"Japan became the dominion of The Empire
. It was stripped of its freedom, its rights, and its name. Area 11... the defeated and once proud nation of Japan was rechristened with a mere number."
Even the names of the countries, and their shapes on the map, had been different. Airstrip One, for instance, had not been so called in those days: it had been called England or Britain, though London, he felt fairly certain, had always been called London.
So The Empire
has conquered a number of unfortunate countries and crushed the citizens under the weight of oppression. But it just isn't enough for The Empire
. They've got to rub their newfound authority in the subdued province's face. How best to humiliate them? Take away something they strongly value, something that symbolizes their very identity—their name! The Empire
will show how evil they are by re-branding the area with a label and a number. It also adds to the overall military atmosphere
of a piece, even though Real Life
militaries' very reason for using codes rather than common place names is operational secrecy, and replacing the latter with the former for public use would be Comically Missing the Point
Other evil rulers prefer to rename cities after themselves
. See also Please Select New City Name
For replacing people's names with numbers, see You Are Number Six
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Anime and Manga
- In Code Geass, the various lands conquered by the Holy Britannian Empire are given numbers as part of the "Number system" of identified said conquered lands. Japan is renamed "Area 11."
- Frieza named all the planets he conquered "Planet Frieza #(insert number here)"
- Aperture Science 3007 Colony and Land of Life and No Death (theoretically Lithuania and Poland) from Portal: The 4th Millennium franchise.
- Even though most other modern countries are referred to by their actual names. The author probably just hated his own home country that much.
- In Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, Stone Alexander becomes the head of European Union and quickly turns it into a One World Order, separating the world into zones. He pressures the US to join this new global community, consistently calling it the North American Zone, which infuriates the President.
- 1984 has the entire United Kingdom given the pitiful title of "Airstrip One," a reference to the Americans referring to it as "an unsinkable aircraft carrier" during World War II when the Nazis had overrun most of continental Europe.
- Ixia's Military Districts (MD-1 through MD-8) in Maria Snyder's Ixia and Sitia books. The Commander isn't actually evil though, just a military man who hates any show of extravagance relating to the royal family he ousted.
- In Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here, when Buzz Windrip of the fascist Corpo Party takes over the United States, he abolishes the old 48 states and their elected governments, and divides America into eight provinces, each province divided into numbered districts, each district divided into lettered counties, each unit ruled by a commissioner appointed by himself. Even the hostile newspaper editor Doremus Jessup is forced to admit these new administrative divisions make a certain amount of sense.
- In Taylor Caldwell's The Devil's Advocate, the totalitarian Democracy of America has replaced the states with numbered Sections. What was formerly New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania is only "Section 7".
- In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, the "North American Directorate" appears to have replaced the states with "Managerial Areas".
- In the Horus Heresy novels the planets conquered by humanity during the great crusade have their original names replaced by a numeric designation based on the code number of the fleet that conquered it, followed by a number that shows which order it was conquered in. Thus the 10th planet conquered by the 25th fleet is known as 25-10. These planets are then given proper Imperial names later.
- In the Doctor Who New Adventures, the Earth Empire has renamed all Earth's cities "Spaceports". Original Sin is mostly set in Spaceport 5 Overcity, which seems to be London.
- In The Hunger Games, the Capitol has renamed all of the subdued areas Districts 1-13.
- In Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana, that city-state has been renamed Lower Corte, after its neighboring bitter rival. Please Select New City Name thus equally applies.
- Half-Life 2 takes place in a coastal city in Eastern Europe (as evidenced by the architecture and abundance of Cyrillic script), known only as City 17. A City 14 is also mentioned by a passer-by.
- Midgar's sectors in Final Fantasy VII. Jesse mentions that the areas on the ground used to have real names, but nobody remembers them any more.
- The world of Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars since it's been divided into "Blue", "Yellow" and "Red" zones.
- Part of this is because the concept of nation-states had been relegated to history due to the tiberium and subsequent mass movements of refugees trying to flee it, as well as the transnational nature of GDI and Nod.
- The other part is that it is suggested that there are administrative divisions, at least in GDI territories, other than the Blue, Yellow and Red zone-division (which is more about what kind of place it is than anything properly administrative - the Red zones being nearly unlivable due to Tiberium poisoning, the Yellow zones being harsh and dangerous, and the Blue zones being almost as the pre-Tiberian world).
- Dr. Regal from the Megaman Battle Network series comes from a place called "Nation Z", referred to as an "infamous military country".
- 4U City from Sluggy Freelance. We don't actually know what it used to be called, except we can be pretty sure that wasn't it.
- Actually, 4U City was founded by Hereti-Corp, so this is likely the city's original name. 4U, by the way, is a reference to both "For You" and the four initials of their new public slogan.
(NOTE: Only generic labels count. Anything named after a geographic name or nationalities doesn't.
- In 1793-1794, the town of Lyon in France was renamed "Commune affranchie", or "the liberated town", after the citizens rose against the Jacobins and were defeated.
- Pretty much the same thing happened to Marseilles, which became "Ville-sans-nom" ("City without a name").
- Also to Toulon, briefly known as "Port-de-la-Montagne" ("Port of the Mountain", which probably referred to the radical faction of the revolutionaries, who sat on the upper benches of the Convent). And the entire département Vendée, which after the suppression of the local guerilla war became "Vengée" ("avenged").
- The Imperial Japanese had a policy of designating conquered peoples by numbers, which coincidentally served as inspiration for Britannia's naming system in Code Geass.
- After Nazi Germany conquered Poland, they labeled part of it the "General Government" to deny the Poles any sort of identity, and any reference to Poland was deliberately suppressed.note They were generally more inventive elsewhere, naming conquered territories after things like local rivers and similar.
- Under the control of white-minority-dominated South Africa, the current Namibia was more or less considered an addendum to the original and called South-West Africa.
- Not necessarily evil, but in the book Soldier by Lt. Col. Anthony Herbert, he wonders how the Vietnamese feel about how the Americans divide up South Vietnam into AOE (Area Of Operations) Barnes, AOE Smith, etc., on the American maps.
- Play along at home. See if you can guess which places these terms refer to before revealing the City name?
- "M25 area" Greater London
- "Zone 1" Central London; a reference to the innermost fare zone of the London Underground, but commonly used in other contexts.
- "Area 495" Washington D.C.
- "The 4-1-6" Toronto, named for the area code, as opposed to "The 9-oh-5" for the surrounding metro area
- "The 8-0-4" Richmond, Virginia
- "The 5-1-2" Austin, Texas
- A lighter example is how the U.S. congressional district names go along the lines of [State]'s [Number] Congressional District- in contrast to the U.K., the country it descended from, which gives each of its 650 parliamentary constituencies unique names.
- It's actually a matter of pragmatism for the House of Representatives, as the districts are redrawn after every census (held every ten years), based on population shifts, to maintain a balanced number of constituents per member of Congress with a fixed total of 435 seats.
- A modern day example is Canton 10 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which also does not have an official coat of arms or flag. Most of the population is Croat, the local government uses the old symbols of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia and still calls itself Herzeg-Bosnia but the national government has declared this unconstitutional as it does not include the Bosniak or the Serbs.
- The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, possibly the Trope Maker. When the state was being created in 1922, a name of "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of Europe and Asia" was considered, but was ultimately rejected for including specific geographic references. It was believed that a world revolution was inevitable, and the USSR would constantly expand to all continents; thus, any mention of specific cultures or places in the state's name was deemed undesirable.