Swaziland, Persia: A look at countries who have changed their names

Jun 30, 2018, 19:00 IST | Ashlesha Athavale

As the king of Swaziland recently unveiled the country's new name, here's a look at other nations which did so

Swaziland, Persia: A look at countries who have changed their names
Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of Macedonia

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. These lines by William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet have often been used as an example to reduce the importance of names. But it is names over which business houses have split, brothers have fought in courts, and political parties have broken into factions. Many countries have also changed their names. From Persia which became Iran; to Prussia, parts of which are now Germany and Poland; to Swaziland which is the most recent. The reasons for these changes are many from historical, to geographical, to political. Here's a look at why some countries changed their names: recently.

Swaziland

Kingdom of eSwatini
Swaziland has officially changed its name to the Kingdom of eSwatini from April 2018. King Mswati III changed it because he said abroad people refer to it as Switzerland. The change is also intended to shed vestiges of the country's colonial past. The name means 'Land of the Swazis.'

Czechia

Czechia
In 2013, the Czech Republic's president, Miloš Zeman, recommended the wider official use of Czechia, and on 14 April 2016, the government agreed to make Czechia the official short name. The campaign of the Civic Initiative Czechia, founded in 1997 to promote the use of the word, argues that the long, boring name of the Czech Republic has hampered the nation and that the "transparency and relative simplicity of a short country name will facilitate its international acceptance," reported The Washington Post. Still, not everyone is happy with the change. They feel that the new name is close to Chechnya. The short name, Czechia, was published in the United Nations UNTERM and UNGEGN country name databases in 2016. In September 2016, the British Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (PCGN) recommended the use of Czechia and added it as the sole form of the country name to their list of country names.

Republic of Northern Macedonia

Republic of Northern Macedonia
Greece and Macedonia have reached a historic accord to resolve a dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name. Athens says that the name Macedonia implies territorial claims on a northern Greek province of the same name. "Our bid in the compromise is a defined and precise name, the name that is honourable an d geographically precise — Republic of Northern Macedonia," prime minister Zoran Zaev said. The accord still requires ratification by the two national parliaments and a referendum in Macedonia. Macedonia's president on Tuesday refused to sign on the deal with Greece, a move that would delay — but probably not derail — the deal. Still, under the constitution, President Gjorge Ivanov can no longer block the legislation if lawmakers meet and approve it a second time.

No name change for India
In recent years there has been a demand from some people to change the name of our country from India to Bharat. It is already Bharat, along with India. The Constitution says: India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.

50
No of years back that eSwatini gained independence after being a British protectorate

1993
When Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic

2013
When Cape Verde changed its name to the Republic of Cabo Verde, or República de Cabo Verde

2016
When the Czech Republic made Czechia its official short name

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