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Countries that Start with the 2024

While there are 14 countries that unofficially start with "the," none of these countries' official names begin with it. These are countries that are commonly referred to with the word "the" at the start of the country's name because it sounds more natural than pronouncing the name alone.

Countries That Start With "the"

Several countries start with "the" as of 2023, but these titles only apply to their unofficial names. Check out this list of countries that start with the (in unofficial use):

So why do we add "the" to some countries? Well, what sounds better: "I'm going to Maldives" or "I'm going to the Maldives?" The effect is the same with countries like Philippines -- it just sounds better to say the Philippines.

The effect is most noticeable in countries that end in a plural -s. Bahamas, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Philippines, Solomon Islands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Mexican States, and United States of America are all great examples.

But in some cases, countries without a plural -s at the end still seem to sound more natural with "the" in front. Central Republic of Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Gambia, and United Kingdom are examples.

Official Names of Countries That Start With the 2023

When you begin to consider each country's official name, none of which start with "the" but often contain the word, the rules change even more.

For example, the official name of what we call the Bahamas is actually Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Gambia, in reality, is Republic of the Gambia. Maldives is Republic of the Maldives and Marshall Islands are Republic of the Marshall Islands.

It's easy to see why we tend to shorten this official name into "the Bahamas" or "the Maldives" when you consider that the word the is already in the name - just not at the start. And not many people refer to a country by its full, official name when there's a shorter nickname in common use.

It's okay to start a country's title with "the" if it's plural or commonly used. Just don't assume it's the official name!

  • Several country names are often preceded by 'the' when referenced in common speech (example: 'visiting the US' is the accepted usage as opposed to 'visiting US'). However, only The Gambia incorporates an official 'The' at the front of its name in nearly every circumstance.
  • Even the country's formal name, Republic of the Gambia, follows this construction.
  • This consistent use of the definite article 'The' is both a reference to the river after which the country is named and a deliberate effort to help differentiate The Gambia from fellow African country Zambia.

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Start with 'The'
Contain 'The'
BahamasThe Bahamas
Cayman IslandsThe Cayman Islands
DR CongoDemocratic Republic of the Congo
GambiaThe Gambia
Marshall IslandsRepublic of the Marshall Islands
MyanmarRepublic of the Union of Myanmar
NetherlandsThe Netherlands
NigerRepublic of the Niger
PhilippinesRepublic of the Philippines
Republic of the CongoRepublic of the Congo
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesSaint Vincent and the Grenadines
Solomon IslandsThe Solomon Islands
SudanRepublic of the Sudan
United Arab EmiratesThe United Arab EmiratesUAE
United KingdomThe United Kingdom/UK
United StatesThe United States/UK

How many countries start with 'the'?

Only two countries formally start with 'the' - The Gambia and The Bahamas.

Frequently Asked Questions