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:

Official Short Name
Language Before After
Arabic سوازً يَد إسواتيني
Chinese 斯威士兰 斯威士兰
English Swaziland Eswatini
French le Swaziland l'Eswatini
Russian Свазиленд Эсватини
Spanish Swazilandia Eswatini

Official Formal Name
Language Before After
Arabic مملكة سوازً يَد مملكة إسواتيني
Chinese 斯威士兰王国 斯威士兰王国
English the Kingdom of Swaziland the Kingdom of Eswatini
French le Royaume du Swaziland le Royaume d’Eswatini
Russian Королевство Свазиленд Королевство Эсватини
Spanish el Reino de Swazilandia el Reino de Eswatini

Flag of Eswatini (Swaziland) Country Name:  
• Eswatini (English)
• eSwatini (Swati)
Full Name:  
• Kingdom of Eswatini (English)
• Umbuso weSwatini (Swati)
• Mbabane (executive and UN-registered official)
• Lobamba (legislative and ceremonial) 
Adjective: Swazi
As you can see, the name was changed in all UN official languages except Chinese - probably because Chinese uses only rough transliterations of countries' native or English names anyway. Still, the Chinese name is clearly based on the previous English version, being pronounced roughly as "Sih-wei-shih-lan". In contrast, recent name changes for Czechia and the Gambia did include modifications to their Chinese names at the UN, though in those cases there was no major change in pronunciation involved.

The name in Swati (also known as Swazi), Eswatini's other official language besides English, is also registered as a native country name at the UN. It was not changed - it was eSwatini before, and is still eSwatini now (for more on the capitalization difference, check out our previous article on Swaziland's name change). The full formal name in Swati, both before and after the change, is Umbuso weSwatini.

Learn More: Why Did Swaziland Change its Name, and How is it Pronounced?

PolGeoNow always reports on any change to a country's name - find out about others by viewing all country name change articles.

Graphic of the Swazi flag is in the public domain (source).