Name Game: Country Edition

Flag of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1980, the Republic of Zimbabwe came into existence, replacing Rhodesia.

Here are a few facts about countries that have been renamed.

The most recent renaming of a country happened last week. The Czech Republic has decided it wants the short form of its name to be Czechia, along the same lines as its neighbor the Slovak Republic, better known as Slovakia.

The country of Myanmar came into existence in 1989 when it changed its name from Burma. The United States and some other countries have never recognized the name change.

Persia became Iran in 1935, although it was always called Iran internally. The same is the case for Sri Lanka, which was known as Ceylon until 1972.

Thailand was Siam until 1939, Cambodia was known as the Khmer Republic from 1970 to 1975 and Democratic Kampuchea from 1975 to 1979.

Jordan began its existence as Transjordan in 1946, before dropping the Trans two years later.

The United Arab Emirates, which was founded in 1971, was known as the Trucial States from 1952. The Emirates themselves retained their individual names.

Burkina Faso was called Upper Volta before 1984 and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was called Zaire from 1971 to 1997.

Our question, what current country was once known as Abyssinia?

Today is World Heritage Day. It’s Patriots’ Day in parts of the United States. It’s Army Day in Iran, Coma Patients’ Day in Poland and Invention Day in Japan.

It’s International Amateur Radio Day, National Animal Crackers Day, and Newspaper Columnists Day.

It’s the birthday of attorney Clarence Darrow, actor David Tennant, and actress America Ferrera.

This week in 1980, the top song in the U.S. was “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” by Pink Floyd.

The No. 1 movie was “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” while “The Bourne Identity” by Robert Ludlum topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.


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