The name of the Czech Republic derives from the Slavic tribe of Czechs (Czech: Čechové). Because the name of the country has evolved significantly over time both in Czech and other languages, it remains a source of debate and contention.
Nearly two decades after the split of Czechoslovakia into Slovakia (Slovak Republic) and the Czech Republic, the latter continues to be known by several competing names in English and Czech. "Czech Republic" (Czech: Česká republika) is the unquestioned long-form name.
The Czech term for the Czech lands (i.e. Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia) is Česko. Today, it is also the official short form for the Czech Republic, first documented in 1777. Česko and its foreign equivalents (e.g. German: Tschechien, Polish: Czechy) are also the terms officially preferred by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1993. However, the English equivalent "Czechia" // (which can be found as early as 1866) is rarely used in the English-speaking world.
The Czech name of the country comes from the Czechs (Czech: Čechové), a Slavic tribe residing in central Bohemia which 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 a legend, it comes from their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia. Research regards Čech as a sort of derivative from the root čel- (member of the people, kinsman).
There have been several variants of the name of the country used over the centuries depending mainly on the evolution of the Czech language. The digraph "cz" was used until the 15th century reform, being eventually replaced by "č" which changed the original Czechy into Čechy. In the late 19th century the names of countries started to lose the suffix -y in favor of -sko (e.g. Rakousy-Rakousko for Austria, Uhry-Uhersko for Hungary). While the first notion of Česko appears for the first time in the late 18th century, it came into official use only with the independence of Czechoslovakia (Česko-Slovensko or Československo) as the first part of its name in 1918. When Czechoslovakia broke up in 1993, the Czech part of the name was intended to serve as a name of the Czech state. The decision, however, started a dispute since many perceived the "new" word Česko, which had been only rarely used before alone, as harsh sounding or as a mere remnant of Československo, while the older and more familiar Čechy was rejected by many because it was primarily associated only with Bohemia proper and to use it also for the whole country was no longer seen as appropriate, especially among the inhabitants of Moravia, despite its being common in other languages (Polish, Slovene, etc.).
The use of the word "Česko" by the Czech media and public has increased in recent years, and it is also in official use now. But during the 1990s has been used rather rarely and viewed as controversial: some Czech politicians and public figures (e.g. medial magnate Vladimír Železný) expressed concern about the disuse of Česko and Czechia; on the other side another known persons (e.g. president Václav Havel or minister Alexandr Vondra) strongly opposed using of these forms of the name. Because of these controversies, in 1997 a civic initiative "Česko-Czechia" (formed by linguists and geographers) was established in Brno to promote short, geographical form of the name. The following year, a conference of professionals aimed at encouraging the use of the names was held at Charles University in Prague; moreover, the Czech Senate held a session on the issue in 2004.
The traditional name of the country in English is Bohemia. It comes from the Celtic tribe of Boii which inhabited the area from the 4th century BC. The original Latin name Boiohaemum comes from Germanic Boi-heim meaning "home of the Boii." The name survived all the following migrations affecting the area including the arrival of the Slavic tribes and creation of the Czech state. The country was then known officially as the Duchy, and later Kingdom, of Bohemia and from the 14th century as the Crown of Bohemia. The major change came in 1918 when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy disintegrated, the king of Bohemia was deposed and the new Republic of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed, despite the original proposals for using the traditional name of Bohemia for the new state. The new name reflected the union of Czech and Slovak people and contained for the first time in history the English variant "Czech", which was until then employed only to denote ethnic or Czech-speaking Bohemians. The Czech people and their language were for centuries called "Bohemian" in English. Only during the rise of nationalism in the 19th century did the derivative of the Czech endonym (using Polish spelling identical with the antiquated Czech) appear in English to distinguish between Czech- and German-speaking ethnicities living in the country.
With the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993 the question of the new short-form name appeared since the word "Czech" had been used only as an adjective or the name of the people and language but not the country itself. Despite the initial promotion by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the name "Czechia" this has never been adopted by the Czech and foreign authorities or the general public and remains as of 2012[update] only rarely used – with some exceptions in scholar circles. As "Czechia" remains uncommon, and the long form is unwieldy, uneducated people often resort to the adjective "Czech" (this is similar to "Dominican" used for the Dominican Republic and "Saudi" for Saudi Arabia).
The renaming of the country in 1918 and 1993 occurred also in the majority of other languages, with only a few (Polish Czechy, Hungarian Csehország, Slovene Češka, etc.) retaining the form used previously. Unlike English, many of those aforementioned languages successfully adopted also the new short-forms like Tschechien in German, Чехия (Chekhiya) in Russian and Bulgarian, Τσεχία (Tsechia) in Greek, Češka in Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian and Slovene, Cehia in Romanian, Tsjekkia in Norwegian, Tjeckien in Swedish, Tjekkiet in Danish, Tsjechië in Dutch or Çeki in Albanian. The Italian Cechia and the French Tchéquie are rarely used, while the Spanish Chequia is more common.
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