The use of the article "the” as part of a country's name has led to debate for many years. Governments from several nations have made formal declarations on their correct English names. Countries like Ukraine have dismissed the use of "the Ukraine” in reference to the country. Others such as The Gambia have formally incorporated the article "the" in their name. According to the US Department of State and other authoritative sources, only The Gambia and The Bahamas should formally include the article. The routine use of “the” is quite prevalent, and in some cases, grammar dictates that it should be used when referring to certain countries.
“The” is also used for countries whose names come from significant geographical features. The Gambia also gets its name from the Gambia River. If the British colonists had heard correctly, both river and country would be called Ba-Dimmer.
The Bahamas possibly originates from Spanish - baja mar means 'low sea', although some suggest the indigenous Lucayans called their land ba-ha-ma , meaning 'large upper-middle land'.