Last weekend, I also had the opportunity to meet a scholar visiting from the Czech Republic, who repeatedly referred to her nation as Czechia—a most sensible formulation which I subsequently found to have had official sanction since 1993 (along with Česko, the Czech equivalent), but which seems to be very slow to spread among English speakers, who perhaps still feel guilty about agreeing to carve up Czechoslovakia in 1938 and want to compensate by resisting any attempt to shorten the fuller form of its current name. However, feeling no guilt on that score despite my English heritage, I henceforth resolve to refer to that glorious center of historic dissidence as Czechia, plain and simple. In fact, I’ve just added Czechia to my list of country categories for this blog. I had already added Bohemia before, but that does no justice to Moravia, which has, if anything, an even greater tradition of religious dissidence.
Sure enough, the Czech Republic Country Guide says: “Czechia is the official one-word name of the Czech Republic. In 1993 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in its memorandum to to all Czech embassies and diplomatic missions recommended to use the full name ‘Czech Republic’ only in official documents and titles of official institutions.” I have often lamented the absence of a simple term like “Czechia” in English, but never realized that I could be helping to spread it and save people the trouble of constantly repeating “the Czech Republic.” I hereby join Joel in his resolve.