Czech Republic or Czechia? Ever since gaining independence after their peaceful split with Slovakia in 1993, the Czechs have been poring over a correct short form for their country’s name.
If you have recently looked at maps of Europe in Google maps , you may have noticed that it changed the name of the Czech Republic to ‘Czechia’ in its English version.
Earlier in July 2016, the United Nations at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, had registered ‘Czechia’(pronounced CHECK-ia) as second official English name of the republic. Since then, in sport, commerce, politics and many other areas, the Czech Republic is officially known, internationally as Czechia.
The new,short-form appellation is similar to many such names which already exist around the world. France’s official name is the French Republic, for example. Denmark is officially the Kingdom of Denmark. There’s also the Hellenic Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Czech Republic’s — sorry, Czechia’s — neighbor, Slovakia (the Slovak Republic).
Because the name of the country, Czech Republic, is quite long, companies often brand their merchandise with the word “Czech” to show which country their product comes from. One company that does this is Pilsner Urquell beer, which has “Brewed in Plezen – Czech” written on the bottle.
But calling the republic „Czech“, is also wrong. „Czech“ is an adjective, the name of the inhabitant of Czechia and of the Czech language, but surely not the country name. English speakers do not use French for France, Japanese for Japan or German for Germany for referring to those countries.
The supporters name Czechia argues that it has more than 1200 years old history with only a very short period being associated with the republican political system. The history of Czechia is thus much longer than that of the Czech Republic. Czechia is a short (geographic) name, which is independent of time and changes in forms of state and political regimes on its territory. As such, it can be used for the country in both historical and contemporary contexts. The Czech Republic is simply nothing more than the name of the current state formation on the territory of CZECHIA.
Not everyone is happy with the change. The country’s regional-development minister Karla Slechtova tweeted earlier that she doesn’t like the new name because people might confuse it with Chechnya, a federal territory controlled by Russia.
So what ever the case , the country now seems to bear a one-word name. It will be, in the Czech language, Česko; in French, Tchéquie; in German Tschechien, and in English, Czechia.