Etymology
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Liberia 
African nation, begun as a resettlement project of freed American slaves in 1822 by the American Colonization Society (founded for that purpose in 1816), launched as a free republic in 1847; the name was chosen by society member and U.S. senator Robert Goodloe Harper (1765-1825) from Latin liber "free" (see liberal (adj.)) + -ia. Related: Liberian, but this also can mean "pertaining to Pope Liberius" (352-66).
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Rafflesia (n.)

genus of parasitic plants native to Java and Sumatra, 1820, named for Sir T. Stamford Raffles (1781-1826), British governor of Sumatra, who introduced it to the West, + abstract noun ending -ia. He reports the native name was petimum sikinlili "Devil's betel-box." Raffles as the typical name of a gentleman who engages in burglary or other crime, an educated renegade, is from A.J. Raffles, hero of "The Amateur Cracksman" (1899) and later books by E.W. Hornung.

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Algeria 
North African country, named for Algiers, city chosen by the French as its capital when they colonized the region in 1830 + Latinate "country" suffix -ia. The city name is Arabic al-Jazair, literally "the islands" (plural of jezira) in reference to four islands formerly off the coast but joined to the mainland since 1525. Related: Algerian (1620s); a resident of the place (especially indigenous, as opposed to French colonists) also could be an Algerine (1650s), and that word was practically synonymous with "pirate" in English and U.S. usage early 19c.
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Patagonia 

region at the southern extremity of South America, with -ia + Patagon, name given by Europeans to the Tehuelche people who inhabited the coasts of the region, sometimes said to mean literally "large-foot," from Spanish and Portuguese pata "paw, animal foot" (see patten) in reference to the people's llama-skin shoes. But elsewhere said to be from Patagon, name of a dog-headed monster in the prose romance "Amadís de Gaula" (1508) by Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo (which also might have yielded California). Related: Patagonian.

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Australia 
from Latin Terra Australis (16c.), from australis "southern" + -ia. A hypothetical southern continent, known as terra australis incognita, had been proposed since 2c. Dutch explorers called the newfound continent New Holland; the current name was suggested 1814 by Matthew Flinders as an improvement over Terra Australis "as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the name of the other great portions of the earth" ["Voyage to Terra Australis"]. In 1817 Gov. Lachlan Macquarie, having read Flinders' suggestion, began using it in official correspondence. The ultimate source is Latin auster "south wind," hence, "the south country" (see austral).
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Romania 

Eastern European nation, the name taken officially in 1861 at the union of the old lands of Wallachia and Moldavia, from Latin Romani "people from Rome," which was used to describe the descendants of colonists there from Roman times; see Roman + -ia. In late 19c., early 20c. often Rumania, or, from French, Roumania. Related: Romanian; Rumanian; Roumanian. In Middle English, Romanie was "the Roman Empire," from Latin Romania. Romanian in the sense of "of or pertaining to
Gypsies" is by 1841 (see Romany).

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Lemuria 
1864, name given by English zoologist Philip L. Sclater (1829-1913) to an ancient continent or land bridge, now sunk in the Indian Ocean, connecting Africa, Madagascar, India, and Southeast Asia, which he hypothesized to explain the geographical distribution of mammals around it, especially the lemur, hence the name (with -ia). The premise was considered scientifically untenable by 1880 and the phenomena now are accounted for otherwise, but Lemuria in some ways by chance anticipated Gondwanaland (1896) in the continental drift model.

Earlier Lemuria was the name of the Roman feast of the Lemures, evil spirits of the dead in Roman mythology. The head of each household ritually exorcised them every 9th, 11th, and 13th of May. Related: Lemurian
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Columbia 

poetic name for United States of America, earlier for the British colonies there, 1730s, also the nation's female personification, from name of Christopher Columbus (also see Colombia) with Latin "country" ending -ia.

A popular name for places and institutions in the U.S. in the post-Revolutionary years, when former tributes to king and crown were out of fashion: such as Columbia University (New York, U.S.) founded in 1754 as King's College; re-named 1784. Also District of Columbia (1791, as Territory of Columbia); "Hail, Columbia," Joseph Hopkinson's patriotic song that served in 19c. as an unofficial national anthem (1798); "Columbiad," Joel Barlow's attempt to write an epic for the United States (1807). Columbiad also was the name of a heavy, cast-iron, smooth-bore cannon introduced in the U.S. in 1811. Related: Columbian.

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Malaysia 

federation comprising the southern end of the Malay peninsula (except Singapore) and the northwestern part of Borneo, from Malay + Latinate ending -ia. Originally an early 19c. British geographers' name for the Indonesian archipelago. Related: Malaysian.

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