Ancient China History
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China is a country in East Asia whose culture is considered the oldest, still extant, in the world. The name `China’ comes from the Sanskrit Cina (derived from the name of the Chinese Qin Dynasty, pronounced `Chin’) which was translated as `Cin’ by the Persians and seems to have become popularized through trade along the Silk Road from China to the rest of the world. The Romans and the Greeks knew the country as `Seres’, “the land where silk comes from”. The name `China’ does not appear in print in the west until 1516 CE in Barbosa’s journals narrating his travels in the east (though the Europeans had long known of China through trade via the Silk Road). Marco Polo, the famous explorer who familiarized China to Europe in the 13th century CE, referred to the land as `Cathay’. In Mandarin Chinese, the country is known as `Zhongguo” meaning `central state’ or `middle empire’.

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