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Mexico name change: Five other international name changes from history

Yahoo! News UK reveals international name changes from the past two centuries - from the political and iconic to those which simply wanted to put themselves on the map.

Mexico's planned renaming of itself as, well... Mexico, may not be the most inspired name change in the history of a country, city, or state.

There are many nations and areas, however, whose entire identity centres around various name changes throughout their history.

Some change to reflect newly-acquired independence, while other countries and communities change to reflect their most famous landmarks, or even simply for some publicity.

Yahoo! News UK reveals five international name changes from the past two centuries - from the political and iconic to those which simply wanted to put themselves on the map.


NEW HOLLAND (now Australia)

The historic term 'New Holland' was applied to the western half of Australia from around 1644 right up until the British took over the Dutch colonisation in the late-18th century.

Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman declared it Nova Hollandia in the mid-17th century, naming the area after the Dutch province of Holland.

English Australians renamed New Holland as the state of Australia in 1774, and the western half of the country was not considered part of Australia until the British formally claimed it in 1829.

American author Edgar Allan Poe is said to have referred to New Holland as late as 1833, while in the Netherlands, 'Nieuw Holland' would remain the usual name of the continent until the end of the 19th century.

CONGO FREE STATE (now DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO)


The country now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo has undergone perhaps more name changes than any other nation.

It was known as Congo Free State in 1884, before changing to Belgian Congo in 1908, Republic of the Congo in 1960 and gaining the 'Democratic' in 1964. It would then go on to be known as Zaire in 1971, before returning to its current name in 1997.

NEW SPAIN (now Mexico)

Mexico itself, whose name dates back to the 14th century, is named after its capital, but underwent a name change in 1521 when invaded by Spanish conquistadors.

Invaders besieged México-Tenochtitlan (the old name of Mexico City), leaving the capital almost completely destroyed, before rebuilding it and designating it the capital of the vice royalty of New Spain.

It was not until the independence of New Spain that it became known, officially, as the 'United States of Mexico'.

HALF.COM (now Halfway, Oregon)

Half.com, a subsidiary of eBay which sells books, music, films and games, changed the name of the small town in Baker County, Oregon, in December 1999.

The e-commerce firm paid Halfway $100,000 and gave them 20 new computers in return for it changing its name to Half.com for one year. Halfway was the first town ever to accept money from a dot-com to change its name.

BLUE STAR, TEXAS (now Buffalo, Texas)

The U.S. city briefly renamed itself 'Blue Star, Texas' in 1993 and 1994 when the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills faced off in the Superbowl.

Five years later it rebranded as 'Green Star, Texas' when the Buffalo Stars played the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals.

MOHITO (now Richland, New Jersey)

Richland, the small community in the Buena Vista Township in Atlantic County, New Jersey, renamed itself in honour of the famous rum-based cocktail in 2004.

The area around Richland is a large supplier of mint, so the community renamed itself at the behest of Bacardi to honour the herb grown nearby.