The day that two of the world’s most famous men
Kids who grew up in the 80s are familiar with a few of these countries that are no longer, but for many, we never knew that these countries ever existed. Whether the names were changed due to strife, or there were peaceful annexations or dissolutions, it’s interesting to watch our maps change as they have over human history.
Abyssinia: Also known as the Ethiopian Empire, Abyssinia lasted from around 1137 until 1975. The area is now known as Ethiopia.
Burma: This southeastern Asian country changed its name to Myanmar in the late 1980s. However, not every country has recognized the name change.
Czechoslovakia: Located in central Europe, the nation of Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved in 1993 and formed two new countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Dahomey: This African nation lasted for around 300 years before eventually being renamed Benin in 1975.
Gran Colombia: This short-lived South American state included territory comprised of parts of the following modern-day countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru, western Guyana and northwest Brazil.
Khmer Republic: Cambodia was briefly known as Khmer Republic from 1970 to 1975.
Siam: The Southeast Asian country now known as Thailand changed its name from Siam in 1939.
South-West Africa: Also known as German South-West Africa, the nation of Namibia gained independence in 1990.
Texas: Yes, the U.S. state of Texas was an independent country for around 10 years — after it gained independence from Mexico, and before it was annexed by America.
United Kingdom of the Netherlands: Formed in 1815, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands eventually dissolved into Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Upper Volta: This west African country is now known as Burkina Faso.
Vermont: Vermont is another present-day U.S. state that was, for a period of time, an independent country before joining America.
Yugoslavia: The host of the 1984 Winter Olympics, the former nation of Yugoslavia has now broken up into six different countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Slovenia (the state of Kosovo is not officially recognized).
Zaire: This formal central African country is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.