With 195 countries globally, there are a vast variety of long and short names, inspired by everything from famous people to popular sayings. You might not even realize, but some countries have a few different names or have recently changed their name. Some are even just descriptions of their geographic locations.
Of all the countries in the world, South Africa might have the most obvious name. This country is the 24th most populous in the world. It is the most southerly country in the continent of Africa, something you might have already guessed from its title.
Some nations have only acquired their names recently. For example, Burkina Faso in West Africa went by the Republic of Upper Volta until 1984, 24 years after gaining independence from France. It changed its name to reflect its new freedom and values.
Although in English it goes by Switzerland, the European country has a wide range of names in its four official languages. It also goes by ‘die Schweiz’ in German, ‘Svizra’ in Romansch, ‘Suisse’ in French, and ‘Svizzera’ in Italian. It also has an official title of the Swiss Confederation or the hard to spell ‘Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft’ in German.
- Burkina Faso
- Cook Islands
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Vatican City
Some of these countries are in a free partnership or inside other countries. For example, the Vatican City is inside Italy and the smallest country in the world at just 0.2 square miles. The Cook Islands work with New Zealand, which maintains responsibility for the islands' defense and foreign affairs but only in consultation with the 15 islands.