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The Czech Republic Stopped Being A Thing While You Weren’t Paying Attention


1. Pop quiz, geography nerds: What country is shown here in dark green, right in the middle of Central Europe?

Pop quiz, geography nerds: What country is shown here in dark green, right in the middle of Central Europe?
Wikimedia

2. Did you say “the Czech Republic”? Well, it turns out that as of last April you are officially wrong.

Well, mostly. But for the sake of this joke, you are incorrect.

3. Here’s the deal: Most countries have fancy longer names and a shorter name they go by in everyday conversation.

Like how you don’t go around talking about “the French Republic,” you just say France. Same with “the United States of Mexico” and “the Russian Federation.”

4. The Czech Republic — formerly part of Czechoslovakia, which split in two back in 1993 — saw that and realized it needed to get in on that sweet one-name action.

They’ve actually wanted one for a while, but all the options were disliked by someone or another. “Bohemia” was kicked around for a while, but that only refers to the western part of the country.

So in April, the government announced “Czechia” as the official short name in English for the country. The news was greeted with a general “…Oh, okay.”

5. If you didn’t notice the switch, don’t feel bad — the Czech foreign ministry said in July that they were keeping things casual on purpose, wanting the name to catch on organically.

If you didn't notice the switch, don't feel bad — the Czech foreign ministry said in July that they were keeping things casual on purpose, wanting the name to catch on organically.
Attila Kisbenedek / AFP / Getty Images

“This does not mean it will be used at all international gatherings from now on,” spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova said to Reuters at the time. And it turns out the uniforms for the Rio Olympics had already been designed by the time the change came about and still went by its formal name during the games, so that’s a bit of a wasted opportunity.

6. The United Kingdom made the switch official at the end of September, making it clear that official government documents would refer to the country as “Czechia.”

The US State Department has been on Team Czechia since July 22 at the latest. And the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also made the new short name official af on September 28 for literally everyone speaking English.

7. So there you have it! The Czech Republic is (mostly) dead; long live Czechia.

If you want some more ~fun facts~ about the origin of the name “Czechia,” be sure to check out this site that totally doesn’t take the whole matter overly seriously.

  1. So how about it? Are you going to start using “Czechia”?

    Sean Gallup / Getty Images
    1. Of course!
    2. Um, no. “Czech Republic” works just fine for me.
    3. Aw man, I’m still writing 2015 on my czechs and now this.

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