China

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China is a 4,000-year-old civilization in South East Asia. See Chinese history.

The origins of the English word "China" are unclear.

According to Webster, the word is based on a Persian word chInI which refers to a type of fine porcelain from China. And the porcelain is called ci2 (瓷 pronounced chee) in Chinese which might be the root of the Persian word. Apparently, the English named the countries after the porcelain.

According to American Heritage dictionary, the word is based on a Sanskrit word China which refers to Qin2 or Ch'in dynasty (秦 255-204 BC).

Some historians please explain the origin of the word. If two major English dictionaries have different views, no one really knows where this English word came from.

China is known by native people as Zhong1 Guo2 (中國) or Zhong1 Hua2 (中華), and in ancient Chinese literature Hua2 Xia4 (華夏) where Xia refers to the Xia dynasty in 2205-1766 BC.


See People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (Taiwan ROC).