Why Is China Called China?

Have you ever wondered why China is called China? It turns out that the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. In fact, the origins of the name are shrouded in mystery and folklore. So, let’s dive in and explore four fascinating theories behind this curious name.

Where Did “China” Come From?

#1 It Comes From “Cina” 

One of the most popular theories is that the name comes from the Sanskrit word “Cina,” which was used to describe the Qin dynasty (pronounced “chin”) that ruled the region from 221 BC to 206 BC. The Qin dynasty was known for unifying the country and building the Great Wall, so it’s no surprise that their name would be associated with the country. However, this theory is not universally accepted, and there are many other possible origins of the name.

#2 The Persian Word “Chin”

Another theory suggests that the name comes from the Persian word “Chin”. Chin was used to describe China as early as the 6th century AD. This theory is supported by the fact that the Silk Road, which connected Chinese merchants to the Mediterranean, and Persian merchants. They would have had frequent contact with the Chinese and would have been familiar with their country and culture.

#3 It Originates From “Qin”

Yet another theory is that the name comes from the Chinese word “Qin,” which is pronounced similarly to “chin.” This theory is based on the fact that the Chinese language has undergone many changes over the centuries, and the pronunciation of words has shifted over time. So, it’s possible that the name  evolved from the Chinese word “Qin.”

#4 The Legend Of Xu Fu

Of course, there are also more fanciful theories about the origins of the name. One legend tells of an emperor who was searching for a magical elixir of immortality. He sent a man named Xu Fu on a quest to find the elixir. Xu Fu ended up discovering a land beyond the sea that he named “Chin.” This legend suggests that the name “China” comes from this mythical land.

Why is China called China?

Regardless of its origin, the name “China” has become synonymous with one of the world’s oldest and most influential civilizations. The country has a rich cultural heritage that has inspired people all over the world, from art and literature to philosophy and religion. It has also played a significant role in world history, from its early dynasties to its modern-day economic and political power.

So, the next time you hear the name “China,” remember that it has a long and complex history behind it. Whether it comes from the Sanskrit word “Cina,” the Persian word “Chin,” or the Chinese word “Qin,” the name “China” represents a unique and fascinating culture that has captured the imagination of people for centuries.

Tom Bogues

Tom is the Director of ESL Job Center. He has been working in the TEFL industry in one form or another since 2016 and is now using that experience to match quality teachers with quality schools across China.

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