Place names with a definite article

I’ve been noticing that The Ukraine is now mostly being referred to as Ukraine. When did this change?

And how many other places take a “the”?

The Hague
The Netherlands
The Bronx

Is there a historical reason the for this? Or just randomness?

Technically, we live in The United States of America and many of our online friends live in The United Kingdom.

The Czech Republic
The Democratic Republic of Congo

Typically, the use of The in the place name is for places that encompass a group or a region. This still doesn’t explain The Bronx though.

The Bronx is named for The Bronx River, named for some Dutch guy from long long ago. So as the borough took its name from a river that already include the “The” it just seemed to carry along and has stuck.

I think that officially, it is known as “The Gambia” for reasons that I do not know.

Many geographical features like rivers, deserts, and forests usually have “the” as well.

One exception for a region/group that doesn’t have “the” is New England in the US.

There’s also The Bahamas. As for Ukraine, the official position is that they call it Ukraine and not The Ukraine.

Oddly, we give a Bronx Cheer and not the Bronx Cheer.

That’s the reasoning why Ukraine doesn’t like the “The,” I think - “Ukrania” means “borderlands” in Russian, so calling the country “The Borderlands” makes it seem like less a nation than an area (“The Netherlands” as a title goes back to when that area was a possession of Burgundy, the Hapsburgs or Spain (and was called “The Burgundian Netherlands” or “The Hapsburgian Netherlands” etc) (“Netherlands” meaning “low countries”)

The Dalles, Oregon

The Woodlands, Texas

We have a street here in Toronto, Danforth Avenue, that’s referred to as “The Danforth.”

I know some languages put a definite article in front of country names. French does this, and needless to say, it assigns masculine and feminine names. If a country name (in French) ends in “e” then it’s feminine, with six exceptions (le Belize, le Cambodge, le Mexique, le Mozambique, le Suriname, le Zimbabwe). And there are a few that don’t use the definite article. Because raisons.

The Grand Canyon. Not the other one.

Hopefully this will be considered relevant and not hijacky, but I’ve sometimes wondered why we in the U.S. use the article for places like “going to the hospital” or “to the university” when Canadians (and possibly in the U.K. as well…?) just say “to hospital” and “to university”.

We all more or less speak English-- did we in the U.S. add the article at some point, or did Canadians (and possibly Brits) drop the article?

Le Havre, a city in France

To prevent confusion with Zambia.

I discussed this with a Russian acquaintance last year. In English “the Ukraine” is wrong. In Russian, it depends on which version of “the” is used. He listed them and explained the differences. I can’t remember the details.

There’s ‘The Yukon’, but for several years now they’ve been trying to make it stop and just be, ‘Yukon’. And, yes, they are a little sensitive about it. Now you know.

Thanks. I know a Russian speaker (American, but with advanced degrees in that language) - Maybe I’ll ask him about Russian grammar…

At opposed to Havre, a town in Montana.

The Hamptons is a name that encompasses the towns of South Hampton and East Hampton.