Name of the Czech Republic
The name of the Czech Republic derives from the Slavic tribe of Czechs (Czech: Češi). The Kingdom of Bohemia existed between 1085 and 1348, and from 1348 to 1918 it is referred to as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. After the break-up of the Habsburg Empire, which the kingdom was part of since the seventeenth century, the new country Czechoslovakia was created by the union of the Czech lands and Slovakia.
After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in the so-called "Velvet Divorce" of 1993, the name "the Czech Republic" (Czech: Česká republika) was created as the official long-form name. The official short-form Czech name for the Czech lands (i.e. Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia) is Česko. While almost all languages adopted variants of Česko for the short-form name at this time, the English equivalent "Czechia" //, though attested as early as 1841, is still quite rarely used in the English-speaking world, however, its usage is increasing.
The country is named after the Czechs (Czech: Čechové), 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).
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. Rakousy-Rakousko for Austria, Uhry-Uhersko 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) was created on 1 January 1969. On 6 March 1990 the Czech Socialist Republic was renamed the Czech Republic (Česká republika, ČR). 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. 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.
The use of the word "Česko" within the country itself has increased in recent years. 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; on the other side, individuals such as president Václav Havel and minister Alexandr Vondra have strongly opposed using these forms. In 1997, the Civic initiative Czechia was formed by linguists and geographers in Brno to promote the use of Czechia. 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.
The historical English name of the country is Bohemia. This name derives from the Celtic tribe of Boii, which inhabited the area from the 4th century BC. Boiohaemum, as it is known in Latin, comes from the Germanic “Boi-haima,” meaning "home of the Boii." The name survived all the following 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 Lands of the Bohemian Crown in the 14th century. The Bohemian state included the three historical Czech lands: Bohemia (Čechy) in narrower meaning, Moravia (Morava) and Czech Silesia (Slezsko). From the 14th century until 1635 it also included Upper and Lower Lusatia. In the early 17th Century, the English gentleman Fynes Moryson referred to the area as "Bohmerland" in his four volume published account of his tour of Europe. The higher hierarchical status of the Bohemian region led to that name being used for the larger country, with the people and language of this land being commonly referred to as Bohemian. During the 19th century national revival, the English word "Czech" (using antiquated Czech or Polish spelling) was adopted to distinguish between the Czech and German speaking peoples living in the country. The Latin form Czechia is attested as early as 1602 and was first used in English in 1841 (Poselkynie starych Przjbiehuw Czeskych - Messenger of the old Fates of Czechia). Other early uses occurred in 1856 and in an 1866 report on the Austro-Prussian War.
After the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire and the proclamation of the new Republic of Czechoslovakia in 1918, there were proposals to use the traditional name Bohemia for the newly formed state. After the establishment of Czechoslovakia, the name Czechia appeared in English, alongside the official name, as a reference to all the Czech lands and as a differentiation between the Czech and Slovak parts of the state. It was used at least as early as January 4, 1925; appearing in the article "Literary History of the Czechs", published by The New York Times. The name was used in the Anglophone press before the German occupation of the Czech lands in 1939.
Adoption of Czechia
With the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports recommended the use of the name Czechia. Other names proposed in the 1990s included Czechomoravia, Czechovia, Czechistan, and Czechlands. However, by 2000 a short name had still not been fully adopted by Czech authorities. At that time, the British secretary for press and politics Giles Portman showed a willingness to accept the name. Portman said: "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".
In 2013, Czech president Miloš Zeman recommended the wider official use of Czechia, and on 14 April 2016, the country's political leadership agreed to make Czechia the official short name. The new name was approved by the Czech cabinet on 2 May 2016 and was published in the United Nations UNTERM and UNGEGN country name databases on 5 July 2016. On 23 September 2016, the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names began advising Britons to use the name Czechia. On 26 September 2016, the International Organization for Standardization included the short name Czechia in the official ISO 3166 country codes list.  Google replaced the Czech Republic with Czechia on Google Maps on 18 January 2017.
The equivalent of the Czech short form "Česko" is in routine use by most other languages. In a few cases (for example Polish Czechy and Serbo-Croatian Češka/Чешка) this form had historically been used for Bohemia. Other languages adopted new short-forms such as تشيكيا (Tšīk[i]yā) in Arabic, and 捷克 (Jiékè in Mandarin) in Chinese. In most cases, the new form has more or less completely replaced the formal name for most usages. However, usage in Spanish and French remains mixed, with the forms Chequia and Tchéquie being used alongside the longer, formal name.
In the German language, the term applicable to the Czech part of Czechoslovakia used to be Tschechei (comparable to Slowakei, the German name for Slovakia). However, the usage of that term began to have negative connotations in connection with the National Socialists, who used the term Rest-Tschechei (remaining Czechia) when they annexed the western parts of Czechoslovakia in early 1939. Since the restoration of Czechoslovakia and after the Second World War, the term Tschechien is in use instead - as suggested by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as German and Austrian linguists. Tschechien is a term from the 19th Century that was originally used for the Czech lands that were part of Austria-Hungary. Nowadays, Tschechien is the frequently used short form whereas Tschechei has faded into obscurity.
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|Look up Czech Republic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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