Czech Republic changing its name to Czechia

Leaders fed up with poor English translations

The Czech Republic is changing its name to Czechia.

The Czech president, prime minister and other senior officials released a joint statement saying they would ask the UN to update its database with the new title in time for this summer's Olympics.

Although it sounds like a completely made-up, fake country, apparently the term Czechia dates back to 1634, and was first used in 1841.

The Czechs themselves, of course, use the abbreviation Cesko, but there is no agreed English translation, although Czechlands and 'Czech' have all been floated by pesky foreigners, to the minister's consternation.

It is scarcely 23 years since the Czech Republic was born out of an amicable divorce with Slovakia, with whom it had shared the country of Czechoslovakia since 1918.

Image: Czech Volleyball Union

"We recommend using the single-word name in foreign languages in situations when it’s not necessary to use the country’s formal name: sports events, marketing purposes etc," the joint statement said.

The Czech foreign minister told reporters that he had seen many mangled attempts of a one-word English-language name for his country across the globe.

"It’s not good when a country does not have any clearly defined symbols or cannot say clearly what its name is," Lubomir Zaoralek said.

In support of the new name, the website Go Czechia insists that the western portion of Czechoslovakia was frequently known as 'Czechia' in US newspapers in the inter-war period, following the dissolution of the former imperial power Austria-Hungary.

The country has had misgivings over its name for years, but not everyone is happy with the new name, fearing they will be confused with Chechnya.