Last month, King Mswati III of Swaziland, one of the world’s few remaining absolute monarchs, announced the news: The country will henceforth be known as eSwatini, the kingdom’s name in the local language. (It means “land of the Swazis” in the Swazi — or siSwati — tongue.) Many African countries upon independence “reverted to their ancient, native names,” The Associated Press quoted the king as saying. “We no longer shall be called Swaziland from today forward.” According to Reuters, Mswati argued that the kingdom’s name had long caused confusion. “Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland,” the king said, according to Reuters.
Whether the name change will stick is another question. In 2016, Czech officials put forward Czechia as the preferred short version of the name of their country. The United Nations, the United States government and — crucially, in the digital age — Google Maps and Apple have complied, but the name Czech Republic remains in widespread use in English. To find out more, click through to this article at the New York Times.