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Name Checkmate: Czecho, Czechia or . . . Czechland?

January 03, 1993|From The Washington Post

PRAGUE — When Czechs awoke to the new year, they may have recalled that they live in a new country, but they still remain in the dark about what to call it.

Officially, the Czech side of the amicable divorce that ended Czechoslovakia's 74-year history is to be known as the Czech Republic. But even the country's leaders concede that they need a less formal name for use by both themselves and foreigners.

So politicians, journalists and ordinary Czechs are testing several possibilities on their tongues. Some diplomats here are using "Czecho," the remains of the country's old name after Slovakia took its moniker home to Bratislava.

Many Czechs favor returning to the historic name of Bohemia, but that would outrage residents of the new country's other region, Moravia. And any suggestion that the names of those two regions be combined is immediately jettisoned because the Nazi occupation's Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia is too fresh a memory.

Not to fret, a solution is in sight: Czech Foreign Minister Jozef Zielenice told reporters: "Our traditional name is Czechland and in the future we will use this name. Of course, it could also be Czechia."

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