Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Swaziland's New Name in All Six UN Languages

Topographic map of Eswatini (Swaziland), showing terrain, rivers, bordering countries, and capital cities.
Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland. Based on this map by Htonl and NordNordWest.

"Eswatini" Not Only For English

Last year, we told you about the small African Kingdom of Swaziland's name change to "Kingdom of Eswatini", which it turns out has caught on more quickly than usual in the media. Unlike Côte d'Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Timor-Leste, and Czechia, whose previous English names are still arguably dominant today, Wikipedia editors have found that most sources switched rapidly from Swaziland to Eswatini after the name change.

In our first article, we promised to let you know when the new name came through in the other official languages of the United Nations (since the UN acts as a sort of formal registry for countries' official names). Well, here they are:




Monday, February 18, 2019

How Many Countries Are There in the World in 2019?

This article, originally from 2011, has been revised and updated to February 2019. You can view some older versions of the article in our archives.

How many countries: map of the world
A world political map published by the US government.
One of the most basic questions for map-lovers is, "How many countries are there in the world?" But anyone who just gives you a number isn't telling the whole truth. It actually depends a lot on how you define a "country".

Here are six of the most common answers, each correct in its own way:

"North Macedonia" Name Change Goes Into Effect

Are there two Macedonias? Where is North Macedonia located? Why is North Macedonia called north? Map of Macedonia, including both the recently renamed North Macedonia as per the Prespa Agreement and the Greek provinces of Macedonia.
North Macedonia is "north" because most of historical Macedonia was south of it, in what's now Greece. (Contact us for permission to use this map.)

North Macedonia: New Name Adopted

Last Tuesday, the controversially-named Republic of Macedonia - also known as the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) - officially become the Republic of North Macedonia. The changed entered into force exactly eight months after the country first made a deal with Greece to end their naming and identity dispute.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Syrian Civil War Map & Timeline: January 2019 (Subscription)

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Research by Djordje Djukic. Map by onestopmap.com, Evan Centanni, and Djordje Djukic

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Map of Syrian Civil War (Syria control map): Territorial control in Syria in January 2019, when IS control has been reduced to only one village and some areas of desert (Free Syrian Army rebels, Kurdish YPG, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS / Al-Nusra Front), Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), and others). Includes US deconfliction zone and Turkey-Russia demilitarized buffer zone, plus recent locations of conflict and territorial control changes, such as Baghuz, Murashidah, Saraqeb, Arima, and more. Colorblind accessible. Over the past month, the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria has been reduced to just a single village and some remote desert areas, while the country's north braces for a new phase of the war after US withdrawal.

See all this and more on the latest update to PolGeoNow's concise, professional Syrian Civil War control map, which includes a timeline of changes since our previous Syria map report in December, with sources cited.

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  • Up-to-date illustration of current territorial control in Syria, color-coded for the Assad government, rebel groups, "Islamic State" (ISIS/ISIL) fighters, and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Colorblind accessible.
  • Location of the demilitarized buffer zone sponsored by Turkey and Russia
  • Outline showing the approximate location of the one publicly-known US "deconfliction zone"
  • Special symbols indicating towns dominated by rebels of the former Al Qaeda Nusra Front (now Hayat Tahrir al-Sham or HTS) and by the Kurdish YPG militia (part of the US-backed SDF).
  • Detailed indication of city-by-city control, including key towns and other locations important to current events.
  • Locations of recent control changes and other important events, including Baghuz, Murashidah, Saraqeb, Arima and more.
  • Detailed timeline of important events and changes to territorial control since December 26, 2018, compiled by our Syria-Iraq expert, with links to sources. 

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

All About South Ossetia's 2017 Name Change

South Ossetia (purple) and Abkhazia (green) within the claimed borders of Georgia. Click to enlarge. Map by ChrisO based on UN map of Georgia (public domain; source).

Adding "State of Alania"

At PolGeoNow we promise to inform our readers any time one of the world's countries changes its name, even if it's just a modification to the country's official long name, or a switch in the name's preferred English translation.

But there was one name change we missed out on reporting last year - depending on what you consider a "country".

In April 2017, people in the disputed Republic of South Ossetia voted to change the self-declared country's full name to "The Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania". The name change referendum reportedly passed with about 80% of valid votes in favor, though many countries strongly condemned the whole process, seeing it as part of an ongoing Russia-led attempt to steal the region away from Georgia (the country, not the US state).