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Out: The Czech Republic. In: Czechia.

(Image: Vardion)

At the end of World War I, the Czech and Slovak regions of the Austo-Hungarian Empire formed the state of Czechoslovakia. When the pair split in 1993, the Czech state became known in English as the Czech Republic.

It's a bit awkward. Officially, France is the French Republic, but we just call it France. Couldn't we call the Czech Republic something similarly short? Perhaps. The Czech government is considering adopting "Czechia" as its official short form name. The Washington Post reports:

Finding a short-form name for the Czech Republic had proved difficult, however. In the Czech Republic itself, the short name “Cesko” is used. That name is said to date to the 18th century, although it came to official use only in the 20th century. Even today, it isn’t fully accepted: According to the Economist, former Czech president Vaclav Havel once said that the word made his “flesh creep.” Some suggested that the name was a reminder of the country’s split from Slovakia, though others said it just sounds nasty: The word is “short and harsh sounding,” one Czech cartographer told Radio Prague in 2004. […]

In recent years, a movement to finally confirm Czechia as the official short name has gathered pace. President Milos Zeman became a powerful ally of the new short name when he applauded its use during a 2013 state visit to Israel. “I use Czechia because it sounds nicer and it’s shorter than the cold Czech Republic,” Zeman told Shimon Peres, then the president of Israel.

-via Jonah Goldberg


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