Top 10 historical names factsGeography quiz
Which country was formerly named Siam?
Thailand. The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens. Portuguese explorers named it Siam, possibly from the Chinese name “Xiam”. The name “Siam” was used officially by Thai government until 1939, when it was changed to Thailand. In 1945 the name reverted to Siam, and in 1949 reverted once again to Thailand.
Which country was formerly named Burma?
Myanmar. In 1989, the military government officially changed the English translations of many names dating back to Burma's colonial period or earlier, including that of the country itself: "Burma" became "Myanmar". Both these names are derived from the name of the majority Burmese Bamar ethnic group. Myanmar is considered to be the literary form of the name of the group, while Burma is derived from "Bamar", the colloquial form of the group's name.
Which country was formerly named Persia?
Iran. Historically, Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due mainly to the writings of Greek historians who called Iran Persis. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, Iran.
Which country was formerly named Zaire?
Congo. In 1971 the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko changed the name of Republic of Congo to Republic of Zaire. His goal was to replace all the post-colonial names (the capital Leopoldville was changed to Kishasa). However, changing the name of Congo to Zaire was curious, given that the name Congo, which referred both to the river Congo and to the ancient Kongo Empire, was fundamentally "authentic" to pre-colonial African roots, while Zaire is in fact a Portuguese corruption of another African word, Nzere ("river”). In 1997 the name was changed back to Republic of Congo.
Which country was formerly named East Pakistan?
Bangladesh. Between 1947-1971, the current country of Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan, known as the East Pakistan. It was the largest, the most populated and the richest region of Pakistan, completely separated from the rest of the country. In 1971, after 9-month-long war for independence, the province became the independent country of Bangladesh.
Which country was formerly named Rhodesia?
Zimbabwe. Initially, the territory was referred to as "South Zambezia", a reference to the River Zambezi, until the name "Rhodesia" came into use in 1895 (after Cecil Rhodes, whose British South Africa Company acquired the land in the late 19th century). In 1980, the country name was changed to Zimbabwe.
Which country was formerly named Dutch Guiana?
Suriname is a former Dutch Colony known as Dutch Guiana. The country changed its name in 1975, after gaining independence. The name “Suriname” comes from the main river of the country, and was used for the colony long before the official adoption.