North Macedonia Referendum: How Many Nations Have Changed Their Names and Why?

When Yugoslavia collapsed in the early 1990s the southern-most part, centered on the city of Skopje, became independent but neighboring Greece had strong objections to it being called Macedonia because the name was linked to an ancient Greek region from which Alexander The Great was spawn.

The compromise was to call it FYROM (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) but not only was this is a terrible name but the Greeks still were not happy with it.

A deal with Greece and the EU was finally agreed in June this year which would mean that FYROM would be renamed the Republic of North Macedonia if agreed by the referendum on Sunday, September 30.  

The majority of those who voted said yes, which would mean North Macedonia would be free to apply for membership of the EU and NATO if the deal is ratified by parliament.

But what other countries have changed their names?


Apart from a “golden age” in the 14th century under the Bohemian kings, the Czechs were subjects of other empires for hundreds of years.

But the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after its defeat in the First World War and US President Woodrow Wilson’s enthusiasm for “self-determination” led to the creation of Czechoslovakia, which included the Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia and neighboring Slovakia.

The Czech and Slovak languages were very similar but in the 1920s and 1930s resentment rose in Slovakia over domination by Prague.

In 1939 Jozef…

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