List of Throughout history, numerous countries have undergone name changes due to a variety of reasons, including political, cultural, or geographical factors. These name changes often reflect shifts in national identity or a desire to break with the past. Here is a list of countries that have changed their names:
List of Myanmar (Formerly Burma)
In 1989, the military junta changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar. The move was controversial and not universally recognized, with some countries continuing to use the old name.
Zimbabwe (Formerly Southern Rhodesia)
After gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1980, Southern Rhodesia adopted the name Zimbabwe, reflecting its African heritage and culture.
Eswatini (Formerly Swaziland)
In 2018, Swaziland’s monarch, King Mswati III, announced that the country would be renamed Eswatini, which means “Land of the Swazis” in their native language. This change was made to mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence.
North Macedonia (Formerly Macedonia)
The Republic of Macedonia changed its name to North Macedonia in 2019 following a long-standing dispute with Greece over the use of the name “Macedonia.” This change allowed North Macedonia to move forward with its European Union and NATO aspirations.
Czech Republic and Slovakia (Formerly Czechoslovakia)
In 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into two separate countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This split was often referred to as the “Velvet Divorce.”
List of Benin (Formerly Dahomey)
The Republic of Dahomey, a West African nation, changed its name to Benin in 1975. This change reflected a break from the country’s colonial past and embraced the historical Kingdom of Dahomey.
Sri Lanka (Formerly Ceylon)
In 1972, the island nation of Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka. The change aimed to promote a sense of unity among the various ethnic and religious groups in the country.
Cambodia (Formerly Kampuchea)
The country underwent a series of name changes over the years, including the Khmer Republic and Democratic Kampuchea during the Khmer Rouge regime. In 1989, it officially became known as the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Ethiopia (Formerly Abyssinia)
The nation known as Abyssinia changed its name to Ethiopia, a name that has ancient historical and cultural significance, in the 20th century.
Burkina Faso (Formerly Upper Volta)
In 1984, the West African country of Upper Volta adopted the name Burkina Faso, which means “Land of Incorruptible People.” This change aimed to emphasize a commitment to social and political renewal.
These name changes illustrate the dynamic nature of nations and their evolving identities. Whether driven by cultural pride, political shifts, or international considerations, a country’s decision to change its name often reflects its desire to redefine itself on the global stage.