Geographical renaming is the changing of the name of a geographical feature or area. This can range from the uncontroversial change of a street name to a highly disputed change to the name of a country. Some names are changed locally but the new names are not recognised by other countries, especially when there is a difference in language. Other names may not be officially recognised but remain in common use. Many places have different names in different languages, and a change of language in official or general use has often resulted in what is arguably a change of name. There are many reasons to undertake renaming, with political motivation being the primary cause; for example many places in the former Soviet Union and its satellites were renamed to honour Stalin. Sometimes a place reverts to its former name (see for example de-Stalinization). One of the most common reasons for a country changing its name is newly acquired independence. When borders are changed, sometimes due to a country splitting or two countries joining together, the names of the relevant areas can change. This, however, is more the creation of a different entity than an act of geographical renaming.
Other more unusual reasons for renaming have included:
- To get rid of an inappropriate or embarrassing name
- As part of a sponsorship deal or publicity stunt
A change might see a completely different name being adopted or may only be a slight change in spelling.
In some cases established institutions preserve the old names of the renamed places in their names, such as the Pusan National University in Busan, South Korea; the Peking University in Beijing; Bombay Stock Exchange, IIT Bombay and the Bombay High Court in Mumbai; University of Madras, Madras Stock Exchange, the Madras High Court, and IIT Madras in Chennai; the University of Malaya, Keretapi Tanah Melayu, in Malaysia; and SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization), the ruling party of Namibia.
Often the older name will persist in colloquial expressions. For example, the dish known in English as "Peking duck" retained that name even when the Chinese capital changed its transliteration to "Beijing".
Changes in romanisation systems can result in minor or major changes in spelling in the Roman alphabet for geographical entities, even without any change in name or spelling in the local alphabet or other writing system. Names in non-Roman characters can also be spelled very differently when Romanised in different European languages.
China developed and adopted the pinyin romanisation system in February 1958 in place of previous systems such as the postal romanization and Wade–Giles. Many Chinese geographical entities (and associated entities named after geographical names) thus had their English names changed. The changes sometimes appear drastic, since it is sometimes the case that the former romanisations were derived from Cantonese—the common language in British-held Hong Kong—while the newer romanisations are derived entirely from Mandarin. Pinyin was adopted by the International Organization for Standardisation in 1982 and officially adopted in Singapore (resulting in several geographical name changes of its own). However it is usually not applied in the autonomous regions of the PRC (e.g.: Lhasa, Ürümqi, Hohhot, Xigazê, Ili, Altay, Kaxgar, Hulunbuir, Erenhot), and has not resulted in any geographical name change in the SARs of Hong Kong and Macau, and is adopted only in parts of Taiwan, particularly within Taipei and other Kuomintang controlled cities and counties, in a recent push to adopt Pinyin by the Kuomintang government.
Examples of changes:
In the People's Republic of China
In the Republic of China (Taiwan)
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The introduction of the Revised Romanization of Korean in place of the McCune–Reischauer system in 7 July 2000 by the South Korean government has resulted in a string of changes to geographical names. The system is not used by North Korea. Examples of changes include:
Exonyms and endonymsEdit
For geographical entities with multiple pre-existing names in one or more languages, an exonym or endonym may gradually be substituted and used in the English language.
- Transfer of a city between countries with very different patterns of phonology can result in seeming changes of name. Changes can be so slight as Straßburg (Germany) and Strasbourg (France). Some are less subtle: Solun in Macedonia to Selanik in the Ottoman Empire became Salonica in Greece (now Thessaloniki); Pilsen in the Austro-Hungarian Empire became Plzeň in Czechoslovakia; Chișinău, now the capital of Moldova, was in Russian and Soviet times part of Romania and known as Kishinev (the latter name is used in English in certain historical contexts, e.g. Kishinev pogrom). Some are translations; Karlsbad became Karlovy Vary.
- When the formerly-German city of Danzig came under Polish rule, it became known in English by its Polish name of Gdańsk. But when Winston Churchill gave his Iron Curtain speech he still spoke of a city in Poland by its German name (Stettin) instead of its contemporary Polish name Szczecin even though Churchill fully accepted the transfer of the formerly-German city to Poland, probably because it is German phonology, not Polish, that is closer to English. The pattern is far from uniform, and it takes time.
- The Soviet Union replaced German city names in the former East Prussia that became the Kaliningrad Oblast and Japanese place names in southern Sakhalin Island with Russian names unrelated to the old German and Japanese place names after annexing them in the aftermath of World War II.
- The military junta changed the official English name of Burma to Myanmar in 1988, even though both were pre-existing names which originated from the Burmese language and used interchangeably depending on contexts (see Names of Burma).
- Decolonisation in India saw a trend to change the established English names of cities to the names in the local language. Since then, changes have included Chennai (from Madras in August 1996), Kolkata (from Calcutta in January 2001) and Mumbai (from Bombay in 1995), amongst many others.
- The People's Republic of China, upon its founding and new nationalities policy, changed the names of cities in ethnic minority regions from sometimes patronising Chinese language names to those of the native language. For example, it changed Dihua to Ürümqi and Zhenxi to Barkol.
Changes resulting from splits and mergersEdit
- Czechoslovakia got its name from the agglomeration of the Czech and Slovak peoples in 1918. It peacefully dissolved into the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993.
- Yugoslavia ("Land of the South Slavs") was originally Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, created by joining Kingdom of Serbia, Kingdom of Montenegro and parts of Austro-Hungarian Empire inhabited by South Slavs (today comprising Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Vojvodina (i.e. the Northern part of modern Serbia)) . It became Yugoslavia in 1929. It subsequently split into the modern states of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Macedonia and Montenegro between 1991-2006. Serbia's autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija unilaterally declared its independence in 2008.
- Tanganyika and Zanzibar joined to become Tanzania
- Egypt and Syria were briefly joined as the United Arab Republic
- Malaya merged with Singapore and the northern Borneo territories of Sabah and Sarawak to become Malaysia in 1963.
- Various places split by compass directions, such as North and South Dakota, West Virginia and Virginia, North and South Korea, East and West Germany, etc. South Yemen was previously known as the Aden Protectorate and by other names. Some of these were subsequently unified, such as Vietnam, Germany, and Yemen.
List of significant name changesEdit
This is a list of internationally important or significant renamings.
- New Holland → New South Wales (1770) → Australia (pre-British discovery) (Officially 1824)
- Eastern Bengal and Assam (1905-12) → East Bengal (1947) → East Pakistan (1955) → Bangladesh (1971)
- Byelorussia (White Russia) → Belarus (1991)
- Duchy of Brabant (1183) → Burgundian Netherlands (1384) → Habsburg Netherlands (1482) → Spanish Netherlands (1581) → Austrian Netherlands (1713) → United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815) → Belgium (1830)
- British Honduras → Belize (1973)
- Dahomey → Benin (1975)
- Upper Peru → Bolivia (1825)
- Bosnia → Bosnia and Herzegovina (1853)
- Bechuanaland → Botswana (1966)
- Terra de Santa Cruz → Brasil (ca. 1530)
- Upper Volta → Burkina Faso (1984)
- Khmer Republic → Kampuchea (1975) → Cambodia (1991)
- Ubangi-Shari → Central African Republic (1958) → Central African Empire (1976) → Central African Republic (1979)
- New Granada → Colombia (1819) → New Granada (1831) → Colombia (1863)
- Middle Congo → Republic of the Congo
- Congo Free State (1884)→ Belgian Congo (1908) → Republic of the Congo (1960) → Democratic Republic of the Congo (1964) → Zaire (1971) → Democratic Republic of the Congo (1997). A number of cities and geographic sites in the Congo have also had their names changed after independence. For a full list, see Former place names in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- French Somaliland → Territory of the Afars and the Issas (1967) → Djibouti (1977)
- Spanish Guinea → Equatorial Guinea (1968)
- Swaziland → eSwatini (2018)
- Abyssinia → Ethiopia (1941)
- Gold Coast → Ghana (1957)
- Portuguese Guinea → Guinea-Bissau (1979)
- British Guiana → Guyana (1966)
- Dutch East Indies → Indonesia (1945/1949)
- British Mandate of Mesopotamia (1920) → Iraq (1932)
- Irish Free State → Ireland (1937; see also Names of the Irish state)
- Judea → Syria Palaestina (135)
- British Mandate of Palestine (1920) → Israel (1948)
- Transjordan → Jordan (1946)
- Gilbert Islands → Kiribati (1979)
- Basutoland → Lesotho (1966)
- Nyasaland → Malawi (1964)
- French Sudan → Mali (1960)
- New Spain → Mexico (1821)
- Bessarabia → Moldavian SSR (1940) → Moldova (1991)
- Burma → Myanmar (1989)
- German Southwest Africa (1884) → Southwest Africa (1915) → Namibia (1990)
- County of Holland (880) → Dutch Republic (1581) → Batavian Republic (1795) → Kingdom of Holland (1806) → Netherlands (1815) & (1830)
- Territory of Papua and Territory of New Guinea → Territory of Papua and New Guinea → Papua New Guinea (1975)
- Spanish East Indies → Philippines (1898)
- Spanish Sahara → Western Sahara (1975) → Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (1976; disputed)
- Western Samoa → Samoa (1997)
- Temasik → Singapore (1819)
- Ceylon → Sri Lanka (1972)
- Dutch Guiana → Suriname (1975)
- Siam → Thailand (1949)
- Portuguese Timor → East Timor (1975) → Timor-Leste (2002)
- French Togoland → Togo (1960)
- Ellice Islands → Tuvalu (1978)
- New Hebrides → Vanuatu (1980)
- Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes → Yugoslavia (1929–2003) → Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro (1992–2006) → Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro (2006)
- Northern Rhodesia → Zambia (1964)
- Southern Rhodesia → Rhodesia (1965) → Zimbabwe-Rhodesia (1979) → Zimbabwe (1980)
- Cape Verde → Cabo Verde (2013)
- New Connecticut → Vermont (1777)
- Persia → Iran (1935)
- Deux-Nèthes → Antwerpen (1815)
- Dyle → Zuid-Brabant (1815) → Brabant (1831)
- Escaut → Oost-Vlaanderen (1815)
- Jemappes → Henegouwen (1815) → Hainaut (1830)
- Lys → West-Vlaanderen (1815)
- Meuse-Inférieure → Limburg (1815)
- Ourthe → Luik (1815) → Liège (1830)
- Sambre-et-Meuse → Namen (1815) → Namur (1830)
- Newfoundland → Newfoundland and Labrador (2001)
- Upper Canada → Canada West → Canada → Ontario
- Lower Canada → Canada East → Canada → Quebec
- New Caledonia → British Columbia
- Queen Charlotte Islands → Haida Gwaii
- Barrancas → Pudahuel (1970)
- Pueblo Hundido → Diego de Almagro (1977)
- Punta Arenas → Magallanes City (1927) → Punta Arenas (1938)
- Barking → Barking and Dagenham (1980)
- Hammersmith → Hammersmith and Fulham (1979)
- Huntingdonshire → Huntingdon (1974) → Huntingdonshire (1984)
- Basses-Alpes → Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (1970)
- Basses-Pyrénées → Pyrénées-Atlantiques (1969)
- Bec-d'Ambès → Gironde (1795)
- Charente-Inférieure → Charente-Maritime (1941)
- Côtes-du-Nord → Côtes-d'Armor (1990)
- Loire-Inférieure → Loire-Atlantique (1957)
- Mayenne-et-Loire → Maine-et-Loire (1791)
- Seine-Inférieure → Seine-Maritime (1955)
- Madras State → Tamil Nadu (1968)
- Mysore → Karnataka (1973)
- Bombay → Mumbai (1995)
- Madras → Chennai (1996)
- Pondicherry → Puducherry (2006)
- Orissa → Odisha (2011)
- Province of Girgenti → Province of Agrigento (1929)
- King's County → County Offaly (1922)
- Queen's County → County Laois (1922)
- County Tyreconnell → County Donegal (1927)
- Bouches-de-l'Escaut → Zeeland (1815)
- Bouches-de-l'Yssel → Overijssel (1815)
- Frise → Friesland (1815)
- Meuse-Inférieure → Limburg (1815)
- New Zealand
- North Auckland → Northland (1960s)
- Dungannon → Dungannon and South Tyrone (1999)
- Londonderry City Council → Derry City Council (1984) 
- Borders → Scottish Borders (1996)
- Cunninghame → North Ayrshire (1996)
- Dumbartonshire → Dunbartonshire (1914)
- Eastwood → East Renfrewshire (1996)
- Edinburgh → Midlothian (1890)
- Forfarshire → Angus (1928)
- Haddingtonshire → East Lothian (1921)
- Kyle and Carrick → South Ayrshire (1996)
- Lanark → Clydesdale (1980)
- Linlithgowshire → West Lothian (1924)
- Western Isles → Na h-Eileanan Siar (1997)
- Zetland → Shetland (1975)
- Eastern Transvaal → Mpumalanga (1995)
- Natal → KwaZulu-Natal (1994)
- Northern Transvaal → Northern Province (1995) → Limpopo (2003)
- Orange Free State → Free State (1995)
- Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging → Gauteng (1995)
- Aberconwy and Colwyn → Conwy (1996)
- Afan → Port Talbot (1986)
- Anglesey → Isle of Anglesey (1996)
- Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire → Gwynedd (1996)
- Cardiganshire → Ceredigion (1974) → Cardiganshire (1996) → Ceredigion (1996)
- Carnarvonshire → Caernarvonshire (1926)
- Merionethshire → Meirionnydd (1974)
- Montgomery → Montgomeryshire (1986)
- Preseli → Preseli Pembrokeshire (1987)
- Radnor → Radnorshire (1989)
Cities and townsEdit
- Amadora, Portugal, was known as Porcalhota until 1907. The name change was due to the unflattering meaning of the original toponym (something like "Little dirty one").
- Attock, Pakistan, was known as Campbellpur.
- Bin Qasim, Pakistan, formerly known as Pipri.
- Beijing, China, Usually spelt Peking until the 1980s. Named Peiping (Beiping in pinyin) from 1927 to 1949, during which time Nanking (Nanjing) was the national capital.
- Bangalore, India, set to be changed to Bengaluru with state government approval in 2006 but yet to be ratified by the central government
- Banjul, formerly Bathurst.
- Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, between 1926 and 1991 called Frunze
- Bogotá – Changed to Santa Fé de Bogotá D.C. (Distrito Capital) in 1991 from Bogotá D.E. (Distrito Especial). Changed back to the simplified Bogotá D.C. (Distrito Capital) in 2000.
- Bratislava, Slovakia, formerly Pozsony or Pressburg
- Busan – spelt Pusan prior to the official adoption of the Revised Romanization by the South Korean Government in 2000. During the Korean War it was the temporary capital. Named Dongrae (동래/東萊) until 1910. In 1920, renamed to Busan.
- Châlons-en-Champagne, formerly Châlons-sur-Marne until 1998.
- Chemnitz in Saxony, Germany – named Karl-Marx-Stadt after Karl Marx (1953–1990).
- Chennai, called Madras until 1996.
- Cobh, Ireland – formerly known as Queenstown
- Constância, Portugal was known as Punhete until 1833. The name change was justified by the resemblance of the old toponym with the word punheta (Portuguese for "hand job").
- Dhaka, Bangladesh – previously Dacca
- Daegu – spelt Taegu prior to the official adoption of the Revised Romanization by the South Korean Government in 2000. In ancient times, Dalgubeol (달구벌/達句伐)
- Dnipro, Ukraine, was officially changed from Dnipropetrovsk in 2016, following Ukraine’s decommunization laws (the former name is a contraction of the Ukrainian name of the river Dnieper and the surname of Soviet leader Hryhoriy Petrovsky). Previous names include Katerynoslav, Sicheslav, and Novorossiysk.
- Dobrich – known as Bazargic between 1913–1940, Tolbuhin between 1945–1990. It was known Hacıoğlu Pazarcık during Ottoman rule
- Donetsk – founded as Yuzovka (after John Hughes) in 1870, called Stalino 1924-–1961, renamed Donyetsk in Russian (Donetsk in Ukrainian) after the De-Stalinization period in the USSR
- Dushanbe – known as Stalinabad between 1929–1961 and renamed Dushanbe after the De-Stalinization period in the Soviet Union.
- Dún Laoghaire, Ireland – formerly known as Kingstown
- Eisenhüttenstadt in eastern Brandenburg, Germany, was founded as Stalinstadt after World War 2 to settle displaced people from the former eastern German territories, and was renamed during the De-Stalinization period in the Soviet Union.
- Faisalabad was known as Lyallpur (until the 1970s) in Pakistan
- Florianópolis was known as Desterro until 1893, when the president of recent-founded Brazilian republic, Marshal Floriano Peixoto, crushed the Naval Revolts, and the supporters of Peixoto, after the imprisonment of all his opponents, changed the name of the city to honor the Marshal.
- Gagarin, town in Russia – formerly Gzhatsk, took current name after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's death in 1968
- Gdańsk – in German Danzig, when part of Kingdom of Prussia or Germany (1793-1920 and 1940–5) and as a Free City (1920–39).
- Harare – named Salisbury until 1982. Other place names in Zimbabwe also changed.
- Heraklion in Crete, Greece: Its ancient name was Heraklion. After the Arab conquest in 824 it was named "Handaq" (The Moat) from which derived the Greek name "Chandax" in Byzantine times (961–1204) and later the Italian "Candia" during the Venetian period (1212–1669) when Candia eventually became the name of the whole island of Crete. In Turkish times (1669–1898) it was called "Kandiye" by the Ottomans but from the locals "Megalo Kastro" (Great Castle) or simply "Kastro". During the time of the autonomous Cretan State (1898–1913) scholars proposed to reuse the ancient name "Heraklion" which eventually was accepted by the locals.
- Ho Chi Minh City – formerly Saigon, changed in 1975 after the fall of South Vietnam (see also Names of Ho Chi Minh City)
- Huambo, formerly Nova Lisboa, changed in 1975 after the independence of Angola
- Istanbul – since 28 March 1930, formerly Byzantium (under Greek rule) then Constantinople (under Roman and Ottoman rule); the latter name change inspired the popular song "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" (see also Names of Istanbul)
- Iqaluit, capital of Nunavut Territory in Canada, known as Frobisher Bay until 1987.
- Ivano-Frankivsk, founded as polish Stanisławów in 1662, changed to Stanislau in 1772, under Austria. After World War I it returned to its original name. Then it was known as Stalislav (1939–41), Stanislau (1941–45) and again Stanislav, until 1962, when it has been renamed to its current name, to honour Ivan Franko.
- Izmir – since 28 March 1930, formerly Smyrna (under Roman and Ottoman rule).
- Jakarta, – formerly Batavia, Jayakarta, and Sunda Kelapa.
- Jerusalem, – renamed to Aelia Capitolina by the Romans in 135 and was restored back to Jerusalem in 325.
- João Pessoa – formerly known as Cidade da Parahyba, as Frederikstad and as Filipéia de Nossa Senhora das Neves.
- Kabwe in Zambia – formerly Broken Hill.
- Kaliningrad from Königsberg in 1946 (along with other cities in East Prussia)
- Kanpur, India – formerly known as Cawnpore.
- Katowice in Silesia, Poland was Stalinogród between 1953 and 1956, and Kattowitz when under German rule
- Kenora, Ontario, Canada from Rat Portage in 1905.
- Khujand in Tajikistan from Leninabad between 1939 and 1992. Khodjend before 1939
- Kimchaek in North Korea, formerly known as Songjin. Renamed during the Korean War after the chief of staff of the North Korean army killed during the war.
- Kingisepp, Russia, named after an Estonian communist Viktor Kingissepp, formerly named Yamburg, Yam, and Yama (Yamsky Gorodok).
- Kinshasa – formerly Léopoldville, changed in 1966.
- Kirov, Russia – formerly Vyatka
- Kitchener, Ontario was known as Berlin until 1916; it was changed due to hostility toward Germany in World War I. (See Berlin to Kitchener name change)
- Kisangani, formerly Stanleyville
- Klaipėda from Memel in 1945
- Kochi, India – formerly Cochin.
- Kota Kinabalu from Jesselton.
- Kollam, India – formerly Quilon.
- Krasnodar – formerly Yekaterinodar.
- Kuito formerly Silva Porto, changed in 1975 after the independence of Angola
- Kuressaare, Estonia – was named Kingissepa after an Estonian communist Viktor Kingissepp during the Soviet occupation, but was renamed Kuressaare again in 1988.
- Lake Station, Indiana, from East Gary, to disassociate itself from the adjacent city of Gary.
- Londonderry, Northern Ireland – known as Derry until 1623 when it received a Royal Charter. The previous name still remains in use in certain areas. (See Derry/Londonderry name dispute)
- Lubumbashi, formerly Élisabethville
- Lüshun – formerly Port Arthur in English, or Ryojun during the Japanese occupation in the 1930s and 1940s.
- Lviv, Ukraine – originally Polish Lwów, became Lemberg under Austro-Hungarian rule (1772–1918), reverted to Lwów (1918–1945), then Lvov under Soviet rule (1945–1991); took current name on Ukrainian independence
- Latina – (Italy, Latium), whose former original fascist name was Littoria
- Malabo – formerly Santa Isabel
- Maputo – formerly Lourenço Marques
- Marijampolė, Lithuania – was named Kapsukas after a Lithuanian communist Vincas Mickevičius-Kapsukas during the Soviet occupation, but was renamed Marijampolė again in 1991.
- Mbala in Zambia – formerly Abercorn
- Mexico City – formerly the two altepetls (or polities) of Tlatelolco and Tenochtitlan
- Montana, Bulgaria – known as Kutlovitsa until 1890, Ferdinand between 1890–1945, Mihaylovgrad between 1945–1993
- Mumbai, India – formerly known as Bombay.
- Nawabshah formerly known as Benazirabad in Pakistan.
- New York – formerly New Amsterdam (see History of New York City)
- Nizhniy Novgorod was Gorkiy during the Soviet Union from 1932 to 1990.
- Novohrad-Volynskyi known to 1796 as Zwiahel, or Zvyahel.
- Nuuk renamed from Godthåb in 1979, following the introduction of the Home Rule.
- Orenburg was renamed Chkalov from 1938–1957, after Valery Chkalov and renamed Orenburg in 1957.
- Oslo, Norway renamed Christiania when rebuilt after fire in 1624. Spelled Kristiania between 1877-1925 when the name returned to Oslo.
- Ottawa, Ontario known as Bytown until 1855.
- Parramatta in New South Wales, Australia was known as Rose Hill from establishment in 1788 until 1791.
- Perm, known as Molotov from 1945-1957, after Vyacheslav Molotov and renamed to Perm in 1957.
- Podgorica, known as Titograd 1945-1992
- Polokwane, changed from Pietersburg in 2003, along with some other towns
- Port Klang, changed from Port Swettenham, the port of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Portlaoise, Ireland – formerly Maryborough.
- Recife in Pernambuco, Brazil – formerly Mauritsstad.
- Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada from Pile O' Bones or Pile-of-bones in 1882 in what was then the North-West Territory.
- Rijeka from Fiume in 1945
- Royal Tunbridge Wells, changed from Queen's-Wells to Tunbridge Wells in 1797. Renamed in 1909 to its current name after receiving a Royal Charter.
- Royal Wootton Bassett – known as Wootton Bassett until 2011 when it received a Royal Charter.
- Sahiwal – formerly known as Montgomery in Pakistan.
- Saint Petersburg – originally Saint Petersburg (in 1703), then Petrograd (in 1914), Leningrad (in 1924) and back to Saint Petersburg in 1991
- Saltcoats, Saskatchewan, Canada from Stirling in what was then the North-West Territories.
- Samara, Russia – renamed to Kuibyshev from 1935–1991, after Valerian Kuibyshev and renamed Samara in 1991.
- Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic was renamed to Ciudad Trujillo between 1936 and 1961 in a drive of personality cult around the dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo that also affected Pico Duarte (renamed Pico Trujillo), several provinces, and other Dominican features.
- Seoul – formerly Hanyang (from 1392), then Hanseong (from 1395), Keijō or Gyeongseong (from 1914) and renamed Seoul in 1946. (See also Names of Seoul)
- Shenyang – formerly Mukden, Fengtian (奉天) or Shengjing (盛京).
- Staines-upon-Thames formerly Staines, this town will be officially renamed in May 2012 with the aim of promoting its riverside location and boosting the local economy.
- Sucre formerly known as La Plata (1539-mid 17th century), Charcas (mid 17th century to early 18th century) and Chuquisaca (until 1831), current name in honour of Antonio José de Sucre.
- Szczecin – in German Stettin, when part of Germany, until 1945.
- Tallinn – known as Reval until 1917.
- Tel Aviv-Yafo – renamed Tel Aviv from Ahuzat Bayit. Renamed to Tel Aviv-Yafo in 1950 after the annexation of Jaffa (Yafo).
- Thiruvananthapuram, India – formerly Trivandrum.
- Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada in 1970 from the merger of twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur.
- Tokyo – formerly Edo, until it became the capital of Japan in 1868.
- Tolyatti – formerly known as Stavropol-on-Volga and Stavropol. In 1964, it was renamed to Tolyatti after Palmiro Togliatti
- Toronto – known as York at the time of the War of 1812.
- Tskhinvali, Georgia – also known as Tskhinval or Ch'reba in present time, formerly named Staliniri (1934–1961)
- Tver – known as Kalinin from 1931 to 1990.
- Ulyanovsk in Russia, formerly Simbirsk
- Ürümqi – formerly known as Tihwa (迪化; Dǐhuà in pinyin), which means "to enlighten" in Chinese. In 1954, renamed to Ürümqi, which means "beautiful pasture" in Dzungar Mongolian.
- Varanasi, India – formerly known as Benares (or Banaras) and Kashi.
- Veles, known as Titov Veles between 1945 and 1991.
- Ventura, California, originally San Buenaventura, New Spain and Mexico.
- Vilnius – the capital of Lithuania was known as Vilna or Wilno when it was under Polish rule (1920–1939).
- Virden, Manitoba, Canada from Manchester.
- Volgograd – formerly Tsaritsyn (1589-1925), Stalingrad (1925–1961).
- Wanganui, New Zealand. Originally called Petre, now known dually as Wanganui and Whanganui.
- Wrocław – in German Breslau, when part of Germany, until 1945.
- Xi'an – Usually spelt Sian until the 1980s. Formerly Chang'an (長安), the ancient name for the city when it was the capital of China until the name was changed to Xi'an in the Ming Dynasty.
- Xiangyang, named Xiangfan between 1950-2010.
- Yangon – renamed Yangon after being known as Rangoon (1852–1988). Still known as Rangoon in many English-speaking countries.
- Yekaterinburg – known as Sverdlovsk in the Soviet Union.
- Yonashiro – changed from Okinawan "Yonagusuku" to a Japanese name and elevated to town status in 1994.
- Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk – named Toyohara under Japanese rule between 1905 and 1946, but before that was Vladimirovka, a Russian settlement before the Russo-Japanese War (1882–1905).
- Zhob, Pakistan – renamed from Fort Sandeman in 1976.
- Zlín, Czech Republic – named Gottwaldov after Klement Gottwald (1949–1990), Czechoslovak former president.
- Zmiiv, Ukraine – named Gottwald after Klement Gottwald (1976–1990), Czechoslovak communist politician.
Unusual name changesEdit
- Speed, Victoria, was renamed to Speedkills for one month in 2011 as a road safety campaign.
- Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, changed from the name "Hot Springs" in 1950 when Truth or Consequences host Ralph Edwards announced that he would do the show from the first town that renamed itself after the popular radio program.
- Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, formerly Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk, negotiated a deal with the heirs of athlete Jim Thorpe to become the site of his tomb in a bid to increase tourism.
- Ismay, Montana, unofficially took the name of "Joe, Montana", after the NFL quarterback Joe Montana, as part of a 1993 publicity stunt
- Clark, Texas, renamed itself "DISH" after the EchoStar Communications' Dish Network – all 55 households in the town are given free satellite television for 10 years
- Buffalo, Texas, temporarily renamed itself "Blue Star, Texas" in 1993 and 1994 when the Dallas Cowboys faced the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl, and later renamed itself "Green Star, Texas" in 1999 when the Dallas Stars faced the Buffalo Sabres in the Stanley Cup Finals (Buffalo is approximately 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Dallas; in all three instances the supportive name change proved successful for the Dallas-area team)
- Halfway, Oregon, became the first place to accept the money from a dot-com to change its name to match the web site "Half.com"
- Santa, Idaho, a hamlet with a population of 115 became "secretsanta.com" on 9 December 2005 
- Pippa Passes, Kentucky, originally Caney Creek but renamed after the Robert Browning poem Pippa Passes through the influence of Alice Spencer Geddes Lloyd, founder of Alice Lloyd College.
- Washington, Pennsylvania, temporarily renamed itself "Steeler" when the Pittsburgh Steelers made it to the Super Bowl in 2006.
- Eastpointe, Michigan, incorporated as the village of Halfway in December 1924 and reincorporated as the City of East Detroit in January 1929. The city changed its name to "Eastpointe" after a vote in 1992; the name change had been proposed to reduce its association with the adjacent city of Detroit (a move that offended many Detroit residents), and the "-pointe" is intended to associate the city with the exclusive communities of the Grosse Pointes. However, the school district that serves most of the city was unaffected by the municipal name change and still uses the name East Detroit Public Schools, with the local high school being East Detroit High School.
- Sleepy Hollow, New York, renamed from North Tarrytown in 1997 in honor of the Washington Irving short story.
- On June 4–9 of each year, Dublin, Texas changes its name (and even its road signs) to Dr Pepper, Texas, to commemorate the anniversary of the first Dr Pepper Bottling Plant, which is located there.
- The Chilean Robinson Crusoe Island, renamed from "Más a Tierra" in 1966.
- The Spanish village Asquerosa (in Spanish, 'filthy') was renamed as Valderrubio in 1943.
- Topeka, Kansas, renamed itself Google, Kansas for the month of March 2010. Google responded temporarily changing its name to "Topeka" on April Fool's Day in 2010 
- Richland, New Jersey briefly renamed itself "Mohito" in 2004 at the behest of the Bacardi company in honor of the mint grown at Delponte Farms, an essential ingredient in the drink.
- The New Zealand town of Otorohanga briefly changed its name to "Harrodsville" in 1986, in support of local restaurateur Henry Harrod, who was being threatened with lawsuits over the name of his business by Harrod's of London.
- Britain and Ireland naming disputes
- British Isles naming dispute
- Northern Ireland: The often-disputed alternative names for Northern Ireland are summarised in 'Northern Ireland#Alternative names' and discussed in detail in 'Alternative names for Northern Ireland'.
- Republic of Ireland: The often-disputed alternative names for the Republic of Ireland are summarised in 'Republic of Ireland#Name' and discussed in detail in 'Names of the Irish state', with the naming dispute with the United Kingdom being described in 'Names of the Irish state#Name dispute with the UK'.
- Derry/Londonderry name dispute in Northern Ireland
- Dingle/An Daingean: The Irish town of Dingle (An Daingean or Daingean Uí Chúis) has been the focal point of a dispute over whether official signposts in officially Irish-speaking areas (the Gaeltacht) should show place names in Irish only, thus possibly endangering income from tourism.
- The Hyphen War of 1990 – Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia?
- Denali naming dispute over the peak known formerly known as Mount McKinley, in Alaska, United States
- Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands naming dispute
- Renaming of cities in India
- Sea of Japan naming dispute
- Macedonia naming dispute
- Persian Gulf naming dispute starting in the 1960s
- Persian or Iran
- Pretoria/Tshwane naming dispute over whether to change the city's name to a more Black African Tshwane, or keep its original name, Pretoria.
- Includes numerous naming disputes across South Africa ranging from streets to entire provinces. All of which are changing annually and are met with opposition.
- Naming disputes involving Israelis and Palestinians
- West Bank/Judea and Samaria, disputed both between Israelis and Palestinians and between political factions inside Israel
- Israel/The Zionist Entity/Palestine: People who refuse to recognize the State of Israel often call it The Zionist Entity. When such people refer to Palestine, they normally include Israel as part of Palestinian territory (along with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip).
- Kosovo/Kosova disputed between Serbians and Albanians.
- Falkland Islands/Malvinas, disputed between Argentinians and British.
- Berlin to Kitchener name change, Canadian town's name changed during WWI
- Australian place names changed from German names during WWI
- Sønderjylland/Schleswig, disputed between Danes and Germans in the 19th Century
- Disputes involving the name of a whole entity being used to refer to a part of it, and vice versa
- US/America/North America: The terms 'America' and 'American' are frequently used to refer only to the United States and its people. This sometimes causes resentment among some non-US Americans, especially Latin Americans, who tend to respond by referring to the people of the US as North Americans (or 'norteamericanos' in Spanish), at least when not using the unofficial term 'gringos'. The practice is sometimes also followed by native English speakers who wish to show they are sympathetic to Latin Americans, and/or when translating texts into English. The practice can also be found in Mexico, even though Mexico is normally considered part of North America. A Canadian may sometimes be described as 'un norteamericano de Canada' (a North American of Canada). See also use of the word American.
- EU/Europe: Just as the terms 'America' and 'American' are frequently used to refer only to the United States and its people, the terms 'Europe' and 'European' are also frequently used to refer only to the European Union and its people, and this similarly sometimes causes resentment among some non-EU Europeans, although the enlargement of the EU means that there are now fewer non-EU Europeans left to take offence than there used to be when the EU was smaller.
- Russia/Soviet Union: In this case the part (Russia) was (and still is) often used to refer to the whole (the Soviet Union). The usage can be resented by such people as non-Russians who do not want to be called Russian, some anti-Communist Russians wishing to blame Communist crimes on the Soviet Union rather than Russia, and some Georgians wishing to take patriotic pride in the achievements of Georgia-born Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. After the Soviet Union was dissolved at the end of 1991, the name of its successor organisation, the Commonwealth of Independent States, was soon derided with the claim that its members had nothing in common and no wealth.
- Partitioned States: When a country is or was divided, the name of the whole is often used to refer to one of the parts, sometimes causing resentment in the other part. The name of the whole is usually used to refer to the larger part, such as 'Korea' for South Korea, and 'Germany' for the former West Germany. Sometimes the term is used to refer to the smaller part for political reasons, such as when the US refused to recognize the People's Republic of China, so that, at least officially, 'China' meant Taiwan (with 'Red China' or 'Communist China' then being used to refer to the People's Republic of China). Sometimes giving the part the name of the whole is unofficial, and sometimes not. South Korea is officially the 'Republic of Korea', not 'Korea', though, as with many such official names, 'Republic of Korea' can be interpreted as meaning 'Republic of all Korea',[nb 1] and indeed West Germany was officially the 'Federal Republic of Germany', which eventually became the official name of all Germany after reunification in 1990. But 'Ireland' is the official name (in English) of the Republic of Ireland (both according to its Constitution and according to the European Union).[nb 2] Cyprus (officially the Republic of Cyprus) was accepted into the EU as a whole in 2004, although the EU legislation is suspended in the territory occupied by Turkey since 1974 (the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognised only by Turkey), until a final settlement of the Cyprus problem.
- Australian place names changed from German names
- Exonym and endonym
- Geographic Names Information System
- List of administrative division name changes
- List of city name changes
- List of city name changes in Russia and Soviet Union
- List of double placenames
- List of entities and changes in The World Factbook
- List of places
- List of politically motivated renamings
- South African Geographical Names Council
- Street sign theft
- United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names
- United States Board on Geographic Names
- Similarly, because 'Republic of Ireland' can be interpreted as meaning 'Republic of all Ireland', the British Government usually tends to prefer the expression 'the Irish Republic', as do many of the British media, despite the irony that this was the name of the Republics proclaimed by rebels against Britain in 1916 and 1919. A further irony is that Irish Nationalists now avoid saying 'the Irish Republic', partly because it is not the official term, but also to avoid sounding unpatriotic and pro-British despite the anti-British origins of the expression.
- The details of any resulting offence can be complicated: For instance, a substantial minority of Northern Ireland's population (about 23% according to a 2012 survey) regard themselves as 'British not Irish', and are thus unlikely to be offended by the fact that using Ireland to refer to the Republic of Ireland logically implies they are not Irish. But, like the rest of their fellow Unionists, they may still be offended by the fact that this use of the name Ireland still logically implies that the Government of Ireland is entitled to rule over Northern Ireland, despite any explicit claims to that effect in the Republic's Constitution having been dropped by over 94% of those voting in the Republic in the 1998 referendum that endorsed the Good Friday Agreement as part of the Northern Ireland peace process. On the other hand, Northern Irish Nationalists were not offended by such past claims by the Irish Government, but would be offended by any claim that they were not Irish, yet they do not make any major public complaints about that implication of the use of the word 'Ireland' as the official name of the Republic.
- CNN, By John D. Sutter,. "Topeka 'renames' itself 'Google, Kansas' - CNN.com".
- "yax-491 Road names as markers of history". yawningbread.org. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- "Full text of white paper on history, development of Xinjiang". Chinese Embassy, Ottawa. Xinhua. 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- Mahadi Al Hasnat (2 April 2018). "Mixed reactions as govt changes English spellings of 5 district names". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- Mahadi Al Hasnat (2 April 2018). "Mixed reactions as govt changes English spellings of 5 district names". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- História de Rondônia
- "DL-1758 13-ABR-1977 MINISTERIO DEL INTERIOR - Ley Chile - Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional". leychile.cl. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- The renaming of Londonderry to Derry remains highly controversial. According to the city's Royal Charter of 10 April 1662 the official name is Londonderry. This was reaffirmed in a High Court decision in January 2007 when Derry City Council sought guidance on the procedure for effecting a name change. The name Derry is preferred by nationalists and it is broadly used throughout Northern Ireland's Catholic community, as well as that of the Republic of Ireland, whereas many unionists prefer Londonderry; however in everyday conversation Derry is used by most Protestant residents of the city. Apart from this local government decision, the city is usually known as Londonderry in official use within the United Kingdom. In the Republic of Ireland, the city and county are almost always referred to as Derry, on maps, in the media and in conversation.
- "História Nomes". Paraibanos.com (in Portuguese). Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2009.
- Bryant, Nick (18 February 2011). "Australian town becomes SpeedKills in safety campaign". Retrieved 2 April 2017 – via www.bbc.com.
- 09:43, 24 Nov 2005 at; tweet_btn(), Lester Haines. "Idaho town becomes Secretsanta.com". theregister.co.uk. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- "Topeka Google April Fools' Prank: Google Changes Its Name To Topeka". 1 June 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2017 – via Huff Post.
- "Chatological Humor (Updated 11.16.07)". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
- Deborah L. Madsen (1998). American Exceptionalism. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781578061082. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
Moraga questions not only the impact of North American imperialism upon the nations of Latin America, but...
- Gilbert M. Joseph (2001). Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History: Essays from the North. American Encounters/Global Interactions. Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822327899. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
...ideologies and forms of social hierarchy based on racism in the context of North American imperialism,...
- Ben Dupuy (September 21–27, 1994). "The real objectives of the occupation". Translated by Greg Dunkel. Intelligence Action Center. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
...After Panama, where the North American intervention supposedly had as an objective to do away with Noriega,... ... (Aristide) continued, addressing the North American president directly, ... propaganda that the Haitian community is practically 100 per cent in accord with the North American intervention. ...led jointly by the North American troops, their intelligence services and their local employees from the Haitian army and police. ...Patrols comprised of both North American troops and Haitian police... According to a North American intelligence analyst... the North American intelligence official... ...according to a memorandum by the North American ambassador,... ...under the supervision of the North American military ....
- "Heroica defensa de la Cieudad de Monterey contra el Egercito norte americano ...(Heroic defence of the city of Monterey against the North American Army...)". Beinecke Digital Collections, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University Library. ca. 1848-1850. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
From: Album pintoresco de la Republica Mexicana Mexico pintoresco – Host Note:First major color plate book produced in Mexico. Place of Origin:Mexico : Hallase en la estamperia de Julio Michaud y Thomas, [ca. 1848-1850] ...Curatorial Area: Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library – Catalog Record: A record for this resource appears in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog ... Object ID: 2067507Check date values in:
- "All Comments on Perrosky "La Rancherita"". YouTube. 2010. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
Neil Young, Norte Americano de Canada, nacio 12 de Nov.- (translation from the Spanish: Neil Young, a North American of Canada, was born on the 12th of November)
- Sergei Kiselyov (Jan–Feb 1993). "Perspective: Nothing in Common, no wealth". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Chicago, Illinois: Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science, Inc. 49 (1): 12–13.
(article's subtitle): Just as Mikhail Gorbachev predicted, the Commonwealth of Independent States is merely a 'soap bubble in history'.
- "NILT (Northern Ireland Life & Times) - Year: 2012 - Module: Political Attitudes - Variable: IRBRIT". Northern Ireland Life & Times Surveys, 1998 - present. Northern Ireland: ARK (Access Research Knowledge). 2012. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
Irish not British 24%; More Irish than British 14%; Equally Irish and British 17%; More British than Irish 16%; British not Irish 23% (1% of Catholics, 45% of Protestants, 28% of 'No religion'); Other description (please specify) 6%; Don't know 1%
- Name Changes Since 1990: Countries, Cities, and More at Mapping.com