Can You Match the Country's Former Name to Its Present Name?



By: Isadora Teich

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you have what it takes to master the map? The world changes all the time, but over the last century or so massive change has swept the world, unlike anything the human race has ever seen before. Advances in technology and culture have conquered much of the globe, meaning that few things go unnoticed anymore.

These changes can be reflected on the map. World powers have come and gone, meaning that many countries have been born over the last few centuries, while others have been lost. Some have been conquered so many times that it is hard to keep track, while others renamed themselves after becoming free from colonial oppression. In other cases, countries have even joined together or split to make new players on the world stage.

Slowly, the blank spots on the map have been filled, but there are still a few controversial spots on it left today. How they might come to be labeled in the future, or when exactly these decisions might happen, is anybody's guess.

If you have a lot of worldly knowledge and are ready to take a massive trip through time and around the globe, try your hand at this quiz!

The Federated Malay States

This federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula was established by the British government in 1895. It would eventually become Malaysia in 1963.


The Ottoman Empire

The Turkish Empire included parts of Asia, Africa and Europe at its height. It collapsed after World War I and today is just the country of Turkey.



Historically, Iran was referred to as Persia due to historical accounts from Ancient Greece and other civilizations. Persia changed its name to Iran in 1935, by asking countries it had diplomatic relations with to refer to it as Iran, and it has stuck.



Thailand was called Siam by outsiders, even though this was not correct for most of its history. Thailand was only officially called Siam from 1946-1948, and Thailand both before and after.



Galilee is where Jesus is said to have walked on water in biblical times. Today it is a mountainous part of Northern Israel.


Yemen Arab Republic

North Yemen, also called the Yemen Arab Republic, was a country from 1962-1990. It is now a part of Yemen.



Transjordan was created by Britain in 1922. It became Jordan after gaining independence and has been officially known as The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan since 1949.


The Dutch East Indies

The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony. It became Indonesia after World War II.


The Belgian Congo

The Belgian Congo was a Central African Belgian colony that existed from 1908-1960. Before that it was known as The Congo Free State, another Belgian colonial endeavor famous for murdering, torturing and exploiting the local Congolese people.



Prussia was initially a small German kingdom that encompassed parts of Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Denmark, Belgium and the Czech Republic at its height. It existed from 1701-1918.


Republic of Zaire

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was known as the Republic of Zaire from 1971-1997. It was a one-party totalitarian dictatorship run by Mobutu Sese Seko, who seized power in a military coup.



From the 8th century BC to the 2nd century AD, Judea was a country separate from Israel. Today it is southern Israel.


French Sudan

The French ruled French Sudan from 1880-1960. It then became the West African independent state of Mali.


British Honduras

British Honduras was a British colony from 1862 to 1964. After independence, it renamed itself Belize in 1973.


German East Africa

German East Africa was a colony nearly 3 times the size of Germany, which the country lost after being defeated in World War I. This territory was then divided between Britain, Belgium and Portugal and would eventually become several countries.



Burma changed its name to Myanmar in 1989, which was controversial due to the circumstances. Some countries recognize this change and others do not.


Democratic Kampuchea

Cambodia is actually a Western misinterpretation of Kampuchea. Under communist rule from 1975-1979, the country was known as Democratic Kampuchea.


French Guinea

French Guinea was a French protectorate in West Africa until 1958. After independence, the country became Guinea.


British East Africa

The British had many colonies in Africa. The area which is today several countries was a protectorate of Britain from 1890-1920.



Abyssinia was changed to Ethiopia during World War II. This is controversial among scholars, some of whom say that the area was only called Abyssinia by Arabs, but has been known to others as Ethiopia for centuries.


The Kingdom of Lo

The former Kingdom of Lo is now known as Mustang and is in a remote part of the Nepalese Himalayas. Its status as a kingdom ended in 2008.


North Borneo

North Borneo was previously a British protectorate located on the Maritime Southeast Asian island of Borneo. Today, Borneo is divided between Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.


Gold Coast

The Gold Coast was a coastal West African British colony from 1867-1957. In 1957, the area became the independent nation of Ghana.



Sri Lanka was under British rule from 1815 to 1948 and known as Ceylon during this time. Ceylon was a transliteration of Ceilao, which was the name of the country when it was under Portuguese rule.


The Khmer Republic

Cambodia has had several name changes due to regime changes and political instability. From 1970-1975 it was known as the Khmer Republic.



The Portuguese were the first colonial rulers of what would eventually become Sri Lanka. Under their rule, it was known as Ceilao.



Before the early 20th century, today's Czech Republic was referred to as Bohemia. It is a country in Central Europe.


The Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was a large communist Eurasian Empire. It stretched over more than a dozen countries throughout Eurasia.



Bechuanaland was adopted as a British protectorate in 1885. Botswana took its current name in 1966, after becoming independent.


French Somaliland

Djibouti became independent of France in 1977. While under French control, it was known as both French Somaliland and the French territory of Afars and Issas.


The Great Korean Empire

South Korea and North Korea were the Great Korean Empire from 1897 until 1910. In 1910, Korea was annexed by Japan.


Upper Volta

Burkina Faso was a former French colony known as Upper Volta. It gained independence in 1960 and took the name Burkina Faso in 1984.



Dahomey was a former West African Kingdom and then French colony. It existed within the borders of present-day Benin.


New Holland

This was the Dutch name for the Australian continent for generations. The Dutch referred to it this way from about 1600 to the mid-1800s.


New Spain

Spain had vast colonial holdings in the Americas. This stretched throughout North and Central America.


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