Some country names are preceded by an article—like “The United States” and “La France”—but most are not. Sometimes it depends on what language you are speaking: in English we call the latter country simply “France” and “La República Argentina” is just “Argentina” although in the nineteenth century the British often referred to it as “The Argentine.”
When the region formerly known as “The Ukraine” split off from the old Soviet Union, it declared its preference for dropping the article, and the country is now properly called simply “Ukraine.”
Listen to Paul Brians discuss place names on his podcast.
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