Ten countries that changed their names

1. Sri Lanka

Did you know that until 1972, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon? The country, which became independent from Britain in 1948, finally changed its name to eradicate all connections to the past. However, the famous Sri Lankan tea is still known as Ceylon Tea.

2. Northern Macedonia (Macedonia)

One of the most recent name changes can be found in the Balkans. In February 2019, Macedonia officially changed its name to Northern Macedonia. The reasons for the change are political: since Greece also has an area called Macedonia, the Greeks have never accepted the name of their neighbor.

3. Thailand

Thailand, loved by Finns, has only been known by its current name since 1939. Before that, Thailand was Siam – a name that still hurts in the name of shopping malls, hotels, attractions and restaurants. In addition, the name Siam was re-introduced between 1946 and 1948, after which it was changed to Thailand again.

IstockphotoThailand was before Siam
Why does the name Siam often flash in Thailand? This is the former name of the country.

4. Cambodia

Cambodia is part of the multi-tourist route on a trip to Southeast Asia. Before its current name, the country is known in many different forms: it once changed from Cambodia to the Khmer Republic and Cambodia before returning to the old version.

5. Myanmar

One of the most controversial name changes was made in Myanmar in 1989. The former name Burma is still firmly in people’s memory as it is still used alongside Myanmar. Not everyone recognizes Myanmar as the name of the country, as it was chosen by the military junta without a referendum.

6. Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is the second European country to change its name in recent years. However, the change made in 2016 is not reflected in the Finnish language, as the country changed its English spelling Czech Republic to Czechia. The reason for the change was considered to be the ease of use of the name for marketing purposes.

ShutterstockCountries that changed their name
The Czech English name has changed to the short form Czechia.

7. Swaziland

Swaziland in southern Africa unexpectedly changed its name to eSwatini in 2018. The name is exceptional because it includes a lowercase letter – although the name has been recognized as Eswatini by the UN. Officially, the name of the country is the Kingdom of Eswatin.

According to the Center for Domestic Languages, both the name Swaziland and the new name Eswatini can still be used in Finland.

8. Cape Verde

Cape Verde, a winter holiday destination familiar to Finns, changed the spelling of its name in 2013. The English-style name Cape Verde changed to the original Portuguese name Cape Verde. In Finland, you can still talk about Cape Verde in the familiar way. The name means green cape.

IstockphotoCape Verde adopted the Portuguese name in 2013
The local name of Cape Verde today is Cape Verde.

9. Zimbabwe

Before Zimbabwe became Zimbabwe, its territory was part of British colonial rule. The former Rhodesia became independent in 1980 and adopted the name Zimbabwe.

10. Iran

Iran was known as Persia for thousands of years before it changed its name in 1935. However, some locals may still refer to themselves as Persians, and the country’s official language is also called Persian.

Also read: How did famous cities get their name? See quick explanations for 10 familiar destinations

Source: National Geographic, MSN, World Atlas
Photos: Shutterstock, Istockphoto


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