Czechast: Why the Name Is Czechia

Why Czechia?

In 2016, "Czechia" emerged as the official short, one-word geographical name promoted by the Czech government. This name has seen international adoption in organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union, yet it continues to evoke mixed feelings among the people it represents and observers abroad.

Vít Pohanka, the host of Czechast, admits:

"At first, I thought I would research and prepare just a brief overview of the process that led the Czech government and official institutions to select "Czechia" as the best one-word name for this country. But then I realized that it is difficult, if not impossible, to explain why so much time and energy was spent on a seemingly simple task, without understanding the historic context. Where did the name "Bohemia" come from? Why are the Bohemians called "Češi" in their native tongue and "Czechs" in English? And why do many people in the eastern parts of the country, called Moravia and Silesia, tend to be so unhappy about the name "Czechia"? It just led me deeper and deeper into history, which I try to at least outline in the first part of this episode."

In the second part, Vít talks to Jiří Preis, geographer at the University of West Bohemia. Crucially, he also serves as the Vice President of the Czech Geographical Society. He followed the discussions about the introduction of Czechia from the proverbial front row seat and he brings in an impartial and non-political perspective.

Czech Republic vs. Czechia | Photo: Czech Television

However, no matter what experts or politicians say about the name of any country, it should be first and foremost accepted by the people. As they say: "vox populi, vox dei," or "the voice of the people is the voice of God," you will be able to hear the dissenting voice of Leona Merclová, an ecologist from Brno, who presently lives and works in Britain, and did not take the name Czechia to her heart.

So, what was originally intended as a brief explanatory podcast about the genesis and meaning of the name Czechia, developed into the longest episode of Czechast as yet.

Author: Vít Pohanka
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  • Czechast

    Czechast is a regular RPI podcast about Czech and Moravian culture, history, and economy.