After all, is Portugal playing with the Czech Republic or the Czech Republic? What has changed and why?  ::

After all, is Portugal playing with the Czech Republic or the Czech Republic? What has changed and why? ::

The name “Chéquia” has come up more and more frequently over the past few months, but the Portuguese started to realise it when they saw the country’s name appear next to Portugal in the League of Nations draw. As the duel loomed, problems began to arise, and some were even outraged when articles appeared in newspapers named “Chéquia” instead of the now traditional “Czech Republic.” The most common question is simple: “Why?”

zero zero Go for the answer and explain everything here so you can decide if you want to go ahead and say Czech Republic or Czech, because we hope on Thursday it will be necessary to talk about the Portuguese victory over another country’s opponent. But in the end which country? Czech Republic? Czech? Czechoslovakia? Bohemia?

A little history lesson

Let’s start with a brief contextualization of the facts. At the beginning of the country’s history, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia began to be called Bohemia because of the Celtic tribe Boii who lived there. However, the area that eventually bordered the Czech and Slovak parts was made up of two other territories, Moravia, due to the Morava River and Silesia (allegedly named after a German family who lived in the area).

As the years passed, in 1867 the Czech and Slovak regions became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, consisting of ten other countries. After the First World War, the empire finally disintegrated in 1918.

From that moment, the Czechoslovak state was born, which remained independent until 1939, and was later occupied by Germany after the signing of the Munich Agreement, or, as the Czechs know, the “Munich Judgment”, since the meeting had no Czech representation. Although the agreement determined that only part of Czechoslovakia belonged to Germany, Hitler eventually violated the treaty by invading the rest of Czechoslovakia and taking control of the city of Prague.

Demonstrations in PragueGetty /

After World War II, Czechoslovakia regained an independent status that did not last for many years. Czechoslovakia eventually signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union, but in 1945 the Communist Party took over the country. During this period, the country changed its name again and became known as the “Czechoslovak Socialist Republic”.

The country was under Soviet control for more than 40 years, but in 1989 the dissatisfaction of Czechoslovak residents sparked a revolution known as the “Velvet Revolution”, which was said to be peaceful and no deaths were registered .

Vaclav Havel became the first president after a communist regime, eventually leading the country’s name change – the Czech and Slovak Republics – for just three years. From 1990 to 1993, the two countries remained united until the moment of “Velvet Divorce”. The differences between the two countries became more and more pronounced, so both sides ultimately opted for a separation that was in their best interests.

On January 1, 1993, for the first time in their history, the two countries were officially called the Czech Republic and Slovakia, respectively.

You’ve noticed from the last few paragraphs that Bohemia and Czechoslovakia are the wrong names for Portugal’s opponents, but what about the other two?

Czech Republic or Czech Republic?

After all this contextualization and interpretation of constant names, you may be disappointed when you realize that interpretation of Céquia names is much simpler than it seems.

Czech celebrations after the Velvet RevolutionGetty/Peter Turnley

Maybe, when you were a kid, you played football, played with or met another kid with a longer or even more complicated name. For example, William. He may well decide to call him “expensive” before long. This is what happened in the Czech Republic.

To simplify matters, President Milos Zeman proposed that the Czech Republic’s abbreviated name be officially named “Czequia”, similar to other countries known by that name, such as the Portuguese Republic, often simply referred to as Portugal.

The measure was approved on April 15, 2016, and since then multiple agencies from the United Nations to the European Union, as well as brands such as Google and Apple, have officially recognized the Czech Republic as the Czech Republic.

However, contrary to President Milos Zeman’s thinking, the name “Czequia” was ultimately not flashy enough to clearly identify itself, so many people still use the name Czech Republic when referring to the country.

In fact, the English name even created some confusion.For example, when an American CNN reporter referred to the Boston Marathon bombers as “Chechens” [chechen, em inglês]from czech [Czechia, em inglês]», which led to the Czech ambassador to Washington, Pyotr Gandalovic, publicly correcting the reporter’s mistakes.

So to sum it all up, if you’re one of those Czech speakers, know you’re not wrong. But if you still haven’t managed to get the Czech Republic’s name out there, know that it’s not only not wrong, it’s far from the only one. Both are correct, although in terms of coherence it makes more sense to call the country Céquia because when referring to the Portuguese Republic it also says “Portugal”.

If you are more extreme and prefer to call the country the same way as the Czech (or Czech Republic) people, you can also say Česká Republika [República Checa] or Česko [Chéquia]but we estimate that you will have some difficulty pronouncing or even understanding these words.

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