May 162022

Prague is the capital of what country?

If you said the Czech Republic, you were right a few years ago, up until quite recently in fact. But you won’t find the Czech Republic on Google Maps. Instead you’ll find Czechia.

Czechia and Bohemia have long been alternative names for this landlocked central European country. (Yes, central Europe not eastern Europe.)

When Czechoslovakia dissolved into two countries in 1992, the Czech government decided on the name Czechia. However this name was not widely adopted at the time, nor was it generally adopted outside the country. So, in 2016, the Czech government decided that Czechia was the official name of their country and this is now the name used by the UN, the EU and others.

How’s your African geography?

At the southern end of the continent you have South Africa, which totally encloses the independent country of Lesotho and almost completely encloses another country which used to be called Swaziland. Swaziland is now called Eswatini (pronounced ESS-wah-TEE-nee). Like Lesotho and Botswana, it’s a former British colony which gained its independence back in the 1960s when Britain was divesting itself of many of its overseas territories. It’s also landlocked, like Botswana (formerly Bechuanaland), Lesotho (pronounced le-SOO-too, formerly Basutoland) and Czechia (pronounced CHE-kee-ah).

And just before we leave southern Africa, what’s the capital of South Africa? If you said Johannesburg, you’re totally wrong. If you said Pretoria, you’re one-third right. South Africa is the only country in the world to have three official capitals: Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative) and Bloemfontein (judicial).

Just thought you’d like to know.

[Editor: If you are interested in geography, you might also like to try Worldle, where you have to work out the name of a country from its shape.]