What India is for the world, it is India or Hindustan for many people living in this country. Similarly, the Japanese call their country Nippon. There are other countries in the world that have more than one name.
Why some countries have more than one name?
Throughout history, countries have gone by various names – their self-designations and titles attributed by others. Conquerors would arrive and proclaim, “This land shall now be known as SomethingLand,” while the indigenous people might have already referred to it as “OurIsland” in their language or “LandOfTrees” in another.
[Some contend that “Canada” originates from an Iroquoian term for “the village” because someone inquired, “What do you call this entire place?” – although this claim may not hold true.] Some groups labeled their neighbors as “Outsiders” and their lands as “Outside,” whereas those considered outsiders used different terms to identify themselves.
Today, we tend to be more considerate and call countries by the names they prefer. Nevertheless, this can be a nuanced issue. There’s the matter of regional designations (which can yield “Holland” for the Netherlands and “England” for the UK), as well as the question of abbreviations. Should one say “the US,” “the USA,” or simply “America”?
No single reason exists. Instead, various countries have acquired different names due to a range of factors. For example, people call the Netherlands Holland because its most famous and important province is Holland. They call Germany Almain after the Germanic Alemanni tribals.
What we know by name from Russia in English and from Russia in Hindi is called Rosia in Russian language.
The name of an emerging world superpower is China or China for the world, but in Chinese language its name is Chungkuo.
The people of Bhutan, a close neighbor of India, call their country Druk Yule in the local language.
Madaliv is the smallest country in South Asia, located on islands in the Indian Ocean. It is called Dhivehi Raje in local Dhivehi language.
The name of Switzerland is different in the four languages spoken there, French, German, Italian and Romansh. It is called Suis, Shwats, Swejara and Swejra respectively.
The Dutch government overhauled its image by ditching the name Holland. As of 2020, business leaders, the tourism board, and the central government all refer to the country as the Netherlands. The country is now referred to as the Netherlands, and North Holland and South Holland are just two of 12 provinces in the European country.
Reportedly, the name change is part of a push to get away from the country’s association with recreational drug use and legal prostitution, which serves as a potent pull factor for foreigners to the Dutch capital Amsterdam, located in the province of North Holland.
Whenever it comes to powerful machines, luxurious cars and technology, Germany’s name is on everyone’s tongue. But in German it is called Deutschaland.
In 2019, the Republic of Macedonia (although recognized as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) officially transitioned to become the Republic of North Macedonia. In contrast to some other country name changes, the driving force behind this move was political.
North Macedonia aimed to enhance its relations with Greece, with the goal of joining NATO and the EU. Greece had a longstanding dispute over the use of the name “Macedonia” by its neighboring country, as it coincided with the name of a geographical region within Greece and an ancient Greek kingdom. This naming dispute had also contributed to instability in the region.
Greece had preferred that the Balkan country completely abandon the use of the term “Macedonia,” suggesting alternative names like the “Vardar Republic” or “Republic of Skopje.” However, after extensive negotiations, the name “North Macedonia” was agreed upon, while the official language and citizenship retained the designation “Macedonian.”
Germany’s neighboring Poland is named Polska in the local Polish language. It is the fifth most populous country in the European Union, with a population of 3.85 crore.
Greece, the favorite destination of tourists around the world, is now in the news due to refugee and economic crisis. His name is Helas in the Greek language.
Armenia borders Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The name of this country is Hayastan in the local Armenian language.
This country of Europe is famous for its beautiful beaches and natural beauty. The name of Croatia is Hrvatska in the local language.
The birthplace of one of the oldest civilizations in the world is named in English. But in the local Arabic language it is called Egypt.
North Korea and South Korea
North Korea, which is among the most isolated countries of the world, is locally called Choson. Similarly, South Korea is called Hanguk in Korean.
The world knows the name of Tunisia as the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Revolution. But it is called Tunes in the local Arabic language.
“When the country is referenced, the United Nations announced that Türkiye will replace the name Turkey,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last December when his government released a memo about the name change. He stated that “Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people’s culture, civilization, and values.”
King Mswati III renamed Swaziland to Eswatini in April 2018, underscoring his bid to break free from the country’s colonial past. Some claim that the king was also unhappy with how Swaziland was confused with Switzerland by some people. The announcement was made on the 50th anniversary of the African country’s formation. In their language, Eswatini, which means “land of the Swazis,” is the nation’s pre-colonial name.
Marketing drives the name change of the central European country, Czech Republic, to Czechia in 2016, alongside an official recommendation to use this shorter version in international contexts.
Similar to France’s official name, the French Republic, the Czech Republic is now Czechia, making it easier to associate with products.
Although the EU, UN, and some major corporations adopt the name Czechia, it hasn’t fully gained international acceptance, partly due to potential confusion with Chechnya, a Russian republic in the Caucasus.
In 2020, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis expressed his disapproval of the name Czechia in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Cabo Verde, an island nation located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 700 kilometers (440 miles) off the coast of Senegal, officially requested a name change in 2013.
Previously known as Cape Verde, this was a partial Anglicization of the original Portuguese term “cabo verde,” which translates to “green cape.” Despite not being an actual cape, the archipelago lies just beyond the westernmost point of the African continent.
Practical considerations likely influenced this name change. The culture minister at the time explained that the country aimed for a standardized name that didn’t require translation. Additionally, he hoped that Cabo Verde would evoke positive associations with sunshine, the sea, and cheerful people.
Similar to Eswatini, Sri Lanka altered its name to distance itself from colonial ties.
While the official name change occurred in 1972 upon gaining independence from British rule, it wasn’t until 2011 that Sri Lanka formally eliminated the colonial-era name “Ceylon” from government usage.
However, the well-known “Ceylon Tea” label has endured.
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