Identity Journey, Countries that Changed Their Names from Europe to Asia

A country's name change often reflects an important moment in its history, be it independence from colonialism, political change, or simply rebranding to create a new identity. From Europe to Asia, many countries have chosen to change their names as a symbol of new transformation and revival. This article will take you on a journey through the history and stories behind the name changes of several countries, from North Macedonia to Myanmar.

Reasons for Countries to Change Country Names

Countries may change their names for a variety of reasons reflecting political, economic, social, or cultural changes. One of the main reasons was to break with the colonial past and assert a more authentic national identity. Name changes can also occur for political reasons, changes in the ideology of the government in power or to improve the country's image on the international stage.

In addition, name changes can be the result of historical events such as independence, the division of countries, or changes in territorial boundaries. In some cases, changing a country's name is also done to honor an influential figure or to erase an unpleasant event or memory in the country's history. Each country has the autonomy to determine its own identity, and changing the country's name is one way to express that autonomy to the world.

The process of changing a country's name often involves discussion and approval at the government level and may also require approval from international organizations, especially if the country is a member of those organizations. Thus, changing the country's name is a significant step that reflects the country's desire to present itself in a new way and perhaps more in line with its current aspirations and values.

Countries That Changed Their Names

The following is the story behind the change in countries from Europe to Asia:

Republic of Macedonia Becomes Republic of North Macedonia

In Europe, we see the Republic of Macedonia announcing its change of name to the Republic of North Macedonia in 2019. This step was taken to resolve a dispute with Greece regarding the use of the name Macedonia, which was also the name of an ancient Greek kingdom. This name change is not just a change of label, but also an effort to strengthen national identity and clarify their position on the international stage.

Holland Becomes Netherlands

Holland, which officially merged with the Dutch name in January 2020, also underwent similar changes. Despite the name change, the Dutch government is still making various adjustments. These changes were made not only for commercial reasons, but also to promote tourism and attract foreign investment.

Cape Verde Becomes Cabo Verde

Moving to Africa, we find Cabo Verde which dropped its previous name, Cape Verde, in 2013. This name change was made because historically, Portuguese sailors called the country's predecessors according to its current name. This change is a step to respect their history and culture.

Persia Becomes Iran

In Asia, Iran, historically known as Persia, began emphasizing the change to Iran in 1935. At that time, the Iranian government directed other countries with which they had diplomatic relations to no longer use Persia, but Iran. This is a step to reflect more broadly the diversity of nations and cultures that exist in the country.

Burma Becomes Myanmar

Myanmar, which has two names in English, namely Myanmar and Burma, in 1989 deleted the name Burma so that it used the name Myanmar under the official name of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. These changes were made by the military junta and were part of an effort to strengthen national identity and break away from the colonial past.

Involves Many Changes and Desires

Changing a country's name is not just a change on paper. This involves changing currency, government letterheads, official markings, vehicle license plates, and many other places. The country must ensure that other countries and international institutions and organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, recognize the name change. More importantly, name changes must be supported by the citizens themselves, whose identities are also tied to their country's name.

The country's name change is a major step that reflects the desire to progress and develop, while still honoring the history and heritage that has shaped the country. This is a complex and challenging process, but it is also an opportunity to start a new chapter with a renewed identity.


By understanding the background and reasons behind these countries' name changes, we can better appreciate the complexity and depth of history that each country has. This also reminds us that national identity is something that continues to develop, is never static, and always reflects the aspirations and hopes of its people.

Changing a country's name is an interesting phenomenon because it shows the historical and political dynamics of a nation. It also shows how a country wants to be seen and remembered by the world and future generations.

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