Calling back to another recent TBG article (the ‘Same Name, Different Side of the Border’ series), a side-note to the multitude of duplicated regional place names is the Slovakia/Slovenia/Slavonia issue; two independent countries and a major region of eastern Croatia with incredibly similar names each separated from the other by a distance of 230 km (140 mi). Indeed, the three names do mean the same thing (‘Land of the Slavs’), but the three names are also long-established as distinct geographic entities, which made them ineligible for the list. Nevertheless, the similarity in spelling even after hundreds of years of linguistic evolution and geographic separation is remarkable, especially in the Slovak language where the sole difference between the three names occurs in the second vowel. The endonyms for the Slovak and Slovene languages (Slovenčina and Slovenščina, respectively) are also extremely similar.
Adding to the Slovakia/Slovenia confusion in particular is the fact that their flags are also remarkably similar, employing the white-blue-red Pan-Slavic colours of the mid-19th-century derived from the flag of Russia (although in Slovenia’s case, it’s a coincidence; the colours derive from those of the old Habsburg Duchy of Carniola).
Encyclopædia Britannica (2012). Desert. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 9 July2012. Available at http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/158992/desert. Accessed 9 July 2012.
Flags of the World (2011). Slovenia. 18 March 2011. Available at http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/si.html. Accessed 9 July 2012.
Walker, A.S. (1998). Deserts: Geology and Resources. Reston, VA: United States Geological Survey. Available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/deserts/contents/. Accessed 9 July 2012.