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This page describes conventions for determining the titles of Wikipedia articles on places, and for the use of place names in Wikipedia articles. Our article title policy provides that article titles should be chosen for the general reader, not for specialists. By following modern English usage, we also avoid arguments about what a place ought to be called, instead asking the less contentious question, what it is called.

Consensus

The Wikipedia community has found it difficult to reach consensus, its preferred mode of dispute resolution, in several geographic naming debates. Two significant conflicts have been brought to Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee: the distinction between Ireland, the island, and Ireland, the state described as the Republic of Ireland (see the Arbitration Committee Ireland article naming case), and the distinction between the Republic of Macedonia (whose name was disputed by Greece until it was changed in 2019, to North Macedonia) and the various other uses of Macedonia (see the Arbitration Committee Macedonia case). Other long-standing problems have been settled through compromise or voting.

For Ireland, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Ireland-related articles. For Macedonia, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Macedonia).

General guidelines

These are advice, intended to guide, not force, consensus; but they are derived from actual experience in move discussions.

  1. The title: When a widely accepted English name, in a modern context, exists for a place, we should use it. This will often be a local name, or one of them; but not always. If the place does not exist anymore, or the article deals only with a place in a period when it held a different name, the widely accepted historical English name should be used. If neither of these English names exist, the modern official name (in articles dealing with the present) or the modern local historical name (in articles dealing with a specific period) should be used. All applicable names can be used in the titles of redirects.
  2. The lead: The title can be followed in the first line by a list of alternative names in parentheses, e.g.: Gulf of Finland (Estonian: Soome laht; Finnish: Suomenlahti; Russian: Финский залив, Finskiy zaliv; Swedish: Finska viken) is a large bay in the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea.
    • Any archaic names in the list (including names used before the standardization of English orthography) should be clearly marked as such, i.e., (archaic: name1).
    • Relevant foreign language names (one used by at least 10% of sources in the English language or that is used by a group of people which used to inhabit this geographical place) are permitted. Local official names should be listed before other alternate names if they differ from a widely accepted English name. Other relevant language names may appear in alphabetic order of their respective languages – i.e., (Estonian: Soome laht; Finnish: Suomenlahti; Russian: Финский залив, Finskiy zaliv; Swedish: Finska viken). Separate languages should be separated by semicolons.
    • Alternatively, all alternative names can be listed and explained in a "Names" or "Etymology" section immediately following the lead, or a special paragraph of the lead; it is recommended to have such a section if there are at least three alternate names, or there is something notable about the names themselves.
      • Where there is such a section, the article's first line should have only a link to the section, phrased, for example: "(known also by several [[#Names|alternative names]])". When there are several significant alternate names, the case for mentioning the names prominently is at least as strong as with two.
      • As an exception, a local official name different from a widely accepted English name should be both in such separate section and in the lead, in the form "(Foreign language: Local name; known also by several [[#Names|alternative names]])".
    • Infoboxes should generally be headed with the article title, and include these alternate names. The formal version of a name (Republic of Serbia at Serbia for a header) can be substituted for it; extensive historical names are often better in a second infobox, as at Augsburg.
  3. The contents (this applies to all articles using the name in question): The same name as in the title should be used consistently throughout the article, unless there is a widely accepted historical English name for a specific historical context. In cases when a widely accepted historical English name is used, it should be followed by the modern English name in parentheses on the first occurrence of the name in applicable sections of the article in the format: "historical name (modern name)". This resembles linking; it should not be done to the detriment of style. On the other hand, it is probably better to do too often than too rarely. If more than one historical name is applicable for a given historical context, the other names should be added after the modern English name, i.e.: "historical name (English name, other historical names)".
    • Use of widely accepted historical names implies that names can change; we use Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul in discussing the same city in different periods. Use of one name for a town in 2000 does not determine what name we should give the same town in 1900 or in 1400, nor the other way around. Many towns, however, should keep the same name; it is a question of fact, of actual English usage, in all cases.
  4. This page is a guideline; it is not intended to overrule all other guidelines.
    • Where, as with Lyon, different national varieties of the English language spell a foreign name differently, we should also consider our guidance on national varieties of English, which would have articles in British English call the city Lyons, articles in American English Lyon, and the article itself use either, consistently. Articles should not be moved from one national variety to the other without good reasons; our principle of most common name does not mean "use American, because there are more Americans in the English speaking world". On the other hand, especially when local usage is itself divided, we do not always follow a mere plurality of local English usage against the rest of the English-speaking world: Ganges, not Ganga.
  5. References: When referring to a place from another article (e.g. in infoboxes) note these guidelines do not prohibit, nor do they require, the suffixing of country names to the place. Both "Middletown, Connecticut, U.S." and "Middletown, Connecticut" are permissible. The presence of the country should not be changed arbitrarily.

EmphasisThe Wikipedia community has found it difficult to reach consensus, its preferred mode of dispute resolution, in several geographic naming debates. Two significant conflicts have been brought to Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee: the distinction between Ireland, the island, and Ireland, the state described as the Republic of Ireland (see the Arbitration Committee Ireland article naming case), and the distinction between the Republic of Macedonia (whose name was disputed by Greece until it was changed in 2019, to North Macedonia) and the various other uses of Macedonia (see the Arbitration Committee Macedonia case). Other long-standing problems have been settled through compromise or voting.

For Ireland, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Ireland-related articles. For Macedonia, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Macedonia).

General guidelines

These are advice, intended to guide, not force, consensus; but they are derived from actual experience in move discussions.

  1. The title: When a widely accepted English name, in a modern context, exists for a place, we should use it. This will often be a local name, or one of them; but not always. If the place does not exist anymore, or the article deals only with a place in a period when it held a different name, the widely accepted historical English name should be used. If neither of these English names exist, the modern official name (in articles dealing with the present) or the modern local historical name (in articles dealing with a specific period) should be used. All applicable names can be used in the titles of redirects.
  2. The lead: The title can be followed in the first line by a list of alternative names in parentheses, e.g.: Gulf of Finland (Estonian: Soome laht; Finnish: Suomenlahti; Russian: Финский залив, Finskiy zaliv; Swedish: Finska viken) is a large bay in the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea.
    • Any archaic names in the list (including names used before the standardization of English orthography) should be clearly marked as such, i.e., (archaic: name1).
    • Relevant foreign language names (one used by at least 10% of sources in the English language or that is used by a group of people which used to inhabit this geographical place) are permitted. Local official names should be listed before other alternate names if they differ from a widely accepted English name. Other relevant language names may appear in alphabetic order of their respective languages – i.e., (Estonian: Soome laht; Finnish: Suomenlahti; Russian: Финский залив, Finskiy zaliv; Swedish: Finska viken). Separate languages should be separated by semicolons.
    • Alternatively, all alternative names can be listed and explained in a "Names" or "Etymology" section immediately following the lead, or a special paragraph of the lead; it is recommended to have such a section if there are at least three alternate names, or there is something notable about the names themselves.
      • Where there is such a section, the article's first line should have only a link to the section, phrased, for example: "(known also by several [[#Names|alternative names]])". When there are several significant alternate names, the case for mentioning the names prominently is at least as strong as with two.
      • As an exception, a local official name different from a widely accepted English name should be both in such separate section and in the lead, in the form "(Foreign language: Local name; known also by several [[#Names|alternative names]])".
    • Infoboxes should generally be headed with the article title, and include these alternate names. The formal version of a name (Republic of Serbia at Serbia for a header) can be substituted for it; extensive historical names are often better in a second infobox, as at Augsburg.
  3. The contents (this applies to all articles using the name in question): The same name as in the title should be used consistently throughout the article, unless there is a widely accepted historical English name for a specific historical context. In cases when a widely accepted historical English name is used, it should be followed by the modern English name in parentheses on the first occurrence of the name in applicable sections of the article in the format: "historical name (modern name)". This resembles linking; it should not be done to the detriment of style. On the other hand, it is probably better to do too often than too rarely. If more than one historical name is applicable for a given historical context, the other names should be added after the modern English name, i.e.: "historical name (English name, other historical names)".
    • Use of widely accepted historical names implies that names can change; we use Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul in discussing the same city in different periods. Use of one name for a town in 2000 does not determine what name we should give the same town in 1900 or in 1400, nor the other way around. Many towns, however, should keep the same name; it is a question of fact, of actual English usage, in all cases.
  4. This page is a guideline; it is not intended to overrule all other guidelines.
    • Where, as with Lyon, different national varieties of the English language spell a foreign name differently, we should also consider our guidance on national varieties of English, which would have articles in British English call the city Lyons, articles in American English Lyon, and the article itself use either, consistently. Articles should not be moved from one national variety to the other without good reasons; our principle of most common name does not mean "use American, because there are more Americans in the English speaking world". On the other hand, especially when local usage is itself divided, we do not always follow a mere plurality of local English usage against the rest of the English-speaking world: Ganges, not Ganga.
  5. References: When referring to a place from another article (e.g. in infoboxes) note these guidelines do not prohibit, nor do they require, the suffixing of country names to the place. Both "Middletown, Connecticut, U.S." and "Middletown, Connecticut" are permissible. The presence of the country should not be changed arbitrarily.

Emphasis

It is Wikipedia convention to emphasize alternative names at first use, normally in the first line. It is customary to repeat and bold the article title (unless it is a descriptive title, rarely the case with geographical articles), and its frequently used English-language synonyms, and to italicize foreign or historical names represented in Roman script. (It is technically possible to bold or italicize Greek or Cyrillic names; but there is consensus not to do so, because they are distinguishable from running text anyway.) If this produces a garish first paragraph, consider moving the discussion of names to a separate section, or deemphasizing some of them.

Names not in Roman script should be transliterated (in italics). If there are multiple frequently used transliterations (again, used by at least 10% of the English sources), include them.

Use English

When a widely accepted English name, in a modern context, exists for a place, we should use it. This will often be identical in form to the local name (as with Paris or Berlin), but in many cases it will differ (Germany rather than Deutschland, Rome rather than Roma, Hanover rather than Hannover, Meissen rather than Meißen). If a native name is more often used in English sources than a corresponding traditional English name, then use the native name. Two examples are Livorno and Regensburg, which are now known more widely under their native names than under the traditional respective English names "Leghorn" and "Ratisbon".

If no name can be shown to be widely accepted in English, use the local name. If more than one local name exists, follow the procedure explained below under Multiple local names.

If the place does not exist any more, or the article deals only with a place in a period when it held a different name, the widely accepted historical English name should be used. If there is no such name in English, use the historical name that is now used locally – for more, see Use modern names, below.

Other applicable names can be used in the titles of redirects. They may also appear in the lead paragraph or in a special section of the article, in accordance with the advice given in the lead section guideline. For use of names in infoboxes, see the infobox guideline.

Within articles, places should generally be referred to by the same name as is used in their article title, or a historical name when discussing a past period. Use of one name for a town in 2000 does not determine what name we should give the same town in 1900 or in 1400, nor the other way around. Many towns, however, should keep the same name; it is a question of fact, of actual English usage, in all cases. For example, when discussing the city now called Istanbul, Wikipedia uses Byzantium in ancient Greece, and Constantinople for the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Similarly, use Stalingrad when discussing the city now called Volgograd in the context of World War II. For more details on this subject see Wikipedia:Proper names.

Widely accepted name

When a widely accepted English name, in a modern context, exists for a place, we should use it. This will often be identical in form to the local name (as with Paris or Berlin), but in many cases it will differ (Germany rather than Deutschland, Rome rather than Roma, Hanover rather than Hannover, Meissen rather than Meißen). If a native name is more often used in English sources than a corresponding traditional English name, then use the native name. Two examples are Livorno and Regensburg, which are now known more widely under their native names than under the traditional respective English names "Leghorn" and "Ratisbon".

If no name can be shown to be widely accepted in English, use the local name. If more than one local name exists, follow the procedure explained below under Multiple local names.

If the place does not exist any more, or the article deals only with a place in a period when it held a different name, the widely accepted historical English name should be used. If there is no such name in English, use the historical name that is now used locally – for more, see Use modern names, below.

Other applicable names can be used in the titles of redirects. They may also appear in the lead paragraph or in a special section of the article, in accordance with the advice given in the lead section guideline. For use of names in infoboxes, see the infobox guideline.

Within articles, places should generally be referred to by the same name as is used in their article title, or a historical name when discussing a past period. Use of one name for a town in 2000 does not determine what name we should give the same town in 1900 or in 1400, nor the other way around. Many towns, however, should keep the same name; it is a question of fact, of actual English usage, in all cases. For example, when discussing the city now called Istanbul, Wikipedia uses Byzantium in ancient Greece, and Constantinople for the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Similarly, use Stalingrad when discussing the city now called Volgograd in the context of World War II. For more details on this subject see Wikipedia:Proper names.

Widely accepted name

A name can be considered as widely accepted if a neutral and reliable source states: "X is the name most often used for this entity". Without such an assertion, the following sources may be helpful in establishing a widely accepted name. It is important that the sources be from the appropriate period, namely, the modern era for current names, or the relevant historical period for historical names. For modern sources, it is important to identify any recent watershed moments in the location's history (such as the fall of the Soviet Union for Eastern Europe, or other revolutions, invasions and nationality changes), and limit sources to those published after that watershed.

  • Disinterested, authoritative reference works are almost always reliable if they are current. Examples include:
    • major English-language encyclopedias (examples: Encyclopædia Britannica, Columbia Encyclopedia);
    • widely used atlases (examples: The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, the Oxford Atlas of the World);
    • gazetteers (examples: Cambridge World Gazetteer, Columbia Gazetteer of North America, Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America);
    • databases such as the Geographic Names Information System;
    • maps (such as those from the National Geographic Society), whether printed or electronic.
    • Many governments have an agency to standardize the use of place names, such as the United States Board on Geographic Names (see BGN below), the Geographical Names Board o

      Names not in Roman script should be transliterated (in italics). If there are multiple frequently used transliterations (again, used by at least 10% of the English sources), include them.

      When a widely accepted English name, in a modern context, exists for a place, we should use it. This will often be identical in form to the local name (as with Paris or Berlin), but in many cases it will differ (Germany rather than Deutschland, Rome rather than Roma, Hanover rather than Hannover, Meissen rather than Meißen). If a native name is more often used in English sources than a corresponding traditional English name, then use the native name. Two examples are Livorno and Regensburg, which are now known more widely under their native names than under the traditional respective English names "Leghorn" and "Ratisbon".

      If no name can be shown to be widely accepted in English, use the local name. If more than one local name exists, follow the procedure explained below under Multiple local names.

      If the place does not exist any more, or the article deals only with a place in a period when it held a different name, th

      If no name can be shown to be widely accepted in English, use the local name. If more than one local name exists, follow the procedure explained below under Multiple local names.

      If the place does not exist any more, or the article deals only with a place in a period when it held a different name, the widely accepted historical English name should be used. If there is no such name in English, use the historical name that is now used locally – for more, see Use modern names, below.

      Other applicable names can be used in the titles of redirects. They may also appear in the lead paragraph or in a special section of the article, in accordance with the advice given in the lead section guideline. For use of names in infoboxes, see the infobox guideline.

      Within articles, places should generally be referred to by the same name as is used in their article title, or a historical name when discussing a past period. Use of one name for a town in 2000 does not determine what name we should give the same town in 1900 or in 1400, nor the other way around. Many towns, however, should keep the same name; it is a question of fact, of actual English usage, in all cases. For example, when discussing the city now called Istanbul, Wikipedia uses Byzantium in ancient Greece, and Constantinople for the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Similarly, use Stalingrad when discussing the city now called Volgograd in the context of World War II. For more details on this subject see Wikipedia:Proper names.

      A name can be considered as widely accepted if a neutral and reliable source states: "X is the name most often used for this entity". Without such an assertion, the following sources may be helpful in establishing a widely accepted name. It is important that the sources be from the appropriate period, namely, the modern era for current names, or the relevant historical period for historical names. For modern sources, it is important to identify any recent watershed moments in the location's history (such as the fall of the Soviet Union for Eastern Europe, or other revolutions, invasions and nationality changes), and limit sources to those published after that watershed.

      • Disinterested, authoritative reference works are almost always reliable if they are current. Examples include:
        • major English-language encyclopedias (examples: Encyclopædia Britannica, Columbia Encyclopedia);
        • widely used atlases (examples: The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, the Oxford Atlas of the World);
        • gazetteers (examples: Cambridge World Gazetteer, Columbia Gazetteer of North America, Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America);
        • databases such as the Geographic Names Information System;
        • maps (such as those from the National Geographic Society), whether printed or electronic.
        • Many governments have an agency to standardize the use of place names, such as the United States Board on Geographic Names determines official federal nomenclature for the United States. Most often, actual American usage follows it, even in such points as the omission of apostrophes, as in St. Marys River. However, if colloquial usage does differ, we should prefer actual American usage to the official name. Similarly, its GEOnet server normally presents local official usage in the country concerned (for example, Frankfurt am Main); in a handful of cases, like Florence, it has a conventional name field. Its BGN Approved is a systematic transliteration, as Moskva – Wikipedia prefers Moscow, which is also the BGN conventional name. Where it acknowledges a conventional name, it is evidence of widespread English usage; where it does not, it is not addressing our primary question.

          Search engine issues

          Search engine tests should be used with care: in testing whether a name is widely accepted English usage, we are interested in hits which are in English, represent English usage, mean the place in question, and are not duplicates of each other or of Wikipedia. Search engine results can fail on all of these.

          Google may give unreliable estimates at the onset of a search; it is often preferable to restrict the competing searches to less than 1000 hits, and examine the number of hits on the final page. Google does not return more than 1,000 actual results;[1] hit counts above this are estimates which cannot readily be examined, and are imperfect evidence of actual usage. Adding additional search terms may reduce the number of hits to this range, but adds additional random variance.

          • Failure to use only English sources:
            • Language-filtered searches include works that contain only brief English sections. These sections may not discuss the place name in question.
            • Search engines will find hits when a paper in English is quoting foreign text, which may well include foreign placenames. This often occurs when citing a paper by title. For example, hits which are in fact citations of German papers which use Riesengebirge are not evidence of English usage, either way.
          • Failure to reflect only English usage:
            • Google Scholar will frequently return post office addresses, especially for modern university towns. This attests to local usage, not to English usage (except of course for towns in the English-speaking world, for which local usage should prevail).
            • Search engines do not normally distinguish consistent use of a name from a single mention. Any good history of Venice will mention Venezia at least once; any good history of Bratislava will mention Pressburg. But what we want is the word they consistently use to refer to the city; it is very difficult to find that with a search engine, especially when the question is: does the source call nineteenth- or eighteenth-century Bratislava something different?
              • For example, hits which are of the form "X (Foolanguage Y)" attest to English usage of X, and Foolanguage usage of Y. The latter matters to the Foolanguage Wikipedia, not to us.
            • Please remember that Google Scholar and Google Books are imperfectly random selections out of the whole corpus of English writing. If the results could easily have arisen by chance (for example, if there are only half-a-dozen or so valid hits on all the alternatives combined), this is not a good indicator of widespread English usage.
          • Failure to be about the place under discussion:
            • Many names are used for several places, often several places of the same type. In addition, many placenames have become surnames, and papers which are by authors with those surnames do not establish English usage for the placename.
          • Failure to represent independent usage of the name:
            • Some websites mechanically copy and compile other websites, including Wikipedia itself. These should not be counted as separate instances of English usage, but as the same instance duplicated. Wikipedia mirrors and forks, which may also appear in Google Book or Google Scholar searches, are unacceptable sources. When using Google search results as a usage metric, always include "-wikipedia" in the search conditions. This will exclude some, although not all, Wikipedia mirrors.

          Some of these problems will be lessened if the search includes an English word, like "city" or "river", as well as the placename. (If this is done with one proposed placename, it must of course be done for all competing proposals.) Another approach is to examine the first few pages of hits, and see what proportion of them are false hits. But the only certain control is to count how many hits are genuinely in English, assert English usage, and deal with the place discussed.

          Another useful idea, especially when one name seems to be used often in the construct "X (also called Y)" in sources that consistently use X thereafter, is to search for "and X" against "and Y" (or "in X" versus "in Y") to see which is common in running prose.

          Multiple local names

          There are cases in which the local authority recognizes equally two or more names from different languages, but English discussion of the place is so limited that none of the above tests indicate which of them is widely used in English; so there is no single local name, and English usage is hard to determine.

          Experience shows that the straightforward solution of a double or triple name is often unsatisfactory; there are all too many complaints that one or the other name should be first. We also deprecate any discussion of which name the place ought to have.

          We recommend choosing a single name, by some objective criterion, even a somewhat arbitrary one. Simple Google tests are acceptable to settle the matter, despite their problems; one solution is to follow English usage where it can be determined, and to adopt the name used by the linguistic majority where English usage is indecisive. This has been done, for example, with the municipalities of South Tyrol, based on an officially published linguistic survey of the area (see Italy below).

          In some cases, a compromise is reached between editors to avoid giving the impression of support for a particular national point of view. For example, the reasonably common name Liancourt Rocks has been adopted, mainly because it is neither Korean nor Japanese. Similarly, Wikipedia's version of the Derry/Londonderry name dispute has been resolved by naming the city page Derry and the county page County Londonderry.

          There are occasional exceptions, such as Biel/Bienne, when the double name is the overwhelmingly most common name in English (in this case, it has become most common because it is official and customary in Switzerland; the usage does not appear to be controversial). This should not be done to settle a dispute between national or linguistic points of view; it should only be done when the double name

          Another useful idea, especially when one name seems to be used often in the construct "X (also called Y)" in sources that consistently use X thereafter, is to search for "and X" against "and Y" (or "in X" versus "in Y") to see which is common in running prose.

          There are cases in which the local authority recognizes equally two or more names from different languages, but English discussion of the place is so limited that none of the above tests indicate which of them is widely used in English; so there is no single local name, and English usage is hard to determine.

          Experience shows that the straightforward solution of a double or triple name is often unsatisfactory; there are all too many complaints that one or the other name should be first. We also deprecate any discussion of which name the place ought to have.

          We recommend choosing a single name, by some objective criterion, even a somewhat arbitrary one. Simple

          Experience shows that the straightforward solution of a double or triple name is often unsatisfactory; there are all too many complaints that one or the other name should be first. We also deprecate any discussion of which name the place ought to have.

          We recommend choosing a single name, by some objective criterion, even a somewhat arbitrary one. Simple Google tests are acceptable to settle the matter, despite their problems; one solution is to follow English usage where it can be determined, and to adopt the name used by the linguistic majority where English usage is indecisive. This has been done, for example, with the municipalities of South Tyrol, based on an officially published linguistic survey of the area (see Italy below).

          In some cases, a compromise is reached between editors to avoid giving the impression of support for a particular national point of view. For example, the reasonably common name Liancourt Rocks has been adopted, mainly because it is neither Korean nor Japanese. Similarly, Wikipedia's version of the Derry/Londonderry name dispute has been resolved by naming the city page Derry and the county page County Londonderry.

          There are occasional exceptions, such as Biel/Bienne, when the double name is the overwhelmingly most common name in English (in this case, it has become most common because it is official and customary in Switzerland; the usage does not appear to be controversial). This should not be done to settle a dispute between national or linguistic points of view; it should only be done when the double name is actually what English-speakers call the place.

          For an article about a place whose name has changed over time, context is important. For articles discussing the present, use the modern English name (or local name, if there is no established English name), rather than an older one. Older names should be used in appropriate historical contexts when a substantial majority of reliable modern sources do the same; this includes the names of articles relating to particular historical periods. Names have changed both because cities have been formally renamed and because cities have been taken from one state by another; in both cases, however, we are interested in what reliable English-language sources now use.

          For example, we have articles called Istanbul, Dubrovnik, Volgograd, and Saint Petersburg, these being the current names of these cities, although former names (Constantinople, Ragusa, Stalingrad, and Leningrad) are also used when referring to appropriate historical periods (if any), including such article names as Battle of Stalingrad and Sieges of Constantinople; not to mention separate articles on Constantinople and Byzantium on the historical cities on the site of modern Istanbul – or part of it. It is sometimes common practice in English to use name forms from different languages to indic

          For example, we have articles called Istanbul, Dubrovnik, Volgograd, and Saint Petersburg, these being the current names of these cities, although former names (Constantinople, Ragusa, Stalingrad, and Leningrad) are also used when referring to appropriate historical periods (if any), including such article names as Battle of Stalingrad and Sieges of Constantinople; not to mention separate articles on Constantinople and Byzantium on the historical cities on the site of modern Istanbul – or part of it. It is sometimes common practice in English to use name forms from different languages to indicate cultural or political dominance. For example, Szczecin is often written as Stettin (the German name) for the period before 1945, likewise Gdańsk is called Danzig (the detailed decisions at Talk:Gdansk/Vote apply to that dispute; they are older than this page). There are other cities for which policy is still debated, such as Vilnius, which in various contexts is referred to as Vilnius, Wilno or Vilna.

          In some cases it is not the local name but the spelling of the name in English that has changed over time. For example, Nanjing, as the contemporary pinyin spelling, is used for the name of the article rather than Nanking. However, the article on the Treaty of Nanking spells the city as was customary in 1842, because modern English scholarship still does.

          Another example is Mumbai, which officially changed its name from Bombay in 1995. Per Wikipedia's naming policy, our choice of name does not automatically follow the official or local form, but depends on that change having become predominant in common global usage. That can be assessed by reviewing up-to-date references to the place in a modern context in reliable, authoritative sources such as news media, other encyclopedias, atlases and academic publications as well as the official publications of major English-speaking countries, for example the CIA World Factbook.

          Wikipedia articles must have a single title, by the design of the system; this page is intended to help editors agree on which name of a place is to appear as the title.

          Nevertheless, other names, especially those used significantly often (say, 10% of the time or more) in the available English literature on a place, past or present, should be mentioned in the article, as encyclopedic information. Two or three alternative names can be mentioned in the first line of the article; it is general Wikipedia practice to bold them so they stand out. If there are more names than this, or the lead section is cluttered, a separate paragraph on the names of the place is often a good idea.

          Disambiguation