Name of the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic's official formal and short names at the United Nations are Česká republika and Česko in Czech, and the Czech Republic and Czechia in English.[1] All these names derive from the name of the Czechs, the West Slavic ethnolinguistic group native to the Czech lands. Czechia (/ˈɛkiə/), the official English short name specified by the Czech government, is used by many international organisations and attested as early as 1841. However, most English speakers use [the] Czech Republic in all contexts.[2][3] Other languages generally have greater official use of a short form analogous to Česko or Czechia[4][5] (such as French [la] Tchéquie, or Russian Чехия/Chekhiya, or Korean 체스꼬/Chesŭkko or 체코/Chekho) although forms equivalent to "Czech Republic" are not uncommon.[original research?]

The Czech name Čechy is from the same root but means Bohemia, the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands and the modern Czech Republic. The name Bohemia is an exonym derived from the Boii, a Celtic tribe inhabiting the area before the early Slavs arrived. The Lands of the Bohemian Crown (1348–1918) were part of the Holy Roman Empire; often called "the Czech lands", they sometimes extended further, to all of Silesia, Lusatia, and various smaller territories. The Czech adjective český means both "Czech" and "Bohemian".

The Czech Republic's official formal and short names in Czech were decided at its creation after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in the so-called "Velvet Divorce" of 1993.[4][6][7][8][9][10]

Czech-language nameEdit

The country is named after the Czechs (Czech: Češi), a Slavic tribe residing in central Bohemia that subdued the surrounding tribes in the late 9th century and created the Czech/Bohemian state. The origin of the name of the tribe itself is unknown. According to legend, it comes from their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia. Research regards Čech as a derivative of the root čel- (member of the people, kinsman).[11]

Several variants of the name have been used over the centuries, due to the evolution of the Czech language. The digraph "cž" was used from the time of the 16th-century Bible of Kralice until the reform of 1842, being eventually replaced by "č" (changing Cžechy to Čechy). In the late 19th century the suffix for the names of countries changed from -y to -sko (e.g. RakousyRakousko for Austria, UhryUhersko for Hungary). While the notion of Česko appears for the first time in 1704, it only came into official use in 1918 as the first part of the name of the newly independent Czechoslovakia (Česko-Slovensko or Československo) . Within that state, the Czech Socialist Republic (Česká socialistická republika, ČSR)[8] was created on 1 January 1969.[12] On 6 March 1990 the Czech Socialist Republic was renamed the Czech Republic (Česká republika, ČR).[13] When Czechoslovakia broke up in 1993, the Czech part of the name was intended to serve as the name of the Czech state. The decision started a dispute as many perceived the "new" word Česko, which before had been only rarely used alone, as harsh sounding or as a remnant of Československo.[14] The older term Čechy was rejected by many because it was primarily associated with Bohemia proper and to use it for the whole country was seen as inappropriate. This feeling was especially prominent among the inhabitants of Moravia.[citation needed]

The use of the word "Česko" within the country itself has increased in recent years.[citation needed][note 1] During the 1990s, "Česko" was rarely used and viewed as controversial. Some Czech politicians and public figures (e.g. media magnate Vladimír Železný) expressed concern about the non-use of Česko and Czechia.[citation needed] Václav Havel claimed that "Slugs crawl on me a little whenever I read or hear the word [Česko]." Miroslav Zikmund associated it with Hitler's Nuremberg rallies.[15] Minister Alexandr Vondra also strongly opposed using these forms.[citation needed] In 1997, the Civic Initiative Czechia was formed by linguists and geographers in Brno to promote the use of Czechia.[16] The following year, a conference of professionals aimed at encouraging the use of the name was held at Charles University in Prague. The Czech Senate held a session on the issue in 2004.[17][18]

English-language nameEdit

The historical English name of the country is Bohemia. This name derives from the Celtic tribe of Boii, who inhabited the area from the 4th century BC. Boiohaemum, as it was originally known in Latin, comes from the Germanic "Boi-haima", meaning "home of the Boii". The name survived all the later migrations affecting the area, including the arrival of the Slavs and the creation of the Czech state. In the 9th century, the country became officially known as the Duchy of Bohemia, changing to the Kingdom of Bohemia in the 11th century, and the Crown of Bohemia in the 14th century. A number of other names for the country have been used, including Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown, the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas and others.[19][20] The Bohemian state included the three historical lands: Bohemia proper (Čechy), Moravia (Morava) and Silesia (Slezsko). From the 14th century until 1635 it also included Upper and Lower Lusatia. The higher hierarchical status of the Bohemian region led to that name being used for the larger country (a linguistic device called pars pro toto), and the people and language of that country were referred to as Bohemian in English until the early 20th century.

The first known usage of the word Czechia in English comes from a book of 1841 by Henry and Thomas Rose, A New General Biographical Dictionary Projected and Partly Arranged.[5][19]

Shortly before the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire, there were proposals to use the traditional name Bohemia for the newly formed state.[21] However, out of consideration for Slovak national aspirations, the name "Czecho-Slovakia" (later "Czechoslovakia") was adopted instead.

After the establishment of Czechoslovakia, the name Czechia appeared in English, alongside the official name, as a reference to all the Czech lands[22] and to differentiate between the Czech and Slovak parts of the state. It was used at least as early as 4 January 1925; appearing in the article "Literary History of the Czechs", published by The New York Times.[23] The name was used in the Anglophone press before the German occupation of the Czech lands in 1939.[24][25][26][27]

The current English ethnonym Czech comes from the Polish ethnonym associated with the area, which ultimately comes from the Czech word Čech.[28][29][30] The words "Czechian", "Czechish", "Czechic" and later "Czech" (using antiquated Czech spelling)[19] have appeared in English-language texts since the 17th century. During the 19th-century national revival, the word "Czech" was also used to distinguish between the Czech- and German-speaking peoples living in the country. The term "Czechia" is attested as early as 1569 in Latin[19] and 1841 in English (Poselkynie starych Przjbiehuw Czeskych – Messenger of the old Fates of Czechia).[5][19] There were other early mentions in 1856[31] and in an 1866 report on the Austro-Prussian War.[32]

Adoption of CzechiaEdit

In accordance with Resolution No. 4 I. of the UN conference on the standardization of geographic names (Geneva 1967) and Resolution No. 2 III. of the UN conference on the standardization of geographic names (Athens 1977), the Terminological Committee of the Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping, and Cadaster in cooperation with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs standardized Czechia as the English translation of Česko in early 1993.[33]

Other names suggested in the 1990s included Czechomoravia or Czechlands.[34] However, by 2000 a short name had still not been fully adopted by the Czech authorities. At that time, Giles Portman, the Second Secretary, Press and Politics, at the British Embassy in Prague, showed a willingness to accept the name Czechia. Portman said in 2000, "Czechs still use the name Česká republika rather than Česko, and the English equivalent, the Czech Republic, rather than Czechia. Were that pattern to change, we would have no problem at all with adapting accordingly. But we feel that the initiative for that change must come from the Czech side and not from us."[note 2]

In 2013, Czech president Miloš Zeman recommended the wider official use of Czechia,[35] and on 14 April 2016 the government agreed to make Czechia the official short name.[36] The new name was approved by the Czech cabinet on 2 May 2016 and registered on 5 July 2016.[clarification needed][37][38] In November 2016 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented recommendations on how to use the short name Czechia in international contexts.[39] On 1 June 2017, the geography department of the Faculty of Sciences of Charles University in Prague organised a special conference to assess the progress of the name's proliferation.[40]

The new short name was published in the United Nations UNTERM and UNGEGN country name databases on 17 May 2016;[1][6][41] and is now used on name plates at the United Nations. In September 2016, the British Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (PCGN) recommended the use of Czechia and added it as the sole form of the country name to their list of country names.[42] On 26 September 2016, the International Organization for Standardization included the short name Czechia in the official ISO 3166 country codes list.[43][44] The name Czechia and its respective translations are also included in the interinstitutional style guide of the European Union[45][46] and of the Council of Europe.[47]

Multinational technology companies that adopted the name Czechia include Google,[48] Apple,[49] and Microsoft with Bing Maps.[50] The business network LinkedIn updated its locations to Czechia in October 2020.[51] Microsoft updated its Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central to Czechia in January 2021.[52]

The International Ice Hockey Federation updated to Czechia in December 2021.[53] On 28 April 2022, a conference of all sports associations was held under the patronage of the Foreign Ministry at the Czernin Palace. Following basketball, ice hockey, baseball, rugby, and association football, which started to use the short name, all remaining sports agreed to transition to the short name Czechia shortly.[54] The Czech Football Association announced the adoption of the names Česko and Czechia on 24 May 2022.[55] FIBA switched to Czechia in June 2022.[56]

AP Stylebook updated on 1 July 2022 online entry with the following statement: "Czechia, the Czech Republic. Both are acceptable. The shorter name Czechia is preferred by the Czech government. If using Czechia, clarify in the story that the country is more widely known in English as the Czech Republic."[57]

In August 2022, the United Nations list of member states was updated to Czechia, and the exception of keeping the formal name on the country plates was dropped. [58]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ According to the official Czech list of country names: "Česko is a standardized one-word name of the state, which is officially named Česká republika according to its constitution".[4]
  2. ^ Record of Proceedings of the 7th Public Hearing of the Senate, 11 May 2004, recording Portman's letter from 4 April 2000 from the British embassy in Prague.[18]


  1. ^ a b "The Czech Republic". The United Nations Terminology Database. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  2. ^ Fallows, James (22 April 2016). "A Scandal in Czechia". The Atlantic. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  3. ^ Taylor, Adam (10 May 2017). "The Czech Republic Got a New Name, but Few People Seem to Have Noticed Yet". The Washington Post. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Boháč, Pavel; Kolář, Jaroslav (1993). Jména států a jejich územních částí [Names of states and their territorial parts] (in Czech). Praha: Český úřad zeměměřický a katastrální. ISBN 978-8-08691-857-0.
  5. ^ a b c Rose, Hugh James; Rose, Henry John; Wright, Thomas (1 January 1841). A New General Biographical Dictionary Projected and Partly Arranged. Fellowes. Retrieved 10 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b "World Geographical Names database". UNGEGN. 25 April 2019. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Ústava České republiky ze dne 16. prosince 1992" [Constitution of the Czech Republic of 16 December 1992]. Parliament of the Czech Republic (in Czech). Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  8. ^ a b Knappová, Miloslava (1983). "Česko = Česká socialistická republika". Naše řeč (in Czech). 66 (4): 205–206. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  9. ^ "FAQ: Česko". Ústav pro jazyk český (in Czech). Archived from the original on 9 March 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Česko". Internetová jazyková příručka (IJP) [Online language guide] (in Czech). 8 January 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  11. ^ Spal, Jaromír (1953). "Původ jména Čech" [Origin of the name Čech]. Naše řeč (Our Speech) (in Czech). The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. 36 (9–10): 263–267. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Ústavní zákon ze dne 27. října 1968 o československé federaci" [Constitutional Act of 27 October 1968 on the Czechoslovak Federation]. Parliament of the Czech Republic (in Czech). Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  13. ^ "53/1990 Sb. Ústavní zákon České národní rady o změně názvu České socialistické republiky" [53/1990 Sb. Constitutional Act of the Czech National Council on the Change of the Name of the Czech Socialist Republic]. Zákony pro lidi (in Czech). Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  14. ^ Lazarová, Daniela (13 May 2004). "Looking for a name". Radio Prague. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  15. ^ "Naše řeč – K peripetiím vývoje názvů našeho státu a postojů k nim od roku 1918 (Příspěvek k 80. výročí vzniku Československé republiky)". Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Česko/Czechia". The Civic Initiative Czechia. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Funkční rozlišování spisovných názvů Česká republika a Česko a jejich cizojazyčných ekvivalentů" [Functional differentiation of literary names Czech Republic and Czechia and their equivalents in foreign languages]. Senate of the Czech Republic (in Czech). 11 May 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Těsnopisecký záznam ze 7. veřejného slyšení Senátu Parlamentu České republiky" [Stenographic record of the 7th public hearing of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic]. Senate of the Czech Republic (in Czech). 11 May 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  19. ^ a b c d e Šitler, Jiří (1 July 2017). "Czechia si to bude muset protrpět" [Czechia will have to endure it]. Lidové noviny (in Czech). Retrieved 6 July 2017 – via PressReader.
  20. ^ Moryson, Fynes (1908) [1626]. The Itinerary of Fynes Moryson Containing His Ten Yeeres Travell through the Twelve Dominions of Germany, Bohmerland, Sweitzerland, Netherland, Denmarke, Poland, Italy, Turky, France, England, Scotland & Ireland (Volume IV). Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  21. ^ Beneš, Edvard (1917). Bohemia's case for independence. London: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-405-02734-6.
  22. ^ Munzar, Jan; Drápela, Milan Václav (1999). "Czechia = Bohemia + Moravia + Silesia". Moravian Geographical Report (in Czech). Brno: Ústav Geoniky. 7 (2): 58–61. Retrieved 31 December 2019 – via Masaryk University.
  23. ^ "Literary History of the Czechs". The New York Times. 4 January 1925. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Soviet Note to Germany". The New York Times. 20 March 1939. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  25. ^ "Saving The Children". The Palestine Post. 28 December 1939. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  26. ^ "Dr. Benes Broadcasts To His Countrymen". The Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, New South Wales. 16 March 1940. p. 6. Retrieved 10 May 2017 – via Trove.
  27. ^ "Search results containing "Czechia"". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  28. ^ "Czech definition and meaning". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 19 November 2012. C19: from Polish, from Czech Čech
  29. ^ "Czech". American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 24 January 2018. Polish, from Czech Čech.
  30. ^ "Czech - Definition in English". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University. Retrieved 11 April 2018. Origin Polish spelling of Czech Čech.
  31. ^ "Replies to Minor Queries". Notes and Queries. Oxford University Press. II (27): 20. July 1856. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  32. ^ "Latest From Prussia". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. 21 July 1866. p. 4. Retrieved 10 May 2017 – via Trove.
  33. ^ Čižmárová, Libuše (1993). "K peripetiím vývoje názvů našeho státu a postojů k nim od roku 1918 (Příspěvek k 80. výročí vzniku Československé republiky)". Naše řeč (in Czech). 82 (1): 1–15.
  34. ^ Rocks, David (10 May 1998). "After 5 Years, Czech Republic Still Searching for a Short Name". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 7 January 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  35. ^ McDonald-Gibson, Charlotte (11 October 2013). "What's in a name? Czech Republic mulls shock rebranding as Czechia". The Independent. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  36. ^ "Czechia: Czech Republic leaders approve plan to change country's name". The Independent. 14 April 2016. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  37. ^ "Vláda schválila doplnení jednoslovného názvu Cesko v cizích jazycích do databází OSN" [The government has approved the addition of one-word Czech name in foreign languages to UN databases]. Ministerstvo zahraničních věcí České republiky (in Czech). 2 May 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  38. ^ Tapon, Francis (22 May 2017). "Czechia Has Won The Czech Republic Name Debate". Forbes. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  39. ^ "How to Use the Short Country name "Czechia"". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  40. ^ Fraňková, Ruth (8 June 2017). "Czechia: mapping progress one year on". Radio Prague. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  41. ^ "Short country name "Česko"/"Czechia" to be entered in UN databases". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  42. ^ "Czechia: New English-language country name for the Czech Republic" (PDF). Permanent Committee on Geographical Names. September 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  43. ^ "CZ: ISO 3166 codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  44. ^ Laughland, Oliver (14 April 2016). "Czech Republic officials say country would like to be called 'Czechia' instead". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  45. ^ "Interinstitutional style guide: Countries, Designations and abbreviations to use". Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  46. ^ "News: Latest modifications". Europa. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  47. ^ "Publications Office – Interinstitutional Style Guide – Annex A5 – List of countries, territories and currencies". Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  48. ^ "A je to "oficiální". Mapy Google začaly Česku říkat Czechia" [And it's "official". Google Maps calls Česko Czechia]. iDNES (in Czech). 20 January 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  49. ^ Chan, Sewell (19 April 2018). "Swaziland's King Wants His Country to Be Called eSwatini". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  50. ^ "Maps".
  51. ^ "LinkedIn: Log In or Sign Up". LinkedIn.
  52. ^ "Country/region availability and supported languages - Business Central".
  53. ^ "IIHF Member National Association Czechia". Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  54. ^ "Czechia vs. Czech republic! Co budeme nosit na dresech?". (in Czech). Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  55. ^ "Komuniké ze zasedání VV FAČR ze dne 24. 5. 2022 | FAČR". Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  56. ^ "Czechia - FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup Qualifier 2022".
  57. ^[bare URL]
  58. ^ "Member States".

External linksEdit