Where do you say you were born if your country is no more?

Here’s something that confuses me to no end. I noticed this first looking at hockey stats last year.

Let’s look at Miroslav Satan as a good example. He was born in Czechoslovakia in 1974. Yet, every stat book I see lists him as being born in the Czech Republic. Um, no. He was born in Czechoslovakia; in 1974 there was no such thing as the Czech Republic.

As you can imagine this happens a lot with Russian players as well. Alexei Yashin was born in the USSR, not Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Is it just me? Is this what you’re supposed to do when the country in which you were born ceases to exist?

We have a family friend (my parents pal) who was Latvian by virtue of being born there before WWII. She always told people she was from Latvia and glossed over the whole ‘Soviet’ thing.

I haven’t seen Aija in…must be 20 years. I’d betcha she’s not crying over the whole thing these days.

I assume you go with what a) you prefer or b) what is politically expedient.

If you were born in Czechoslovakia, then now you probably say either the Czech Republic or Slovakia depending on geography.

Interestingly, I wonder what is used on their US passport, which lists country of birth? Would it be Czechoslovakia or would some bureaucrat in INS look up your village and decide if it was Czech or Slovakian?

In the case of Hong Kong, I believe it is commonly listed on official documents as Hong Kong and not Hong Kong SAR.

How about <name of locality> in present day <successor country>?

Technically, my wife and I were both born in the United Kingdom.

However, my wife says “I was born in Wales”, and I say “I was born in England”, even though in political terms it should be UK.

[Church Lady]
Who is it that has a confusing place of origin? Could it be…Satan?!

My coworker describes herself as Serbian even though she was born in Yugoslavia. But I have a feeling that she was probably calling herself Serbian even before the breakup of the Balkans. I think one of the main reasons Yugoslavia didn’t last is because many of the residents identified more with their territory than with the pan-slavic ideal.

I have a friend who gets a little grumpy if you call him Russian. He’s Soviet, damn you all!

I would insist that I was born in the country it was named when I was born.

How about the persons that are born in a country and the border is shifted. Their birth place is now in a different country. Are they duel citizens, citizens of the original country, or citizens of the new country?

You mean like Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton?

Seriously, I would say what VunderBob said.

I worked with a guy that identified himself as Bosnian, although he was clearly born in Yugoslavia and was ethnic Croatian.

raises hand

I was born in Saigon, South Vietnam - neither of which are to be found on any current map. I split the difference and tell people I was born in Saigon (no fucking way I’m calling it Ho Chi Minh City!), Vietnam. :slight_smile:

My mother was born in Gwelo, Rhodesia.
She tells people she was born in Zimbabwe in a place that is now called Gweru, but was called Gwelo when she lived there.

My grandmother rarely remembers to say Mutare, Harare or Gweru, using Umtali, Salisbury and Gwelo almost exclusively. To be fair, she’d just got used to saying Zaire instead of the Congo when they changed it back again.

I never say that my mother is Zimbabwean, usually stating that she was born there. It makes people think about why I’m using that phrasing and it saves confusion when they meet her and keep looking round her for the African lady.

After the fall of the United States of America I now live in Wisconsinnotastan.

Interesting question.

Both my parents were born outside of Lahore, which is now in Pakistan. They just say “Lahore” and everyone knows but I generally say “In what’s now known as Pakistan.” Cause damnit, it was India, but now isn’t, so there’s only awkward ways to say it. (But there is no way they would ever get dual citizenship!) Back then along the border it was - if you’re Hindu, you’re Indian, and if you’re Muslim, you’re Pakistani, and hie thee back to your country or we kill you. (Both sides did the killing). Now it’s a little more relaxed.

I presume people whose countries don’t even exist anymore say something similar. “In the former country of Czechoslovakia” or whatever.

Not the best example, perhaps. Presumably he was born in what was then the non-independent Czech Socialist Republic, which might reasonably be abbreviated as the “Czech Republic.”

I have a friend who is a Kurd, and identifies her nationality as being from Kurdistan. Yes, she is, but Kurdistan is still part of Iraq. I can understand why she would say this (of course), but she left northern Iraq at an early age and grew up in Iran. Then she tried to settle in Turkey. They didn’t take her, so she went to Sweden. Then she came to California to improve her English, but not before spending some time in Canada.

I asked her, “Are you ever going to decide upon a country in which to live?” She finally said, “Yes, Kurdistan.” So she’s back there now.

This is not a country which is no more; it’s a country which is yet to be.

Can’t connect on a national level, but the place where I was born - Webb Air Force Base, Texas - no longer exists. It’s been deactivated, and a good number of the buildings on the base were dismantled.

So I just say I was born in Big Spring. Close enough…

In these cases it’s a description of the place of birth, which correctly use modern identification, otherwise there is no uniform principle to be followed - imagine the difficulties you’d have with someone born in disputed territory, in a location with a contemporary naming dispute, a war zone, or so on.

Meaningful self-identification is a whole other matter entirely. Depending on the circumstances, I was ‘born in England’, ‘born in Britain’, or ‘born in Liverpool’, I’m ‘from Suffolk’ or ‘from England’ or ‘Britain’, I’m ‘Irish’ or ‘English’ or ‘British’, or quite often I just change the topic :slight_smile: Guizot’s example is an excellent demonstration of how sense of national identity can transcend lines and names written on maps.

My father’s side of the family still identifies themselves as “Polish-Bohemian” despite the fact that Bohemia hasn’t been a country since forever. I’ve never heard any of them willingly say “Polish-Czech” although, where Bohemia was, the Czech Republic largely is now.

I’ve never bothered to grill any of them on it and find it easier to just cater to 75% of my bloodline and say I’m Polish rather than having to explain the other 25% to people who have no idea what/where Bohemia was.