India Or Bharat?Nine Countries That Changed Their Name
New Delhi: After Rashtrapati Bhawan sent out an invite for the G20 dinner this weekend in the name of the ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the usual ‘President of India,’ speculation is rife that the Narendra Modi-led government is likely to bring a resolution to change India’s official name to ‘Bharat’ during the special session of Parliament later this month.
While we wait for the news, here is a list of countries that have recently changed their official name:
- Turkey to Turkiye: Turkey informed the United Nations in June 2022 that it wishes to be called “Turkiye” in all languages. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a statement said, “The word ‘Turkiye’ represents and expresses the culture, civilisation, and values of the Turkish nation in the best way.” The name was changed to rectify the country’s image and make it more attached to the cultural roots etched in Turkish history.
- Holland to Netherlands: The Dutch government decided to change its name from Holland to the Netherlands, as part of an attempted update of its global image. The government wants to change the name to bring international focus from certain aspects of national life like recreational drug culture and the red-light district of Amsterdam.
- Czech Republic to Czechia: The Czech Republic came to be known as “Czechia” to make it easier for companies and sports teams to use it on products and clothing. Though both Czechia and the Czech Republic have been used in an official capacity since 2016, now the country will be called by its shortened form.
- Burma to Myanmar: In 1989, one year after the ruling junta brutally suppressed a pro-democracy uprising, military leaders suddenly changed its name to Myanmar.
- Ceylon to Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka changed its name to break from colonial associations in 1972, when Ceylon was proclaimed a republic and became independent from British rule. In 2011, Sri Lanka officially wiped the old colonial name Ceylon from government use.
- Kampuchea to Cambodia: Though Cambodia never changed its name, the current name is derived from the Kampuchea, the English transliteration of which is Cambodia. In 1976, the communist government officially called the country Kampuchea, but after the end of the regime, the country began to be officially called Cambodia.
- Swaziland to Eswatini: In April 2018, King Mswati III announced that the Kingdom of Swaziland had been renamed the Kingdom of Eswatini. The name of Swaziland was also changed to avoid confusion between Swaziland and Switzerland.
- Republic of Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia: In 2019, the Republic of Macedonia officially changed its name to became the Republic of North Macedonia. However, the country said that its citizens should continue to be called “Macedonians,” not “North Macedonians.”
- Persia to Iran: The present-day Iran was traditionally known as Persia. However, when Reza Shah became the new king, the country was renamed as Iran in 1935 to signify a new beginning. Though, Iran is predominantly used in reference to the nation-state, the long-standing cultural exports such as food, art and literature are often referred to as Persian.