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This entry includes all forms of the country's name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (Italy is used as an example): conventional long form (Italian Republic), conventional short form (Italy), local long form (Repubblica Italiana), local short form (Italia), former (Kingdom of Italy), as well as the abbreviation (if applicable). Additionally, an etymology entry explains how the country acquired its name.  Also see the Terminology note.

Afghanistan

conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (prior to 15 August 2021); current country name disputed

conventional short form: Afghanistan

local long form: Jamhuri-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan (prior to 15 August 2021; current country name is disputed)

local short form: Afghanistan

etymology: the name "Afghan" originally referred to the Pashtun people (today it is understood to include all the country's ethnic groups), while the suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country"; so Afghanistan literally means the "Land of the Afghans"

Akrotiri

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Akrotiri

etymology: named for the village that lies within the Western Sovereign Base Area on Cyprus

Albania

conventional long form: Republic of Albania

conventional short form: Albania

local long form: Republika e Shqiperise

local short form: Shqiperia

former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania

etymology: the English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; the native name "Shqiperia" is derived from the Albanian word "Shqiponje" ("Eagle") and is popularly interpreted to mean "Land of the Eagles"

Algeria

conventional long form: People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

conventional short form: Algeria

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Jaza'iriyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash Sha'biyah

local short form: Al Jaza'ir

etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Algiers

American Samoa

conventional long form: American Samoa

conventional short form: American Samoa

former: Eastern Samoa

abbreviation: AS

etymology: the meaning of Samoa is disputed; some modern explanations are that the "sa" connotes  "sacred" and "moa" indicates "center," so the name can mean "Holy Center"; alternatively, some assertions state that it can mean "place of the sacred moa bird" of Polynesian mythology; the name, however, may go back to Proto-Polynesian (PPn) times (before 1000 B.C.); a plausible PPn reconstruction has the first syllable as "sa'a" meaning "tribe or people" and "moa" meaning "deep sea or ocean" to convey the meaning "people of the deep sea"

Andorra

conventional long form: Principality of Andorra

conventional short form: Andorra

local long form: Principat d'Andorra

local short form: Andorra

etymology: the origin of the country's name is obscure; the name may derive from the Arabic "ad-darra" meaning "the forest," a reference to its location as part of the Spanish March (defensive buffer zone) against the invading Moors in the 8th century; an alternate explanation is that the name originates from a Navarrese word "andurrial" meaning "shrub-covered land"

Angola

conventional long form: Republic of Angola

conventional short form: Angola

local long form: Republica de Angola

local short form: Angola

former: People's Republic of Angola

etymology: name derived by the Portuguese from the title "ngola" held by kings of the Ndongo (Ndongo was a kingdom in what is now Angola)

Anguilla

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Anguilla

etymology: the name Anguilla means "eel" in various Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French) and likely derives from the island's lengthy shape

Antarctica

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Antarctica

etymology: name derived from two Greek words meaning "opposite to the Arctic" or "opposite to the north"

Antigua and Barbuda

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Antigua and Barbuda

etymology: "antiguo" is Spanish for "ancient" or "old"; the island was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and, according to tradition, named by him after the church of Santa Maria la Antigua (Old Saint Mary's) in Seville; "barbuda" is Spanish for "bearded" and the adjective may refer to the alleged beards of the indigenous people or to the island's bearded fig trees

Arctic Ocean

etymology: the name Arctic comes from the Greek word "arktikos" meaning "near the bear" or "northern," and that word derives from "arktos," meaning "bear"; the name refers either to the constellation Ursa Major, the "Great Bear," which is prominent in the northern celestial sphere, or to the constellation Ursa Minor, the "Little Bear," which contains Polaris, the North (Pole) Star

Argentina

conventional long form: Argentine Republic

conventional short form: Argentina

local long form: República Argentina

local short form: Argentina

etymology: originally the area was referred to as Tierra Argentina, i.e., "Land beside the Silvery River" or "silvery land," which referred to the massive estuary in the east of the country, the Río de la Plata (River of Silver); over time the name shortened to simply Argentina or "silvery"

Armenia

conventional long form: Republic of Armenia

conventional short form: Armenia

local long form: Hayastani Hanrapetut'yun

local short form: Hayastan

former: Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, Armenian Republic

etymology: the etymology of the country's name remains obscure; according to tradition, the country is named after Hayk, the legendary patriarch of the Armenians and the great-great-grandson of Noah; Hayk's descendant, Aram, purportedly is the source of the name Armenia

Aruba

conventional long form: Country of Aruba

conventional short form: Aruba

local long form: Land Aruba (Dutch); Pais Aruba (Papiamento)

local short form: Aruba

etymology: the origin of the island's name is unclear; according to tradition, the name comes from the Spanish phrase "oro huba" (there was gold), but in fact no gold was ever found on the island; another possibility is the native word "oruba," which means "well-situated"

Ashmore and Cartier Islands

conventional long form: Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands

conventional short form: Ashmore and Cartier Islands

etymology: named after British Captain Samuel ASHMORE, who first sighted his namesake island in 1811, and after the ship Cartier, from which the second island was discovered in 1800

Atlantic Ocean

etymology: name derives from the Greek description of the waters beyond the Strait of Gibraltar, Atlantis thalassa, meaning "Sea of Atlas"

Australia

conventional long form: Commonwealth of Australia

conventional short form: Australia

etymology: the name Australia derives from the Latin "australis" meaning "southern"; the Australian landmass was long referred to as "Terra Australis" or the Southern Land

Austria

conventional long form: Republic of Austria

conventional short form: Austria

local long form: Republik Oesterreich

local short form: Oesterreich

etymology: the name Oesterreich means "eastern realm" and dates to the 10th century; the designation refers to the fact that Austria was the easternmost extension of Bavaria, and, in fact, of all the Germans; the word Austria is a Latinization of the German name

Azerbaijan

conventional long form: Republic of Azerbaijan

conventional short form: Azerbaijan

local long form: Azarbaycan Respublikasi

local short form: Azarbaycan

former: Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the name translates as "Land of Fire" and refers to naturally occurring surface fires on ancient oil pools or from natural gas discharges

Bahamas, The

conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas

conventional short form: The Bahamas

etymology: name derives from the Spanish "baha mar," meaning "shallow sea," which describes the shallow waters of the Bahama Banks

Bahrain

conventional long form: Kingdom of Bahrain

conventional short form: Bahrain

local long form: Mamlakat al Bahrayn

local short form: Al Bahrayn

former: Dilmun, Tylos, Awal, Mishmahig, Bahrayn, State of Bahrain

etymology: the name means "the two seas" in Arabic and refers to the water bodies surrounding the archipelago

Bangladesh

conventional long form: People's Republic of Bangladesh

conventional short form: Bangladesh

local long form: Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh

local short form: Bangladesh

former: East Bengal, East Pakistan

etymology: the name - a compound of the Bengali words "Bangla" (Bengal) and "desh" (country) - means "Country of Bengal"

Barbados

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Barbados

etymology: the name derives from the Portuguese "as barbadas," which means "the bearded ones" and can refer either to the long, hanging roots of the island's bearded fig trees or to the alleged beards of the indigenous Carib inhabitants

Belarus

conventional long form: Republic of Belarus

conventional short form: Belarus

local long form: Respublika Byelarus' (Belarusian)/ Respublika Belarus' (Russian)

local short form: Byelarus' (Belarusian)/ Belarus' (Russian)

former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the name is a compound of the Belarusian words "bel" (white) and "Rus" (the Old East Slavic ethnic designation) to form the meaning White Rusian or White Ruthenian

Belgium

conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium

conventional short form: Belgium

local long form: Royaume de Belgique (French)/Koninkrijk Belgie (Dutch)/Koenigreich Belgien (German)

local short form: Belgique/Belgie/Belgien

etymology: the name derives from the Belgae, an ancient Celtic tribal confederation that inhabited an area between the English Channel and the west bank of the Rhine in the first centuries B.C.

Belize

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Belize

former: British Honduras

etymology: may be named for the Belize River, whose name possibly derives from the Maya word "belix," meaning "muddy-watered"

Benin

conventional long form: Republic of Benin

conventional short form: Benin

local long form: Republique du Benin

local short form: Benin

former: Dahomey, People's Republic of Benin

etymology: named for the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies

Bermuda

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Bermuda

former: Somers Islands

etymology: the islands making up Bermuda are named after Juan de BERMUDEZ, an early 16th century Spanish sea captain and the first European explorer of the archipelago

Bhutan

conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan

conventional short form: Bhutan

local long form: Druk Gyalkhap

local short form: Druk Yul

etymology: named after the Bhotia, the ethnic Tibetans who migrated from Tibet to Bhutan; "Bod" is the Tibetan name for their land; the Bhutanese name "Druk Yul" means "Land of the Thunder Dragon"

Bolivia

conventional long form: Plurinational State of Bolivia

conventional short form: Bolivia

local long form: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia

local short form: Bolivia

etymology: the country is named after Simón BOLÍVAR, a 19th-century leader in the South American wars for independence

Bosnia and Herzegovina

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Bosnia and Herzegovina

local long form: none

local short form: Bosna i Hercegovina

former: People's Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

abbreviation: BiH

etymology: the larger northern territory is named for the Bosna River; the smaller southern section takes its name from the German word "herzog," meaning "duke," and the ending "-ovina," meaning "land," forming the combination denoting "dukedom"

Botswana

conventional long form: Republic of Botswana

conventional short form: Botswana

local long form: Republic of Botswana

local short form: Botswana

former: Bechuanaland

etymology: the name Botswana means "Land of the Tswana" - referring to the country's largest ethnic group

Bouvet Island

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Bouvet Island

etymology: named after the French naval officer Jean-Baptiste Charles BOUVET who discovered the island in 1739

note: pronounced boo-vay i-land

Brazil

conventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil

conventional short form: Brazil

local long form: República Federativa do Brasil

local short form: Brasil

etymology: the country name derives from the brazilwood tree that used to grow plentifully along the coast of Brazil and that was used to produce a deep red dye

British Indian Ocean Territory

conventional long form: British Indian Ocean Territory

conventional short form: none

abbreviation: BIOT

etymology: self-descriptive name specifying the territory's affiliation and location

British Virgin Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: British Virgin Islands

abbreviation: BVI

etymology: the myriad islets, cays, and rocks surrounding the major islands reminded explorer Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgin followers (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes), which over time shortened to the Virgins (las Virgenes)

Brunei

conventional long form: Brunei Darussalam

conventional short form: Brunei

local long form: Negara Brunei Darussalam

local short form: Brunei

etymology: derivation of the name is unclear; according to legend, MUHAMMAD SHAH, who would become the first sultan of Brunei, upon discovering what would become Brunei exclaimed "Baru nah," which roughly translates as "there" or "that's it"

Bulgaria

conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria

conventional short form: Bulgaria

local long form: Republika Bulgaria

local short form: Bulgaria

former: Kingdom of Bulgaria, People's Republic of Bulgaria

etymology: named after the Bulgar tribes who settled the lower Balkan region in the 7th century A.D.

Burkina Faso

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Burkina Faso

local long form: none

local short form: Burkina Faso

former: Upper Volta, Republic of Upper Volta

etymology: name translates as "Land of the Honest (Incorruptible) Men"

Burma

conventional long form: Union of Burma

conventional short form: Burma

local long form: Pyidaungzu Thammada Myanma Naingngandaw (translated as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar)

local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw

former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma, Union of Myanmar

etymology: both "Burma" and "Myanmar" derive from the name of the majority Burman (Bamar) ethnic group

note: since 1989 the military authorities in Burma and the deposed parliamentary government have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; the US Government has not officially adopted the name

Burundi

conventional long form: Republic of Burundi

conventional short form: Burundi

local long form: Republique du Burundi (French)/ Republika y'u Burundi (Kirundi)

local short form: Burundi

former: Urundi, German East Africa, Ruanda-Urundi, Kingdom of Burundi

etymology: name derived from the pre-colonial Kingdom of Burundi (17th-19th century)

Cabo Verde

conventional long form: Republic of Cabo Verde

conventional short form: Cabo Verde

local long form: Republica de Cabo Verde

local short form: Cabo Verde

etymology: the name derives from Cap-Vert (Green Cape) on the Senegalese coast, the westernmost point of Africa and the nearest mainland to the islands

Cambodia

conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia

conventional short form: Cambodia

local long form: Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea (phonetic transliteration)

local short form: Kampuchea

former: Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia

etymology: the English name Cambodia is an anglicization of the French Cambodge, which is the French transliteration of the native name Kampuchea

Cameroon

conventional long form: Republic of Cameroon

conventional short form: Cameroon

local long form: Republique du Cameroun (French)/Republic of Cameroon (English)

local short form: Cameroun/Cameroon

former: Kamerun, French Cameroon, British Cameroon, Federal Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Cameroon

etymology: in the 15th century, Portuguese explorers named the area near the mouth of the Wouri River the Rio dos Camaroes (River of Prawns) after the abundant shrimp in the water; over time the designation became Cameroon in English; this is the only instance where a country is named after a crustacean

Canada

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Canada

etymology: the country name likely derives from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word "kanata" meaning village or settlement

Cayman Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Cayman Islands

etymology: the islands' name comes from the native Carib word "caiman," describing the marine crocodiles living there

Central African Republic

conventional long form: Central African Republic

conventional short form: none

local long form: Republique Centrale Africaine

local short form: none

former: Ubangi-Shari, Central African Empire

abbreviation: CAR

etymology: self-descriptive name specifying the country's location on the continent; "Africa" is derived from the Roman designation of the area corresponding to present-day Tunisia "Africa terra," which meant "Land of the Afri" (the tribe resident in that area), but which eventually came to mean the entire continent

Chad

conventional long form: Republic of Chad

conventional short form: Chad

local long form: Republique du Tchad/Jumhuriyat Tshad

local short form: Tchad/Tshad

etymology: named for Lake Chad, which lies along the country's western border; the word "tsade" means "large body of water" or "lake" in several local native languages

note: the only country whose name is composed of a single syllable with a single vowel

Chile

conventional long form: Republic of Chile

conventional short form: Chile

local long form: República de Chile

local short form: Chile

etymology: derivation of the name is unclear, but it may come from the Mapuche word "chilli" meaning "limit of the earth" or from the Quechua "chiri" meaning "cold"

China

conventional long form: People's Republic of China

conventional short form: China

local long form: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo

local short form: Zhongguo

abbreviation: PRC

etymology: English name derives from the Qin (Chin) rulers of the 3rd century B.C., who comprised the first imperial dynasty of ancient China; the Chinese name Zhongguo translates as "Central Nation" or "Middle Kingdom"

Christmas Island

conventional long form: Territory of Christmas Island

conventional short form: Christmas Island

etymology: named by English Captain William MYNORS for the day of its rediscovery, Christmas Day (25 December 1643); the island had been sighted by Europeans as early as 1615

Clipperton Island

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Clipperton Island

local long form: none

local short form: Ile Clipperton

former: sometimes referred to as Ile de la Passion or Atoll Clipperton

etymology: named after an 18th-century English pirate who supposedly used the island as a base

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

conventional long form: Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands

conventional short form: Cocos (Keeling) Islands

etymology: the name refers to the abundant coconut trees on the islands and to English Captain William KEELING, the first European to sight the islands in 1609

Colombia

conventional long form: Republic of Colombia

conventional short form: Colombia

local long form: República de Colombia

local short form: Colombia

etymology: the country is named after explorer Christopher COLUMBUS

Comoros

conventional long form: Union of the Comoros

conventional short form: Comoros

local long form: Udzima wa Komori (Comorian)/Union des Comores (French)/Al Ittihad al Qumuri (Arabic)

local short form: Komori (Comorian)/Les Comores (French)/Juzur al Qamar (Arabic)

former: Comorian State, Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros

etymology: name derives from the Arabic designation "Juzur al Qamar" meaning "Islands of the Moon"

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

conventional long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo

conventional short form: DRC

local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo

local short form: RDC

former: Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire

abbreviation: DRC (or DROC)

etymology: named for the Congo River, most of which lies within the DRC; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning "hunters"

Congo, Republic of the

conventional long form: Republic of the Congo

conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)

local long form: Republique du Congo

local short form: Congo

former: French Congo, Middle Congo, People's Republic of the Congo, Congo/Brazzaville

etymology: named for the Congo River, which makes up much of the country's eastern border; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning "hunters"

Cook Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Cook Islands

former: Hervey Islands

etymology: named after Captain James COOK, the British explorer who visited the islands in 1773 and 1777

Coral Sea Islands

conventional long form: Coral Sea Islands Territory

conventional short form: Coral Sea Islands

etymology: self-descriptive name to reflect the islands' position in the Coral Sea off the northeastern coast of Australia

Costa Rica

conventional long form: Republic of Costa Rica

conventional short form: Costa Rica

local long form: República de Costa Rica

local short form: Costa Rica

etymology: the name means "rich coast" in Spanish and was first applied in the early colonial period of the 16th century

Cote d'Ivoire

conventional long form: Republic of Cote d'Ivoire

conventional short form: Cote d'Ivoire

local long form: Republique de Cote d'Ivoire

local short form: Cote d'Ivoire

former: Ivory Coast

etymology: name reflects the intense ivory trade that took place in the region from the 15th to 17th centuries

note: pronounced coat-div-whar

Croatia

conventional long form: Republic of Croatia

conventional short form: Croatia

local long form: Republika Hrvatska

local short form: Hrvatska

former: People's Republic of Croatia, Socialist Republic of Croatia

etymology: name derives from the Croats, a Slavic tribe who migrated to the Balkans in the 7th century A.D.

Cuba

conventional long form: Republic of Cuba

conventional short form: Cuba

local long form: República de Cuba

local short form: Cuba

etymology: name derives from the Taino Indian designation for the island "coabana" meaning "great place"

Curacao

conventional long form: Country of Curacao

conventional short form: Curacao

local long form: Land Curacao (Dutch)/ Pais Korsou (Papiamento)

local short form: Curacao (Dutch)/ Korsou (Papiamento)

former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies

etymology: the most plausible name derivation is that the island was designated Isla de la Curacion (Spanish meaning "Island of the Cure" or "Island of Healing") or Ilha da Curacao (Portuguese meaning the same) to reflect the locale's function as a recovery stop for sick crewmen

Cyprus

conventional long form: Republic of Cyprus

conventional short form: Cyprus

local long form: Kypriaki Dimokratia (Greek)/ Kibris Cumhuriyeti (Turkish)

local short form: Kypros (Greek)/ Kibris (Turkish)

etymology: the derivation of the name "Cyprus" is unknown, but the extensive mining of copper metal on the island in antiquity gave rise to the Latin word "cuprum" for copper

note: the Turkish Cypriot community, which administers the northern part of the island, refers to itself as the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" or "TRNC" ("Kuzey Kibris Turk Cumhuriyeti" or "KKTC")

Czechia

conventional long form: Czech Republic

conventional short form: Czechia

local long form: Ceska republika

local short form: Cesko

etymology: name derives from the Czechs, a West Slavic tribe who rose to prominence in the late 9th century A.D.; the country officially adopted the English short-form name of Czechia on 1 July 2016

Denmark

conventional long form: Kingdom of Denmark

conventional short form: Denmark

local long form: Kongeriget Danmark

local short form: Danmark

etymology: the name derives from the words "Dane(s)" and "mark"; the latter referring to a march (borderland) or forest

Dhekelia

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Dhekelia

Djibouti

conventional long form: Republic of Djibouti

conventional short form: Djibouti

local long form: Republique de Djibouti (French)/ Jumhuriyat Jibuti (Arabic)

local short form: Djibouti (French)/ Jibuti (Arabic)

former: French Somaliland, French Territory of the Afars and Issas

etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Djibouti

Dominica

conventional long form: Commonwealth of Dominica

conventional short form: Dominica

etymology: the island was named by explorer Christopher COLUMBUS for the day of the week on which he spotted it, Sunday ("Domingo" in Latin), 3 November 1493

Dominican Republic

conventional long form: Dominican Republic

conventional short form: The Dominican

local long form: República Dominicana

local short form: La Dominicana

former: Santo Domingo (the capital city's name formerly applied to the entire country)

etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Santo Domingo (Saint Dominic)

Ecuador

conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador

conventional short form: Ecuador

local long form: República del Ecuador

local short form: Ecuador

etymology: the country's position on the globe, straddling the Equator, accounts for its Spanish name

Egypt

conventional long form: Arab Republic of Egypt

conventional short form: Egypt

local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah

local short form: Misr

former: United Arab Republic (short-lived unification with Syria)

etymology: the English name "Egypt" derives from the ancient Greek name for the country "Aigyptos"; the Arabic name "Misr" can be traced to the ancient Akkadian "misru" meaning border or frontier

El Salvador

conventional long form: Republic of El Salvador

conventional short form: El Salvador

local long form: República de El Salvador

local short form: El Salvador

etymology: name is an abbreviation of the original Spanish conquistador designation for the area "Provincia de Nuestro Senor Jesus Cristo, el Salvador del Mundo" (Province of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World), which became simply "El Salvador" (The Savior)

Equatorial Guinea

conventional long form: Republic of Equatorial Guinea

conventional short form: Equatorial Guinea

local long form: Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial (Spanish)/ Republique de Guinee Equatoriale (French)

local short form: Guinea Ecuatorial (Spanish)/ Guinee Equatoriale (French)

former: Spanish Guinea

etymology: the country is named for the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel; the "equatorial" refers to the fact that the country lies just north of the Equator

Eritrea

conventional long form: State of Eritrea

conventional short form: Eritrea

local long form: Hagere Ertra

local short form: Ertra

former: Eritrea Autonomous Region in Ethiopia

etymology: the country name derives from the ancient Greek appellation "Erythra Thalassa" meaning Red Sea, which is the major water body bordering the country

Estonia

conventional long form: Republic of Estonia

conventional short form: Estonia

local long form: Eesti Vabariik

local short form: Eesti

former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (while occupied by the USSR)

etymology: the country name may derive from the Aesti, an ancient people who lived along the eastern Baltic Sea in the first centuries A.D.

Eswatini

conventional long form: Kingdom of Eswatini

conventional short form: Eswatini

local long form: Umbuso weSwatini

local short form: eSwatini

former: Swaziland

etymology: the country name derives from 19th century King MSWATI II, under whose rule Swati territory was expanded and unified

note: pronounced ay-swatini or eh-swatini

Ethiopia

conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

conventional short form: Ethiopia

local long form: YeItyop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik

local short form: Ityop'iya

former: Abyssinia, Italian East Africa

abbreviation: FDRE

etymology: the country name derives from the Greek word "Aethiopia," which in classical times referred to lands south of Egypt in the Upper Nile region

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

etymology: the archipelago takes its name from the Falkland Sound, the strait separating the two main islands; the channel itself was named after the Viscount of FALKLAND, who sponsored an expedition to the islands in 1690; the Spanish name for the archipelago derives from the French "Iles Malouines," meaning Islands of Malo, the name applied to the islands by French explorer Louis-Antoine de BOUGAINVILLE in 1764 after the port of Saint-Malo

Faroe Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Faroe Islands

local long form: none

local short form: Foroyar

etymology: the archipelago's name may derive from the Old Norse word "faer," meaning sheep

Fiji

conventional long form: Republic of Fiji

conventional short form: Fiji

local long form: Republic of Fiji (English)/ Matanitu ko Viti (Fijian)

local short form: Fiji (English)/ Viti (Fijian)

etymology: the Fijians called their home Viti, but the neighboring Tongans called it Fisi, and in the Anglicized spelling of the Tongan pronunciation - promulgated by explorer Captain James COOK - the designation became Fiji

Finland

conventional long form: Republic of Finland

conventional short form: Finland

local long form: Suomen tasavalta (Finnish)/ Republiken Finland (Swedish)

local short form: Suomi (Finnish)/ Finland (Swedish)

etymology: name may derive from the ancient Fenni peoples who are first described as living in northeastern Europe in the first centuries A.D.

France

conventional long form: French Republic

conventional short form: France

local long form: Republique francaise

local short form: France

etymology: name derives from the Latin "Francia" meaning "Land of the Franks"; the Franks were a group of Germanic tribes located along the middle and lower Rhine River in the 3rd century A.D. who merged with Gallic-Roman populations in succeeding centuries and to whom they passed on their name

French Polynesia

conventional long form: Overseas Lands of French Polynesia

conventional short form: French Polynesia

local long form: Pays d'outre-mer de la Polynesie Francaise

local short form: Polynesie Francaise

former: Establishments in Oceania, French Establishments in Oceania

etymology: the term "Polynesia" is an 18th-century construct composed of two Greek words, "poly" (many) and "nesoi" (islands), and refers to the more than 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

conventional long form: Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

conventional short form: French Southern and Antarctic Lands

local long form: Territoire des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises

local short form: Terres Australes et Antarctiques Francaises

abbreviation: TAAF

etymology: self-descriptive name specifying the territories' affiliation and location in the Southern Hemisphere

Gabon

conventional long form: Gabonese Republic

conventional short form: Gabon

local long form: Republique Gabonaise

local short form: Gabon

etymology: name originates from the Portuguese word "gabao" meaning "cloak," which is roughly the shape that the early explorers gave to the estuary of the Komo River by the capital of Libreville

Gambia, The

conventional long form: Republic of The Gambia

conventional short form: The Gambia

etymology: named for the Gambia River that flows through the heart of the country

Gaza Strip

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Gaza, Gaza Strip

local long form: none

local short form: Qita' Ghazzah

etymology: named for the largest city in the enclave, Gaza, whose settlement can be traced back to at least the 15th century B.C. (as "Ghazzat")

Georgia

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Georgia

local long form: none

local short form: Sak'art'velo

former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the Western name may derive from the Persian designation "gurgan" meaning "Land of the Wolves"; the native name "Sak'art'velo" means "Land of the Kartvelians" and refers to the core central Georgian region of Kartli

Germany

conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany

conventional short form: Germany

local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland

local short form: Deutschland

former: German Reich

etymology: the Gauls (Celts) of Western Europe may have referred to the newly arriving Germanic tribes who settled in neighboring areas east of the Rhine during the first centuries B.C. as "Germani," a term the Romans adopted as "Germania"; the native designation "Deutsch" comes from the Old High German "diutisc" meaning "of the people"

Ghana

conventional long form: Republic of Ghana

conventional short form: Ghana

former: Gold Coast

etymology: named for the medieval West African kingdom of the same name but whose location was actually further north than the modern country

Gibraltar

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Gibraltar

etymology: from the Spanish derivation of the Arabic "Jabal Tariq," which means "Mountain of Tariq" and which refers to the Rock of Gibraltar

Greece

conventional long form: Hellenic Republic

conventional short form: Greece

local long form: Elliniki Dimokratia

local short form: Ellas or Ellada

former: Hellenic State, Kingdom of Greece

etymology: the English name derives from the Roman (Latin) designation "Graecia," meaning "Land of the Greeks"; the Greeks call their country "Hellas" or "Ellada"

Greenland

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Greenland

local long form: none

local short form: Kalaallit Nunaat

etymology: named by Norwegian adventurer Erik THORVALDSSON (Erik the Red) in A.D. 985 in order to entice settlers to the island

Grenada

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Grenada

etymology: derivation of the name remains obscure; some sources attribute the designation to Spanish influence (most likely named for the Spanish city of Granada), with subsequent French and English interpretations resulting in the present-day Grenada; in Spanish "granada" means "pomegranate"

Guam

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Guam

local long form: none

local short form: Guahan

abbreviation: GU

etymology: the native Chamorro name for the island "Guahan" (meaning "we have" or "ours") was changed to Guam in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, whereby Spain relinquished Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US

Guatemala

conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala

conventional short form: Guatemala

local long form: República de Guatemala

local short form: Guatemala

etymology: the Spanish conquistadors used many native Americans as allies in their conquest of Guatemala; the site of their first capital (established in 1524), a former Maya settlement, was called "Quauhtemallan" by their Nahuatl-speaking Mexican allies, a name that means "land of trees" or "forested land", but which the Spanish pronounced "Guatemala"; the Spanish applied that name to a re-founded capital city three years later and eventually it became the name of the country

Guernsey

conventional long form: Bailiwick of Guernsey

conventional short form: Guernsey

former: Norman Isles

etymology: the name is of Old Norse origin, but the meaning of the root "Guern(s)" is uncertain; the "-ey" ending means "island"

Guinea

conventional long form: Republic of Guinea

conventional short form: Guinea

local long form: Republique de Guinee

local short form: Guinee

former: French Guinea

etymology: the country is named after the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel

Guinea-Bissau

conventional long form: Republic of Guinea-Bissau

conventional short form: Guinea-Bissau

local long form: Republica da Guine-Bissau

local short form: Guine-Bissau

former: Portuguese Guinea

etymology: the country is named after the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel; "Bissau," the name of the capital city, distinguishes the country from neighboring Guinea

Guyana

conventional long form: Cooperative Republic of Guyana

conventional short form: Guyana

former: British Guiana

etymology: the name is derived from Guiana, the original name for the region that included British Guiana, Dutch Guiana, and French Guiana; ultimately the word is derived from an indigenous Amerindian language and means "Land of Many Waters" (referring to the area's multitude of rivers and streams)

Haiti

conventional long form: Republic of Haiti

conventional short form: Haiti

local long form: République d'Haïti (French)/ Repiblik d Ayiti (Haitian Creole)

local short form: Haïti (French)/ Ayiti (Haitian Creole)

etymology: the native Taino name means "Land of High Mountains" and was originally applied to the entire island of Hispaniola

Heard Island and McDonald Islands

conventional long form: Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands

conventional short form: Heard Island and McDonald Islands

abbreviation: HIMI

etymology: named after American Captain John HEARD, who sighted the island on 25 November 1853, and American Captain William McDONALD, who discovered the islands on 4 January 1854

Holy See (Vatican City)

conventional long form: The Holy See (Vatican City State)

conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City)

local long form: La Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)

local short form: Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)

etymology: "holy" comes from the Greek word "hera" meaning "sacred"; "see" comes from the Latin word "sedes" meaning "seat," and refers to the episcopal chair; the term "Vatican" derives from the hill Mons Vaticanus on which the Vatican is located and which comes from the Latin "vaticinari" (to prophesy), referring to the fortune tellers and soothsayers who frequented the area in Roman times

Honduras

conventional long form: Republic of Honduras

conventional short form: Honduras

local long form: República de Honduras

local short form: Honduras

etymology: the name means "depths" in Spanish and refers to the deep anchorage in the northern Bay of Trujillo

Hong Kong

conventional long form: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

conventional short form: Hong Kong

local long form: Heung Kong Takpit Hangching Ku (Eitel/Dyer-Ball)

local short form: Heung Kong (Eitel/Dyer-Ball)

abbreviation: HK

etymology: probably an imprecise phonetic rendering of the Cantonese name meaning "fragrant harbor"

Hungary

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Hungary

local long form: none

local short form: Magyarorszag

former: Kingdom of Hungary, Hungarian People's Republic, Hungarian Soviet Republic, Hungarian Republic

etymology: the Byzantine Greeks refered to the tribes that arrived on the steppes of Eastern Europe in the 9th century as the "Oungroi," a name that was later Latinized to "Ungri" and which became "Hungari"; the name originally meant an "[alliance of] ten tribes"; the Hungarian name "Magyarorszag" means "Country of the Magyars"; the term may derive from the most prominent of the Hungarian tribes, the Megyer

Iceland

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Iceland

local long form: none

local short form: Island

etymology: Floki VILGERDARSON, an early Norse explorer of the island (9th century), applied the name "Land of Ice" after spotting a fjord full of drift ice to the north and spending a bitter winter on the island; he eventually settled on the island, however, after he saw how it greened up in the summer and that it was, in fact, habitable

India

conventional long form: Republic of India

conventional short form: India

local long form: Republic of India (English)/ Bharatiya Ganarajya (Hindi)

local short form: India (English)/ Bharat (Hindi)

etymology: the English name derives from the Indus River; the Indian name "Bharat" may derive from the "Bharatas" tribe mentioned in the Vedas of the second millennium B.C.; the name is also associated with Emperor Bharata, the legendary conqueror of all of India

Indian Ocean

etymology: named for the country of India, which makes up much of its northern border

Indonesia

conventional long form: Republic of Indonesia

conventional short form: Indonesia

local long form: Republik Indonesia

local short form: Indonesia

former: Netherlands East Indies (Dutch East Indies), Netherlands New Guinea

etymology: the name is an 18th-century construct of two Greek words, "Indos" (India) and "nesoi" (islands), meaning "Indian islands"

Iran

conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Iran

conventional short form: Iran

local long form: Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran

local short form: Iran

former: Persia

etymology: name derives from the Avestan term "aryanam" meaning "Land of the Noble [Ones]"

Iraq

conventional long form: Republic of Iraq

conventional short form: Iraq

local long form: Jumhuriyat al-Iraq/Komar-i Eraq

local short form: Al Iraq/Eraq

former: Mesopotamia, Mandatory Iraq, Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq

etymology: the name probably derives from "Uruk" (Biblical "Erech"), the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian city on the Euphrates River

Ireland

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Ireland

local long form: none

local short form: Eire

etymology: the modern Irish name "Eire" evolved from the Gaelic "Eriu," the name of the matron goddess of Ireland (goddess of the land); the names "Ireland" in English and "Eire" in Irish are direct translations of each other

Isle of Man

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Isle of Man

abbreviation: I.O.M.

etymology: the name "man" may be derived from the Celtic word for "mountain"

Israel

conventional long form: State of Israel

conventional short form: Israel

local long form: Medinat Yisra'el

local short form: Yisra'el

former: Mandatory Palestine

etymology: named after the ancient Kingdom of Israel; according to Biblical tradition, the Jewish patriarch Jacob received the name "Israel" ("He who struggles with God") after he wrestled an entire night with an angel of the Lord; Jacob's 12 sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who formed the Kingdom of Israel

Italy

conventional long form: Italian Republic

conventional short form: Italy

local long form: Repubblica Italiana

local short form: Italia

former: Kingdom of Italy

etymology: derivation is unclear, but the Latin "Italia" may come from the Oscan "Viteliu" meaning "[Land] of Young Cattle" (the bull was a symbol of southern Italic tribes)

Jamaica

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Jamaica

etymology: from the native Taino word "haymaca" meaning "Land of Wood and Water" or possibly "Land of Springs"

Jan Mayen

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Jan Mayen

etymology: named after Dutch Captain Jan Jacobszoon MAY, one of the first explorers to reach the island in 1614

Japan

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Japan

local long form: Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku

local short form: Nihon/Nippon

etymology: the English word for Japan comes via the Chinese name for the country "Cipangu"; both Nihon and Nippon mean "where the sun originates" and are frequently translated as "Land of the Rising Sun"

Jersey

conventional long form: Bailiwick of Jersey

conventional short form: Jersey

former: Norman Isles

etymology: the name is of Old Norse origin, but the meaning of the root "Jer(s)" is uncertain; the "-ey" ending means "island"

Jordan

conventional long form: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

conventional short form: Jordan

local long form: Al Mamlakah al Urduniyah al Hashimiyah

local short form: Al Urdun

former: Transjordan

etymology: named for the Jordan River, which makes up part of Jordan's northwest border

Kazakhstan

conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan

conventional short form: Kazakhstan

local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy

local short form: Qazaqstan

former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the name "Kazakh" may derive from the Turkic word "kaz" meaning "to wander," recalling the Kazakh's nomadic lifestyle; the Persian suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so the word Kazakhstan literally means "Land of the Wanderers"

Kenya

conventional long form: Republic of Kenya

conventional short form: Kenya

local long form: Republic of Kenya (English)/ Jamhuri ya Kenya (Swahili)

local short form: Kenya

former: British East Africa

etymology: named for Mount Kenya; the meaning of the name is unclear but may derive from the Kikuyu, Embu, and Kamba words "kirinyaga," "kirenyaa," and "kiinyaa" - all of which mean "God's resting place"

Kiribati

conventional long form: Republic of Kiribati

conventional short form: Kiribati

local long form: Republic of Kiribati

local short form: Kiribati

former: Gilbert Islands

etymology: the name is the local pronunciation of "Gilberts," the former designation of the islands; originally named after explorer Thomas GILBERT, who mapped many of the islands in 1788

note: pronounced keer-ree-bahss

Korea, North

conventional long form: Democratic People's Republic of Korea

conventional short form: North Korea

local long form: Choson-minjujuui-inmin-konghwaguk

local short form: Choson

abbreviation: DPRK

etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the North Korean name "Choson" means "[Land of the] Morning Calm"

Korea, South

conventional long form: Republic of Korea

conventional short form: South Korea

local long form: Taehan-min'guk

local short form: Han'guk

abbreviation: ROK

etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the South Korean name "Han'guk" derives from the long form, "Taehan-min'guk," which is itself a derivation from "Daehan-je'guk," which means "the Great Empire of the Han"; "Han" refers to the "Sam'han" or the "Three Han Kingdoms" (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla from the Three Kingdoms Era, 1st-7th centuries A.D.)

Kosovo

conventional long form: Republic of Kosovo

conventional short form: Kosovo

local long form: Republika e Kosoves (Albanian)/ Republika Kosovo (Serbian)

local short form: Kosove (Albanian)/ Kosovo (Serbian)

etymology: name derives from the Serbian "kos" meaning "blackbird," an ellipsis (linguistic omission) for "kosove polje" or "field of the blackbirds"

Kuwait

conventional long form: State of Kuwait

conventional short form: Kuwait

local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt

local short form: Al Kuwayt

etymology: the name derives from the capital city, which is from Arabic "al-Kuwayt" a diminutive of "kut" meaning "fortress," possibly a reference to a small castle built on the current location of Kuwait City by the Beni Khaled tribe in the 17th century

Kyrgyzstan

conventional long form: Kyrgyz Republic

conventional short form: Kyrgyzstan

local long form: Kyrgyz Respublikasy

local short form: Kyrgyzstan

etymology: a combination of the Turkic words "kyrg" (forty) and "-yz" (tribes) with the Persian suffix "-stan" (country) creating the meaning "Land of the Forty Tribes"; the name refers to the 40 clans united by the mythic Kyrgyz hero, MANAS

Laos

conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic

conventional short form: Laos 

local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao

local short form: Mueang Lao (unofficial)

abbreviation: Lao PDR

etymology: name means "Land of the Lao [people]"

Latvia

conventional long form: Republic of Latvia

conventional short form: Latvia

local long form: Latvijas Republika

local short form: Latvija

former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (while occupied by the USSR)

etymology: the name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.)

Lebanon

conventional long form: Lebanese Republic

conventional short form: Lebanon

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah

local short form: Lubnan

former: Greater Lebanon

etymology: derives from the Semitic root "lbn" meaning "white" and refers to snow-capped Mount Lebanon

Lesotho

conventional long form: Kingdom of Lesotho

conventional short form: Lesotho

local long form: Kingdom of Lesotho

local short form: Lesotho

former: Basutoland

etymology: the name translates as "Land of the Sesotho Speakers"

Liberia

conventional long form: Republic of Liberia

conventional short form: Liberia

etymology: name derives from the Latin word "liber" meaning "free"; so named because the nation was created as a homeland for liberated African-American slaves

Libya

conventional long form: State of Libya

conventional short form: Libya

local long form: Dawlat Libiya

local short form: Libiya

etymology: name derives from the Libu, an ancient Libyan tribe first mentioned in texts from the 13th century B.C.

Liechtenstein

conventional long form: Principality of Liechtenstein

conventional short form: Liechtenstein

local long form: Fuerstentum Liechtenstein

local short form: Liechtenstein

etymology: named after the Liechtenstein dynasty that purchased and united the counties of Schellenburg and Vaduz and that was allowed by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1719 to rename the new property after their family; the name in German means "light (bright) stone"

Lithuania

conventional long form: Republic of Lithuania

conventional short form: Lithuania

local long form: Lietuvos Respublika

local short form: Lietuva

former: Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (while occupied by the USSR)

etymology: meaning of the name "Lietuva" remains unclear and is debated by scholars; it may derive from the Lietava, a stream in east central Lithuania

Luxembourg

conventional long form: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

conventional short form: Luxembourg

local long form: Grand Duche de Luxembourg

local short form: Luxembourg

etymology: the name derives from the Celtic "lucilem" (little) and the German "burg" (castle or fortress) to produce the meaning of the "little castle"; the name is actually ironic, since for centuries the Fortress of Luxembourg was one of Europe's most formidable fortifications; the name passed to the surrounding city and then to the country itself

Macau

conventional long form: Macau Special Administrative Region

conventional short form: Macau

official long form: Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu (Chinese)/ Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (Portuguese)

official short form: Aomen (Chinese)/ Macau (Portuguese)

etymology: name is thought to derive from the A-Ma Temple - built in 1488 and dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen - which is referred to locally as "Maa Gok" - and in Portuguese became "Macau"; the Chinese name Aomen means "inlet gates"

Madagascar

conventional long form: Republic of Madagascar

conventional short form: Madagascar

local long form: Republique de Madagascar/Repoblikan'i Madagasikara

local short form: Madagascar/Madagasikara

former: Malagasy Republic

etymology: the name "Madageiscar" was first used by the 13th-century Venetian explorer Marco POLO, as a corrupted transliteration of Mogadishu, the Somali port with which POLO confused the island

Malawi

conventional long form: Republic of Malawi

conventional short form: Malawi

local long form: Dziko la Malawi

local short form: Malawi

former: British Central African Protectorate, Nyasaland Protectorate, Nyasaland

etymology: named for the East African Maravi Kingdom of the 16th century; the word "maravi" means "fire flames"

Malaysia

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Malaysia

local long form: none

local short form: Malaysia

former: British Malaya, Malayan Union, Federation of Malaya

etymology: the name means "Land of the Malays"

Maldives

conventional long form: Republic of Maldives

conventional short form: Maldives

local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa

local short form: Dhivehi Raajje

etymology: archipelago apparently named after the main island (and capital) of Male; the word "Maldives" means "the islands (dives) of Male"; alternatively, the name may derive from the Sanskrit word "maladvipa" meaning "garland of islands"; Dhivehi Raajje in Dhivehi means "Kingdom of the Dhivehi people"

Mali

conventional long form: Republic of Mali

conventional short form: Mali

local long form: Republique de Mali

local short form: Mali

former: French Sudan, Sudanese Republic, Mali Federation

etymology: name derives from the West African Mali Empire of the 13th to 16th centuries A.D.

Malta

conventional long form: Republic of Malta

conventional short form: Malta

local long form: Repubblika ta' Malta

local short form: Malta

etymology: the ancient Greeks called the island "Melite" meaning "honey-sweet" from the Greek word "meli" meaning "honey" and referring to the island's honey production

Marshall Islands

conventional long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands

conventional short form: Marshall Islands

local long form: Republic of the Marshall Islands

local short form: Marshall Islands

former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Marshall Islands District

abbreviation: RMI

etymology: named after British Captain John MARSHALL, who charted many of the islands in 1788

Mauritania

conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Mauritania

conventional short form: Mauritania

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah

local short form: Muritaniyah

etymology: named for the ancient kingdom of Mauretania (3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.) and the subsequent Roman province (1st-7th centuries A.D.), which existed further north in present-day Morocco; the name derives from the Mauri (Moors), the Berber-speaking peoples of northwest Africa

Mauritius

conventional long form: Republic of Mauritius

conventional short form: Mauritius

local long form: Republic of Mauritius

local short form: Mauritius

etymology: island named after Prince Maurice VAN NASSAU, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, in 1598

note: pronounced mah-rish-us

Mexico

conventional long form: United Mexican States

conventional short form: Mexico

local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos

local short form: Mexico

former: Mexican Republic, Mexican Empire

etymology: named after the capital city, whose name stems from the Mexica, the largest and most powerful branch of the Aztecs; the meaning of the name is uncertain

Micronesia, Federated States of

conventional long form: Federated States of Micronesia

conventional short form: none

local long form: Federated States of Micronesia

local short form: none

former: New Philippines; Caroline Islands; Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Ponape, Truk, and Yap Districts

abbreviation: FSM

etymology: the term "Micronesia" is a 19th-century construct of two Greek words, "micro" (small) and "nesoi" (islands), and refers to thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean

Moldova

conventional long form: Republic of Moldova

conventional short form: Moldova

local long form: Republica Moldova

local short form: Moldova

former: Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: named for the Moldova River in neighboring eastern Romania

Monaco

conventional long form: Principality of Monaco

conventional short form: Monaco

local long form: Principaute de Monaco

local short form: Monaco

etymology: founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., the name derives from two Greek words "monos" (single, alone) and "oikos" (house) to convey the sense of a people "living apart" or in a "single habitation"

Mongolia

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Mongolia

local long form: none

local short form: Mongol Uls

former: Outer Mongolia, Mongolian People's Republic

etymology: the name means "Land of the Mongols" in Latin; the Mongolian name Mongol Uls translates as "Mongol State"

Montenegro

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Montenegro

local long form: none

local short form: Crna Gora

former: People's Republic of Montenegro, Socialist Republic of Montenegro, Republic of Montenegro

etymology: the country's name locally as well as in most Western European languages means "black mountain" and refers to the dark coniferous forests on Mount Lovcen and the surrounding area

Montserrat

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Montserrat

etymology: island named by explorer Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 after the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat, near Barcelona, Spain

Morocco

conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco

conventional short form: Morocco

local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah

local short form: Al Maghrib

former: French Protectorate in Morocco, Spanish Protectorate in Morocco, Ifni, Spanish Sahara, Western Sahara

etymology: the English name "Morocco" derives from, respectively, the Spanish and Portuguese names "Marruecos" and "Marrocos," which stem from "Marrakesh" the Latin name for the former capital of ancient Morocco; the Arabic name "Al Maghrib" translates as "The West"

Mozambique

conventional long form: Republic of Mozambique

conventional short form: Mozambique

local long form: Republica de Mocambique

local short form: Mocambique

former: Portuguese East Africa, People's Republic of Mozambique

etymology: named for the offshore island of Mozambique; the island was apparently named after Mussa al-BIK, an influential Arab slave trader who set himself up as sultan on the island in the 15th century

Namibia

conventional long form: Republic of Namibia

conventional short form: Namibia

local long form: Republic of Namibia

local short form: Namibia

former: German South-West Africa (Deutsch-Suedwestafrika), South-West Africa

etymology: named for the coastal Namib Desert; the name "namib" means "vast place" in the Nama/Damara language

Nauru

conventional long form: Republic of Nauru

conventional short form: Nauru

local long form: Republic of Nauru

local short form: Nauru

former: Pleasant Island

etymology: the island name may derive from the Nauruan word "anaoero" meaning "I go to the beach"

Navassa Island

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Navassa Island

etymology: the flat island was named "Navaza" by some of Christopher COLUMBUS' sailors in 1504; the name derives from the Spanish term "nava" meaning "flat land, plain, or field"

Nepal

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Nepal

local long form: none

local short form: Nepal

etymology: the Newar people of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding areas apparently gave their name to the country; the terms "Nepal," "Newar," "Nepar," and "Newal" are phonetically different forms of the same word

Netherlands

conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands

conventional short form: Netherlands

local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden

local short form: Nederland

abbreviation: NL

etymology: the country name literally means "the lowlands" and refers to the geographic features of the land being both flat and down river from higher areas (i.e., at the estuaries of the Scheldt, Meuse, and Rhine Rivers; only about half of the Netherlands is more than 1 meter above sea level)

New Caledonia

conventional long form: Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies

conventional short form: New Caledonia

local long form: Territoire des Nouvelle-Caledonie et Dependances

local short form: Nouvelle-Caledonie

etymology: British explorer Captain James COOK discovered and named New Caledonia in 1774; he used the appellation because the northeast of the island reminded him of Scotland (Caledonia is the Latin designation for Scotland)

New Zealand

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: New Zealand

abbreviation: NZ

etymology: Dutch explorer Abel TASMAN was the first European to reach New Zealand in 1642; he named it Staten Landt, but Dutch cartographers renamed it Nova Zeelandia in 1645 after the Dutch province of Zeeland; British explorer Captain James COOK subsequently anglicized the name to New Zealand when he mapped the islands in 1769

Nicaragua

conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua

conventional short form: Nicaragua

local long form: República de Nicaragua

local short form: Nicaragua

etymology: Nicarao was the name of the largest indigenous settlement at the time of Spanish arrival; conquistador Gil GONZALEZ Davila, who explored the area (1622-23), combined the name of the community with the Spanish word "agua" (water), referring to the two large lakes in the west of the country (Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua)

Niger

conventional long form: Republic of Niger

conventional short form: Niger

local long form: Republique du Niger

local short form: Niger

etymology: named for the Niger River that passes through the southwest of the country; from a native term "Ni Gir" meaning "River Gir"

note: pronounced nee-zhair

Nigeria

conventional long form: Federal Republic of Nigeria

conventional short form: Nigeria

etymology: named for the Niger River that flows through the west of the country to the Atlantic Ocean; from a native term "Ni Gir" meaning "River Gir"

Niue

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Niue

former: Savage Island

etymology: the origin of the name is obscure; in Niuean, the word supposedly translates as "behold the coconut"

note: pronunciation falls between nyu-way and new-way, but not like new-wee

Norfolk Island

conventional long form: Territory of Norfolk Island

conventional short form: Norfolk Island

etymology: named by British explorer Captain James COOK after Mary HOWARD, Duchess of Norfolk, in 1774

North Macedonia

conventional long form: Republic of North Macedonia

conventional short form: North Macedonia

local long form: Republika Severna Makedonija

local short form: Severna Makedonija

former: Democratic Federal Macedonia, People's Republic of Macedonia, Socialist Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Macedonia

etymology: the country name derives from the ancient kingdom of Macedon (7th to 2nd centuries B.C.)

Northern Mariana Islands

conventional long form: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

conventional short form: Northern Mariana Islands

former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Mariana Islands District

abbreviation: CNMI

etymology: formally claimed and named by Spain in 1667 in honor of the Spanish Queen, MARIANA of Austria

Norway

conventional long form: Kingdom of Norway

conventional short form: Norway

local long form: Kongeriket Norge

local short form: Norge

etymology: derives from the Old Norse words "nordr" and "vegr" meaning "northern way" and refers to the long coastline of western Norway

Oman

conventional long form: Sultanate of Oman

conventional short form: Oman

local long form: Saltanat Uman

local short form: Uman

former: Sultanate of Muscat and Oman

etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but it apparently dates back at least 2,000 years since an "Omana" is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (1st century A.D.) and an "Omanon" by Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.)

Pacific Ocean

etymology: named by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand MAGELLAN during the Spanish circumnavigation of the world in 1521; encountering favorable winds upon reaching the ocean, he called it "Mar Pacifico," which means "peaceful sea" in both Portuguese and Spanish

Pakistan

conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Pakistan

conventional short form: Pakistan

local long form: Jamhuryat Islami Pakistan

local short form: Pakistan

former: West Pakistan

etymology: the word "pak" means "pure" in Persian or Pashto, while the Persian suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so the word Pakistan literally means "Land of the Pure"

Palau

conventional long form: Republic of Palau

conventional short form: Palau

local long form: Beluu er a Belau

local short form: Belau

former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Palau District

etymology: from the Palauan name for the islands, Belau, which likely derives from the Palauan word "beluu" meaning "village"

Panama

conventional long form: Republic of Panama

conventional short form: Panama

local long form: República de Panama

local short form: Panama

etymology: named after the capital city which was itself named after a former indigenous fishing village

Papua New Guinea

conventional long form: Independent State of Papua New Guinea

conventional short form: Papua New Guinea

local short form: Papuaniugini

former: German New Guinea, British New Guinea, Territory of Papua and New Guinea

abbreviation: PNG

etymology: the word "papua" derives from the Malay "papuah" describing the frizzy hair of the Melanesians; Spanish explorer Ynigo ORTIZ de RETEZ applied the term "Nueva Guinea" to the island of New Guinea in 1545 after noting the resemblance of the locals to the peoples of the Guinea coast of Africa

Paracel Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Paracel Islands

etymology: Portuguese navigators began to refer to the "Ilhas do Pracel" in the 16th century as a designation of low lying islets, sandbanks, and reefs scattered over a wide area; over time the name changed to "parcel" and then "paracel"

Paraguay

conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay

conventional short form: Paraguay

local long form: República del Paraguay

local short form: Paraguay

etymology: the precise meaning of the name Paraguay is unclear, but it seems to derive from the river of the same name; one explanation has the name meaning "water of the Payagua" (an indigenous tribe that lived along the river)

Peru

conventional long form: Republic of Peru

conventional short form: Peru

local long form: República del Perú

local short form: Perú

etymology: exact meaning is obscure, but the name may derive from a native word "biru" meaning "river"

Philippines

conventional long form: Republic of the Philippines

conventional short form: Philippines

local long form: Republika ng Pilipinas

local short form: Pilipinas

etymology: named in honor of King PHILLIP II of Spain by Spanish explorer Ruy LOPEZ de VILLALOBOS, who visited some of the islands in 1543

Pitcairn Islands

conventional long form: Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands

conventional short form: Pitcairn Islands

etymology: named after Midshipman Robert PITCAIRN who first sighted the island in 1767

Poland

conventional long form: Republic of Poland

conventional short form: Poland

local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska

local short form: Polska

former: Polish People's Republic

etymology: name derives from the Polanians, a west Slavic tribe that united several surrounding Slavic groups (9th-10th centuries A.D.) and who passed on their name to the country; the name of the tribe likely comes from the Slavic "pole" (field or plain), indicating the flat nature of their country

Portugal

conventional long form: Portuguese Republic

conventional short form: Portugal

local long form: Republica Portuguesa

local short form: Portugal

etymology: name derives from the Roman designation "Portus Cale" meaning "Port of Cale"; Cale was an ancient Celtic town and port in present-day northern Portugal

Puerto Rico

conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

conventional short form: Puerto Rico

abbreviation: PR

etymology: Christopher COLUMBUS named the island San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist) and the capital city and main port Cuidad de Puerto Rico (Rich Port City); over time, however, the names were shortened and transposed and the island came to be called Puerto Rico and its capital San Juan

Qatar

conventional long form: State of Qatar

conventional short form: Qatar

local long form: Dawlat Qatar

local short form: Qatar

etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but it dates back at least 2,000 years since a term "Catharrei" was used to describe the inhabitants of the peninsula by Pliny the Elder (1st century A.D.), and a "Catara" peninsula is depicted on a map by Ptolemy (2nd century A.D.)

note: closest approximation of the native pronunciation is gat-tar or cot-tar

Romania

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Romania

local long form: none

local short form: Romania

former: Kingdom of Romania, Romanian People's Republic, Socialist Republic of Romania

etymology: the name derives from the Latin "Romanus" meaning "citizen of Rome" and was used to stress the common ancient heritage of Romania's three main regions - Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia - during their gradual unification between the mid-19th century and early 20th century

Russia

conventional long form: Russian Federation

conventional short form: Russia

local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya

local short form: Rossiya

former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic

etymology: Russian lands were generally referred to as Muscovy until PETER I officially declared the Russian Empire in 1721; the new name sought to invoke the patrimony of the medieval eastern European Rus state centered on Kyiv in present-day Ukraine; the Rus were a Varangian (eastern Viking) elite that imposed their rule and eventually their name on their Slavic subjects

Rwanda

conventional long form: Republic of Rwanda

conventional short form: Rwanda

local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda

local short form: Rwanda

former: Kingdom of Rwanda, Ruanda, German East Africa

etymology: the name translates as "domain" in the native Kinyarwanda language

Saint Barthelemy

conventional long form: Overseas Collectivity of Saint Barthelemy

conventional short form: Saint Barthelemy

local long form: Collectivite d'outre mer de Saint-Barthelemy

local short form: Saint-Barthelemy

abbreviation: Saint-Barth (French)/ St. Barts or St. Barths (English)

etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island in honor of his brother Bartolomeo's namesake saint in 1493

Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

conventional long form: Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha

conventional short form: none

etymology: Saint Helena was discovered in 1502 by Galician navigator Joao da NOVA, sailing in the service of the Kingdom of Portugal, who named it "Santa Helena"; Ascension was named in 1503 by Portuguese navigator Afonso de ALBUQUERQUE who sighted the island on the Feast Day of the Ascension; Tristan da Cunha was discovered in 1506 by Portuguese explorer Tristao da CUNHA who christened the main island after himself (the name was subsequently anglicized)

Saint Kitts and Nevis

conventional long form: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

conventional short form: Saint Kitts and Nevis

former: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis

etymology: Saint Kitts was, and still is, referred to as Saint Christopher and this name was well established by the 17th century (although who first applied the name is unclear); in the 17th century a common nickname for Christopher was Kit or Kitt, so the island began to be referred to as "Saint Kitt's Island" or just "Saint Kitts"; Nevis is derived from the original Spanish name "Nuestra Senora de las Nieves" (Our Lady of the Snows) and refers to the white halo of clouds that generally wreathes Nevis Peak

note: Nevis is pronounced nee-vis

Saint Lucia

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Saint Lucia

etymology: named after Saint LUCY of Syracuse by French sailors who were shipwrecked on the island on 13 December 1502, the saint's feast day; Saint Lucia is the only country named specifically after a woman

note: pronounced saynt-looshuh

Saint Martin

conventional long form: Overseas Collectivity of Saint Martin

conventional short form: Saint Martin

local long form: Collectivite d'outre mer de Saint-Martin

local short form: Saint-Martin

etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

conventional long form: Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon

conventional short form: Saint Pierre and Miquelon

local long form: Departement de Saint-Pierre et Miquelon

local short form: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon

etymology: Saint-Pierre is named after Saint PETER, the patron saint of fishermen; Miquelon may be a corruption of the Basque name Mikelon

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

etymology: Saint Vincent was named by explorer Christopher COLUMBUS after Saint VINCENT of Saragossa because the 22 January 1498 day of discovery was the saint's feast day

Samoa

conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa

conventional short form: Samoa

local long form: Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa

local short form: Samoa

former: Western Samoa

etymology: the meaning of Samoa is disputed; some modern explanations are that the "sa" connotes  "sacred" and "moa" indicates "center," so the name can mean "Holy Center"; alternatively, some assertions state that it can mean "place of the sacred moa bird" of Polynesian mythology; the name, however, may go back to Proto-Polynesian (PPn) times (before 1000 B.C.); a plausible PPn reconstruction has the first syllable as "sa'a" meaning "tribe or people" and "moa" meaning "deep sea or ocean" to convey the meaning "people of the deep sea"

San Marino

conventional long form: Republic of San Marino

conventional short form: San Marino

local long form: Repubblica di San Marino

local short form: San Marino

etymology: named after Saint MARINUS, who in A.D. 301 founded the monastic settlement around which the city and later the state of San Marino coalesced

Sao Tome and Principe

conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe

conventional short form: Sao Tome and Principe

local long form: Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe

local short form: Sao Tome e Principe

etymology: Sao Tome was named after Saint THOMAS the Apostle by the Portuguese who discovered the island on 21 December 1470 (or 1471), the saint's feast day; Principe is a shortening of the original Portuguese name of "Ilha do Principe" (Isle of the Prince) referring to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island's sugar crop were paid

Saudi Arabia

conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

conventional short form: Saudi Arabia

local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah

local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah

etymology: named after the ruling dynasty of the country, the House of Saud; the name "Arabia" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as "Ar Rabi"

Senegal

conventional long form: Republic of Senegal

conventional short form: Senegal

local long form: Republique du Sénégal 

local short form: Sénégal

former: Senegambia (along with The Gambia), Mali Federation

etymology: named for the Senegal River that forms the northern border of the country; many theories exist for the origin of the river name; perhaps the most widely cited derives the name from "Azenegue," the Portuguese appellation for the Berber Zenaga people who lived north of the river

Serbia

conventional long form: Republic of Serbia

conventional short form: Serbia

local long form: Republika Srbija

local short form: Srbija

former: People's Republic of Serbia, Socialist Republic of Serbia

etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but seems to be related to the name of the West Slavic Sorbs who reside in the Lusatian region in present-day eastern Germany; by tradition, the Serbs migrated from that region to the Balkans in about the 6th century A.D.

Seychelles

conventional long form: Republic of Seychelles

conventional short form: Seychelles

local long form: Republic of Seychelles

local short form: Seychelles

etymology: named by French Captain Corneille Nicholas MORPHEY after Jean Moreau de SECHELLES, the finance minister of France, in 1756

Sierra Leone

conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone

conventional short form: Sierra Leone

local long form: Republic of Sierra Leone

local short form: Sierra Leone

etymology: the Portuguese explorer Pedro de SINTRA named the country "Serra Leoa" (Lion Mountains) for the impressive mountains he saw while sailing the West African coast in 1462

Singapore

conventional long form: Republic of Singapore

conventional short form: Singapore

local long form: Republic of Singapore

local short form: Singapore

etymology: name derives from the Sanskrit words "simha" (lion) and "pura" (city) to describe the city-state's leonine symbol

Sint Maarten

conventional long form: Country of Sint Maarten

conventional short form: Sint Maarten

local long form: Land Sint Maarten (Dutch)/ Country of Sint Maarten (English)

local short form: Sint Maarten (Dutch and English)

former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies

etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day

Slovakia

conventional long form: Slovak Republic

conventional short form: Slovakia

local long form: Slovenska republika

local short form: Slovensko

etymology: may derive from the medieval Latin word "Slavus" (Slav), which had the local form "Sloven", used since the 13th century to refer to the territory of Slovakia and its inhabitants

Slovenia

conventional long form: Republic of Slovenia

conventional short form: Slovenia

local long form: Republika Slovenija

local short form: Slovenija

former: People's Republic of Slovenia, Socialist Republic of Slovenia

etymology: the country's name means "Land of the Slavs" in Slovene

Solomon Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Solomon Islands

local long form: none

local short form: Solomon Islands

former: British Solomon Islands

etymology: Spanish explorer Alvaro de MENDANA named the isles in 1568 after the wealthy biblical King SOLOMON in the mistaken belief that the islands contained great riches

Somalia

conventional long form: Federal Republic of Somalia

conventional short form: Somalia

local long form: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya (Somali)/ Jumhuriyat as Sumal al Fidiraliyah (Arabic)

local short form: Soomaaliya (Somali)/ As Sumal (Arabic)

former: British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, Somali Republic, Somali Democratic Republic

etymology: "Land of the Somali" (ethnic group)

South Africa

conventional long form: Republic of South Africa

conventional short form: South Africa

former: Union of South Africa

abbreviation: RSA

etymology: self-descriptive name from the country's location on the continent; "Africa" is derived from the Roman designation of the area corresponding to present-day Tunisia "Africa terra," which meant "Land of the Afri" (the tribe resident in that area), but which eventually came to mean the entire continent

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

conventional long form: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

conventional short form: South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

abbreviation: SGSSI

etymology: South Georgia was named "the Isle of Georgia" in 1775 by Captain James COOK in honor of British King GEORGE III; the explorer also discovered the Sandwich Islands Group that year, which he named "Sandwich Land" after John MONTAGU, the Earl of Sandwich and First Lord of the Admiralty; the word "South" was later added to distinguish these islands from the other Sandwich Islands, now known as the Hawaiian Islands

South Sudan

conventional long form: Republic of South Sudan

conventional short form: South Sudan

etymology: self-descriptive name from the country's former position within Sudan prior to independence; the name "Sudan" derives from the Arabic "bilad-as-sudan" meaning "Land of the Black [peoples]"

Southern Ocean

etymology: the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) included the ocean and its definition as the waters south of 60 degrees south in its year 2000 revision, but this has not formally been adopted; the 2000 IHO definition, however, was circulated in a draft edition of the IHO's Names and Limits of Oceans and Seas in 2002 and has acquired de facto usage by many nations and organizations, including the CIA

Spain

conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain

conventional short form: Spain

local long form: Reino de Espana

local short form: Espana

etymology: derivation of the name "Espana" is uncertain, but may come from the Phoenician term "span," related to the word "spy," meaning "to forge metals," so, "i-spn-ya" would mean "place where metals are forged"; the ancient Phoenicians long exploited the Iberian Peninsula for its mineral wealth

Spratly Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Spratly Islands

etymology: named after a British whaling captain Richard SPRATLY, who sighted Spratly Island in 1843; the name of the island eventually passed to the entire archipelago

Sri Lanka

conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

conventional short form: Sri Lanka

local long form: Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya (Sinhala)/ Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu (Tamil)

local short form: Shri Lanka (Sinhala)/ Ilankai (Tamil)

former: Serendib, Ceylon

etymology: the name means "resplendent island" in Sanskrit

Sudan

conventional long form: Republic of the Sudan

conventional short form: Sudan

local long form: Jumhuriyat as-Sudan

local short form: As-Sudan

former: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Sudan

etymology: the name "Sudan" derives from the Arabic "bilad-as-sudan" meaning "Land of the Black [peoples]"

Suriname

conventional long form: Republic of Suriname

conventional short form: Suriname

local long form: Republiek Suriname

local short form: Suriname

former: Netherlands Guiana, Dutch Guiana

etymology: name may derive from the indigenous "Surinen" people who inhabited the area at the time of European contact

Svalbard

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Svalbard (sometimes referred to as Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago)

etymology: 12th century Norse accounts speak of the discovery of a "Svalbard" - literally "cold shores" - but they may have referred to Jan Mayen Island or eastern Greenland; the archipelago was traditionally known as Spitsbergen, but Norway renamed it Svalbard in the 1920s when it assumed sovereignty of the islands

Sweden

conventional long form: Kingdom of Sweden

conventional short form: Sweden

local long form: Konungariket Sverige

local short form: Sverige

etymology: name ultimately derives from the North Germanic Svear tribe, which inhabited central Sweden and is first mentioned in the first centuries A.D.

Switzerland

conventional long form: Swiss Confederation

conventional short form: Switzerland

local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German)/ Confederation Suisse (French)/ Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)/ Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh)

local short form: Schweiz (German)/ Suisse (French)/ Svizzera (Italian)/ Svizra (Romansh)

abbreviation: CH

etymology: name derives from the canton of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of the Swiss Confederacy that formed in the late 13th century

Syria

conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic

conventional short form: Syria

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah

local short form: Suriyah

former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)

etymology: name ultimately derived from the ancient Assyrians who dominated northern Mesopotamia, but whose reach also extended westward to the Levant; over time, the name came to be associated more with the western area

Taiwan

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Taiwan

local long form: none

local short form: Taiwan

former: Formosa

etymology: "Tayowan" was the name of the coastal sandbank where the Dutch erected their colonial headquarters on the island in the 17th century; the former name "Formosa" means "beautiful" in Portuguese

Tajikistan

conventional long form: Republic of Tajikistan

conventional short form: Tajikistan

local long form: Jumhurii Tojikiston

local short form: Tojikiston

former: Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the Persian suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so the word Tajikistan literally means "Land of the Tajik [people]"

Tanzania

conventional long form: United Republic of Tanzania

conventional short form: Tanzania

local long form: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania

local short form: Tanzania

former: German East Africa, Trust Territory of Tanganyika, Republic of Tanganyika, People's Republic of Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar

etymology: the country's name is a combination of the first letters of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the two states that merged to form Tanzania in 1964

Thailand

conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand

conventional short form: Thailand

local long form: Ratcha Anachak Thai

local short form: Prathet Thai

former: Siam

etymology: Land of the Tai [People]"; the meaning of "tai" is uncertain, but may originally have meant "human beings," "people," or "free people''

Timor-Leste

conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

conventional short form: Timor-Leste

local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa'e (Tetum)/ Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste (Portuguese)

local short form: Timor Lorosa'e (Tetum)/ Timor-Leste (Portuguese)

former: East Timor, Portuguese Timor

etymology: timor" derives from the Indonesian and Malay word "timur" meaning "east"; "leste" is the Portuguese word for "east", so "Timor-Leste" literally means "Eastern-East"; the local [Tetum] name "Timor Lorosa'e" translates as "East Rising Sun"

note: pronounced TEE-mor LESS-tay

Togo

conventional long form: Togolese Republic

conventional short form: Togo

local long form: Republique Togolaise

local short form: none

former: French Togoland

etymology: derived from the Ewe words "to" (river) and "godo" (on the other side) to give the sense of "on the other side of the river"; originally, this designation applied to the town of Togodo (now Togoville) on the northern shore of Lake Togo, but the name was eventually extended to the entire nation

Tokelau

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Tokelau

former: Union Islands, Tokelau Islands

etymology: "tokelau" is a Polynesian word meaning "north wind"

Tonga

conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga

conventional short form: Tonga

local long form: Pule'anga Fakatu'i 'o Tonga

local short form: Tonga

former: Friendly Islands

etymology: "tonga" means "south" in the Tongan language and refers to the country's geographic position in relation to central Polynesia

Trinidad and Tobago

conventional long form: Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

conventional short form: Trinidad and Tobago

etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the larger island "La Isla de la Trinidad" (The Island of the Trinity) on 31 July 1498 on his third voyage; the tobacco grown and smoked by the natives of the smaller island or its elongated cigar shape may account for the "tobago" name, which is spelled "tobaco" in Spanish

Tunisia

conventional long form: Republic of Tunisia

conventional short form: Tunisia

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah

local short form: Tunis

etymology: the country name derives from the capital city of Tunis

Turkey (Turkiye)

conventional long form: Republic of Turkey

conventional short form: Turkey

local long form: Turkey Cumhuriyeti

local short form: Turkey

etymology: the name means "Land of the Turks"

note: Turkiye is an approved English short-form name for Turkey

Turkmenistan

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Turkmenistan

local long form: none

local short form: Turkmenistan

former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so Turkmenistan literally means the "Land of the Turkmen [people]"

Turks and Caicos Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Turks and Caicos Islands

abbreviation: TCI

etymology: the Turks Islands are named after the Turk's cap cactus (native to the islands and appearing on the flag and coat of arms), while the Caicos Islands derive from the native term "caya hico" meaning "string of islands"

Tuvalu

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Tuvalu

local long form: none

local short form: Tuvalu

former: Ellice Islands

etymology: "tuvalu" means "group of eight" or "eight standing together" referring to the country's eight traditionally inhabited islands

Uganda

conventional long form: Republic of Uganda

conventional short form: Uganda

etymology: from the name "Buganda," adopted by the British as the designation for their East African colony in 1894; Buganda had been a powerful East African state during the 18th and 19th centuries

Ukraine

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Ukraine

local long form: none

local short form: Ukraina

former: Ukrainian National Republic, Ukrainian State, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: name derives from the Old East Slavic word "ukraina" meaning "borderland or march (militarized border region)" and began to be used extensively in the 19th century; originally Ukrainians referred to themselves as Rusyny (Rusyns, Ruthenians, or Ruthenes), an endonym derived from the medieval Rus state (Kyivan Rus)

United Arab Emirates

conventional long form: United Arab Emirates

conventional short form: none

local long form: Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah

local short form: none

former: Trucial Oman, Trucial States

abbreviation: UAE

etymology: self-descriptive country name; the name "Arabia" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as "Ar Rabi"; "emirates" derives from "amir" the Arabic word for "commander," "lord," or "prince"

United Kingdom

conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - the island of Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales

conventional short form: United Kingdom

abbreviation: UK

etymology: self-descriptive country name; the designation "Great Britain," in the sense of "Larger Britain," dates back to medieval times and was used to distinguish the island from "Little Britain," or Brittany in modern France; the name Ireland derives from the Gaelic "Eriu," the matron goddess of Ireland (goddess of the land)

United States

conventional long form: United States of America

conventional short form: United States

abbreviation: US or USA

etymology: the name America is derived from that of Amerigo VESPUCCI (1454-1512) - Italian explorer, navigator, and cartographer - using the Latin form of his name, Americus, feminized to America

United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Palmyra Atoll

etymology: self-descriptive name specifying the territories' affiliation and location

Uruguay

conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay

conventional short form: Uruguay

local long form: República Oriental del Uruguay

local short form: Uruguay

former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province

etymology: name derives from the Spanish pronunciation of the Guarani Indian designation of the Uruguay River, which makes up the western border of the country and whose name later came to be applied to the entire country

Uzbekistan

conventional long form: Republic of Uzbekistan

conventional short form: Uzbekistan

local long form: O'zbekiston Respublikasi

local short form: O'zbekiston

former: Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: a combination of the Turkic words "uz" (self) and "bek" (master) with the Persian suffix "-stan" (country) to give the meaning "Land of the Free"

Vanuatu

conventional long form: Republic of Vanuatu

conventional short form: Vanuatu

local long form: Ripablik blong Vanuatu

local short form: Vanuatu

former: New Hebrides

etymology: derived from the words "vanua" (home or land) and "tu" (stand) that occur in several of the Austonesian languages spoken on the islands and which provide a meaning of "the land remains" but which also convey a sense of "independence" or "our land"

Venezuela

conventional long form: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

conventional short form: Venezuela

local long form: República Bolivariana de Venezuela

local short form: Venezuela

former: State of Venezuela, Republic of Venezuela, United States of Venezuela

etymology: native stilt-houses built on Lake Maracaibo reminded early explorers Alonso de OJEDA and Amerigo VESPUCCI in 1499 of buildings in Venice and so they named the region "Venezuola," which in Italian means "Little Venice"

Vietnam

conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

conventional short form: Vietnam

local long form: Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam

local short form: Viet Nam

former: Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)

abbreviation: SRV

etymology: "Viet nam" translates as "Viet south," where "Viet" is an ethnic self identification dating to a second century B.C. kingdom and "nam" refers to its location in relation to other Viet kingdoms

Virgin Islands

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Virgin Islands

former: Danish West Indies

abbreviation: VI

etymology: the myriad islets, cays, and rocks surrounding the major islands reminded Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgin followers (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes), which over time shortened to the Virgins (las Virgenes)

Wake Island

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Wake Island

etymology: although first discovered by British Captain William WAKE in 1792, the island is named after British Captain Samuel WAKE, who rediscovered the island in 1796

Wallis and Futuna

conventional long form: Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands

conventional short form: Wallis and Futuna

local long form: Territoire des Iles Wallis et Futuna

local short form: Wallis et Futuna

former: Hoorn Islands is the former name of the Futuna Islands

etymology: Wallis Island is named after British Captain Samuel WALLIS, who discovered it in 1767; Futuna is derived from the native word "futu," which is the name of the fish-poison tree found on the island

West Bank

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: West Bank

etymology: name refers to the location of the region of the British Mandate of Palestine that was occupied and administered by Jordan in 1948, as it is located on the far side (west bank) of the Jordan River in relation to Jordan proper; the designation was retained following the 1967 Six-Day War and the subsequent changes in administration

World

note: countries with names connected to animals include: Albania "Land of the Eagles"; Anguilla (the name means "eel"); Bhutan "Land of the Thunder Dragon"; Cameroon (the name derives from "prawns"); Cayman Islands (named after the caiman, a marine crocodile); Faroe Islands (from Old Norse meaning "sheep"); Georgia "Land of the Wolves"; Italy "Land of Young Cattle"; Kosovo "Field of Blackbirds"; Sierra Leone "Lion Mountains"; Singapore "Lion City"

Yemen

conventional long form: Republic of Yemen

conventional short form: Yemen

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Yamaniyah

local short form: Al Yaman

former: Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen]

etymology: name derivation remains unclear but may come from the Arab term "yumn" (happiness) and be related to the region's classical name "Arabia Felix" (Fertile or Happy Arabia); the Romans referred to the rest of the peninsula as "Arabia Deserta" (Deserted Arabia)

Zambia

conventional long form: Republic of Zambia

conventional short form: Zambia

former: Northern Rhodesia

etymology: name derived from the Zambezi River, which flows through the western part of the country and forms its southern border with neighboring Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

conventional long form: Republic of Zimbabwe

conventional short form: Zimbabwe

former: Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia

etymology: takes its name from the Kingdom of Zimbabwe (13th-15th century) and its capital of Great Zimbabwe, the largest stone structure in pre-colonial southern Africa