Several nations have changed their names due to different reasons. Among the most common reasons are independence, changes in government, and wars. Also, land divisions and proper pronunciation oversea have spurred some countries to choose another name. While the change was made several years ago by some nations, others just changed their own recently. Thus, some of us still find it difficult to recognize them by the new names.


Changing a country’s name is quite challenging and often influence the economy. But still, many nations have done it successfully. In this article, we’ll be discussing ten countries that have changed their names, alongside the story involved. Endeavor to read to the last part to learn about the associated costs of replacing a country’s name. Enjoy reading!

1. Holland to The Netherlands.

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Before the emergence of “The Netherlands,” two regions known as the North Holland and South Holland stood differently. However, for the sake of unifying the provinces and improving the economy, the regions came together to become The Netherland in January 2020. The change in name led to many modifications, including the name of the soccer team.

2. Ceylon to Sri Lanka.

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In 1505, the Portuguese found a region that they named Ceylon. Eventually, the land became a property of the British Empire. However, in 1948, Ceylon gained independence, and after some decades, the government of the island chose to rename the nation. By 2011, the government announced that the official name of the country, Ceylon, as well as the official bodies and all companies that bear the old name, will change to Sri Lanka.

3. The Republic Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia.

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Here is a more recent change to a country’s name. In February 2018, the Republic of Macedonia started bearing a new name known as the Republic of North Macedonia. The change came into effect due to two reasons: Firstly, the country planned to join NATO, and secondly, a new name was picked to distinguish the country from Greece, a neighboring country with a region called Macedonia. However, the official language remains “Macedonian,” while the people are still known as “Macedonians.”

4. The Czech Republic to Czechia

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In April 2016, the Czech Republic modified its name to Czechia. The primary reasons given include, as part of the nation’s marketing efforts, it will help improve the naming of the country during sporting events in the country and beyond. For more than two decades, the discussion has been ongoing on the changes until they decided to shorten the name. The short name would make the pronunciation easier among the six official languages within the country: English, Chinese, Spanish, French, and Arabic. However, the Czech Republic remains the official name while Czechia is the shortened form.

5. Swaziland to Eswatini.

Swaziland Eswatini

In Africa, Swaziland decided to change its name recently. In April 2018, the country announced a new name known as Eswatini. The change came as no surprise to the people since they have been using the name for a long time. When Swaziland is translated into the local language, it means Eswatini. In English, Eswatini means “Land of Swazis.” Also, many people often misunderstand the old name for Switzerland.

6. Alto Volta to Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso

During the twentieth independence anniversary of the Republic of Alto Volta, the country was renamed, Burkina Faso. In the local language, the new name translates to “land of whole men.” Aside from the emergence of a new name in 1984, the national anthem and the flag were also modified. The original name, Alto Volta, is the name of a major river within the country.

7. Burma to Myanmar.

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To preserve the way in which Burma is written in the local language, the leading military government changed the country’s name to Myanmar in 1989. But the decision was not accepted by some people in the country. So, till today, some inhabitants still call the country Burma.

8. Siam to Thailand.

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Among the oldest change of country name is the one that occurred in Siam. In 1939, the king who ruled the country back then decided to change “Siam” to Thailand. When pronounced in the local language, it is “Prathet Thai,” which translates to “the nation of free people.” The name pays tribute to the people who settled in the region while trying to gain freedom from China.

9. German Southwest Africa to Namibia.

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German Southwest Africa gained independence from Germany in 1990, and the country was renamed Namibia. After some time, the nation changed the German name of regions and cities. However, not every citizen appreciates the change because they were already accustomed to the old name of places.

10. Cape Verde to the Republic of Cabo Verde.

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In 2013, Cape Verde made the bold decision of changing the country’s name to the Republic of Cabo Verde. The new name was first given to the region by the Portuguese, who found the island in 1444.

What is the associated cost of changing a country’s name?

As stated earlier, several countries erased their old name for different reasons. While some changed their name to get rid of their past and embraced their true identity, others modified the name for the purpose of tourism, as seen with the Netherlands and other countries. However, changing a country’s name is not only challenging but expensive. Before a nation can change its name, it has to pay millions of dollars – or its equivalent in local currencies.

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When it comes to renaming a country, several areas will be affected. From the constitution, official stationery to the currency, almost everything will experience the change. The modification will alter the map, flags, and national anthem – all of these changes will take time. Also, the government needs to be patient with citizens who are already familiar with the old name. Also, it’ll take some time for the people to get used to writing and saying the new name. While some people might wonder if the changes are necessary, people usually embrace them in the long run.

Also Read: 14 Weird but True Stories and Facts About North Korea