Czechia - the name of the country

CZECHIA - the name of the Czech Republic

Czechia /ˈtʃɛki.ə/ (Česko [ˈtʃɛskɔ] in Czech) is an official English short-form and geographical name of the Czech Republic, The name is registered by the United Nations and included in the UNO Gazetteers of Geographical Names (UNO Gazetteers of Geographical Names). Geographic name of the state represents permanency and timelessness of statehood regardless of the current political system. In the contrary, an exclusive use of political name represents transiency, instability and historical discontinuity of the country.

Czechia: the map, coat of arms, national flag and the name in 24 European languages

General issues

Although, the geographic name Czechia was recommended for use by the relevant Czech institutions at the beginning of the modern Czech state, in a short time, it was quickly replaced by conventional political name, almost symmetrically reflecting the negative attitude of the political elite and the population to its Czech equivalent "Česko". partially from the initial unpreparedness of national Czechs at the time of the separation of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and the preponderant indifference to the new state's name. On the sutuation praticipated unpreparedness of the Czech part of Czechoslovakia on the disolution of state in 1993 and the relatively long time identifying with the new state formation. By far outweighing the ratio, the opposition to the name "Česko" has not contained any rational reasons, expressing purely subjective aestheticism of "I do not like it," without any officially proposed alternative (not only linguistically and historically justified). though the condition was due to the fact that no Czech authorities distributed as they were ordered. That is why he knows only a relatively small proportion of native English speakers. The cause was clearly disregard recommendations Experts and government institutions of their subordinates Executive Bodies (embassies and missions), originating mainly in personal or unqualified opinions on the issue. Thus, this claim is a typical substitution causes the effect. If the one-word name taken regularly from the beginning of the modern state, the problem should now He did not exist, because the name would naturally become quite common. Although the Czech name has been adopted over the years, his English translation of the above reasons, missed the broader media spectrum use and its presence is limited to scientific literature and people with higher education. Quite ordinary, unnatural practice became translate Czech geographical name called political. In the course of time, the absence of common name in mainstream media has lead to the claim with predominant reasons in half-truth predications, that the name Czechia  is not used, because was not naturally established and has not "caught up". That statement has been commonly used by opponents of the one-word name of the Czech state and represents typical interchanging of the cause and consequence, arising partially either from personal or unqualified opinions of contributors, partially from the initial unpreparedness of national Czechs at the time of the separation of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and the preponderant indifference to the new state's name. Erroneous interpretations of the problem places aside following facts andpremises:

While the name is not widespread, it is used by official institutions, in works of literature, it can be found among about 6,000.000 links and is mentioned in almost 15,000 English books on the internet. * The reasons for the situation do not arise from unacceptance of the name by English speaking lands
* The equivalent of the name is used in the overwhelming majority of other languages
* There is no possibility for people to accept and embody the name in English, that is in disuse by institutions and other parties, that are destined to that purpose from rules of law
The political name of a country cannot substitute its geographical name in proper meaning. The name "Czech Republic", is the administratively-political name of the state, while "Czechia," is the denomination for the geographical and settlement-historical unit, which is independent of actual political regimes and is therefore from this point of view neutral. Political establisments change, but the geographic unit remains the same.

Rules of law

In the beginning of the new Czech state in 1993, the appropriate institutions of English speaking lands agreed and conveyed, that they will respect any proposal of the name in English from the Czech side. The decree of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in its memorandum to all Czech embassies and diplomatic missions in 1993, recommended to use the full name "Czech Republic" only in official documents and titles of official institutions. "In all other cases, the one-word name Czechia should be preferred.

After more than 23 years of existence of the modern Czech state, the government of the Czech Republic decided (on May 2nd, 2016) about official registration of the English name Czechia and its equivalents in some other languages (French, Spanish, German, Arabic and Chinese) at the UN. It was realized on July 5th 2016. Since this date, the name Czechia is institutionalized as an official geographic name of the state.

J.Allen, C.Sutton: A Student Atlas of World Politics - Europe - geographic map


To oversee and determine Czech geographical names, main regulatory body is the Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping and Cadastre  (Český úřad zeměměřický a katastrální) [12]. The executive branch is its terminological commission, consisting of the government authorities, state authorities of the Czech Republic, scientific institutions of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Czech Language Institute, Institute of History) and Czech universities. The Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping and Cadastre published an English guide entitled Toponymic Guidelines of the Czech Republic, compiled in accordance with Resolutions No.4 of the 4th Conference, No.14 of the 5th conference and No.7 of the 6th Conference of the United Nations on standardization of geographical names. It is intended for foreign editors of maps and other works dealing with Czech toponyms. It is similar in form and content to the toponymic guidelines of other countries.

The geographical name of the Czech Republic "Česko" in Czech and foreign language versions (Czechia in English, Chequia in Spanish, Tchéquie in French, Tschechien in German, etc. - see the list of translations in "Linguistics" below) has been codified there and also in the publication "The United Nations Geographical Nomenclature Lists - The Names of States and their territorial parts“ already in 1993.

The name was also accepted by English speaking geographists, which is, for example, documented by the book "European culture area: systematic geography of Europe" by Alexander B. Murphy, Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov and Bella Bychkova Jordan : "As for the names of independent countries, we have opted for commonly used anglicized short forms rather than formal country names (e.g., Germany instead of Federal Republic of Germany). The one case that might be less familiar to readers concerns the Czech Republic. Increasingly one hears the short form Czechia. Even though that name is not as widely known as other truncations (e.g., Slovakia for the Slovak Republic), we have decided to use Czechia for consistency and to reflect its growing use in the country itself."

UNGEGN : Zeměpisná jména zemí - Česko / Czechia, Chequia, Tchéquie, Tschechien, atd.


The name Czechia is created naturally, in terms of linguistics. The suffix -ia (originally Latin) is a frequent phenomenon in the English language and the word is derived naturally from the name of the nationality of the majority population of a country. As the name has its origin deep in Czech history in Latin denomination (see below), the choice not to use the English name "Czechia," falls short of any validity, whether linguistic or historical. In addtition, the name has the same suffix as all particular Czech lands, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.  Czechia has an equivalent in other languages and in the significant majority of them it is obvious, that the natural formation comes from the original Latin form (see the table).

Czechia translations

The acceptance of a one-word name for the state in Czech has been riddled in disagreement by Czech citizens and officials since the separation of Czechoslovakia. During the second half of the 1990s¸ most people accepted the name "Česko" because there was no alternative. Now, "Česko" is commonly used by the overwhelming majority of all Czech newspapers, on the internet and TV. Since 2010, "Česká republika" (Czech Republic) has been substituted by "Česko" (Czechia), also on the Czech Wikipedia page. It is worth noting that the Czech National Geographic is called, "National Geographic Česko". The name Czechia has had a similar destiny as its Czech equivalent had, but more complicated, because its wider application depends on the activity of Czech state insitutions and representatives.

It can be said, that the long-running problem in the Czech language has been intuitively transported also into the "lingua franca" of today. There has not been any disagreement in English speaking lands concerning the official one-word name for the newly formed country, they accepted Czechia in the beginning without any objection, and the appropriateness of the name was also confirmed by English linguists and other specialists (e.g. Royal Geographical Society, prestigious publishing houses Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, etc.). In 1999, the Association of Communication Agencies (AKA) in cooperation with the New York American Marketing Association and the London Institute of Practitioners in Advertising carried out a survey opinion, asking five hundred native English speakers about the name Czechia. 99% of participants responded: "No problem and do it now".


The name Czechia is ab solutely not an ad hoc invention. His most oldest documented records can be found in the file Jiří Barthold Pontanus of Breitenberk "Hymnorum sacrorum, beatissima de Maria Virgine et Patronis S. S. R. Bohaemiae, Libri Tres," Introducing the Virgin Mary and the Czech saints issued in Prague in 1602. Another document of the occurrence of this word is in the work "Respublica Boiema" by Czech writer Pavel Stránský [20], published in the Dutch town Leiden in 1634. A further reference is revealed in is the part no. XXXIII (in Act 3) "Aria. Allegro. En duplo sole Czechia" from the melodrama-oratorial musical composition Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis conspicua orbi regia Bohemiae Corona – Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslao (Under the olive tree of peace and palm tree of virtue the Crown of Bohemia splendidly shines the whole world – Melodrama of Saint Wenceslas), written by Czech Baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka in 1723. Similarly, in the case of the inscription on the base of the statue of St. Wenceslas in Libochovice from 1761, where the text "Vir Sactus Wenceslaus, Invictus Rex Czechiae Laureavit Leon Gloriosa" sounds in the same spirit (see detail of the inscription here). Generally, the name occurs very often in the baroque Latin.

Left: Page No. 204 of the book by Jíří Barthold Pontano with the chapter about St.John Nepomuk; right: the statue of St.Wenceslas in Libochovice from 1761

Another document of the occurrence of this word is in the work "Respublica Boiema" by Czech writer Pavel Stránský [20], published in the Dutch town Leiden in 1634. A further reference is revealed in is the part no. XXXIII (in Act 3) "Aria. Allegro. En duplo sole Czechia" from the melodrama-oratorial musical composition Sub olea pacis et palma virtutis conspicua orbi regia Bohemiae Corona – Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslao (Under the olive tree of peace and palm tree of virtue the Crown of Bohemia splendidly shines the whole world – Melodrama of Saint Wenceslas), written by Czech Baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka in 1723.

The oldest evidence of the English substantive word "Czech" in substantive (inhabitant, language) and and its adjective derivative (national) comes from 1840. The first historical record of using the word Czechia in English comes from the book by Henry and Thomas Rose "A New General Biographical Dictionary Projected and Partly Arranged" from 1841, another one we can find e.g. in the report about Prussian-Austrian war in Australian newspaper "The Mercury" from 23rd May, 1866 : where is written (see documents below).

Left: The first historical record of the name Czechia in English from 1841 -Henry and Thomas Rose: "A New General Biographical Dictionary Projected and Partly Arranged" ; right: The report from Prussian-Austrian war in Australian newspaper "The Mercury", May 23, 1866

The use of the name Czechia in North American press in 20's and 30's of 20th century was common. One for all examples comes from the article "Literary history of the Czechs", published on January 4, 1925 by The New York Times. The name is used there for the Czech state in historical context and is a reference to the Czech lands in its timeless national and geographical continuity (see the press cutting). This fact supports the assertion of Czech specialists to use this name for the Czech state in general, regardless of historical period or momentary political system: "...As Czechia can denominate our country in any historical period and in any social and political conditions...".

The article "Literary history of the Czechs" in The New York Times from January 4, 1925 [19]

In German, the oldest record of the equivalent one-word name, Tschechien, is from 1876, which was published in the book Bilder aus Böhmen, in Italian (Cechia) from 1927 (publication Rivista italiana di Praga) and in French (Tchéquie) from 1936.

It is evident that the name Czechia is not a neologism, as has been sometimes claimed, though previously unknown in English [23]. Former initial proposals for the Czech state: "Czechland" or "Czechlands", however linguistically correct, were rejected by experts as less proper from a historical point of view.

Names of the country, its territorial parts & their meanings [22]


As was shown, the problem of using a one-word name for the Czech Republic does not stem from native English speakers, but rather from Czechs themselves. The unwillingness of Czech institutions to support the widespread use of Czechia in English is evident [24], contrary to directions of the Czech foreign ministry. In addition, some initiatives of Czech embassies and other official institutions abroad to press on their partners to NOT use the geographical name of the land have been preserved (as one of many examples, the Czech ambassador in London protested when he saw the map of Czechia with the geographical name in the media), being supported by inauspicious personal opinions of some leading Czech politicians. The same pressure was also exerted on some other European countries (France, Italy, Spain, etc.), that partially accepted that requirement, however the reasons for it have never been exactly formulated and (if they were conveyed at all) were predominantly limited to a vague assertion, that Czechs don´t like the one-word name, although in the overwhelming majority, Czech people are not concerned with the name Czechia in other languages.

The statements of politicians from English speaking lands and simultaneously the exact description of the whole problem was most accurately expressed in a letter from the British embassy in Prague (April 4, 2000) signed by Giles Portman, Second Secretary, Press and Politics: "I fully understand your arguments for the use of the name Czechia as a direct, English language equivalent to Česko. But, 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.“[25].

Social spheres

The name Czechia has not predominated major areas of social activities yet, however its usage is hard to ignore, as seen in organizations involved in international trade and industry, culture, sports, schools, and all kinds of international contacts.

Some Czech opponents of the English one-word name Czechia explain their negative attitude by the assertion, that the name "is not expanded abroad and can not be found on maps" (but for its own expansion, either do nothing or worse, discourage foreign partners from its use, as was mentioned above), however the name is commonly published in official geographical literature [26], student textbooks [27], student atlases (see the part of J.Allen′s & C.Sutton′s Student Atlas of World Politics above), tourist guides [28], tourist road atlases [29] and maps [30]. The largest pictorial encyclopedia of the unique historical, architectural and natural monuments of the Czech Republic bears also the name "Czechia" [31]. Also World Civic Heraldry Guide, an internet heraldic databases of coats of arms and flags, uses of this geographical name of the land [32].

Czechia - Picture encyclopedias in German and English . Road atlas of Czechia [31],[29]

In the past, some Czech trade companies complained, that the name "Czechia" can be mixed up with names of some other states. The main problem was seen in their confusion by alleged similarity to "Chechnya" (or "Chechenia") and that problem was seriously discussed in Czech media, despite the fact that in the majority of cases the journalists themselves used incorrect spelling "Czechnia" or "Czecnia" [33]. What is more, the concerns arose without confirmation by multiple evidence of that problem. That fallacy was repeatedly explained by geographists and linguists [34], but sometimes it is still mentioned as problematic, which is in sharp contrast to the existence of many Czech trade companies with the name "Czechia" in their trade marks.

As the need of a one-word name for a land is natural and the proper name Czechia has not been widespread, it has been occasionally substituted by "Czech" - a simple abbreviation of the political name "Czech Republic", despite the fact that this is the adjective form and is grammatically incorrect, unparalleled in the English language [35]. This misuse of using "Czech" for the name of the country, has sometimes been upheld as some natural development of the English language, but there is not any substratum for that allegation in English grammar [36]. It is another kind of misinterpretation, because that wrong use arose only from Czech sources (e.g. well known Czech beer Pilsner Urquell with inscription "Pilsen . Czech" on the label; national ice-hockey team jerseys, sport caps, souvenirs, etc.).

Expedition Czechia - Montenegro

All these mistakes have been rejected officially many times by experts [37], but never fully accepted by appropriate institutions, that largely changed it for some "compromise" (e.g.Czech Olympic Committee, using Czech Team or Czech Ice Hockey Association Czech Ice-Hockey Team), that does not have any parallel in standard official designations worldwide (the standard assignment uses the name of the country, e.g. "Team Canada"). In other cases, they have ignored all arguments and protests.

No, I am from CZECHIA ! Grammatical mistake of "Czech" as the name of the country in comparison with standard English derivation of language forms

Vladimír Hirsch (2011)



1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, Oxford University Press, 1989
2. ^ United Nations: The names of states and their territorial parts
3. ^ Jeleček L.: Czechia. In: Encyclopedia of World Environmental History. Eds. S. Krech III, J. R. McNeill, C. Merchant, Vol.I., A Berkshire Reference Works, Routledge, New York &, London, pp. 279–280
4. ^ Krejčí P.: Item 1 - Czech independence, "Don't be afraid of Czechia, it needs your help!"
5. ^ European Union / Euweb
6. ^ Martson S. et al.: World Regions in Global Context: Peoples, Places, and Environments, 4th edition. Prentice Hall, Boston, 411 p. (2011)
7. ^ Hirsch V.: Czechia - the civic inititive
8. ^ Czechia in Google Books -
9. ^ Krejčí P.: Don't be afraid of Czechia, it needs your help! (2008)
10. ^ Lutterer I., Šrámek R.: Preface to the book "Zeměpisná jména v Čechách, na Moravě a ve Slezsku. Slovník vybraných zeměpisných jmen s výkladem jejich původu a historického vývoje (Geographical names in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. The dictionary of selected geographical names with the interpretation of their origin and historical development"), 2004, p.3-4
11. ^ Instructions of the Foreign Ministry of the Czech Republic (26th February 1993, ČSN ISO 3166-1, 1998)
12. ^ Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping and Cadastre - basic info (in Czech)
13. ^ Information No.489/2003 Sb. (collection of laws) of the Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping and Cadastre about the releasing of The List of States. Ratified December 18, 2003. Legal with efficiency since January 1, 2004 (4-21). Published in the „Collection of Laws“ of the Czech Republic, No.160/2003, p.8422
14. ^ Murphy, A. B, Jordan-Bychkov, T. G., Bychkova-Jordan Bella: The European culture area: a systematic geography. 5th ed., Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, p.XV.
15. ^ Horová E.: "Where are your from ? I am from Czechia", original version
16. ^ Czech Republic Country Guide
17. ^ Czech Wikipedia: Česko
18. ^ Protocol about public hearing of the Senate of the Czech Republic on the theme "Literary distinction of Czech Republic and Czechia", p.42, 1999
19. ^ Literary history of the Czechs, The New York Times, January 4, 1925
20. ^ Pavel Stránský - Czech Wikipedia
21. ^ Lutterer I., Šrámek R.: The preface to the book "Geographic names in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. The dictionary of selected geographical names..."), 2004, p.3-4
22. ^ Czech dialogue ("Magazine for Czechs at home and abroad"): Czechia ? Yes ! (2007)
23. ^ How is Česko in English - the answer has been existed for more than 16 years, Czech dialogue, 2009
24. ^ Velíšek Z.: What’s in a Name? Identity Politics in "Czechia"
25. ^ Horová E.: Record of Proceedings of the 7th Public Hearing of the Senate, May 11, 2004 (Czech)
26. ^ Martson, S. et al.: World Regions (3)
27. ^ Allen, J., Sutton, C.: A Student Atlas of World Politics, 9th Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 240 p.
28. ^ Nations online: One World: Czech Republic
29. ^ Road atlas "Česko - Czechia - Tschechien"
30. ^ Road map "Česko - Tschechien - Czechia" (Freytag & Berndt)
31. ^ Thomová S., Thoma Z.: Czechia - picture encyclopedia
32. ^ World Civic Heraldry Guide: Coats of arms and flags of cities, regions, states
33. ^ The infinite dispute Czech Republic vs. Czechia - (in Czech)
34. ^ Krejčí P.: The Chechnya Fallacy
35. ^ Marianna O.: Czechia - The Czech Republic
36. ^ - Czech
37. ^ Open letter to the Czech Olympic Foundation, Czech Sports Union, politicians, business people, media, etc.", National Geographic, 2001 38. ^ Country index (
* Jeleček, L.: Codification of the names Česko / Czechia from 1993, NP, 2001
* Codebook of states in the Collection of Laws of the Czech Republic, no.160/2003
* Čižmárová, L., Felix, J., Horová, E., Jeleček, L., Krejčí, P., Schnur, P.: To the question of verbal and visual presentation of the Czech state (K otázce verbální a vizuální prezentace českého státu). In: Czech Hospitality and Tourism Papers: no.5, p.86–97. ISSN 1801-1535, 2007
* Krejčí, P.: 15 years of independent Czech state; Masaryk University, Brno, 2008
* Čižmárová, L.: About peripeteias of the development of the name of our state and attitudes to them since 1918 (K peripetiím vývoje názvů našeho státu a postojů k nim od roku 1918). Naše řeč, 82, no.1, pp.1-15., 1999 (in Czech)
* Felix J.: Česko proniká do běžného slovníku (The name Česko is pervading into common vocabulary) - Yearbook 2002, Technical University in Liberec, pp.155-161, (in Czech)
* Hirsch V.: The name is a fate (Jméno je osud), 2011 (in Czech)
* Jeleček, L.: On the geographic name of the Czech Republic. Geographica Supplementum No 2/I, Bratislava 1999, pp. 279–285
* Krejčí, P.: Česko has has its official english translation for 16 years. Vesmír, 88, March 2009, pp. 200–202
* Bičík R., Perlín R.: Press statement on the importance of the correct use of this country’s name in foreign languages (2001)
* Jeleček L.:On the geographic name of the Czech Republic, 2nd Slovak-Czech-Polish Geographical Seminar, Bratislava, September 1–5, 1999
* Horová E., Jeleček L., Krejčí P.: "Where are you from?" – "I am from Czechia!" Bulletin of the Czechoslovak Studies Association, Vol. 31, No. 2, Fall 2008. Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA, pp. 7–10
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Francis Tapon

"Many countries have long, flamboyant names. One the worst offenders is The United States of America. What a mouthful! Fortunately, we have shorter versions (USA or America). Other countries with long-winded names have a short alternative: The People’s Republic of China (China or PRC), The Russian Federation (Russia), and The Republic of Moldova (Moldova). Unfortunately, the Czech Republic hasn’t popularized a catchy word to call itself. In an effort to promote one, we’ll use the best candidate: Czechia. That way, when someone asks, “Where are you going?” or “What country makes the best beer?” you can say, Czechia, instead of the Czech Republic."

The fragment from the book "The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us" by the traveler and writer Francis Tapon, where the author describes his personal insights and views of East European countries, which are usually hidden for common visitors, going deeper inside society and historical connotations without stopping to be - with natural American ease - entertaining and humorous. No surprise, he takes a note and comments also Czech "original" nonsensical preference of the use of denomination of their country by formal political name, joyfully discovering and recommending "Czechia" as a natural and informal name of the country. For more see: Francis Tapon - The Hidden Europe

Jiří Šitler

On May 2, 2016, the government of the Czech Republic decided to notify Czechia to the UN as the short alternative of the country´s English name, and on July 1, it was officially entered into the UN databases. Heated discussions preceded this resolution, with many considering the word „ugly“, and with even more erroneously believing that it was to replace „the Czech Republic“. So what´s in the name?

In the past, there might have been some confusion about the country´s geography – the playwright Ben Jonson mocked his rival Shakespeare that he „in a play brought in a number of men saying they had suffered a shipwreck in Bohemia, where there is no sea near by some 100 miles.“ But there was no doubt about its English name.

For centuries, the country was called Bohemia in English and Latin, a name derived from the Celtic tribe of Boii who resided there in antiquity. The famous English cartographer John Speed wrote in 1626: „There remains no great difficulty, concerning the name. (…) And it is worth observing, that though this land hath in sundry ages been so often ransacked, and possessed by strangers, and tyrants: yet in her name she constantly preserves the memory only of her first natives, and hath not suffered that change, as we have done, from Albion to Britain, from Britain to England".

In 1348, the Roman emperor and King of Bohemia Charles IV introduced the concept of the Crown of Bohemia (Corona regni Bohemiae in Latin), a term which designated the whole state, not only its core territory. And at least since then, it was sufficiently clear also to English authors that „under the name of Bohemia, in general, are included the kingdom of Bohemia, the duchy of Silesia, and the marquisate of Moravia“ (Universal Magazine, 1756). Early editions of Encyclopaedia Britannica used the term Bohemia in this broad sense, while other publications resorted to composite names like Bohemia and incorporated provinces, Bohemia and its annexed provinces, Bohemian dominions, Bohemian lands etc. In the narrower sense, the term Bohemia Proper was frequently used.

However, the language of the diet and courts in medieval Bohemia was primarily Czech, not Latin (until 1627-8, when German was introduced by the Habsburg dynasty as the second official language of the country, and for a certain time replaced Czech as the language of elites; but this is another story). In old Czech, Bohemia was always called Cžechy, after the Slavonic tribe which settled the country around the 6th century, and the Crown of Bohemia was called Koruna cžeská, until 19th century orthographic reforms when cž was replaced by č (Čechy, Koruna česká).

In 17th – 18th centuries, it became fashionable to use the Czech name also in Latin: the word Czechia was coined as an alternative to Bohemia, and it appears in thousands of documents, books, inscriptions, and even arias. In 1769, a "Historical, chronological and critical inquiry into the issue how and when Bohemia started to be called Czechia and its inhabitants Czechs“ was published in Latin.

Although contemporary English authors were aware that „Bohemians in their own language call themselves Czechians“, they didn´t adopt the Latin scholarly fashion. It was only in the 19th century when the word „Czech“ gained frequency in English, and Bohemian lands began to be called alternatively Czechian provinces, Czech lands, or, from 1841, also Czechia.

Many Czech politicians, including the Czech-American (or, how he would prefer to be called, Bohemian-American) Charles Jonas, didn´t like this terminological shift: „We are Bohemians: and if we were to lose this name, I really don´t know how they should call us here. The word „Czech“ is a riddle to everybody,“ he wrote in 1875.

Officially, the country was still represented as Bohemia in the early Olympic games, in FIFA, or the International Ice Hockey Federation (Czechs´ favourite sports). Bohemian lands might have been provinces of Austria-Hungary at the time (the result of a gradual amalgamation process which began in the 17th century), but in sports, they asserted their independence, as Wales or Scotland today.

Also the future president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, when he embarked on his fight for political independence from Austria-Hungary during the World War I, made it clear in his Independent Bohemia, a memorandum presented in 1915 to the British government, that „the Bohemian State would be composed of the so-called Bohemian countries, namely of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia; to these would be added the Slovak districts of North Hungary.“

Although Slovaks are ethnically and linguistically related to Czechs, historically, they were never included in the Bohemian state. Out of consideration for them, the country founded on October 28, 1918 was named the Czechoslovak Republic. Not everybody was pleased by this decision: the famous writer Karel Čapek stated, in an article co-authored by his brother Josef, that it was „incorrect and unattractively sounding“. The National Geographic Magazine called the name „awful“ and an „unfair handicap“.

However, Czechs transformed into Czechoslovaks with great enthusiasm, and identified with the liberal and democratic republic, until it was crushed by Nazi Germany in 1938 – 1945 and dominated by Soviet Union in 1948 – 1989. When the country dissolved into the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1992, the Czechs still fondly claimed the continuity with Czechoslovakia in the preamble to the constitution, which was drafted by Václav Havel and begins with following words: „We, the citizens of the Czech Republic in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, at this time of the reconstitution of an independent Czech State, true to all the sound traditions of the ancient statehood of the Lands of the Crown of Bohemia as well as of Czechoslovak statehood…“. In 1993, the Czech Republic registered only its formal name with the UN. Its short version Czechia sounded too much like an amputated version of Czechoslovakia.

However, in the UN databases, countries usually register both their formal name and their short name (f. i. French Republic – France) in English and other UN working languages. Almost 24 years after the split, the government hoped that the wounds were healed, and decided to go ahead with the registration. Choosing the country´s short international name wasn´t a creative exercise: it was a choice from what history had to offer. While Bohemia would have been a historically sound option, it doesn´t correspond with the formal name, and moreover, it is now commonly used only in the narrow sense, as the name of Bohemia proper, not including Moravia and Silesia. The name Czechia has a decent pedigree dating back to at least 1602. It isn´t intended to replace the Czech Republic, but it will hopefully replace the awkward formula „what´s now the Czech Republic“ in historical and geographical contexts.

More importantly, the republic will hopefully remain, in the words of its constitution, „a free and democratic State founded on respect for human rights and on principles of civil society, as a member of the family of European and World democracies“.

If anybody needs to be convinced that, despite the name changes, this is still the same country, he or she may be reassured by reading what John Speed wrote in 1626 about its people: they produce and export „excellent beere. For they are held very good at the art of brewing, and not behind-hand at drinking when they have done.“

Cheers, Czechia!

Radio Prague, July 7, 2016

Petr Pavlínek:

What do you think about the president's comment urging the name change from the Czech Republic to Czechia ?

The president did not urge the name change from the Czech Republic to Czechia. This is a gross misinterpretation by the media of what has actually happened. The president urges the use of the short name “Czechia” in English in informal everyday speech and for non-official purposes in addition to “the Czech Republic”, which is an official political name and which should be reserved for official political purposes, such as international political treaties. As the official political name of the country, “the Czech Republic” refers to the country’s current political system and is, therefore, historically transient. We need a permanent geographic name for the country, which does not change with its political system over the centuries. Therefore, we welcome the president’s effort to spread the use of the short geographic name “Czechia” in English. The equivalent of Czechia is used in all other languages. English seems to be the only exception. The main reason for this situation has been the inability of Czech political leaders to clearly tell the world how their country should be called in English other than with its official political name for the past 20 years. All other newly created countries in East-Central Europe, such as Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania etc., were clear about their short informal names in English from the very beginning of their existence and the rest of the world has respected their choice. The Czech president is now attempting to rectify this situation in the case of the Czech Republic.

Do you think there are benefits to having the name of the country be one word versus two ?

It is not about a one- or two-word name of the country. It is more about the distinction between a permanent geographic name and an official political name. All European countries have commonly used geographic names referring to particular countries regardless of their momentary political regime. In the vast majority of cases these are short one-word names. The only exception is Great Britain. Still, even Great Britain is a geographic name referring to a particular geographic area irrespective of Britain’s political system that is reflected in country’s official political name (The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). The Czech Republic as an official political name for the country is the only exception in Europe and one of the very few countries in the entire world that is using an official political name for all purposes. Using short geographic names has many benefits and this is why the vast majority of countries do use them. There is obviously a need for a short informal name. Otherwise, people would not be using grammatically incorrect “I am from Czech” or “Brewed in Pilsen, Czech”, “Made in Czech” etc. It should correctly be “I am from Czechia”, “Brewed in Pilsen, Czechia”, “Made in Czechia” etc.

How about the fact that people still use the term Czechoslovakia - will this help that ?

The fact that people still use the term Czechoslovakia suggests that they know little about Europe’s contemporary political map. Still, Czechoslovakia was a short geographic name for the Czechoslovak Republic, Czecho-Slovak Republic, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and for the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, which were all its official political names at various times during the existence of Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1992. In this sense, the transition from Czechoslovakia to Czechia makes sense and should make it easier. People will learn to use Czechia only if it is used by the media, politicians and in various publications the same way we use short names of other countries, such as Austria, Russia, Croatia, Slovakia, Australia, Nigeria, Ethiopia etc.

And do you think people might get it confused with Chechnya ?

Some people might confuse Czechia with Chechnya as they confuse Australia with Austria, Slovakia with Slovenia, and Latvia with Lithuania etc. These other countries did not resort to the use of their political names just because someone can confuse them. And some people do confuse Chechnya with the Czech Republic too as we could see it in the media after the Boston marathon bombing earlier this year. Therefore, this potential confusion of Czechia with Chechnya by some people is not a legitimate reason for not using Czechia. It is the problem of those people who lack basic geographic literacy and not the problem of the name of the country. Additionally, Chechnya is not an independent and internationally recognized country, which makes the confusion with Czechia at the international level less likely once people start hearing and using Czechia. The only way to prevent the confusion is to actually start using Czechia. It is all about getting used to Czechia by using it. There is no legitimate reason why the Czech Republic, as the only country in Europe, should only be using its official political name. In this sense, I strongly support the effort of the Czech president to spread the term “Czechia” by actually using it in addition to the official political name “the Czech Republic”. Czechia is not a new word as some people argue. It was first used in 1633 and has been commonly used in Latin. The first recorded use in English is in 1866 by the Australian newspaper The Mercury and the New York Times commonly used Czechia during the Czechoslovak "first republic" (1918-1939). 

Interview with Petr Pavlínek, professor of geography at University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA, October 21, 2013

Zdeněk Velíšek:

Czech journalist and well-known correspondent of Czech TV writes in his excellent analysis of the identity crisis in politics in Czechia: "...The Czech Republic does not in fact have such a name despite the existence of one from eighteenth century: "Česko". And, if we were to use Česko, we would be known in English as Czechia".

And in the other place of the article we can found the basic comment of contemporary state: "...The awkwardness which surrounds the name of our country in international media and foreign speech has handicapped us. We do not relize it, but irritation, disrespect, and misperception of the Czech geographical and political reality underlie this awkwardnes. Czechia belongs on the map of Europe; the history of Czechia and the Czechs is much longer than the history of our republican state system".

The New Presence (summer 2009)

John Mole:

Understanding the nature of cultural diversity is one thing-managing it day-to-day is quite another! When doing business internationally, culture shock - and sometimes culture clash - is unavoidable. The American economist John Mole's Mind Your Manners is a comprehensive guide that explores cultural aspects of dozens of individual European countries as they relate to global business. Mole describes Europe's extraordinary political, economic, and social changes and demonstrates the broad cultural spectrum of European nations.

In the chapter, dedicated to our country and called "CZECHIA", he writes among other: "Since it became fully independent in 1993, the Czech government’s preferred name for its country has been Czechia. Why numerous organizations persist in calling it by its more inconvenient adjectival name (the Czech Republic), especially when they are happy to call the Slovak Republic Slovakia or the French Republic France, is a mystery..."

Nicolas Brealey Publishing (2003)

Alan Wildblood
American translator


For many years I tried to use "Czechia" in my work as a translator and film subtitler. Once I had a film for the EU and put "Czechia and Slovakia" on one line. No time to read "Republic" and besides it would be totally unbalanced, the line tipping to one side. It either has to be "Czechia and Slovakia" or "Czech and Slovak republics." My editors were fearful and the client was astonished that I would be so daring. And made me change it, of course. There are very few countries in this world that have two-word or longer names. The Germans seem to get away with Tschechien. As far as I know there are accepted one-word names for the republic in Polish and Czech. Why does English have to be so prim and proper?

Vladimír Hirsch


Czechia (read „checkia“) is the English short name of the Czech Republic. It is the English equivalent and translation (in proper transcription  [ˈtʃɛki.ə]) of the short name „Česko“ [ˈtʃɛskɔ] in Czech. The name was registered by the United Nations and included in the UNO Gazetteers of Geographical Names when the Czech Republic was formed in 1993. The name “Czech Republic” is the administratively-political name of the current state formation, while “Czechia" is the denomination for the Czech state as a more than 1200 years old geographical and settlement-historical unit, which is independent of actual political regimes.

Czechia (Česko) consists of three historical lands: Bohemia (Čechy), Moravia (Morava) and Czech Silesia (Slezsko). In the past, the entire country used to be called Bohemia in English. The term Bohemia originated from the Latin name of the territory that was settled by Celtic tribes Boii before the arrival of Czech tribes into the Czech territory. Consequently, the Czech people and their language were formerly called “Bohemian” in English. The term Czechia was first used in Latin at the beginning of the 17th century and the first evidence of its use in English is from 1866. The name was also commonly used in the United States in the first half of the 20th century during the existence of „Czechoslovakia“ for the Czech part of Czechoslovakia and in historical meaning by newspapers, such as the New York Times or Herald Tribune.

Thus, the name Czechia is not completely new and has a long tradition in English. Foreign countries and their politicians expressed their willingness to accept and use the short name Czechia when the Czech Republic was formed in 1993. In other languages, the equivalent of „Czechia“ is commonly used (Chequia in Spanish, Tchéquie in French, Tschechien in German, Chéquia in Portugal, Cechia in Italian, Чехия in Russian, Tjeckien in Swedish, etc.). Why then do we refuse to use Czechia in English and continue to mistakenly translate the short name Česko as „the Czech Republic“? The history of our country did not start in 1993 when it officially became the Czech Republic. The great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák - inter alia the founder of the American classical music in the 19th century - was not from the Czech Republic, because such country did not exist in that time, but he was from Czechia. Czechia is not so hard to learn and it is much easier to pronounce than Czechoslovakia, which so many people still remember today and pronounce with ease. Therefore, we do not see any problem in using Czechia by English speakers.

Some people call our country „Czech“, which is wrong. „Czech“ is an adjective, the name of the inhabitant of Czechia and of the Czech language, but surely not the country name. English speakers do not use French for France, Japanese for Japan or German for Germany. So, please, remember that we are not from “Czech” but we are from Czechia.

CzechThis (2014)


* "Combining the political name of a state with geographical names of other states appears communicatively unsuitable, stylistically clumsy, mannered, and undiplomatic"

From the "The opinion of geographers, linguists, historians, and other experts in science and humanities on the problem of the official one-word geographical name for the Czech Republic (from press conferrence at Albertov, Charles University, Prague, January 1998)

* "The one-word geographical name, used in Czech (Česko), should be appropriately translated by a one-word geographical one. If it is translated by the political name "the Czech Republic“, it leads to an undesirable shift of the meaning

The public hearing in the Senate of Czech parliament, May 11, 2004 (Eva Horová, linguist, 2004)

* "It is not possible to say that “ the beginning of the 15th century, the Hussite revolution broke out in the Czech Republic”. This one could break out only in Czech lands or in Czechia. The book called "History of France" can treat the whole historic period, the book called "History of the Czech Republic" only the history of Czechia (Czech lands) since 1968. This fact as well shows the need of an abbreviated one-word name of the state, which would be universal in time and in space.

On the geographic name of the Czech Republic (Leoš Jeleček, geographer, 1999)

* "If the state authorities had taken care of promotion of their own country from the very beginning, similar to other countries which arose from desintegration of former communist federations, the public would have soon taken into account that the well established "trade mark" Czechoslovakia continues as Czechia, and there would be nothing to discuss today.

Don't be afraid of CZECHIA, it needs your help ! (Pavel Krejčí, 2008) 

* A one-word name of the state represents permanency and timelessness of the statehood, regardless of political structure. Using only the political name represents all we don´t want - transiency, instability and historical discontinuity.

"Businessmen versus linguists", Hospodářské noviny, September 10, 2004 (Vladimír Hirsch. composer) 

* "If Hitler is to make good a nationality claim to Danzig he should first withdraw from Czechia…."

Robert C. Binklet, Cleveland, Ohio, July 25, 1939 


CZECHIA, not "Czech"!!!


Despite repeated protests, the articles about the name CZECHIA and also many minor edits mentioning the name, have been continuously deleted from English Wikipedia by some administrators, especially by "Yopie" and "Mewulwe" admins (nicknames), who have been focusing their efforts on erasing the word Czechia for years. Some journalists suggested it is a result of the struggle between supporters of the name "Czechlands" and "Czechia," but that information is not based on truth. All of those admins prefer to use "The Czech Republic," in every case, also in historical connotations. This is the reason why Wikipedia content contains such absurd titles like: "11th century in the Czech Republic" etc. The article "Czechia - one-word name of the Czech Republic" could be found only on the personal pages of contributors, but also that page and account of them were deleted (!)

In the case of second one, "Czechia - the name dispute," a vote was held about the wiki page deletion and despite the outcome being favorable for retaining the article, it was deleted. All protests against that behaviour were ignored or repeatedly followed by threats of blocking the user when there was a struggle to repost and keep the information online. The "objectivity" of Wikipedia is sufficiently highlighted by this situation . The word CZECHIA is simply prohibited there. Who is that much interested in it being hidden is a mystery, but a political reason seems highly probable.


GO CZECHIA (Czechia: The myths and facts
about the short English name of the Czech

Czechia - internet shop (t-shirts, caps, scarfs,
bracelets, accessories, etc.)

VISIT CZECHIA - Facebook page for tourists

CZECHIA - The Heart Of Europe
(internet webpages with basic information
about Czechia - geography, history, culture,
arts, sports, photogalleries, articles)

CZECHIA: Photogallery (cities, towns, castles,
nature and landscape, traditions, products, cuisine,
architecture and arts in Czechia in the largest
world picture database)

CZECHIA blog section of Vladimír Hirsch



Czechia on European Union Web



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