Thailand was called Siam and Sri Lanka was called Ceylon: 10 countries that changed their name

Yana SonchkovskayaLife

So many changes have taken place in the world over the past century, some of which people don't even realize. Because of political twists and turns, many countries have had to change their names.

For example, in the Netherlands, tourists mistakenly called Holland, and more than 500 years ago, Sri Lanka was called Ceylon. OBOZREVATEL tells about the states that changed their names.

  • The Netherlands - Holland

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The Kingdom of the Netherlands has officially given up the name Holland as of January 1, 2020. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that this was done to form a national brand. The government decided to rid the country of clichés so that the European state was not associated with prostitution and drugs.

  • Northern Macedonia - Republic of Macedonia

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The Republic of Macedonia became North Macedonia in February 2019. The country joined NATO and decided to distinguish itself from Greece, where the region with that name is located. Residents continue to call themselves Macedonians, and Macedonian will remain the official language.

  • Eswatini - Swaziland

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In April 2018, the King of Swaziland announced that the country's name had been changed to Eswatini. The renaming did not surprise citizens, as it is the translation of Swaziland into the local language, which means "land of the Swazis." The old name was confusing because many thought it was Switzerland. In English, both names are spelled and sound almost identical: Swaziland and Switzerland.

  • Czech Republic

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The authorities of the Czech Republic decided to make the country's name easier to pronounce. The state became the Czech Republic in April 2016. This step could not be decided for 20 years. Now the Czech Republic can be easily pronounced in the six national languages: English, French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. Although the Czech Republic is still used at official events, the Czech Republic is a shortened second name.

  • Namibia - German Southwest Africa

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In 1990, German Southwest Africa became independent from Germany, at which time the republic was renamed Namibia. In addition, the names of cities and provinces in German were changed. Not all citizens liked it, because everyone was used to the old names.

  • Myanmar to Burma

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In 1989, the Asian country's government decided to rename Burma to Myanmar because that was the name in the local language. However, not all citizens agreed with this decision. Some partner states still insist on calling the republic Burma.

  • Burkina Faso - Alto Volto

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The Republic of Alto Volta was renamed Burkina Faso in 1984. In the local language, it translates to "land of whole people." In addition, the flag and national anthem were changed. The old name Alto Volta was chosen after one of the main rivers in the region.

  • Thailand - Siam

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In 1945, Siam was renamed Thailand. In the local language, the new name means "country of free people. Because Thailand is one of the few Asian states that was not a European colony.

  • Ireland - Irish Free State

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In 1937, the Irish Free State sought to end relations with Great Britain because the kingdom had been at war with them for two years. The authorities decided to relocate the independent republic to Ireland.

  • Sri Lanka to Ceylon

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The Republic of Sri Lanka used to be Ceylon. The Portuguese decided so when they discovered the island in 1505. Later the territory became part of Britain, and the region gained its independence in 1948. All these years, the country was called by two names. In 2011, the government banned all references to Ceylon in official bodies and companies.

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