoid confusion between them and Iraq given the similar names Winston Churchill requested to Iran that only for the duration of the war the diplomatic name of the country should revert to Persia which they agreed to. After that it seems that both names were acceptable and used interchangeably. And after the 1979 revolution they decided to fully settle on Iran alone. Essentially the main points of this are Persia is only the name of the country for the Western world and Iranians had already been calling their country Iran for a long time until they decided to ask foreigners to do so as well.


In Europe the kingdom of the Serbs Croats and Slovenians which then became Yugoslavia until its dismantling the kingdom was a Balkan state formed in 1918 after World War 1. It included the two previously independent kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro as well as the Balkan regions of the previous Austria Hungarian Empire which was torn apart after the war. Dale may show Croatia Slovenia Bosnia and Vershbow for Dina but just like the Austrian Hungarians had this new kingdom faced problems with each member nation with a lot of movements in each of them wanting their own independence and so in 1929 in an attempt to fight these movements King Alexandre the first proclaimed a royal dictatorship and renamed a state Yugoslavia.

The idea behind the name change was probably to merge all the nations into a single one creating a sense of national unity. Yugoslavia roughly translates to South Slav which would be the common characteristic of all member countries moving to the Middle East Jordan. Jordan had a slightly different name a few years ago before 1949 it was known as the Emirate of trans Jordan or trans Jordanian. It’s interesting because for a long time it was sort of a no man’s land. The British were in control of it but they didn’t want to associate it to their protectorate of mandatory Palestine. And so in 1921 it was decided that it would stay under British control but be ruled by the Iraq rulers the Hashemite dynasty. So in 1946 it became the Hashemite Kingdom of trans Jordan after forty nine. They just dropped the first half the name and it became the Kingdom of Jordan trends. Jordan would translate to be on the River Jordan.

Sri Lanka

In this case on the east side for some reason they decided to just be named Jordan after the river that runs in the region just south of India. Salon which is now known as Sri Lanka salon had existed as a kingdom for a long time but in 1972 they decided to change their name to Sri Lanka. The name salon is a transliteration of Salem. The name given by the Portuguese that island which was briefly under their control.

It passed on to the Dutch and then finally to the British who translated the name to say. And to be honest I couldn’t really find the reason for the Portuguese to have chosen this name. Regardless it was the name of the country for a long time even for a while after its independence from the British. But in 1972 they became a republic and they decided to change their name to Sri Lanka. The name change probably has to do with the desire to move away from European colonialism as well as the monarchy. Furthermore Sri Lanka is an older name and closer to the Indigenous names for the island. Salon is however still used by a lot of institutions until recently like the Bank of salon but Sri Lanka’s government has decided to fully reform all these names and remove all references to the names Salon from public institutions. And finally Swaziland.

This is the most recent country name change that I could find and it happened in 2017 when Swaziland King Swati the last African absolute monarch decided to change the name of the country to the kingdom of S. white Teenie. This name change was announced on the 20th anniversary of Swazi independence which also served to celebrate the King’s fiftieth birthday. Apparently one of the reasons that the king wanted to change the name was that he said it costs foreigners to confuse it with Switzerland. He Swati any means land of the Suarez’s which is essentially the same name as it previously had. But I guess in their local language and those are a few of the countries in the world which have changed their names.

What I think we can take away from this is that usually the name changes are associated with some type of regime change so the country stays the same. But something in the way that it works or who is in control is altered and therefore the name changes to reflect that.

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