Picture Courtesy: www.czechia-initiative.com
The Czech Republic has officially changed its name to ‘Czechia’. On April 14, the country’s parliament voted in favor of changing the name. Czech leaders were not happy with the country’s long and complicated name, so they changed it into a three syllable word: Czechia.
Czechia was formally split from Czechoslovakia in 1993 and was known as the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth recommended using the name Czechia instead of the Czech Republic in 1993, but the name was not adopted by the authorities.
In a joint statement, the president, prime minister and other senior officials stated that they have requested the UN to update the name in its database, in the hope that it will be done before the Summer Olympics.
The statement also recommended using the new single-word name in situations where the official name is not necessary such as sports events, marketing purposes etc.
However, not all Czechs have welcomed the change of name. Some have argued that it resembles ‘Chechyna’ – a federal state in Russia. And some have even criticized of the word being a neologism.
A new myth-busting website Go Czechia has been set up to clear the doubts of people. The site argues that the use of Czechia dates back to 1634 in Latin and 1841 in English. It also states that the name was used by U.S. Newspapers between 1918 and 1960 to refer to the western part of Czechoslovakia i.e. the contemporary Czech Republic.
The site also argues that the lack of geographical knowledge of the people should not be a reason for not using the name ‘Czechia’. There are other similar names to ‘Czechia-Chechnya’ such as Georgia(a country)- Georgia(a U.S. state), Austria-Australia, Gambia-Zambia etc. The site states that none of these countries or states have changed their name just because it resembles other state or country.