Also called tentatively "Radium F", polonium was discovered by Marie Curie and her husband Pierre Curie in 1898 and was later named after Marie's native land of Poland (Latin: Polonia). Poland at the time was under Russian, Prussian, and Austrian partition, and did not exist as an independent country. It was Marie's hope that naming the element after her native land would publicize its lack of independence. Polonium may be the first element named to highlight a political controversy. Poland became an independent country again in 1918, following WWI.
(History of Polonium - from Wikipedia)